Eagles

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins concerned about NFL return during pandemic

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins concerned about NFL return during pandemic

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins is concerned that a trust-based system in the NFL this season will put players at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While Jenkins was vocal about this on CNN, he’s likely not alone. 

“We have to understand, football is a non-essential business and so we don’t need to do it,” Jenkins said. “So the risk, you know, has to be really eliminated before we — before I would feel comfortable with going back.” 

Earlier this month, the NFL sent a memo to teams with guidelines for allowing players to return to team facilities after many teams held virtual spring workouts. 

One of the big problems the NFL is facing is the lack of a “bubble scenario” like the one the NBA will use to continue its season in Orlando, quarantining essential members of the league to play games. The NFL is not planning for a “bubble scenario” even though Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed some doubt last week about the prospect of an NFL season without a bubble. 

The NBA is a lot different than the NFL because they can actually quarantine all of their players or whoever is going to participate. Where we have over 2,000 players, even more coaches and staff. We can’t do that,” Jenkins said. 

“So we’ll end up kind of being on this trust system, the honor system, where we just have to hope that guys are social distancing. And that puts all of us at risk. Not only us as players and who’s in the building, but when you go home to your families. I have parents that I don’t want to get sick.

Now a New Orleans Saint, Jenkins is a contributor to CNN and has a platform on that network. Some of his former teammates like Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham have said they’ll trust the league when it comes to a return to play, but Jenkins is probably not alone with his concern. 

Jenkins clarified his comments later on Thursday: 

For now, the NFL is hoping for an on-time start to its 2020 schedule. That would mean a training camp starting in late July and the season beginning in early September. 

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Amari Cooper’s expectations for Cowboys offense are … super high

Amari Cooper’s expectations for Cowboys offense are … super high

Amari Cooper thinks the Cowboys are going to have a really good offense in 2020. Like, historically good. 

Last year, Cooper and Michael Gallup each went over 1,000 yards receiving and then the Cowboys took CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick in the draft. 

Cooper’s expectations for 2020? They’re lofty to say the least. 

"You have to draft the best player on the board -- everybody understands that," Cooper said, via the Cowboys website. "I think he's a great receiver. And I think with me and Michael Gallup going for 1,000 yards last season, I think the expectation is to have three 1,000-yard receivers this year."

Three 1,000-yard receivers? That’s something that has been accomplished just a handful of times in NFL history. It has happened just five times to be exact, with the most recent time coming in 2008, when the Cardinals did it. 

Here’s a look at all five instances in NFL history: 

2008 Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (96/1,431/12), Anquan Boldin (89/1,038/11), Steve Breaston (77/1,006/3)

2004 Indianapolis Colts: Marvin Harrison (86/1,113/15), Reggie Wayne (77/1,210/12), Brandon Stokley (68/1,077/10)

1995 Atlanta Falcons: Eric Metcalf (104/1,189/8), Terence Mathis (78/1,039/9), Bert Emanuel (74/1,039/5)

1989 Washington: Art Monk (86/1,186/8), Ricky Sanders (80/1,138/4), Gary Clark (79/1,229/9)

1980 San Diego Chargers: Kellen Winslow (89/1,290/9), John Jefferson (82/1,340/13), Charlie Joiner (71/1,132/4) 

While having three 1,000-yard receivers would be incredible, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a great team. While three of those five teams won their divisions, two missed the playoffs entirely. 

Still … is this really in play for the Cowboys? 

Well, last year, Cooper had 1,189 receiving yards, Gallup had 1,107 and Randall Cobb, who is now with the Texans, had 828. From a talent perspective, Lamb is an upgrade over Cobb, so I guess it’s possible. 

But as good as Lamb is, it’s also really tough for a rookie receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards, even when a pandemic hasn’t canceled the entirety of spring workouts. Since 2015, just three rookie receivers have gone over 1,000 yards: Cooper, Michael Thomas and A.J. Brown. So it’s possible but it’s not common either. 

The other thing with the Cowboys is they still have Ezekiel Elliott, who had 420 receiving yards last season. The Cowboys aren’t going to stop throwing him the ball either. 

Realistically, the Cowboys probably won’t have three receivers go over 1,000 yards in 2020, but that’s certainly not a knock. That is a really formidable trio of receivers and the Eagles will have their hands full when they play them. 

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How the NFL’s perception of Carson Wentz has changed

How the NFL’s perception of Carson Wentz has changed

Two years ago, Carson Wentz came in at No. 3 on NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players in the league.

All he’s done since then is throw 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, complete 66 percent of his passes and fashion a 96.7 passer rating.

And drop out of the top 100.

It’s stupid, of course. We all understand Wentz should be in the top 100. He’s a really good player. But instead of complaining about it, let’s consider what it means.

Because it didn’t just happen. Nobody was out to get Carson. His fall out of the top-100 may be ridiculous, but it happened for a very real reason and represents a very real national perspective.

When he got hurt in L.A. late in the 2017 season, Wentz was 24 years old and the best young quarterback in football. Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were rookies and Lamar Jackson was still at Louisville. 

Now Wentz is 27 and going into Year 5, and he’s just as talented as ever. His numbers considering his lack of receivers are crazy. That 96.7 passer rating throwing to Nelly, Mack Hollins and Alshon is 9th-highest in the NFL over the last two years. Yet he’s dropped from No. 3 entirely off the list.

It's all about perception.

Carson is no longer seen as this hot young quarterback taking the league by storm. He’s now perceived as injury prone and incapable of carrying a football team from opening day through a deep playoff run.

It’s amazing how perception can change so quickly, but that’s what happens. This year’s Next Biggest Thing is next year’s Washed-Up Has-Been.

The reality for Wentz is somewhere in between. When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good. But he’s going into Year 5 and the sum total of his postseason career is a 3-yard completion to Boston Scott.

So it’s really hard to fairly rank Wentz because he’s 27 and hasn’t won a playoff game. Hasn’t even finished one.

And this is a fickle business. 

Kyler Murray had a nice rookie year and I think he’s going to be really good, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz. Josh Allen did some exciting things last year, but he has no business being ranked ahead of Wentz.

But people look at those guys now the same way they looked at Wentz two years ago. Young, exciting, improving, full of potential. Part of a new wave of NFL quarterbacks.

And when you look at the big picture, there’s a sense that young QBs are leaving Wentz by the wayside.

Mahomes and Watson are three years younger than Wentz. Jackson is four years younger. 

They’re now the hot young QBs. Now they're the future.  

That’s just natural.  Maybe it’s not fair that while you’re out there throwing 48 TDs and 14 INTs your reputation takes a hit, but that’s life.

I liked Carson’s answer when I asked him last week about not being in the top 100

“You can always use anything and everything as just a little bit of extra motivation,” he said. “I'm not going to let that cause me to lose any sleep or anything, but I do look forward to going out this year and showing what I can do.”

I’m glad he’s pissed. Or as close to pissed as Carson gets. I want angry Carson. 

Because you can hang your head and feel bad about being snubbed by somebody’s list or you can shrug it off and go do something about it and win some games and get to the playoffs and prove you really are one of the 100 best players in the league or maybe one of the 10 best.

In the end, only Carson truly controls how he's perceived. In the end, Carson's vote is the only one that counts. 

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