Redskins

Eagles injured offensive line down another starter

Eagles injured offensive line down another starter

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The fate of the Eagles offensive line this season might be summed up the way the whole team has been so far.

From bad to worse.

Right tackle Todd Herremans was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list on Wednesday as Philadelphia's season to forget continues. Herremans suffered a dislocated bone and ligament damage in his right foot in Monday's loss to New Orleans. He should be ready for training camp, but the injury is the latest blow to a depleted offensive line. Herremans will wear a boot for at least eight weeks.

Philadelphia's makeshift line is now without Herremans, left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins. It's one reason quarterback Michael Vick was sacked seven times by the Saints. Left guard Evan Mathis is the lone starter left standing.

``I've just got to believe in the guys in front of me and do whatever it takes to get the ball out whether I've got to slide or move, break contain. Regardless, I just have to continue to maintain trust in them,'' Vick said. ``That's part of my job as a quarterback and I have to keep believing. Keep believing.''

It's getting tougher to do, though.

The Eagles have lost four in a row after a 3-1 start. When they defeated the New York Giants, 19-17, on Sept. 30 at home, they were in first place. Now, they are 2 1/2 games behind New York in the NFC East.

``Stay optimistic,'' Vick said. ``Just keep playing the game and try to block out everything else.''

The Eagles (3-5) host the Cowboys (3-5) on Sunday.

Rookie guard Dennis Kelly, a fifth-round draft pick out of Purdue, has filled in the last two games for Watkins, and knows some sort of continuity is going to be needed for the Eagles to hold off Dallas. Signed after Peters went down, Demetress Bell has had a rough go of it in Philadelphia, as well.

``They brought a lot of pressure and I think it led to us having a lot of miscommunication,'' Kelly said of the Saints. ``There was confusion on who was getting who. That's where we have to build that rhythm, get that continuity that I was saying, and just have the trust in each other to know that we're going to know the assignment before we have to call it out.''

Confusion eight games into the season is never a good sign. Especially for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. No wonder the Eagles can all but count themselves out of a second-half run at a playoff spot if they lose to Dallas.

The Cowboys, of course, are struggling themselves. In fact, this game - in the summer when training camps opened - figured to be a spotlighted showdown in the NFC East. Instead, it's a last-gasp bid to salvage a season while the defending division-champion Giants continue to own top billing.

The Eagles have tried it all from changing position coaches, players, holding team meetings, everything, to try and get back on track. Nothing's worked yet.

``We've got to find a way to win a football game,'' Vick said. ``We miss that feeling of winning and it's been a long time since we've had one, so it's important to come out this week, have a great week of practice, a great week of preparation and get ready to play a good football game.''

With the line so shaky, it's no wonder the Eagles haven't leaned as much on running LeSean McCoy, a gamebreaker who has been all but invisible inside the red zone. McCoy, who missed practice Wednesday because of an illness, has only two rushing touchdowns this season a year after setting franchise records with 17 touchdowns rushing, and 20 total scores, while earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.

Who can run, though, when there's nowhere to go?

Philadelphia's four-game losing streak matches the longest in coach Andy Reid's 14 seasons, one reason his return for 2013 is in serious doubt. Without a sturdy line the rest of the way, that big second-half turnaround the Eagles are counting on might not come.

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NOTES: The Eagles promoted G Julian Vandervelde from the practice squad to the active roster and re-signed DT Frank Trotter to the practice squad. ... Philadelphia is 2-2 at home this season, and 1-0 in the division.

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Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

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USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.