Redskins

Eagles bracing for more changes amid losing streak

201210281210438406498-p2.jpeg

Eagles bracing for more changes amid losing streak

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Michael Vick was defeated on the field, and looked beaten on the podium, all but resigned to the fact that his games as the Eagles quarterback are numbered.

LeSean McCoy, as dogged a player as any on the Eagles, stood at his locker and asked where the team left its pride, its heart.

And coach Andy Reid even tossed out ``embarrassing'' as the word of the day for Philadelphia's 30-17 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.

Was it really eight years ago when Reid and the Eagles beat the Falcons in the NFC title game in front of a stadium stuffed with euphoric fans and not ones chanting ``Fire Andy'' during the worst loss of the season?

This latest loss was as bleak as it gets for the Eagles and Reid is running out of time to salvage the season - and his job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie put Reid on notice following an 8-8 season that he had to win big for a 15th season. Reid knows if the Eagles continue to spiral from a 3-4 start toward a double-digit loss total, Lurie is prepared to make sweeping changes from his coach down to his quarterback.

Reid might beat him to the punch with the quarterback.

Reid has every reason to give the turnover-prone Vick the hook and start preseason star Nick Foles when the Eagles play Monday night at New Orleans. That would be a hard swallow for Reid only a year after the Eagles gave Vick a $100 million, six-year deal (although only about $40 million was guaranteed). Reid refused to comment on Vick's status after the game and his normal Monday press conference was scrapped because Hurricane Sandy hit cities along the Northeast corridor.

Vick, who has eight interceptions this season, didn't put up much of a fight for his job after he was a pedestrian 21 of 35 for 191 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. He said only that he would support whatever decision Reid made.

``I think there's a lot of things that I can do better,'' Vick said. ``I'm trying to do everything that I can to put the ball in the end zone to give my guys every opportunity.''

Not even a new defensive coordinator and an off week could help the Eagles from turning the tide on Sunday. A home loss to the Falcons was Philadelphia's fourth in the last five games. The Eagles are 2.5 games behind the Giants in the NFC East after leading them by one game just one month ago.

The Eagles are loaded with offensive playmakers who have put up huge numbers in the past, from Vick to McCoy to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. For whatever reason, the offense has been as explosive as a wind blower, and each wasted drive only hastens the urge to dump salary and clean house.

McCoy said the Eagles showed no pride in a listless performance that included only 5 yards in the first quarter.

``I didn't see any pride. I didn't see any heart,'' McCoy said. ``This is the whole team, myself included. We didn't get it done today.''

For one week, at least, the decision to fire defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replace him with Todd Bowles backfired. Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes on Atlanta's first three possessions and the Falcons (7-0) would score on their first six.

With few options for improvement left on defense, Reid's biggest shakeup would be at QB.

Foles, a rookie third-round pick from Arizona, was impressive during the preseason and has fans clamoring for a change. Of course, in Philadelphia, like so many NFL cities, one of the most popular players on the team is usually the backup QB. Just ask Vick, who sat behind Donovan McNabb for a year.

Reid hitched his ride to McNabb when they were both in their first season in Philadelphia in 1999. Sure, there was some risk, but McNabb delivered on his projection as a franchise QB and the duo helped the Eagles reach five NFC title games. Reid dumped McNabb for Kevin Kolb, then hastily traded Kolb to work on the untapped potential in a superstar like Vick. Vick guided the Eagles to an 8-3 record in 11 games as a starter in his first season playing full-time since 2006. He's struggled since then and played nothing like a franchise quarterback who can lead to his team to the Super Bowl.

``I don't know if playing like a franchise quarterback means throwing three or four touchdowns week in and week out and doing everything right,'' Vick said. ``But I know I've been there before and despite it all, I still feel like I do a lot of positive things out there and that's all I can ask.''

Vick will know soon if those positives will earn him at least one more start in New Orleans.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

alex_smith_otas_ap.png
Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Scherff, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Quick Links

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

usatsi_10587585.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.