Eagles

Matt Jones doesn't help his case for Eagles' 53-man roster in preseason debut

Matt Jones doesn't help his case for Eagles' 53-man roster in preseason debut

FOXBORO, Mass. — This was not the game Matt Jones wanted, and it’s not the game he could afford to have if he’s going to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster.

Playing in his first game this preseason, Jones ran six times for 19 yards Thursday night against the Patriots and dropped three passes, one of which was picked off by Christian Sam off his hands.

Not an auspicious debut for the former Redskin and Colt.

“I don’t want to put anything like that on film,” he said at his locker after the Eagles lost to the Patriots, 37-20, at Gillette Stadium. “Just lack of focus because of fatigue and just not locking in and watching the ball through. 

“Don’t want to get down on myself because I know I can catch the ball. … I know I’m a better player than that and I’m going to prove it.”

Jones didn’t play in the opener, and with Donnel Pumphrey and Josh Adams both out Thursday night and Wendell Smallwood not doing anything to help himself, this was his chance to make a statement.

Jones was among the NFL’s leading rushers the first half of 2016. He even had a 135-yard game against the Eagles. So he should be able to dominate against some of the second- and third-stringers he faced Thursday night.

But he didn’t come close to dominating.

“Big learning experience for me about what I need to get done, what I need to do, what I need to work on,” Jones said.

“I got a lot of reps on special teams, a lot of reps on offense, need to watch the film and really study myself. There was a lot on my plate tonight, we have some backs down tonight, I just had to suck it up.

“I’m close to where I want to be. I’m real close. I need to clean up the little stuff, there’s some stuff I need to fix."

Smallwood finished with four carries of one yard rushing, so he didn’t help himself much either.

Right now, there are four running backs competing for one possible fourth spot behind Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles, and none of the four has claimed the spot. 

You would think Jones, with his resume, would have. But this wasn’t the start he needed.

"I think [Jones and Smallwood] would agree that there were plays left out on the field tonight,” Doug Pederson said. “And something we got to clean up and keep working. You know, it’s a great battle between those two and we have a couple weeks left before we make these tough decisions.”

Jones said he felt terrible about his drops Thursday night, especially the one that turned into an interception from Nate Sudfeld. He said he'll do more sprints after practice to get his wind up so he can get through a full game playing teams and offense.

“Playing offense and special teams, I’m not used to that, and it was something really challenging for me," he said. "But I’m going to bounce back next week and really hone in on it. It’s something I’ve never really done before, now I just have to step up to the challenge and be ready.”

Jones and Sudfeld were teammates with the Redskins in 2016, so they go back a few years.

“He’s a guy who really believes in me and I believe in him so every time I’m on the field I try to give him my all,” he said.

“So with the drops, I feel like I owe him a couple. I’ll make sure I make up for those next game.”

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Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

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@cj_wentz on Twitter

Carson Wentz has an incredible pair of custom cleats for his return

Look good, feel good, play well, right?

That’s at least maybe how Carson Wentz is feeling right now. He’s set to make his return to the field tomorrow against the Colts and he’s got a sick pair of custom designed-shoes for pregame.

The shoes feature his foundation, AO1 and food truck charity, Thy Kingdom Crumb, Wentz’s classic No. 11 and several mantras Wentz lives by.

Check out the video Wentz shared on his social media today below.

The kicks look good and we can’t wait to see how good Wentz looks playing in the Linc Sunday. 

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

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Roob's 10 observations: Something to watch with Wentz, recent domination at Linc, more

Something to watch with Carson Wentz in Year 3, the Eagles' recent domination at the Linc, one bad play doesn't define Jalen Mills and much more in Roob's 10 random Eagles observations. 

1. The Eagles’ defense needs to bounce back from that loss Sunday with a vintage Jim Schwartz performance, and I think they will. At the Linc? The Eagles have allowed just 48 points in their last six games and only 11.7 per game since the start of last year, lowest in the league. Andrew Luck looks healthy and efficient again and should thrive in Frank Reich’s system. T.Y. Hilton hasn’t hit a big one yet but might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL over the last six years. The Colts can come in here and win if the Eagles aren’t careful. The defense needs to really take command and pressure Luck, stuff the run, force a couple turnovers and take some pressure off an offense that has a new quarterback, a shaky lineup of receivers and a banged-up running back corps. I’d really like to see something like a 13 on the scoreboard under “Colts” by 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

2. Nick Foles impresses me every time he speaks.

3. The biggest misconception about Clyde Simmons is that his production was simply the product of Reggie White getting doubled. Simmons was a flat-out beast in his own right. Simmons had some very good seasons after he left the Eagles, adding 45 sacks post-Eagles to the 76 he had here. When he retired after the 2000 season, he had the 10th-most sacks in NFL history. But he was also an absolute monster against the run. During his seven years as a starter here, the Eagles allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, and Simmons was a big reason why. So few defensive ends are this skilled at rushing the passer but also so stout against the run. The Eagles happen to have two of them at once. It’ll be great to see Simmons and Seth Joyner go into the Eagles’ Hall of Fame Sunday. They came in together in 1986, and 32 years later, they’ll finally take their rightful place together among the best in franchise history.

4. Something to watch these next 14 weeks: Carson Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 21st out of 25 QBs who threw 400 passes. After the season, Wentz identified accuracy as his biggest area he needed to improve. The NFL average is 62.1 percent, and Wentz was at 62.4 as a rookie. Obviously, he needs help from his receivers, but I’d be surprised if Wentz isn’t in the 63-64 percent range this year.

5. The disdain for Jordan Matthews that I’ve been reading and hearing the last few days is truly baffling. Matthew's biggest crime is that he isn’t a superstar. He’s a decent receiver when healthy, a good person and a natural leader. Maybe if he was one of those prima donna WRs who demands the ball, gets himself suspended for drug violations, quits on his team and screams at his coaches people would like him more. I don’t know if he’ll help the Eagles’ depleted wide receiver position right now, but I do know he made the most sense out of all the available wideouts.

6. Trivia question: Who’s the last Eagle with six or more interceptions in a season? The answer is below.

7. Not sure how it’s possible to watch how Jalen Mills played last year as a 23-year-old second-year pro starting for a Super Bowl team with the No. 4 defense in the NFL and then give up on him because of one play against one of the most dangerous deep threats in NFL history that wasn’t even totally his fault. Mills is a good cornerback. One play doesn’t define him, just like it doesn’t define Malcolm Jenkins, who abandoned his assignment in the middle of the field. Mills is fine.

8. In his first 46 games, Nelson Agholor caught eight or more passes once. In his last three games, he’s caught eight or more passes three times.

9. The Linc is exactly half as old as the Vet was when it was demolished.

10. The Eagles are 16-3 at home under Doug Pederson, and of those 19 games there’s only one that the Eagles weren’t in until the final minutes, and that was the 27-13 loss to the Packers in 2016. But even that was a four-point game in the fourth quarter. They’re in every game at the Linc and they win most of them. You can talk about the Packers or Chiefs, but I don’t think there’s a team with as strong a home-field advantage as the Eagles.

Trivia Answer: Brandon Boykin had six interceptions in 2013. He had only two more the rest of his career as he battled injuries.      

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