Eagles

NFL Notes: Raiders still lack funding for Las Vegas move

NFL Notes: Raiders still lack funding for Las Vegas move

LAS VEGAS – The Oakland Raiders and the board overseeing the proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas have high hopes for the project despite losing an instrumental supporter, but their plan is still missing hundreds of millions of dollars in financing.

Team leaders and the stadium authority board met publicly Thursday for the first time since casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge for the project. Both sides plan to continue to work on a lease agreement, but the team didn't give a definitive answer for the major financial gap.

"The organization remains fully committed to this project," Raiders president Marc Badain told the stadium authority board members. "We are not deterred. Financing will not be an issue."

Badain told the board the team is in discussions with "multiple financial institutions," but declined to elaborate beyond that when asked by The Associated Press. The cost of the 65,000-seat domed stadium is pegged at $1.9 billion (see full story).

Colts: 10-year veteran LB Jackson cut to save cap room
INDIANAPOLIS – Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson became the first cost-cutting loss of the Indianapolis Colts' offseason.

He probably won't be the last.

New general manager Chris Ballard made his first significant move Thursday, releasing the 33-year-old defensive signal-caller as the Colts attempt to rebuild their struggling defense.

"D'Qwell is a consummate professional," coach Chuck Pagano said in a release issued by team officials. "The way he approaches the game is second to none. His leadership and mentorship provided a valuable example for the younger players on this team. We are grateful for all of his contributions to the organization and wish him the best" (see full story).

Falcons: New OC Sarkisian still battles with alcoholism
ATLANTA – Since an embarrassing downfall at Southern Cal, Steve Sarkisian has certainly caught plenty of breaks in his professional life.

He called plays for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship game.

Now, he's got an opportunity to run the Atlanta Falcons' offense, inheriting a high-scoring team that just made it to the Super Bowl behind MVP quarterback Matt Ryan.

But Sarkisian's personal demons are something he must keep a handle on every day (see full story).

Cardinals: Palmer returning for 15th season
TEMPE, Ariz. – Carson Palmer is coming back for a 15th NFL season.

The 37-year-old quarterback made the commitment in a statement released Thursday.

"My intent was to take some time after the (2016) season to get away and see where I was physically and mentally," Palmer said. "On both fronts, I can say I'm ready to get back to work and prepare for the 2017 season."

There had been speculation about Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald for next season. Fitzgerald said last week he was returning (see full story).

Titans love to run, which will play right into Eagles' hands

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Titans love to run, which will play right into Eagles' hands

In an era where the average team throws 41 times a game and runs 24 times a game, the Tennessee Titans are a rare exception to NFL convention.

They run more than they throw. Way more.

The Titans love to run. Which should play right into the Eagles’ hands Sunday, when they face the Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

The Titans are averaging 32.7 rushing attempts per game so far, second-most in the league (they have one carry fewer than the Redskins). But they’re only 24th in yards per carry (3.7).

It’s an anachronistic way of operating an offense in the NFL these days.

So far, the Titans have run 54 percent of the time and thrown just 46 percent.

The league averages are 37 and 63.

So Tennessee runs 27 percent more than the average 2018 NFL team.

They’re averaging six more rushing attempts per game through three weeks than passing attempts.

The combination of a very good defense and ball control means the Titans want to win low-scoring games, like they did Sunday, 9-6 over Jacksonville.

They’ve only scored three offensive TDs this year, but they’re 2-1.

The Titans are the only NFL team that hasn’t scored or allowed more than 50 points, and they’re actually only the third team to do that after three games in the last nine years.

But in the Eagles, the Titans will see the best rushing defense in the league.

Since 2016, they’ve allowed an NFL-low 89 rushing yards per game. This year, that number is an NFL-best 61.7, their lowest since 2008.

At their current pace, the Eagles will become only the 11th team since 1960 to allow fewer than 1,300 rushing yards in consecutive seasons.

The Eagles have faced 54 runs so far this year, only four for 10 yards or more and only two of those by running backs.

Nobody has even rushed for 40 yards against the Eagles in their last five games, the first time that’s happened since the last two games of 2002 and the first five games of 2003.

The Eagles haven’t allowed a second-half run over nine yards this year and just one over six yards.

So a team that wants to run far more than it throws is about to take on a historically great rush defense.

“They are committed to the run,” Jim Schwartz said. “They've invested a lot of resources in it.

“Drafted a couple offensive lineman, offensive tackles (in the first round). They’ve got a veteran offensive line. They have a Heisman Trophy running back. They had probably their premier free-agent pick-up this year, Dion Lewis, and they have a running quarterback.

“So obviously it's what they want to do and they're committed to it, so it's our job to combat that. … So our goal is to get opponents stopped. However we do it, we do it.”

Lewis is the Titans’ leading rusher with 143 yards but only 3.7 per carry. Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner for Alabama, has 139 yards but only a 3.0 average.

QB Marcus Mariota is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and has a 5.9 career average, ninth-highest in NFL history.

He’s really the Titans’ only threat in the backfield.

“He's probably the fastest quarterback in the NFL right now,” Schwartz said. “Looks like a 40-yard dash he's running so fast.”

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How the heck did Sidney Jones make this crazy play?

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How the heck did Sidney Jones make this crazy play?

As I rewatched the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Colts from Sunday, there was one play that I kept coming back to. 

It was a play from Sidney Jones late in the third quarter that I found to be pretty amazing. 

After he saw the tape, Jones thought so too. 

“Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s a crazy play,” Jones said. “But it’s a good play.”

Jones said that every once in a while, he’ll make a play that even surprises him when he goes back and watches the film. 

“Especially that one,” Jones said. “I’ve never done anything like that before. That was a good play for me.” 

At the snap, Jones gets chopped by Ryan Grant, but somehow doesn’t go to the ground. 

“I made (an) athletic play and caught myself,” Jones said, “and it was a like a leap-frog-looking type of play.”

From there, the 22-year-old nickel cornerback needed to go through offensive lineman Denzell Good, who outweighs him by 164 pounds. So Jones basically tried to tackle Good and Zac Pascal, who caught the receiver screen. 

Jones said he just tried to grab whatever he could. That meant his left arm went around Good and his right arm went around Pascal, which didn’t bring the runner to the ground, but did slow him up. 

It’s a shame that Jones didn’t even show up in the box score for this play. Jalen Mills came down and make the tackle on Pascal after a three-yard gain. Two plays later, the Colts settled for a field goal. 

If Jones doesn’t slow down this play and if he gets wiped out by that chop block, it leaves a 1-on-1 block for Pascal with a chance to go for a touchdown. It was a huge play from Jones and I’ll probably watch it another hundred times or so.

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