Eagles

Orlando Scandrick: It was hard to watch from the couch

Orlando Scandrick: It was hard to watch from the couch

Orlando Scandrick has had the NFL package in his Los Angeles home for years. He’s from L.A., but played elsewhere, so the cable package allowed his family and friends to watch him play for the last decade.

This year, he finally got to use it himself.

Scandrick, 32, was released by the Eagles at final cuts and for the first time in his 12-year NFL career, he was healthy and not on a roster for Week 1. And then Week 2. And then Week 3. So he spent the last month with his family (the good part) and was a spectator on Sundays (the bad).

“It was hard sitting on the couch watching guys play a game that I know I’m still capable of playing,” Scandrick said.

The Eagles are now counting on Scandrick. In the wake of two more injuries to cornerbacks on Thursday night in Green Bay, the Eagles re-signed the veteran on Friday. And he’ll probably have to play a somewhat significant role in this coming Sunday’s game against the Jets.

There really aren’t any other options.

“We would expect him to be up to speed if he's called upon,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “There's not going to be any start-up time for him.”

After spending the first nine years of his career with the Cowboys, Scandrick was with the Chiefs in 2018. He spent a little more than a month with the Eagles before he was released.

Scandrick knows he can’t play forever, but he also wasn’t ready to retire.

“I feel like I wasn’t finished and I’m not finished,” he said. “I’m excited that I get another opportunity to prove that I’m not finished.”

During the last month, the Eagles kept in contact with him. According to Scandrick, the two sides talked in Weeks 2, 3 and 4. And after injuries to Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox — and with Jalen Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc still sidelined — the Eagles finally brought back the 12-year pro late last week.

Going into Sunday’s game, he might be one of just three healthy corners on the roster. So he’s going to have to play.

“I think it helps obviously having him in camp as well," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “So he’s familiar with the defense. A veteran, played a long time in this league. Understands how to win. That definitely is going to help us.”

With Maddox reportedly out for a few weeks, the most natural position for Scandrick would be as the Eagles’ nickel cornerback. That’s the position he’s played most in the NFL and he was the backup nickel throughout training camp after the Eagles brought him in on July 27. Scandrick said he has stayed in shape.

While spending time with his family was great, Scandrick admitted watching football on Sundays was “different.” He would flip back and forth between the top games of the weekend, but spent extra time watching the Eagles. He is a childhood friend of DeSean Jackson’s and grew close to some of his teammates during his first stint in Philly.

“I’m a realist here,” Scandrick said. “This is 12 years for me. I know nothing lasts forever…

“I just want to make the most of this opportunity. I want to leave it all out there and I want to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

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NFL 2020 tight end rankings: Could Zach Ertz miss the top-four cut?

NFL 2020 tight end rankings: Could Zach Ertz miss the top-four cut?

Zach Ertz has been an elite pass-catching tight end basically since 2014, his second season with the Eagles. His size, route-running, and athleticism makes him a near-impossible matchup for defenses.

But Ertz turns 30 this November, and he has a TE1-in-waiting sitting behind him on the depth chart in Dallas Goedert. Is 2020 the year we see him take a step out of the elite tight end ranks?

The folks over at Pro Football Focus think, even if it's not a big step, Ertz won't be a top four tight end in the NFL this season. They projected receiving totals, and instead of Ertz rounding out the top four, as most would expect, they have...

Rob Gronkowski?

Yep:

There's a lot to take in here. Let's look at some things that aren't Ertz.

For one, Mark Andrews at No. 1 would be quite a jump for the third-year tight end. He's had two great seasons to start his career, but the Ravens aren't a pass-happy offense. I don't see the yards piling up like this.

The Raiders' Darren Waller had 1,145 yards last year. It's possible he's a one-year wonder, and it's likely rookie Henry Ruggs III sees Waller get fewer targets, but having Gronkowski over Waller is... odd.

As for Gronk, he hasn't played a 16-game season since 2011, and he went for just 682 yards in his most recent NFL season. Is he well-rested enough to return to 2017 form? Maybe. But with stud wideouts like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin available for Tom Brady, there likely aren't enough targets in Tampa Bay to push Gronk to 999 yards.

Now, for Ertz. Ertz has reached 999 yards in a season just once: 1,163 yards in 2018. He saw his yards number tumble last year, but the whole team really took a step back, and Dallas Goedert became more comfortable in the offense. Ertz is still a stud until proven otherwise, and I think he's still a top-four tight end. 

Of course, with rookie Jalen Reagor catching passes, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both ostensibly healthy, and Goedert continuing to grow, Ertz could either see his pass-catching opportunities get easier... or see his targets dry up. So it's not unthinkable that he finishes with, say, 825 yards in 2020.

But I certainly don't think he'll finish lower than a recently-unretired Gronk.

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Why Richard Sherman feels white QBs like Wentz speaking up about racism is important

Why Richard Sherman feels white QBs like Wentz speaking up about racism is important

Last Thursday, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz posted a message online speaking out against institutional racism in the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis last Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

Wentz speaking up - saying that "institutional racism in this country breaks my heart and needs to stop" - was an unusual move for the quarterback, who normally avoided discussing anything societal during his first four seasons with the Eagles.

But his decision to break that trend was felt around Philadelphia and nationally, and a number of other white players, including the Eagles' Zach Ertz, echoed his sentiments in the following days.

And Wentz's message apparently earned him some serious respect from veteran San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman spoke with Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer over the weekend, and had good things to say:

First, Eagles QB Carson Wentz said something. Then Bengals QB Joe Burrow said something. So too did Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and new Cowboys QB Andy Dalton. All those guys are white, and all could’ve kept quiet in the face of something like this, like quarterbacks routinely have in the past. But they didn’t.

As to the importance of that, I didn’t even have to ask Sherman to go there. He went on his own, volunteering his feelings on the gravity of their words.

'I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,' Sherman said. 'Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.

'And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.'

On the football field, Sherman and Wentz have faced off just once since Wentz entered the league in 2016, a 26-15 Seahawks win in Week 10 of Wentz's rookie year. Sherman intercepted Wentz in the third quarter.

But off the field, it seems the two have plenty of common ground in the fight for justice and equality.

The Eagles and 49ers are scheduled to play on Oct. 4, the Sunday Night Football game for Week 4, this season.

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