Eagles

Week 3 NFL power rankings: Eagles drop in NFC hierarchy

Week 3 NFL power rankings: Eagles drop in NFC hierarchy

The Eagles are now 1-1 after a 24-20 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta and will play the Lions at home and the Packers on the road in a five-day span starting Sunday. 

Plenty of movement in the NFC power rankings after Week 2: 

1. Rams (2-0) Last week: 1

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game, the Rams cruised to a 27-9 win at home over the Saints as Drew Brees went down. The Rams are now 2-0 with a road win in a tough place to play in Carolina and a win over the team that was their biggest competition in the NFC. 

2. Cowboys (2-0) Last week: 4

I know the Cowboys have played the Giants and Redskins to start the season, but they can only play the teams on their schedule. And they took care of business against both. They outscored two inferior opponents by a combined 28 points. They face the putrid Dolphins at home in Week 3. They should be 3-0 for the first time since 2008. 

3. Packers (2-0) Last week: 7

Green Bay has started off their season with two quality wins against NFC North opponents. They might be for real. They toppled the Bears in Chicago in the opener and took down the Vikings in Green Bay in Week 2. After building a 21-0 lead over the Vikings in the first half, they didn’t score again, but their defense held up just enough for a 21-16 win. After the Broncos this week, they’ll face the Eagles and Cowboys in back-to-back weeks, so we’ll learn even more about the Packers soon enough. 

4. Seahawks (2-0) Last week: 5

I’m not completely sold on the Seahawks just yet after they sneaked out close victories over the Bengals and Steelers, but I was impressed with their offensive output in Week 2 against a Steelers team that might spiral quickly now without Ben Roethlisberger. 

5. Eagles (1-1) Last week: 3

It was a tough loss to the Falcons on Sunday night, but it was a four-point loss in a game that they probably win if Nelson Agholor catches an easy pass for a long touchdown. They’ll host the Lions this week and then are on the road four days later in Green Bay. 

6. Vikings (1-1) Last week: 6

After a Week 1 win at home against the Falcons, the Vikings lost a tough game on the road to what looks like a good Green Bay team. The Vikings scored the last 16 points of the game, but it wasn’t enough. This NFC North is looking like a stout division so far. 

7. Saints (1-1) Last week: 2

New Orleans takes the biggest drop of the week and not just because they lost a road game to the Rams 27-9. The injury to Drew Brees’ thumb means he’ll be out for around 6-8 weeks. The Saints have six games before a nicely timed Week 9 bye, but play at the Seahawks, vs. the Cowboys and at the Bears during that stretch. 

8. Bears (1-1) Last week: 8

The good news: The Bears won a game on a 53-yard field goal. The bad news: It took a 53-yard field goal to take down a Broncos team I don’t think is very good. 

9. Falcons (1-1) Last week: 10 

That was a big win at home against the Eagles for a Falcons team that couldn’t afford to start the season with an 0-2 record. The Falcons now take a long dip into the AFC South with consecutive games against the Colts, Titans and Texans. 

10. 49ers (2-0) Last week: 11

In two games, the Niners have scored an NFC-high 72 points, which is also third in the NFL behind the Ravens and Patriots. With a game against the Roethlisberger-less Steelers before a Week 4 bye, the 49ers could have a 3-0 record for the first time since 1998. 

11. Lions (1-0-1) Last week: 13

I don’t know what to make of the Lions. They blew a game in Week 1 and let the Cardinals come back to tie them. And then in Week 2, they beat a playoff contender in the Chargers. I still don’t think they’re very good, but they could change my mind Sunday in Philly. 

12. Buccaneers (1-1) Last week: 16 

Jameis Winston didn’t throw an interception and the Bucs were able to get a 20-16 win over the Panthers in Carolina. They’re not a good team, but maybe Tampa Bay won’t be a complete disaster in 2019. 

13. Panthers (0-2) Last week: 9

Run roh. Cam Newton is hurt and the Panthers are off to an 0-2 start. They’re already in the basement of the NFC South and three of their next four games before their Week 7 bye are on the road. 

14. Cardinals (0-1-1) Last week: 15

A comeback tie in Week 1 and then a six-point loss to what is probably a playoff-bound Ravens team. Not a bad start at all for the new regime in Arizona. 

15. Redskins (0-2) Last week: 12

Washington actually scored first against the Cowboys, but then lost 31-21. And their best player still won’t show up and doesn’t want to be there anymore. 

16. Giants (0-2) Last week: 14

The Giants aren’t very good, but at least they finally benched Eli Manning. It’ll be exciting to see what rookie Daniel Jones is able to do with the same offense.

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Howie Roseman fails to pull trigger on trade for Jalen Ramsey, who reportedly goes to Rams

Howie Roseman fails to pull trigger on trade for Jalen Ramsey, who reportedly goes to Rams

The Eagles failed to land one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. 

Instead, Jalen Ramsey has been traded to the Rams, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The price to get him was reportedly first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 as well as a fourth-rounder in 2021. 

Would you have done that?

That’s a lot to give up, but Ramsey really is that good. He’s widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and is still just 24 years old. Ramsey was the fifth overall pick in 2016. He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of the last two years and was an All-Pro in 2017. 

And now Ramsey is out of the AFC and on an NFC contender. So this is bad for the Eagles in two ways. 

Ramsey is in the final year of his contract this season and is on a fifth-year option in 2020, so he’ll be looking for a big deal soon. But he’s worth it. 

Back on Sept. 16, Ramsey and his agent requested to be traded from Jacksonville, the team that drafted him, after a sideline blowup with head coach Doug Marrone. Since then, the Eagles had clearly been in the mix. 

But Howie Roseman didn’t pull the trigger. There are still a couple weeks left until the trade deadline and there are other options, but opportunities to get shutdown corners who are just 24 don’t come around often. 

Getting Ramsey would have filled an immediate need for the Eagles, who haven’t had a true shutdown cornerback in years. They’ve tried to get by for the last couple years with a hodgepodge group, and they’ll have to continue. At least they do have some youth at corner, but they need some of these young players to play better. This news about Ramsey comes just a couple days after we all watched Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones get toasted against the Vikings.  

The Eagles might get Jalen Mills and perhaps Ronald Darby back this week and that will help, but they won’t help nearly as much as Ramsey would have. 

Ramsey could have been the first Eagles cornerback to make a Pro Bowl since Asante Samuel back in 2010. Yeah, it’s been a long time. 

Ramsey certainly has a loud personality and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. That is always part of what the Eagles look at when they inquire about potentially adding a player. Perhaps that played a role in not getting him. 

Since entering the league in 2016, Ramsey has nine interceptions and 45 pass breakups. During that span, Rodney McLeod has the Eagles’ lead in INTs with seven and Mills leads the Eagles in pass breakups with 30. So Ramsey would have immediately helped at a position where the Eagles desperately need help. Oh well.  

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A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

Cornerbacks always talk about how crucial it is to put bad plays behind them.

Gotta be confident. Gotta have a short memory. Gotta forget about it when you get beat.

Every cornerback gets beat. The great ones bounce back quickly.

Fair to say Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones didn’t bounce back quickly Sunday.

I asked Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Tuesday how Douglas and Jones have handled having a short memory and putting bad plays behind them, and his answer was surprisingly blunt.

Inconsistently,” he said. “There have been times that they have, but you know like a 3-3 team, we’re all striving for consistency and I think that those guys are striving for that.

Douglas has played fairly well much of the season, although he’s been inconsistent. Jones has struggled both on the field and to stay on the field.

On Sunday, both struggled through their lowest moments. Kirk Cousins victimized both young corners to the tune of four touchdowns and 333 yards in the Vikings’ 38-20 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This was the first time Schwartz has spoken this bluntly about Douglas and Jones and their confidence issues.

I don’t know that any of those were lack of confidence or [not] putting a play behind them, but whether it was a penalty, whether it was a physical error or a technique error or a communication error, another bad play ended up rolling up on them and that’s the life they live,” he said. “There were a lot of technique errors, there are a lot of miscommunications in every game with D-linemen and linebackers and everything else, whether you win the game like we did against the Jets or you lose a tough game like we did against the Vikings.

But generally those don’t get the attention that the cornerback position takes, and that’s part of the job description. That scrutiny. Kickers. Quarterbacks. Head coaches. It’s just what we deal with, and corners need to be able to put bad plays behind them, and we’ve been inconsistent doing that.

Jones is only 23 and Douglas is 24, and both come from big-time college programs and were high draft picks in 2017 — Jones in the second round and Douglas in the third. 

The Eagles clearly are hopeful both can go on to become high-level long-term starters.

But Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby could both be back for the Cowboys game on Sunday or, if not, soon after.

We all know both of them have allowed their fair share of big plays, but they’ve also started for a Super Bowl championship team, and nobody has ever questioned their confidence. They’ve both shown a knack for bouncing back.

Who’s going to wind up starting when everybody’s healthy? 

Too early to answer that. But if you’re a coach and you have two cornerbacks who have confidence issues and two who don’t? Who would you play?

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