Washington Football

Eagles' latest loss filled with blunders

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Eagles' latest loss filled with blunders

PHILADELPHIA (AP) In another miserable performance, the Philadelphia Eagles put together a year's worth of blunders fit for a football follies video.

A 34-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night featured four fumbles, one interception and one punt blocked by a teammate. That brought the Eagles' turnovers total to an NFL-high 34 in 14 games. They've only forced 12.

``Turnovers destroy you in this league,'' coach Andy Reid said Friday, stating the obvious. ``If we didn't know it before, we know it now.''

Lucky for the Eagles (4-10) and their frustrated fans, only two games remain in this nightmare season.

``I was thoroughly embarrassed,'' wide receiver Jason Avant said after another loss in front of a national television audience. ``I don't care if there were no cameramen there or if we were playing over at the University of Penn. That type of thing that happened was embarrassing wherever you are, even if you're in the sandlot. So, never mind that it was on a national stage, it was just not good football that happened. It just wasn't good.''

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin started the giveaways by fumbling on the second play from scrimmage. On Philadelphia's next possession, there were a series of comical mistakes that occurred when the punting unit took the field.

First, rookie linebacker Ryan Rau, who only plays special teams, didn't realize the Eagles were punting so he stood on the sideline. Tight end Clay Harbor noticed only 10 men out there and ran out at the last second, but one rusher broke free on the outside. Wide receiver Marvin McNutt tried to block him only to get pushed into punter Mat McBriar's kick.

Those two gaffes led to 10 points for the Bengals. But the Eagles rallied to take a 13-10 lead into the third quarter.

Then, they unraveled.

The Eagles allowed 24 points in a span of 3:23. Three straight possessions went interception-fumble-fumble. That was followed up by another fumble when defensive lineman Cedric Thornton tried to catch a short kickoff.

``Turnovers killed us,'' Maclin said. ``You can't keep putting the defense inside of the 30-yard line. Eventually, an NFL team is going to score on you. This was on the offense and special teams.''

The emergence of rookie quarterback Nick Foles has been one of the few bright spots in a dismal season, but he took a step backward against the Bengals. Foles threw for 381 yards, including a game-winning TD pass on the final play to snap Philadelphia's eight-game losing streak. The Buccaneers, by the way, have the league's worst-ranked pass defense.

Foles was just 16 of 33 for 182 yards with one TD pass and a pick against the Bengals. He underthrew Maclin on a deep pass that still went for a long gain in the second quarter. He underthrew him again on what should've been a long TD pass and got intercepted in the third quarter. That started the parade of turnovers.

``I just made a horrible throw,'' Foles said. ``The ball came out bad and it had a little bit of wobble to it. You have to really cut it and I didn't do that. I just have to spin it and it started fluttering toward the end. So it's a bad throw, it's one that I can't have.''

Reid defended Foles' arm strength, blaming his footwork and mechanics for the underthrows.

``Nick has one of the stronger arms in the league, but you have to make sure your feet are right and your drop is right,'' Reid said. ``You have to learn those things. That's one of the tougher things for young quarterbacks to do. Instead of taking what would normally be a five-step drop, he took what would be a seven-step drop. When you're in the gun, it would be a five as opposed to a three. He held too long on the safety and tried to look the safety off. These are rookie mistakes, and he'll learn from that. He's very diligent about those things, and he'll get it right. It wasn't a lack of arm strength that would cause that to take place.''

Foles will start next Sunday's game against Washington even though Michael Vick has been cleared to return after a concussion forced him to miss the last five games. Reid already said weeks ago that Foles will finish the season as the No. 1 quarterback. As for Vick, Reid hasn't decided whether he'll be the backup or No. 3 behind Trent Edwards.

Notes: RB LeSean McCoy will see an independent neurologist next week, probably on Tuesday. He's missed the last four games with a concussion, but could play vs. the Redskins. ... TE Brent Celek has passed all tests in his concussion recovery and should be ready to go. ... DB Brandon Hughes was hospitalized overnight because of a lung contusion, but was released and should be fine.

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Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the fight for social justice and racial equality has been at the forefront of issues in the United States.

The current social justice movement in America has impacted Washington's NFL team, as the organization announced on Monday it would retire the name 'Redskins' -- a slur that some Native Americans find offensive and racist -- and the team's logo. The change -- something Washington owner Dan Snyder said he would "never" do in 2013 -- is felt to be overdue by many.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann hopes that the team's eventual name change can be used as an opportunity for the organization to serve as an example by taking action for social change.

"I think that what we've proven with the new name of the Washington football franchise is that we need people to take action on the things that they want to get done," Theismann told ABC7's Scott Abraham.

"There's so many things socially that people talk about doing... but we're not really getting the results. In this case, I hope the Washington name and the change that's taking place can be an example to people."

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Additionally, the Super Bowl-winning QB explained that he wants those upset by the change to understand that things don't say the same. Sometimes, change is necessary.

"Things are always changing in one place, in one way or another," Theismann said. "We're experiencing this now through the pandemic and all the things that are happening socially around the country and really around the world. And I think what we have to do is listen, open our hearts, open our minds to what's going on."

Asked if he was upset or angry by the change, Theismann said that he doesn't have any regrets personally with the franchise.

"I don't have any regrets... I was very proud to put on that uniform and represent, what I felt like were the Native Americans," Theismann said. "As a matter of fact, in 1982 when we won the World Championship, I was given a chief's headdress by one of the tribal individuals. And it's a cherished item."

Plus, the quarterback also stated he would continue to wear his 'Redskins' gear, saying  he will "explain to people, to me it represented a proud tradition of the people that I spoke to who were Native Americans."

RELATED: FORMER WASHINGTON KICKER MARK MOSELEY UPSET BY NAME CHANGE

However, Theismann made sure to emphasize he is fully embracing the change and the current social movement.

"I think it's a time to get excited," Theismann said. "Let's embrace what's here in front of us, let's embrace this young group of guys."

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Nationals Scene and Heard: Team has a staff member opt-out

Nationals Scene and Heard: Team has a staff member opt-out

WASHINGTON -- Tuesday night was a quieter one in Nationals Park. Multiple members of the bullpen pitched against the same hitters over and over in what was less an intrasquad game and more drill work.

Will Harris, Daniel Hudson, Javy Guerra, Aaron Barrett, Kevin Quackenbush and Ryne Harper pitched. Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, Starlin Castro, Carter Kieboom and Eric Thames hit the most.

Let’s get started with what was going on at the park:

-- Davey Martinez announced Tuesday night that batting practice pitcher Ali Modami has opted out of the 2020 season. Modami throws BP as a left-handed pitcher, but he’s also one of the fixtures at the park since joining the team in 2011.

His initial work was often with Bryce Harper in the batting cages before games. Modami always pitched to Harper, who did not take BP on the field. Overall, Modami threw a massive amount of pitches on a daily basis to whomever was ready to swing.

Modami added good-luck charm to his duties in 2019 when he was tasked with carrying the lineup card to home plate Friday, May 24, when the Nationals were 19-31 and staggered home from New York. They won -- in sloppy fashion -- that night. Modami went out the next day, and every day from then on.

You might also remember him as Brian Dozier’s celebratory transportation in the dugout. He’s another part of a would-be normal situation who will not be around in 2020.

RELATED: WILL HARRIS DONS 'DISTRICT OF CHAMPIONS' T-SHIRT

-- A staffer who is back is hitting coach Kevin Long. Tuesday night was his first in Nationals Park since intake testing which forced him into quarantine.

“I know he had a mask on, but he was smiling ear to ear,” Martinez said. “He was dying to come back, and he’s back now. That’s one guy we got back. Hopefully, we get the rest of the guys back soon.”

-- Wednesday marks two weeks since intake testing began. The Nationals performed rolling testing the first week of “Summer Camp” and eight players have not been seen since. Among them are Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Howie Kendrick.

Martinez said recently the team is following District-mandated protocols -- which are more stringent than the ones put in place by MLB’s operations manual -- when deciding who will come back.

If any of the players went into quarantine July 1 or 2, they are nearing the end of their 14-day stay in such isolation. So, are they close to joining the team just three days before the exhibition game and eight before the start of the season?

“Honestly, I don’t know that answer,” Martinez said. “Every morning I wake up, all I can do is ask my medical staff, ‘Are they coming’ and they give me a no. Hopefully, one of these days when I wake up and ask if they are coming, they give me a yes. That’s all I can say about it. I do know we can’t wait to get all these guys back and be in full force. Hopefully it will be soon.”

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-- Harris worked a clean inning Tuesday. His recovery from a spring-time abdominal strain is complete and he often worked from a mound in Baton Rouge while everyone waited for the season to begin. Tuesday was the first time he’s faced hitters since the 2019 World Series.

“I’ve thrown a lot of bullpens,” Harris said. “The reps are there, as far as just pitching and my arm. It’s just now getting the feedback from hitters and basically the validation of, OK, my stuff is doing what I think it’s supposed to be doing and I’m getting the swings I’m accustomed to getting. I got to have a bigger sample size, but with all the technology today you can pretty much know where you’re at pretty quickly. So, me throwing [Tuesday], I’ll take a look at it [Wednesday] when I get here, make sure my stuff’s doing what I’m accustomed to it doing, if it’s not, figure it out before my next outing.”

-- A quick Harris quip about the idea he might be used frequently at the start of the season. “If you don’t want to throw 18 times in a month, give up some runs and you won’t throw 18 times in a month.”

-- The Nationals worked on preparation for the new extra-innings rule this season which will place a runner on second base to start the 10th inning. They immediately tried a “daylight” pickoff play -- when the shortstop cuts in behind a runner leading off second, the catcher signals there is space, or “daylight” between the fielder and runner, and the pitcher pivots for a pickoff attempt. Tuesday was the first time they started to fold this into their daily routine.

-- Martinez said to-go meals are prepared at the end of workouts so players and staff can leave with food and go straight home.

“We’re making it a point for these guys, when you leave here, you’re pretty much going to a hotel or you’re going to your place that you have and you’re staying in,” Martinez said. “If we’re really going to do this and keep everybody safe, I tell these guys all the time, you can’t be messing around. You’ve got to really take it seriously. One, I don’t want to get sick. Two, I don’t want anybody else around here getting sick. You’ve got to be smart about everything we do.”

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