Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's suspension

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Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's suspension

Updated: June 29, 9:40 a.m.

This is bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but good news for the Eagles. 

Thursday, the NFL officially suspended Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Winston's suspension stems from the league's investigation into an incident in March 2016 when he allegedly groped a female Uber driver in Arizona.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Winston will not appeal his suspension. 

In a statement, Winston said he was "sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in."

The Buccaneers released the following statement: 

All members of our organization are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the Personal Conduct Policy of the NFL.  We are disappointed that Jameis put himself in a position that has been found to violate the policy and accept today’s decision by the Commissioner.

That means the Eagles’ Week 2 game in Tampa Bay might be a whole lot easier. After opening the season at home against the Falcons, the Eagles play their first road contest of the year against the Bucs.

Winston has played the Eagles just once in his career and was great. He led the Bucs to a 45-17 win over the Eagles at the Linc during his rookie season in 2015. In that game, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 246 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes with zero interceptions.

Winston is one of just seven quarterbacks to ever throw five touchdown passes against the Eagles in a single game; no one has ever thrown more against them in a game. The others are Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Joe Montana, Craig Morton, Don Meredith (twice) and Sonny Jergensen.

Winston, 24, has thrown for at least 3,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2015. To put his early success into perspective, Winston has two 4,000-yard seasons in his first three seasons, the Eagles’ franchise has never had one. 

The Bucs’ backup quarterback is veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who actually went 2-1 in his three starts in place of Winston last season. 

But don’t let those three games fool you, the Bucs are obviously much better with Winston behind center than Fitzpatrick, who has played for five different teams over the past six years. 

According to NFL Research, the Bucs’ first three games of this season are the toughest first three games for any team in the Super Bowl era based on last year’s records. 

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-17, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
 
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
 
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
 
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
 
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
 
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
 
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
 
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.

Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

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Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby on Sunday morning released a statement defending his friend, former Florida State teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston against allegations Winston inappropriately groped an Uber driver during a ride in Arizona in March 2016.

News of the allegations came to light early last week and the NFL is investigating the Uber driver's claims. Darby says he was in the backseat of the car with Winston on the night of the alleged groping.

"I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening March 13, 2016, when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona," Darby said in Sunday's statement. "There were three of us in the car, not just one, as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true."

Darby and Winston played together at FSU from 2012-2014 and formed a close bond. But it was during that time at FSU that Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, came into the limelight for a variety of wrong reasons.

While redshirting in 2012, he was detained by police for causing property damage with a BB gun. In April 2014, he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and subsequently suspended from the Seminoles' baseball team. He was suspended for a game against Clemson in September 2014 for shouting an inappropriate phrase in a cafeteria.  

But most notably, Winston was accused of sexually assaulting FSU student Erica Kinsman during an alleged December 2012 incident in his apartment. Winston was never charged by police in Tallahassee, where FSU is located, and the Florida state attorney's office also did not pursue criminal charges.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Darby was in Winston's apartment the night of the alleged sexual assault.

That case turned into a federal lawsuit that was eventually settled in December 2016.