Eagles

Former NFL ref explains why Eagles were robbed on opening kickoff

Former NFL ref explains why Eagles were robbed on opening kickoff

The Eagles were rightly upset Sunday night about the opening kickoff in their 29-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

Kamu Grugier-Hill called it “ridiculous” and Malcolm Jenkins said the folks making the call at the command center should “stay off the bottle.”

NBC Sports Football Rule Analyst Terry McAulay was a guest on Philly Sports Talk tonight so I got to ask him a pretty important question about this play and the NFL’s decision to not give the Eagles possession. 

In his explanation Sunday night to a pool reporter, referee Clete Blakeman explained the reason the Eagles weren’t awarded the ball was that they couldn’t confirm a clear recovery by the Eagles on the angles they had. 

But it turns out they don’t actually need to see a clear recovery to give the Eagles the ball. 

I asked McAulay if the bosses in New York are allowed to take a leap and use some deductive reasoning. Even if they don’t see a clear recovery by an Eagle are they allowed to assume the Eagles recovered the football because only Eagles were in the pile around the football? Do they actually need to see a recovery? 

His answer is interesting: 

No they don’t. You’re actually right. They do not have to see video evidence of a recovery. The rule book specifically states that if there’s a pile and there’s only players of one team then that team gets the football. And that’s really … just like you guys, that’s exactly what I see here. There’s a Dallas player off to the side on his back that can’t possibly be anywhere near the football. So the definitive shot that I saw had three Eagles players on top and you actually see a little bit of the football at one point. It’s common sense that tells you, it jumps out at you that it’s a clear and obvious recovery by the kicking team, in this case Philadelphia.

Yeah, common sense. 

It’s sort of like in hockey when a goalie catches a puck but his entire glove is in the net. You don’t actually see the puck cross the line, but they’re allowed to assume it’s a goal because there’s no other logical outcome. 

That’s exactly what happened here and, for some reason, they blew the call. 

McAuley speculated that the NFL is working hard to find reasons to not overturn calls. He thinks that they opportunistically saw a Dallas player somewhere near the pile and used that as a reason to not overturn the call. 

And it’s important to remember it’s not on Blakeman at this point. The officials on the field blew it first by not getting the call right on the field, but after that, it’s the call of the head honchos in New York. Specifically, McAulay said it’s up to Al Riveron and Russell Yurk. The ref on the field can have a say, but the final call belongs to the guys in New York. 

And on this one, they just got it wrong. 

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Chris Long: Carson Wentz 'not the problem' with Eagles

Chris Long: Carson Wentz 'not the problem' with Eagles

Oh, the drama.

It always seems to pick up in the NFL when a team with expectations goes through tough times.

There has been a good deal of drama following the Eagles’ consecutive losses by a combined score of 75-30, dropping the team to 3-4.

Much of the drama has surrounded franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported last week that an anonymous Eagles source had frustrations with Wentz and the team’s offense.

More dysfunction and confusion surrounding the report unfolded Monday after the Eagles’ 37-10 loss Sunday night to the Cowboys.

And everyone remembers the PhillyVoice report in January citing anonymous sources inside the organization calling Wentz “selfish” and “egotistical.”

On Monday’s Ryen Russillo Podcast for The Ringer, former Eagle Chris Long addressed the negative buzz around the Eagles, specifically Wentz. The two-time Super Bowl champion is fully aware the 2019 Eagles have a litany of issues outside of the play at quarterback. 

“In all of the losses to date except for [Sunday night], I didn’t think he generally looked bad at all,” Long said of Wentz. “They have two more wins if the players catch balls in the Atlanta game and the Detroit game — those are facts. I don’t think there would be this bubbling headline ready to overflow if it weren’t for those drops and some of the injuries. And then [Sunday night], he didn’t play well. Quarterbacks have bad games. There’s no way you can tell me he is not a franchise quarterback. I just don’t believe it. His ceiling is too high, we can’t cherry pick.”

Long was one of the leaders for the Eagles team that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February 2018. He was also great in the community and good with the media, according to those who cover the Eagles. If anonymous players are leaking information to reporters, Long has a big problem with that. Long’s final season was with the Eagles last year, so he obviously knows these teammates and the locker room very well.

Here was his perspective regarding the reports on Wentz:

I was bummed about that. No, I don’t think they’re right about it. Last year, it was complaints about leadership, over-targeting Zach Ertz. Listen, he targeted Zach Ertz a ton last year, but Zach was also very good. Could he have spread the ball around a little bit more? Sure. But I think he probably took that to heart, took the criticism, didn’t lash out at anybody, didn’t start screaming or kicking and coming in and motherf---ing people. Listen, if I was him and there’s people in the building that are talking about the franchise quarterback to reporters, you got a problem, come say it to me. … There was a big article questioning his leadership and his decision-making, etc. They tried to make it an Alshon [Jeffery] thing. A source told me that it wasn’t Alshon last year. Now this year, there’s the Justina thing, which is disappointing again. And again, people are trying to make it Alshon.

I’m disappointed with any player that has an issue with a teammate and doesn’t come to that teammate, and goes through a reporter. There had been situations where reporters had come to me because I’m media-friendly and tried to get me to sink people or sink coaches. I just don’t do it. Because it’s bulls--t. That’s not the way you do things. If you want your team to be successful, you have a man-to-man conversation with the person you think is the problem, if you think they’re the problem. And by the way, Carson is not the problem in Philadelphia. He’s just not.

The Eagles’ next four games come against the Bills, Bears, Patriots and Seahawks, teams with a combined record of 20-6.

Wins and staying in the playoff race will help quiet the drama and any anonymous voices.

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The strange, sad tale of Sidney Jones grows even stranger

The strange, sad tale of Sidney Jones grows even stranger

The strange odyssey of Sidney Jones grows even stranger.

With Orlando Scandrick released, Cre’Von LeBlanc not eligible to return from Injured Reserve until Monday and Avonte Maddox still in concussion protocol, Jones is the only logical candidate to play in the slot for the Eagles Sunday against the Bills.

Yes, the same Sidney Jones who was benched Sunday in Dallas and never got off the bench.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz met with the media on Tuesday but declined to confirm that Jones will be the Eagles' starting slot corner Sunday in Buffalo.

"We’ll see," Schwartz said. “He can play that position. Obviously, Malcolm (Jenkins) can play that position … and then sometime we’ll ... get Cre’Von and Avonte back too, so we’ve got a lot of different players who can play in that position, but Sid started last year in that position and was able to hold that position, so we have confidence that whoever we put in there will be able to accomplish that role.

To recap:

Jones began the season rotating with Rasul Douglas opposite Ronald Darby.
He started three games after Darby got hurt.
He left the Packers game early with a hamstring injury.
He missed the Jets game with the hamstring.
He had a nightmarish game in the loss to the Vikings.
He was benched Sunday for the Cowboys.

Now he’s most likely your slot. Temporarily.

Jalen Mills and Douglas started outside Sunday night in Dallas with Scandrick in the slot. But the Eagles released Scandrick on Monday.

On Sunday, Mills and Douglas or Darby will start in Buffalo. Douglas and Darby don’t play in the slot, and Jones and Craig James are the only other healthy corners on the roster.

How far has Jones fallen in the Eagles’ cornerback hierarchy?

In the Cowboys game, it was James who got a handful of snaps outside while Jones — active and in uniform — stayed on the sidelines.

"He was in a backup role," Schwartz said. “We had an injury outside just for a couple plays. Craig was backing up the outside and he was backing up the inside, so he still had a role.

So Jones, the 43rd pick in the 2017 draft, is now behind an undrafted 23-year-old street free agent who has had two stints on the practice squad this year and has already been released once this year by the Eagles.

And after playing 175 snaps of outside cornerback the first month and a half of the season and 52 snaps outside just seven days earlier, he apparently suddenly lost the ability to play outside corner because he practiced inside during the week.

Jones wasn’t in the locker room on Tuesday while it was open to the media.

Jones is only 23. His career has been marked by inconsistency, injuries and now a benching. 

Now he’s a backup at a position where the Eagles’ two best options are about to return in the next couple weeks, and he’s not even practicing at the position he began the season.

This isn’t trending in the right direction.

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