Eagles

NFL Notes: Chargers cut CB Brandon Flowers, OL D.J. Fluker

NFL Notes: Chargers cut CB Brandon Flowers, OL D.J. Fluker

CARSON, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers have released cornerback Brandon Flowers, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and receiver Stevie Johnson.

The Chargers announced the moves Tuesday.

Flowers spent three seasons with the Chargers after making the Pro Bowl and leaving Kansas City in 2013. He made just four interceptions in his three seasons, and he appeared in just six games last year while dealing with a concussion.

Fluker was the Chargers' first-round pick in 2013. The versatile lineman was due to make $8.821 million next season, and he started all 16 games last season on the right side of the line.

Johnson caught 45 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers in 2015. He missed last season after injuring his knee early in training camp.

Falcons: Julio Jones has minor foot surgery
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons say wide receiver Julio Jones is expected to be ready for the start of training camp after having minor foot surgery.

Jones had the procedure on Monday and posted on his Twitter account: "Surgery was a success! Thanks to all that prayed for me."

Falcons spokesman Brian Cearns said Tuesday that Jones is expected to be at full speed for the start of training camp.

Jones missed two games last season with a sprained left toe and also missed practice time in the second half of the season with foot problems. He still had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns and was named to his second straight All-Pro team.

Bills: Contract extended to RB Gillislee
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have extended contract offers in retaining the rights to running back Mike Gillislee and offensive lineman Ryan Groy.

The moves announced Tuesday give the Bills the right to match any offers teams make to the two restricted free agents. Additionally, the Bills would be compensated a fifth-round draft pick should Gillislee sign elsewhere once the NFL's free-agency period starts on Thursday.

Gillislee has been a dependable backup behind LeSean McCoy since joining the Bills in November 2015. Last season, he had 577 yards rushing and scored nine touchdowns, including one receiving. He also led the NFL in averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Groy started the final seven games last season at center after Eric Wood broke his right leg.

Jets: WR Jalin Marshall banned 4 games for PEDs
NEW YORK -- The NFL has suspended New York Jets receiver Jalin Marshall for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancers.

The suspension of the second-year player from Ohio State was announced Tuesday. Earlier, the New York Daily News reported he tested positive for Adderall.

"I really just want to apologize for this mistake. I inadvertently took medication without an exemption from the league on one occasion," Marshall tweeted. "It has not happened since & will not happen again. Already looking forward to 2017 and doing whatever I can to help this team win."

Marshall can participate in all offseason team events, including training camp and preseason games, before serving the suspension.

Also a kick returner, Marshall made the Jets as an undrafted free agent. He had 14 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, but a torn labrum in his shoulder forced him to miss six games.

Vikings: Longtime LB Greenway retires
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- NFL players usually don't get to leave the game like Chad Greenway did.

From start to finish, Greenway had quite the career.

Proudly declaring he's "healthy and happy" and ready for retirement after 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings , Greenway turned his time at the podium at a farewell news conference into a 25-minute thank-you to the people who influenced and supported him over the years. Former teammates Jim Kleinsasser and Ben Leber were among those in attendance, along with Vikings greats Carl Eller and Bud Grant.

General manager Rick Spielman praised Greenway's exemplary citizenship off the field, and coach Mike Zimmer expressed his appreciation for being able to lean on Greenway's leadership to help sell his message in the locker room.

"I wish I would've had him when he was younger," said Zimmer, who has been with the Vikings for three seasons.

The 34-year-old Greenway reminisced about his family's farm in South Dakota, where he recalled telling his father at age 5 or 6 while helping him feed cattle that he would play professional football one day. The encouragement offered by Alan Greenway, who died of cancer during the 2014 season, was one of many meaningful ways he impacted his son's life over the years. Greenway needed to pause several times to compose himself between cracks in his voice.

"The most amazing man in the world, hands down," Greenway said. "I'm so proud to carry the name that he gave me and hold it to a high standard. I'm so proud to be his son. It was hard losing him, but at the same time it's fun to be able to carry on his name and his legacy with my own kids."

Andre Dillard will likely start at right tackle if Lane Johnson can't face Seahawks

Andre Dillard will likely start at right tackle if Lane Johnson can't face Seahawks

It sounds like Andre Dillard will start at right tackle against the Seahawks Sunday if Lane Johnson is unable to play, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson indicated Monday.

Johnson suffered a concussion during the second quarter of the Eagles’ loss to the Patriots Sunday at the Linc and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the Eagles’ starting left tackle during the 2017 Super Bowl run, finished the game at right tackle, but Pederson said it will be Dillard and not Big V getting first-team reps this week.

The Eagles scored 10 points and averaged 49 yards of offense on three drives with Johnson on the field. They didn't score a point and averaged 17 yards per drive after Vaitai entered the game.

Dillard, the rookie first-round pick from Washington State, played very well in his first three career starts — against the Cowboys, Bills and Bears — in place of Peters, who was dealing with a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery.

Peters returned Sunday for the Patriots, but when Johnson got hurt, the Eagles turned to Vaitai because Dillard hasn’t gotten any practice time on the right side and Vaitai has run scout team at right tackle. 

But Pederson said that will change the week.

“Going into the game, obviously J.P.’s status during the week, (Dillard) was still working at left tackle,” Pederson said. “But moving forward — again, depending on Lane’s status at the end of the week — the plan would be to work Dillard a little bit at right tackle.”

Asked what “a little bit” means, he said Dillard would get first-team reps. 

The risk is that Peters has been forced by injuries to leave numerous games early. He’s missed significant snaps in eight games over the last two years in addition to the three entire games he missed.  

Peters has played every snap in only 16 of the Eagles' last 38 games dating back to his season-ending knee injury against the Redskins in October of 2017.

If the Eagles start Peters at left tackle and Dillard at right tackle and Peters gets hurt again, now you have to either change two positions — Dillard moving to left tackle and Vaitai back in at right — or play Vaitai at his old left tackle position, which isn’t ideal.

Johnson has missed only two games with injuries in his seven-year career, although he did miss four in 2014 and 10 in 2016 because of positive tests.

He missed a game with a concussion against the Panthers in 2017 and a game the first Cowboys game last year with a knee injury.

Dillard, 24, was the 22nd pick in this year's draft.

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What did Eagles' defense think about that weak offensive showing?

What did Eagles' defense think about that weak offensive showing?

To a man, every Eagles defender who spoke to the media following Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Patriots agreed it was a total team loss, that the defense didn’t play well enough to win. 

And there’s some truth to that. 

True, the Eagles managed to gain just 255 yards of total offense and failed to get on the scoreboard over the game’s final 42 minutes. Their final 10 possessions ended in either a punt, turnover, downs or with time expiring. Most observers would lay the blame for the loss right there. 

But if members of the defense were at all frustrated by the lack of production on the other side of the ball, it didn’t show in the aftermath. 

“We’ve got these guys’ backs 100 percent, man,” Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “We’re not pointing fingers. That’s not what this locker room is about. We win together, we lose together. Nobody is pointing fingers at anybody.” 

Several players — particularly those in the secondary — took Cox’s sentiment a step further. 

“I thought we played well and definitely battled, but there were some drives that we needed to win the game and we didn’t make the plays,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We had a solid game but just didn’t make enough plays.” 

The Eagles limited the Patriots' offense to 298 yards, forced a trio of field goals — including two on short fields — and eight punts. Tom Brady completed only 55.3 percent of his passes for a paltry 4.6 yards per attempt and failed to throw a touchdown. 

Could anybody reasonably expect the defense to play any better than that against the greatest quarterback and dynasty in NFL history?

There was, of course, the trick play the Patriots used to score their one and only touchdown. Eagles defensive backs also got their hands on a number of Brady passes — five total, two or three of which looked like they could’ve gone for interceptions. 

Even one pick could’ve changed the outcome of the game. 

“The missed opportunities really probably affected the game the most,” said Eagles safety Rodney McLeod. “If we come up with one or two, it’s the difference in the game.” 

Though the Eagles struggled offensively, it was against a Patriots defense that ranks No. 1 in yards, scoring and takeaways. 

The Eagles were also without Jordan Howard and Alshon Jeffery and lost Lane Johnson to an injury early in the game. When the ball wasn’t going to Miles Sanders or Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz was handing off to Boston Scott or targeting Jordan Matthews, who was on the street a week ago. 

Given the circumstances, it’s not totally unreasonable to place a larger burden on the defense. 

“We knew it was going to be a defensive battle coming into it,” Jenkins said. “You can’t get frustrated in those situations. Our defense was playing just as well as theirs. We just have to stay patient and look for plays we can take advantage of.” 

Nobody can say the defense played poorly, but they didn’t take advantage of opportunities, either. That’s what the Eagles needed to knock off the Patriots on Sunday. 

“As a competitor, you always think you could be better,” Cox said. “As a group, as an individual, and as a team. There’s no excuses. We played a really good football team and came up short and now have to move on to next week."

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