San Francisco 49ers

How close were the Eagles to keeping Raheem Mostert?

How close were the Eagles to keeping Raheem Mostert?

Several years before his monster game for the 49ers over the Packers, Raheem Mostert was just another undrafted rookie trying to make the Eagles' roster. Mostert on Sunday became the first player in NFL history with 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.

Four years ago, he was an Eagle. Here's a story NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank wrote on about Mostert's preseason back in August of 2015.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Just when we were all set to concede a roster spot to Kenjon Barner, Raheem Mostert does this.

Fifteen carries for 69 yards, eight catches for 93 yards and quite a statement that if the Eagles are going to keep a fourth running back, it should be him.

Barner, a third-year pro from Oregon, was terrific the first few games of the preseason, with two punt returns for touchdowns, a 50-yard gain on a screen pass and a rushing touchdown.

Mostert, a rookie from Purdue, has quietly been very good playing in Barner’s shadow, but with Barner getting just a couple touches Thursday night against the Jets, it was Mostert’s turn to shine.

He became the first Eagle in at least 15 years with 60 or more yards both rushing and receiving in the same preseason game.

For what it’s worth, only five Eagles in the last 50 years have had 60 rushing yards and 90 receiving yards in a regular-season game -- Brian Westbrook four times, Wilbert Montgomery three times and Timmy Brown, Ricky Watters and LeSean McCoy once each.

“I was just really trying to focus on the task at hand and trying to make a couple big plays out there and help the team out,” Mostert said at his locker.

“That was my main focus. I thought I did a pretty good job, but there’s always room for improvement. But I really tried my best and that’s all I can do.

“I came in with focus, My mentality was I’m going to stick it out, I’m not going to quit, I’m going to keep fighting, keep pushing, and at the end of the day that’s all anybody ever asks me to do in the NFL.”

Mostert finished the preseason with 351 yards from scrimmage, most by an Eagle in a preseason in at least 20 years.

That’s a ton of yards. Nearly 90 per game.

He averaged 4.0 yards on 39 carries and added 194 yards on 14 catches.

No back in the NFL had as many yards from scrimmage this preseason or as many total yards, including returns. He finished fourth in the NFL this preseason in receiving yards and fifth in rushing yards.

All of which guarantees Mostert absolutely nothing.

Barner’s numbers were impressive too. And with DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles -- three Pro Bowlers -- there may not even be a spot on the 53-man roster for a fourth running back.

Final cuts are due Saturday, but head coach Chip Kelly is expected to trim the Eagles’ roster on Friday afternoon.

“I’m not really too worried about it,” Mostert said. “Whatever happens happens. I’m just going to continue to push and just do my thing. Honestly. I’m not too worried about the cuts. I’m going to just work on what I’ve got to work on, regardless.”

Mostert was a two-time Big East sprint champ in college, but unlike most track guys that come to the NFL, he’s a physical runner, a capable blocker and a polished receiver.

“When you look at some of those track guys, you’re like, ‘OK, they’re fast and that’s about it. They can’t catch, they can’t block,’” Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley said. “He’s totally different. He brings a lot to the table. He’s aggressive, he can block, he can catch.”

There’s a school of thought that Barner, as a third-year pro who’s bounced around the league a bit, will be easier to sneak through waivers if he’s released. So you keep Mostert instead of leaving him unprotected and release Barner, hoping to add him to the practice squad.

The other school of thought says that Barner has done more than enough to warrant a roster spot and you keep him and let Mostert go, hoping nobody claims him, then bring him back on the practice squad.

The only certainty is that Mostert will be somewhere. Either on a 53 or on a practice squad.

Not that he wants to get released and start over somewhere else.

“I definitely think that [I’ll be somewhere], but I’m not going to be happy about it,” he said. “I know I can do a lot more and minimize the mistakes that I’ve had because I’ve had a lot of mistakes.

“It’s all on what I put on film, that’s what really matters. I’ve just got to continue to do the little things right in order to be special and be great for the team.

“Whatever the outcome is, I’m not too worried about it. I’ve just got to keep pushing, keep fighting. … Just to be the ultimate player.”

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NFL Week 14 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

NFL Week 14 schedule: Derrick Gunn's 5 games to watch

Here are Derrick Gunn's five matchups to watch for Week 14 of the NFL season.

Everybody in Dallas wants Jason Garrett fired. In Chicago it looks like the love affair with QB Mitchell Trubisky has come to a crossroads. The Cowboys are doing everything they can to give the NFC East lead away, while the Bears have fought their way back into playoff contention. Dallas has a lot of soul searching to do after getting embarrassed on Thanksgiving day by Buffalo. Two good defensive fronts in this one, but if Dallas’ offense  comes to play they have enough fire power to ride out of chi-town with the W.

Niners are still licking their wounds after coming up short in a slugfest in Baltimore. The Saints are the first team to wrap up a division title in the NFC South. Both squads are striving to achieve that number one overall seed. San Fran’s defense is stingy and will provide a great chess match for Drew Brees and his offense. Niners schedule has been brutal having played the Packers, Ravens and now New Orleans in consecutive weeks. Should be a good possible playoff preview. Saints get the slight edge in the dome.

Can anybody stop the Ravens right now? So far the answer is no. Their 8 game win streak is quite impressive when you consider 5 of those wins have come against the seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, and 49ers. Lamar Jackson has the league buzzing and appears to be the MVP front runner. Buffalo went down to Dallas and shocked the world. They believe they still have a chance to catch the struggling patriots in the AFC East. Bills head coach Sean McDermott has done a wonderful job with his defense. They’re good, but not good enough to stop the Ravens hot streak.

Speaking of the Patriots for years offense has been their staple, but lately the defense has had to carry the weight of this team. In their last 3 outings Tom Brady’s crew has posted 17, 13, and 22 points. Not what we expect from an O that normally racks up 30 plus points a game. They better figure it out in a hurry because the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs can light it up in a hurry. In their last two games KC has scored 64 points. Patriots defense against the Chiefs offense will be fun to watch. New England is ripe for the picking, and I pick KC to pluck them.

Right now Seattle controls the NFC West and is the two seed in the conference overall. As for the Rams they’re on the outside trying to get back in currently holding the 7th spot. Rams trying to get RB Todd Gurley more involved in the offense which would take some of the pressure off Jared Goff. This is a crucial stretch for the rams ... with 3 straight heavyweight showdowns against Seattle, Dallas, and San Francisco. They’ve already lost to both the hawks and niners earlier in the season. Seattle coming off a huge win over the vikings at home, will up their road mark to 7-0 after getting by Los Angeles.

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Week 12 NFL power rankings: Eagles slip a little in NFC

Week 12 NFL power rankings: Eagles slip a little in NFC

The Eagles (5-5) lost 17-10 to the Patriots in Week 11, so they slipped a spot in the latest NFC power rankings.

An updated look:

1. Seahawks (8-2) Last week: 1
The Seahawks got to enjoy their bye week after back-to-back overtime wins, the last of which handed the 49ers their only loss of the season. It won’t be an easy game for them this week in Philly.

2. 49ers (9-1) Last week: 2
After losing their first game of the season, the 49ers came back with a 10-point win over the Cardinals. They let Arizona take a 16-0 lead before coming back for the win. Big game against the Packers this week.

3. Packers (8-2) Last week: 3
Sunday Night Football should be fun. The Packers are coming off their bye week and will travel to San Francisco for a battle between two of the NFC’s top teams.

4. Saints (8-2) Last week: 4
After losing an uncharacteristic game against the Falcons, the Saints came back and beat up the Buccaneers 34-17. Drew Brees had a big game and Michael Thomas continues to be one of the NFL’s best receivers.

5. Vikings (8-3) Last week: 5
It was closer than it should have been, but the Vikings got a 27-23 win over the lowly Broncos. Huge comeback from Minnesota, scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Kirk Cousins was 9/10 for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

6. Cowboys (6-4) Last week: 6
Dallas gave the Lions a chance late in that game without Matt Stafford, but still got a win. Dak Prescott threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns. Tough game on the road against New England this week.

7. Rams (6-4) Last week: 8
The Bears are broken, but the Rams still beat them 17-7. After losing three straight, the Rams have won three of their last four and can make a push for a wild card spot down the stretch.

8. Eagles (5-5) Last week: 7
The Eagles had their chances against the Patriots, but couldn’t get it done in a 17-10 loss. Their defense played well, but the offense was awful after Lane Johnson exited the game in the second quarter. Their schedule will get easier, but not until after this weekend’s matchup against the Seahawks.

9. Panthers (5-5) Last week: 9
Uh oh. Kyle Allen threw four interceptions in the 29-3 loss to the Falcons. Going into their bye week, the Panthers were 4-2, but they’ve lost three of four out of it and now they have to go to New Orleans this weekend.

10. Bears (4-6) Last week: 10
After a 3-1 start, the Bears have lost five of six and their offense is completely broken. Tough season for Chicago, but they keep their spot for now.

11. Falcons (3-7) Last week: 14
Big jump for the Falcons, who have beaten the Saints and Panthers in back-to-back games after the bye by a combined score of 55-12. It’s probably too late to save their season, but they can save Dan Quinn’s job.

12. Lions (3-6-1) Last week: 11
Without Matt Stafford, the Lions actually had a chance against the Cowboys late, but couldn’t get it done. They lost 35-27, but have the Redskins this week. That’s as close to a guaranteed win as there is in the NFL right now.

13. Buccaneers (3-7) Last week: 12
They lost 34-17 to the Saints and now travel to Atlanta for a game that looks much tougher than it did a few weeks ago.

14. Cardinals (3-7-1) Last week: 13
The Cardinals aren’t very good but Kyler Murray is playing well. He threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 67 and a touchdown against the 49ers.

15. Giants (2-8) Last week: 15
The Giants snapped their streak of six straight weeks with a loss in Week 11 because they were on their bye. They play in Chicago coming off of it.

16. Redskins (1-9) Last week: 16
They just lost to the Jets. Washington is a good bet to lose out and go 1-15.

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