Eagles

There’s no downside to Eagles’ trade for Jordan Howard

There’s no downside to Eagles’ trade for Jordan Howard

Ever since the Eagles acquired Jordan Howard I’ve been reading that Howard isn’t that good. That his stats his first couple years were the product of John Fox’s archaic run-first system. That his rushing average has dropped every year. That he’s no Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley.

Guess what?

Who cares.

The Eagles didn’t need a superstar running back. They didn’t need an elite running back. What they did need was another weapon. Another piece of the puzzle. Another guy who can make some plays and make this offense better.

And if you can get a 24-year-old kid who’s averaged 1,100 rushing yards and eight TDs in three NFL seasons for a late-round pick and a couple million bucks? There is no downside.

Unless you think the Eagles would be more difficult to defend with Josh Adams or Wendell Smallwood on the field than with Jordan Howard, there’s nothing not to like here.

It’s not about piling up all-pro players. It’s about building an offense that nobody can stop.

And if you’re a defensive coordinator preparing for the Eagles in 2019, you’re dealing with a quarterback who was the MVP front-runner for three months of 2017, one of the best tight ends in the game and a darn good backup, a trio of dangerous receivers and now a capable move-the-chains tailback.

I don’t have to remind anybody that the Eagles won a Super Bowl with a running back corps cobbled together with an aging veteran with just enough left to be dangerous, a mid-year acquisition and an undrafted rookie.

The Eagles haven’t even had anybody rush for 800 yards in five years, and they probably won’t this year. They’ve been to six NFC Championship Games since 2000 and had a 1,000-yard rusher one of those years — that was Duce Staley, their current running backs coach, who barely went over in 2002.

They had an elite running back for six years in LeSean McCoy and went 0-3 in the postseason with him in uniform.

It’s about building an offense, building a unit, and that takes a group of like-minded pros who are willing to sacrifice a little bit in terms of stats for a chance to win big.

That’s the template the Eagles have settled on, and it’s a winning formula.

That’s why this is such a good fit.

The Bears relied so heavily on Howard the last few years. He averaged 17 carries per game since the start of his rookie year in 2016, the third-highest figure in the league.

And if you look at their quarterbacks, you can see why.

Mitch Trubisky, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon and Chase Daniel.

Especially in 2016 and 2017, Howard carried the load because he had to carry the load for two Bears teams that went 8-24.

Here?

Now the pressure is off. Howard doesn’t have to be The Guy. He doesn’t have to be anything except another component of a potentially explosive offense.

And if you’re scared off by the fact that his rushing average has dropped from 5.2 as a rookie to 4.1 in 2017 to 3.7 last year, I would tell you this:

The last five weeks of the 2018 regular season, when the Bears went 4-1 and roared to the NFC North title and a No. 3 playoff seed, Howard averaged 4.5 yards per carry, with 100-yard games against the Vikings and Rams.

Shot fighter? Doesn’t look that way.

Two predictions:

1. Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott will rush for more yards in 2019 than Jordan Howard.

2. The Eagles will win more games in 2019 than the Giants and Cowboys.

Howard might not be a superstar, and he might not be a Pro Bowler, and he probably won’t rush for 1,000 yards.

He’s not flashy. He’s not an accomplished receiver. He’s never had a touchdown longer than 21 yards.

These are all facts.

But here’s another fact: The Eagles are a better team today than they were yesterday.

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NFL players can be fined for high-risk COVID-19 conduct in 2020

NFL players can be fined for high-risk COVID-19 conduct in 2020

NFL players can be fined for high risk COVID-19 behavior during the 2020 season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. 

The discipline schedule comes from the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA. 

According to the document, obtained by NFL Network, NFL teams may fine a player one week’s salary and/or suspend that player for up to four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team for engaging in what is considered high-risk COVID-19 behavior. 

There are no written warnings necessary before fines begin. 

According to the document, here are all the details about what constitutes as high-risk behavior: 

1. Attending an indoor night club unless player is wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) and there are no more than 10 people in the club. 

2. Attending an indoor bar (other than to pick up food) unless player is wearing PPE and there are no more than 10 people in the bar. 

a. For clarity, a “bar” does not include an establishment that offers food service and which a player attends primarily for food service even if the establishment also includes a full-service bar. 

3. House gatherings of more than 15 people without the player and all guests wearing masks or PPE or where social distancing for more than 10 people is impossible. 

4. Attending an indoor music concert/entertainment event. 

5. Attending a professional sporting event (other than applicable NFL games or events) unless the player is seated in a separate seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, is wearing PPE, and there are no more than 10 people in that separate seating section. 

6. Attending an event that is prohibited by state and/or local regulation, executive order or law implemented due to COVID-19. 

It’s important to note that the report from NFL Network says that all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees of teams are subject to comparable discipline if they violate those rules too. 

Furthermore, the report says Commissioner Goodell may discipline individual teams if they fail to discipline their players for these infractions. 

Without being in a bubble, the NFL is counting on its players acting responsibly to limit the spread of the coronavirus. While all of these things might seem obvious, the added incentive to not get fined might prevent some stupid behavior. 

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Eagles players finally learn NFL's opt-out deadline

Eagles players finally learn NFL's opt-out deadline

If any more Eagles are going to opt out of the 2020 season, they only have until Thursday afternoon to do it.

The NFL and NFLPA have finally settled on 4 p.m. Thursday as the deadline for players to opt out because of health concerns related to COVID-19, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday evening.

Later Monday evening, Schefter reported that the NFL and NFLPA finally jointly approved the CBA provision governing training camp protocols, which formally locks in that 4 p.m. Thursday deadline.

So far, only one Eagle has opted out. 

Wide receiver Marquis Goodwin, acquired in a draft-day trade with the 49ers, announced last Tuesday he was opting out.

League-wide, 48 players had opted out as of Monday evening, including former Eagles Patrick Chung, Chance Warmack and D.J. Killings.

NFL players who opt out who are considered at-risk because of a medical condition will receive a $350,000 stipend in place of their 2020 salary and will earn a year of pension credit toward free agency and benefits.

Players who are considered not at-risk receive a $150,000 advance and do not earn a year of pension credit. If players in this category are not on a roster next year, they will have to  pay back the $150,000. 

All players taking the opt out have their contracts frozen, picking up in 2021 if they remain on the roster.

Originally, the opt-out deadline was going to be seven days after the NFL and NFLPA officially agreed to CBA provisions governing training camp protocols. 

As that date continued to move forward, NFL officials moved to set a concrete date, which did not go over well with at least one prominent NFL player. Patriots safety Devin McCourty said, “It’s an absolute joke the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don’t want to continue to see guys opt out,” McCourty told Patriots writers on a Zoom call. “I’m sure they’re shocked how many guys have opted out. I think it’s terrible. It’s BS that the league has changed that date.”

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