Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Updated: Thursday, 10:44 a.m.

The NFL’s new policy that aims to eliminate on-field demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem has been the biggest news of the day. 

The policy (outlined here) has been met with plenty of reactions, even from a couple notable Eagles players (see story)

On Wednesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released the following statement: 

I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.

Lurie is considered one of the more socially aware owners in the NFL and his players have been very appreciative of his support in the past. Lurie even joined his team on the field during this season in September after President Donald Trump publicly said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.'"

But this statement doesn’t really answer any questions. 

While it’s noteworthy that Lurie is proud of players who fight for positive change and at least he mentioned the reason players are protesting in the first place, the Eagles’ owner didn’t address any specifics about how the Eagles will address the new anthem policy and possible fines that could be levied by the NFL to the Eagles. Nor did Lurie address if or how the Eagles would discipline players now that the power to do so is in their hands. 

In fact, Lurie didn’t specifically mention the anthem or protests at all. 

It was first reported that the policy passed unanimously, but then it was revealed that 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. A league spokesman told NBC Sports Philadelphia that York was the only owner to abstain and the others all voted for the new policy. That includes Lurie.  

Earlier in the day, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said his team would support any players who wanted to protest during the anthem and would not fine them.

Lurie’s statement fell short of answering some important questions. 

Eagles at Cowboys 2019: TV schedule, stream and storylines

Eagles at Cowboys 2019: TV schedule, stream and storylines

The Eagles (3-3) are traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys (3-3) in a huge Sunday Night Football matchup at AT&T Stadium.

Here’s everything you need to know:

6:30 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBCSP

8:20 p.m.: Eagles at Cowboys on NBC

11:30 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBCSP

1:30 a.m.: Birds Outsiders on NBCSP

You can stream the game here.

The NBC broadcast team for Eagles-Cowboys is Al Michaels (play by play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sideline).

Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will have the call on 94WIP.

The referee for this game is Jerome Boger. Boger hasn’t been the ref for an Eagles game since September 2017, against the Giants.

A huge matchup

Aside from this just being a rivalry game, these two teams are really in a two-horse rase to win the NFC East. And based on their .500 records after six weeks, it looks like just one of them will get to the playoffs. Now, that could obviously change; the Eagles had a good finish last year and won a wild card. But this game is huge. The Eagles are coming off an 18-point loss in Minnesota and the Cowboys have dropped three straight after winning three to start the season against lousy competition. 

Did Doug guarantee it? 

Doug Pederson claims he didn’t guarantee a win against Dallas on Monday morning on WIP, but let’s not get into a semantics debate. He still used some really strong words.

“We’re going down to Dallas and our guys are going to be ready to play and we’re going to win that football game. And when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East.”

Pederson said he’s very confident in his team because, despite the 18-point loss, he thinks most of their mistakes are correctable. This would be a good week to correct them.

Injuries will play a role

Both teams are coming into this game banged up. The Cowboys probably won’t have Amari Cooper and their starting offensive tackles and two starting corners will either be out or less than 100 percent. And the Eagles will likely be without Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham and still without DeSean Jackson.

This is life in the NFL, but we’ll learn some things about both teams’ depth in this game.

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5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Cowboys in Week 7

5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Cowboys in Week 7

The Eagles (3-3) are heading to North Texas this weekend to face the Cowboys (3-3) in a game that will give us the leader in the NFC East. 

This is the first of two meetings between these two teams this year. As it has been in recent years, this game in Dallas is on Sunday Night Football. 

The Eagles lost by 18 points to the Vikings last week, but the Cowboys lost to the Jets and have dropped three in a row. Both teams really need this win. 

To the matchups: 

Ezekiel Elliott vs. Eagles' LBs

Zeke is still Zeke. Through six games, he has 491 rushing yards and five touchdowns to go along with 140 receiving yards. Just four players in the league have more touches than Elliott this season and since he entered the league in 2016, Elliott has more than anyone. The Cowboys have always, and still do, feed him the rock. 

While the Eagles were gashed through the air, they actually held up pretty well against the Vikings’ rushing attack last week. The Vikings finished with 122 yards, but Dalvin Cook had just 41. Elliott is obviously a much different runner. Through six weeks, the Eagles have the NFL’s second-best rushing defense, giving up 68.0 yards per game. But they just cut Zach Brown and now Nigel Bradham (ankle) is banged up. That means a very different-looking linebacker corps against Elliott. That’s a lot of pressure on Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry and T.J. Edwards. 

And as you probably already know, Elliott is 4-0 against the Eagles in his career. In those four games, he has averaged 115.8 yards per game on the ground and 51.3 yards per game as a receiver. In the two games against the Eagles last year, Elliott had 379 yards from scrimmage. The Eagles need to stop him — or at least slow him down — on Sunday. 

Cowboys' OTs vs. Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham 

Against the Jets, the Cowboys were without left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) and right tackle La’el Collins (knee) and it definitely showed. Veteran Cameron Fleming played left tackle and undrafted rookie Brandon Knight (from Indiana) played at right tackle. Barnett on Wednesday mentioned that he’s preparing for Smith and Fleming right now. 

Even if one or both Dallas starters are back (both practiced Thursday), they likely won’t be at 100 percent, so this should be a week where the Eagles’ edge rushers can get home. I listed Barnett and Graham, but even Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry should be able to make an impact on this game. 

If the Eagles are able to control Elliott (and that’s a big if), then they can try to put the game on Dak Prescott. If that happens and then the Eagles get pressure, it could really help. That should be the game plan. 

Andre Dillard vs. Robert Quinn

Since Jason Peters (knee) is out this weekend, rookie Andre Dillard will make his first-career start. He was thrust into a really tough spot against Minnesota and had his ups and downs. Overall, though, there were plenty of encouraging signs. With a full week of preparation and practice reps, and with Jason Peters coaching him up from the sideline, I suspect Dillard will be fine. 

This week, he’ll face Robert Quinn, who actually leads the Cowboys with five sacks, and he’s done it in four games. But make no mistake, Lane Johnson will still have the tougher task on DeMarcus Lawrence on the other side. Johnson has handled him very well in the past. 

Eagles' run game vs. Cowboys' LBs 

The Cowboys have two of the best young linebackers in the NFL in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Both players have around 50 tackles each this season and are everywhere on the field. Most teams have devalued the linebacker position in recent years, but the Cowboys are proof that good ‘backers can still make a difference. 

“Well, they're big, they really run well, they tackle really well, they're strong,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “Both are capable pass rushers. They do a good job in their scheme and utilize them in that way.”

Meanwhile, the Eagles have found some success running the football this season. They got behind early in the Vikings game, so they didn’t run a ton. But Jordan Howard has been pretty good and has taken over lead back duties. Miles Sanders has been a factor in the pass game, but we’re still waiting to see him be better in the run game. 

Eagles' receivers vs. Cowboys’ injured secondary 

It doesn’t sound like the Eagles will have DeSean Jackson this week, and that’s a shame because two Cowboys corners (Byron Jones and Anthony Brown) tweaked their hamstrings last week. The Eagles might get to see some more of Jourdan Lewis. 

Any help these Eagles receivers can get might go a long way. While Alshon Jeffery has at least provided some production, the Eagles haven’t gotten enough from Nelson Agholor and they haven’t gotten much of anything from Mack Hollins in recent weeks. 

On the flip side, it sounds like Amari Cooper (quad) probably won’t play this week. That’s a good thing for the Eagles. In December last year, Cooper had 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns against the Birds. 

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