Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

(Update: Myke Tavarres has apparently changed his mind.)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game, and an Eagles linebacker fighting for a roster spot says he'll do the same in their final preseason contest.

Kaepernick decided not to stand because of the divisive and violent racial issues that have been building in America. Tavarres has taken a similar stance, telling ESPN.com's Tim McManus on Monday that he nearly followed Kaepernick's lead by sitting out the anthem in Indianapolis.

"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres told ESPN. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.

"We've got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We've got that right. There's just a lot going on that people don't want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we're looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he's doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that's his opinion, he's entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it."

According to the report, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had players express their feelings about the topic during a meeting Monday and Tavarres was one of the players who spoke, along with team leader Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

Jenkins discussed the topic with USA Today over the weekend.

"At some point, I think guys in multiple sports across the country, guys are starting to realize if we do want a change, it is something we need to get involved in at some point," Jenkins said.

“I have already done some things. I have spoken to the police commissioner of Philadelphia. We are trying to come up with some plans to do some stuff on the ground and get some work done. A lot of what is going on in the country is outrageous. I try to be careful. I ask myself what is the outcome that I want to see and how do I go about that?

"At the end of the day when it comes down to relationships of African Americans in this country right now, my entire family is black. I can sit on my stage and act like these things don’t apply to me but my two brothers, my dad, my mom, all of them are dealing with the same thing."

Tavarres, meanwhile, is not a lock to make the Eagles' final 53-man roster, but their lack of depth at backup linebacker has created an opportunity for him. Dave Zangaro had Tavarres on the practice squad in his roster projection Monday. 

"In this situation, I've really got nothing to lose," Tavarres told McManus. "I'm a rookie free agent, haven't signed any major contract, so there's not a lot of money on the line, I don't have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what's at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn't stand my ground on this issue we have today?

"[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don't think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don't know if it's going to be burned, but it's a major issue and I'm definitely going to stand my ground for this one."

Eagle Eye Podcast: Ranking the NFC East after six weeks

USA Today Images

Eagle Eye Podcast: Ranking the NFC East after six weeks

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks rank the NFC East through week 6. Why the Eagles are not on top on either's list? Where do the Eagles rank in the NFC as a whole? 

Barrett doesn't think it's too early for Jordan Mailata to play meaningful snaps.

Also, the biggest takeaways from a crazy Sunday in the NFL.

1:00 — What the guys did with a rare Sunday off.
4:30 — Redskins get an important win over the Panthers.
10:00 — Cowboys beat up the Jaguars.
14:30 — Ranking the NFC East. Biggest concerns for the Eagles.
19:30 — Memorable moments from Sunday's NFL action.

Subscribe and rate Eagle Eye: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

With one big fix, 2018 Eagles can be an elite team

USA Today Images

With one big fix, 2018 Eagles can be an elite team

If you have an elite quarterback and a top-10 defense, you have a chance to be a special team.

We know the Eagles have the first. And they just might have the second.

I don't have to make much of a case for Wentz as a top-10 quarterback.

Without the benefit of a preseason, limited in training camp, victimized by drops and inconsistent offensive line play, Wentz has come in and performed at an extraordinary level these last four weeks.

He's completed at least 65 percent of his passes in all four starts, averaged just under 300 yards and thrown eight TDs to just one interception. The only other Eagles quarterback to ever have a four-game stretch like this was Donovan McNabb the first four weeks of 2004.

What's scary is that Wentz has gotten better each of these four games, and you know he's only going to keep getting better.

Top 10 quarterback? Heck, yeah.

The real question is how good is this defense, and honestly, I don't know the answer yet.

Six games in, two things stick out:

No. 1, they're allowing way too many big plays.

And No. 2, when they don't allow a big play, they're very good.

The Eagles have allowed seven plays of at least 45 yards, tied with the Raiders for most in the NFL. It's also the most they've given up six weeks into a season in at least 25 years.

Those seven plays have netted 420 yards, which equals an incredible 20 percent of all the yards the Eagles have given up all year.

This sounds nuts, but when the Eagles aren't allowing big plays, they're not allowing very much at all, and the numbers prove it.

The Eagles' defense has allowed the third-fewest first downs in the league, 17.7 per game. Only the Ravens (15.5) and Bears (17.0) have allowed fewer.

On third down, they're third-best in the league at 29.5 percent, behind only the Vikings (25.0) and Ravens (26.5).

And in the red zone, they're once again No. 1 in the league, allowing touchdowns on only seven of 21 opposing drives.

Add up all that, and you have a defense that, despite allowing big plays at an alarming rate, is still allowing the fifth-fewest points per game in the NFL.

Here's a look at the top 10:

12.8 … Ravens

16.0 … Bears

16.7 … Titans

17.2 … Cowboys 

18.3 … Eagles

18.3 … Seahawks

19.7 … Rams

19.8 … Jaguars

20.8 … Redskins

21.4 … Packers

The Eagles' defense has allowed just 11 touchdowns. Only the Jaguars (10), Titans (10)  and Ravens (8) have allowed fewer.

So there are signs of greatness. But in the midst of all of it are plays of 75, 75, 68, 55, 51, 50 and 46 yards.

What does this tell us?

If the Eagles can solve their problem allowing big plays, they have a chance to be a special team.

When you look at that list of top-10 defenses, how many of those teams also have top-10 quarterbacks?

Mitch Trubisky has played very well and given the Bears new life. Jared Goff, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are elite. Alex Smith and Dak Prescott have both been OK.

There are obviously teams whose quarterbacks are so good they keep their teams in every game, despite weak defenses. Matt Ryan, Pat Mahomes and Drew Brees lead teams with bottom-7 defenses that are nonetheless very dangerous. The Patriots are 20th in defense but will be a threat as long as Tom Brady is in uniform.

But the bottom line is the Eagles have a chance. 

On those key plays that are killing them, they obviously need to tackle better and cover better. If they can do that and either eliminate or drastically reduce those big plays, they're going to have a chance every week.

I don't think any of us know exactly who this Eagles team is yet. They're certainly not where they wanted to be at 3-3.

But I know exactly what they can be. And they're not that far off.