NaVorro Bowman

How Eagles must protect Nick Foles from Raiders' force of nature

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How Eagles must protect Nick Foles from Raiders' force of nature

The Eagles faithful had a reason to relax a little bit with the way QB Nick Foles played last week. He is a very capable leader in this offense and showed the ability to transition the game plan to suit his style of play. There was not much difference in the play-calling and head coach Doug Pederson was comfortable opening up the offense and pushing the ball down the field. The reason for the offensive success was the O-line protected him and allowed the passing plays to progress to the second and third reads. 

An upright Foles is a talented player when he is afforded the time in the pocket. We all know he is not as fleet of foot as a Carson Wentz or Big Ben, but Foles has a very strong arm. He throws catchable balls to his receivers, whereas playing with a QB like Wentz or Ben changes your mentality and the dynamics of the launch point of where the ball is being thrown. They can be anywhere evading and escaping the pass rush, looking downfield for the big play.

Blocking for Nick Foles is a bit different. He will be where he is expected to be: in the pocket. The O-line knows that Foles will be three, five or seven steps back inside the pocket, which at times makes it easier to block for him. The only thing is that the defense also knows this. He will be standing back in the pocket like a sitting duck. 

The Eagles' O-line changed up the blocking schemes a little bit. They were able to protect the left side of the line with blocking and aggressive pass sets. You can do that against the Giants, who are at this point ranked 32nd — last in the NFL — in total defense.

This week's defense, the Oakland Raiders, are not much better, ranked 21st in total defense. But they do have last year's Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack. Mack has recorded a sack in each of the last five games, with two against Dallas last week. He will mix things up for the Eagles because he plays on both sides of the defensive line. Mack beat All-Pro Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith for a sack with an inside pass rush last week, then beat former All-Pro tight end Jason Witten for a sack on the right side.

The Eagles must run protections that slide to the left, protecting the left tackle's side from Mack's pass rush on the inside move. The perfect protection to help both sides is called 2 Jet, Fox 2 or Hound 2 protections. This would mean sliding the protection to the left side if Mack lines up over the left tackle, but it also sends a running back to the right tackle as a chip blocker, helping the All-Pro right side.

I loved this protection because it's a six-man protection, meaning the five O-linemen and an RB frontside to chip. Slide protection should be a major staple in this week's play-calling — protect Foles' front side with a chipper and his backside with the O-line sliding to help the left tackle.

Major props and congratulations to the right side of the Eagles' line. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks both made their first Pro Bowl and it is well-deserved.

NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott reportedly getting an emergency hearing


NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott reportedly getting an emergency hearing

A person with direct knowledge of the situation says attorneys for Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott are set for an emergency hearing in federal court in New York as they try again to stop the running back's six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

Elliott's legal team filed a request for a temporary restraining order Monday and will get a hearing Tuesday in the Southern District of New York, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the filing hadn't been made public.

Last year's NFL rushing leader is suspended for Sunday's game at San Francisco after a federal appeals court overturned an injunction that had allowed him to play this season.

The case is shifting to New York because the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ordered the dismissal of Elliott's lawsuit in Texas. Elliott's attorneys have indicated they are still pursuing the case with the New Orleans court.

The person told the AP that U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty would hear arguments Tuesday in New York because the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Fialla, is out of town (see full story).

Packers: Rodgers to have surgery on collarbone
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have surgery on his broken right collarbone, and that his season could be over.

McCarthy said Monday that the two-time NFL MVP would have surgery in the near future. He says that there is no timeline for his potential return.

"The key is to get Aaron healthy, it's not to develop a timeline," McCarthy said.

Rodgers got hurt in the first quarter of the 23-10 loss on Sunday at Minnesota.

Brett Hundley is now the starting quarterback. The Packers also promoted third-stringer Joe Callahan from the practice squad to become the backup quarterback.

Cornerback Quinten Rollins was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury to make room for Callahan (see full story).

Steelers: Bryant downplays reported trade demand
PITTSBURGH -- Yes, Martavis Bryant wants a trade.

To the Golden State Warriors.

Otherwise, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver insists he's just fine even after multiple reports that he asked the team to ship him elsewhere.

Asked Monday if he'd like a change of scenery, Bryant reiterated he's happy in Pittsburgh.

"I'm doing fine, everything is good," he said.

Even if -- at least statistically -- in his return from a year-plus suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy has been underwhelming.

Bryant caught two passes for 27 yards in Sunday's 19-13 victory over Kansas City and has just 17 receptions and one touchdown through six games for the first-place Steelers (4-2). His 13.6 yards per catch is more than 4 yards below his career average while splitting playing time with rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster (see full story).

Raiders: Linebacker Bowman signs 1-year deal
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- NaVorro Bowman will make a short move following his release last week from the San Francisco 49ers, signing a $3 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders on Monday.

"It's a refresher for me," Bowman said after taking part in a walkthrough with his new team. "It's a new picture, new scenery. The guys are a special group of guys. You can just see the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. I'm excited to go out there and play for an offense that is eager to score points. I look forward to it."

Bowman visited the Raiders on Monday and then signed the deal shortly after that, cancelling a planned visit to the Dallas Cowboys. He went right into meetings with the assistant coaches and could be ready to play when the Raiders (2-4) host the first-place Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

Bowman said he will do extra work this week to learn the defense and said he plans to play this week if he's prepared enough. The Raiders will be happy to get him on the field to add some experience to a young group of inside linebackers (see full story).

NFL Notes: Bowman released, Carr returns and Saints chase history

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NFL Notes: Bowman released, Carr returns and Saints chase history

NaVorro Bowman is now looking for work. 

After the 49ers and general manager John Lynch looked to shop the three-time Pro Bowler but couldn’t find anything in the market, the 49ers cut the four-time All-Pro Friday after it became clear that both Bowman and the 49ers were going in separate ways.

Bowman joined the 49ers after being selected in the third round in 2010 and along with Patrick Willis, the two helped San Francisco reach three straight NFC title games and a Super Bowl.

Raiders: Carr to return after just 2 weeks
After Raiders quarterback Derek Carr gingerly walked to the sidelines in the Raiders’ 16-10 loss at Denver, Raider fans held their breath once again.

Carr suffered a transverse process fracture in his back and head coach Jack Del Rio said Carr could be out anywhere from two to six weeks.

It turns out that Carr will only miss just one game, good news for Raiders fans.

After losing Carr Dec. 24 last season due to a broken fibula, all of the hope and promise the team had heading into the postseason washed away.

Now at 2-3, Carr’s return gives the Raiders a chance to get back on track.

Saints: Team entering unchartered territory
The Saints are looking to become the first team in NFL history to not commit a turnover in their first five games.

Is the jinx on? Quite possibly. 

Anyway, the Saints host the Lions on Sunday and the Lions are the second-best team in the NFL with respect to turnover margin at plus eight — Kyle Adam Maraghy seven interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has played a key role in the solid start. He has completed 70 percent of his passes and has only taken one sack per game.

Writing this on Friday the 13th could mean bad luck for New Orleans and its chance at history, but only time will tell.