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Eagles rule out Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles against Colts

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Running backs Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) have been ruled out for this game after being unable to practice all week. The next back in line, Corey Clement, appeared on Friday’s report with a quad injury and is listed as questionable, but is expected to play, according to a source. Wendell Smallwood and rookie Josh Adams will be called on to try to fill the void if he can’t go.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Receiver Alshon Jeffery is listed as questionable, as is left tackle Jason Peters (quad). Jeffery had still not been cleared for contact as of early Friday, coach Doug Pederson said, but has been increasing his workload in practice. They could use him, especially with fellow starting receiver Mike Wallace being placed on injured reserve this week with a fractured fibula.

The Eagles brought back Jordan Matthews on Wednesday to address the depleted receiving corps. He was with the team from 2014 to 2016, is close friends with Wentz and has familiarity with Pederson’s system, but has only had a couple of days to get back up and running.9

“He’s very familiar with the terminology, the players, obviously the quarterback, that’s the first thing [you notice],” Pederson said. “And secondly, his leadership on the field, the way he carries himself, the way he can run routes, and just a smart guy. Those are the things that he has brought to us, and gives him an opportunity to possibly play.”

Matthews plays almost exclusively in the slot, meaning Nelson Agholor, who has thrived inside since Matthews was traded to the Buffalo Bills last offseason, will probably line up on the outside more as the Eagles try to make their new receiver grouping work. Pederson is also likely to lean on his tight end trio of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Josh Perkins to get by while other positions are short-handed.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It doesn’t affect playcalling, it just affects personnel in the game,” Pederson said of the injuries. “We’re down some bodies, but look, we don’t make excuses for it. It’s part of the National Football League, injuries are going to happen every week, and we have to get the next guy ready to go.”

Wentz will be making his first start in nine months after surgery to repair the ACL and LCL in his left knee. Ertz noted that the team can’t expect Wentz to be “Superman” after a long layoff. But he’ll be asked to carry some of the load Sunday given the depleted supporting cast around him.

The Belichick effect on Matt Patricia from those who played for both

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“He’s passionate. That’s how he was as a coordinator,” Flowers said. “He’s passionate. He’s going to get the best out of the players. He’s going to work you hard. The only difference is that he’s up there more, he’s addressing the team more.

“But obviously, he’s passionate, the same as he was. He’s not going to let you slack. There’s a reason I said what I said about him last year and why I came back to play for him again. Nothing but respect for Coach Patricia. I know what he’s going to do and how he’s going to get the best out of me as a player, all that.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Being worked hard — that’s a trait carried from New England to Detroit. The outward passion, something Patricia hasn’t yet shown much of during game days, is a departure from his mentor Bill Belichick. And so far, not much has been changed — at least outwardly — from how Belichick does things in New England.10

That’s why when Patricia stares across the sideline on Sunday night at Ford Field, there will be obvious comparisons. He’ll see Belichick and the Patriots, the only NFL team he ever worked for prior to February, on the other side. The Lions and Patriots-influenced general manager Bob Quinn hired Patricia in February and started bringing the Patriot mindset to Detroit.

“You definitely see it,” said cornerback Sterling Moore, who was with the Lions in training camp and New England at other times during his career. “But I think that’s just something the greats do. You’re going to emulate. Kobe emulates MJ. You know what I’m saying? That’s just the way things go. So Bill is arguably the best coach to ever coach. So obviously he’s going to follow under his tutelage; he’s going to carry that here.”

Practices during training camp ran similarly to those in New England, including an intense focus on conditioning. Former coach Jim Caldwell didn’t run a lax environment, but it was much more easygoing in the Detroit locker room than the way it is now. At least one Jets player, Kelvin Beachum, said the defense the Lions run is similar to the Patriots’ defense.

Even some of the media components — coordinators on conference calls instead of news conferences; Patricia doing teleconferences at times instead of in-person news conferences — come directly from New England and are a departure from prior regimes in Detroit.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“I think guys knew coming in that things were going to be different,” said safety Tavon Wilson, who played for both Patricia and Belichick. “And I think guys are taking it, kind of rolling with the punches.”

Mike Tomlin disciplines Antonio Brown; teammates say WR in game plan

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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Wednesday disciplined All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown for missing work Monday.

“He and I met yesterday for an extended period of time,” Tomlin said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’ll leave the nature of that conversation between us. There was discipline involved for his missed meeting on Monday.“cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Tomlin did not field questions. Brown is scheduled to address the media Thursday.9

Tight end Jesse James said Brown practiced fully Wednesday and is in the game plan for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cornerback Artie Burns said the discipline is “between him and the coach,” but said the team supports Brown and expects him to play.

Brown was a no-show to Steelers headquarters the same day he tweeted “Trade me let’s find out” to a former Steelers public relations staffer who posted that Brown wouldn’t be the same player without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Defensive end Cam Heyward, one of four team captains, said he spoke to Brown this week but will keep details private. “I don’t make those decisions but, shoot, I’d be a little surprised if he’s not there [Monday night],” Heyward said.

Brown also got into a confrontation with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline during Sunday’s 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which dropped the Steelers to 0-1-1 this season.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Roethlisberger said he has spoken to Brown and is not taking his actions personally.

“He’s the best in the world,” Roethlisberger said of Brown. “When you’re the best in the world, you want to help participate, you want to win football games. We’re all a little frustrated because we’re not winning right now.”

Drew Brees’ advice to Baker Mayfield: ‘You are just a sponge’

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Praise from Drew Brees for this year’s first overall draft pick has not shaken the team’s resolve. Nor has a 15-for-40 game from the starter. Or a winning effort from the third overall pick in his debut with the New York Jets.

The Browns maintain they are on the long and winding path with Baker Mayfield, and Tyrod Taylor is their starter — even after he put up some poor numbers in the season-opening tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I wouldn’t want to live with 15-for-40 for a long time, because I do not think that we will be that again,” coach Hue Jackson said Thursday. “I really don’t. I understand the question, [but] I think that’s a non-issue. Again, first [game], chalk it up to what it is.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley pointedly emphasized the entire offense contributed to Taylor’s day, saying the group had 28 mental errors and gave the Steelers 100 yards with mistakes. Ten mental errors is not a winning effort, Haley said, and the 100 yards add up to seven points.10

Taylor’s game was an aberration in one sense. He has started 44 games in his career. The tie with Pittsburgh was the first time in those 44 starts he’s been below 50 percent passing. Jackson is aware of the numbers, but they won’t prompt him to turn to the draft’s first overall pick when the Browns play the Saints in New Orleans.

“He’s our future, and if he is, you don’t have to rush this thing,” Jackson said of Mayfield. “When everybody saw the numbers last week, I think everybody wanted to go, ‘OK, Tyrod’s out — let’s go to the other way.’ Let’s slow down a little bit here.”

Jackson said the Browns need to “let it all play itself out at the right time,” which was a feeling general manager John Dorsey expressed a week ago: Let things happen naturally with Mayfield.

“It just doesn’t happen overnight,” Dorsey said the week before the opener. “And that’s why we as an organization keep saying, for the betterment of the kid and the betterment of the organization, have a little bit of patience with this kid. He’s going to have some talent, but there’s no need to rush.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“I’ve seen when you rush too many of these guys in there; it’s not good. But If you have a degree of patience, it’s usually better in the long run.”

On the opposite sideline Sunday will be Brees, a future Hall of Famer who was drafted in San Diego when the Chargers had Doug Flutie as the starter. As a rookie, Brees played in one game. His advice for Mayfield?

Even in crazy 55-hour period, Cowboys can block out the noise

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There was Randy Gregory’s first appearance in any Cowboys apparel since the 2016 season finale, after his reinstatement from a substance-abuse suspension. There was David Irving’s absence from training camp to deal with personal issues.

Those issues, however, can happen to any team across the NFL. What separates the Cowboys is a roughly 55-hour span that included everything from a thank you from President Trump to a Twitter tirade from the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches.

All of that happened before the Cowboys held their first padded practice of the summer.

At the opening news conference of training camp, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will stand for the anthem “toe on the line,” even as the NFL and NFL Players Association worked on a solution for the anthem.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

While Jones called President Trump’s frequent criticisms of the NFL and the players regarding the national anthem “problematic,” the President took to Twitter to credit Jones for saying that the Cowboys will stand.

Speaking on Thursday with 1310 AM The Ticket in Dallas, executive vice president Stephen Jones implied that a player would be cut if he protested during the anthem.8

The comments put the players in difficult positions, with living up to the front office’s wishes while understanding the need to raise awareness of social injustice. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins called Jerry Jones a “bully.”

Dak Prescott drew criticism for saying he would continue to stand and did not think the game was the proper venue to protest. Last season, the Cowboys stood for the anthem, and none has expressed a desire to alter that in 2018.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“We’re the Dallas Football Cowboys, we’re America’s Team, and we stand for the national anthem,” Ezekiel Elliott said.

Only a few hours later Friday came an inaccurately portrayed quote made by Stephen Jones on Sirius XM, saying Prescott would be better in 2018 because he would not have Dez Bryant in his ear. The tweet included Bryant’s Twitter handle and sent the receiver on a rant, even though Jones had also mentioned Jason Witten.

“You got great players like Dez and Witten. They want the ball. Everybody sees it,” Stephen Jones said after practice, clarifying his remark. “It’s on every team. The great players, the great receivers, the guys who catch the ball — they want the ball. They let the quarterback know that sometimes. I was a quarterback, so I understand that. It certainly in no way was it intended to be negative.”

The clarification by Sirius did not quiet Bryant on social media. He replied to fans who praised or criticized him in a back-and-forth that seemed ironic, considering it came on the day of Witten’s debut column on ESPN.com that said social media can be “poison” for players.

Byant also called Jerry Jones “clueless” and put blame for his release on center Travis Frederick and linebacker Sean Lee, whom he called a “snake.”

While Frederick was somewhat diplomatic in his reply, Lee was forceful.

Cowboys teammates come to defense of Sean Lee, Travis Frederick

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When Dez Bryant took to social media to comment on Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones’ incomplete answers that were tweeted by Sirius XM last week, he referred to his belief that Travis Frederick and Sean Lee played a part in his release.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

In doing so, Bryant called into question the quality of teammates Frederick and Lee were.

“I mean, you couldn’t really ask for two better teammates,” Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin said. “I think it goes without saying.7

“You guys know them in the media, but what they mean to us and the leaders, the people, the day-to-day commitment they show, everyone on this team knows exactly who those guys are. And they take great pride in being great teammates, and you really couldn’t find better ones than those two.”

Defensive end Tyrone Crawford called Lee and Frederick “great teammates.” Every teammate asked gave similar responses.

While it might fall into the “What else would they say?” category, Lee has been voted a captain by his teammate multiple times, and Frederick was voted a captain in 2016. With the retirement of Jason Witten, both have stepped into larger leadership roles.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Teammates were reluctant to get into a back-and-forth over Bryant’s comments because they also like the receiver. What they did not like was seeing their current teammates taking heat.

“I love those guys, man,” cornerback Byron Jones said. “If I was starting a team, I’m picking those guys and I’m asking what the game is next. It doesn’t matter what the game is, I can count on those guys to be there on time. I can count on those guys to be leaders. Those guys are extremely accountable. If I’m looking for No. 1 teammates, those are the guys I’m looking for, Sean Lee and Travis Frederick.”

Could 49ers’ George Kittle break out at TE? It’s possible

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In an offseason that saw Jason Witten retire to the Monday Night Football broadcast booth while Antonio Gates awaits a team to sign him and Rob Gronkowski flirts with ending his NFL career, it’s safe to say the tight end position in the NFL is in a state of transition.

With those superstars moving on or close to it, there are a number of vacancies at the head of the class alongside the likes of Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. While there’s no shortage of options to fill the void, one candidate wouldn’t immediately come to mind when looking at the next wave of tight ends, at least not for those outside of the Bay Area.

But in San Francisco, second-year 49ers tight end George Kittle has quietly emerged as one of the league’s most intriguing tight end prospects. And he’s not shying away from the opportunity to establish himself as one of the best at his position.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Obviously I want to be the best as a tight end,” said Kittle. “I get on the field, I feel like it’s an opportunity to show that I can play football and I’m good at my job and I deserve to keep my job. … There’s comparisons everywhere, but if I can go out and show that I’m the best me, and I can ball and prove to myself that I can play really well and prove to Coach [Kyle] Shanahan and my tight end coach that I’m playing well and I’m the best one and they need me, then I’m satisfied.”8

Kittle has lofty goals, especially for a fifth-round pick who entered the league with little hype just more than a year ago. Kittle’s high expectations aren’t exclusive to him. In fact, the 49ers have been high on him since they chose him with the 146th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

During his career at Iowa, Kittle never finished with more than 22 catches per season for the run-heavy Hawkeyes. He had just 48 receptions for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns in four years. Iowa’s commitment to the running game, however, helped Kittle establish himself as a stout blocker, but blocking tight ends don’t usually get drafted very high.

Still, Kittle had a strong showing at the NFL scouting combine, where he ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash among tight ends (4.52 seconds) and had the third-best long jump (11 feet).

In Kittle, Shanahan saw the ideal fit for his offense — a tight end capable of in-line blocking and lining up in a variety of places. Among the many rookies the 49ers brought in last season, none had a bigger workload than Kittle, who was taking starting reps from the moment he arrived.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Kittle never flinched, despite playing through a high ankle sprain, as well as calf, hip, chest, elbow, back and hamstring ailments.

In Oakland, veteran Bruce Irvin finds smack-talking, kindred spirit in Jon Gruden

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You could say these are bright times for Bruce Irvin, who has had his share of dark days in his life.

Since the end of last season, he has earned a degree, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college, made a much-desired position switch from outside linebacker to defensive end and maybe, just maybe, found a kindred spirit in returning Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

“He talks s— like I talk s—, so we get along,” Irvin said.

Irvin came to Oakland as a free agent in 2016 after four star-crossed seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, which included an eight-sack rookie season, a Super Bowl championship and another trip to the Super Bowl.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Initially an edge-rusher, Irvin made the switch to outside linebacker despite his concerns that he was not “smart enough” to play in coverages. Ken Norton Jr., then his position coach in Seattle and later his defensive coordinator in Oakland, admonished his pupil, telling him to never admit such a thing.

Besides, Norton told Irvin, he was capable of playing linebacker.10

The Raiders were obviously impressed enough to sign Irvin to a four-year deal worth a max of $37 million and $12.5 million fully guaranteed to make him a bookend pass-rusher with All-Pro Khalil Mack.

Irvin’s presence helped Mack become the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 as Oakland went 12-4 and appeared in the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season.

The team regressed badly under Jack Del Rio in 2017, going 6-10 before Del Rio was shown the door. Gruden agreed to return to Oakland with an eye on Irvin and his skill set.

Enter new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who worked Irvin out at West Virginia and wanted the Cincinnati Bengals to draft him before the Seahawks struck at No. 15 overall in 2012.

“I knew he was a really gifted rusher,” Guenther said. “… Just coming here, I thought his best assets for us was to go forward rather than go backwards. He’s done a good job with what we’re asking him to do in the base fronts.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“Obviously, we know what he can do as a pass-rusher. Hopefully, we can get him over a double-digit [sack] mark this year. That’s the goal for him.”

Boos at Texas prepared Garrett Gilbert to be Cam Newton’s backup

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It was 2012, and the former high school phenom had transferred from the University of Texas to SMU after going 7-7 as the Longhorns’ starting quarterback and being demoted to third string. He admittedly spent too much time listening to the boos and reading negative articles.

His childhood dream of starring for his hometown team in Austin had turned into a nightmare.

His confidence was shot. The decision-making and accuracy that had made him one of the country’s top prospects a few years earlier needed an overhaul.

“When we got him at SMU, he had been through hell, I guess is a good way to say it,” said former SMU coach June Jones, now the head coach of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. “So helping him through that whole situation and getting him back on track to how he was as a high school player took us a while.

“I knew he could play in the National Football League. I tried my hardest to get him there.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

It took a while, but Gilbert finally is getting a shot in the NFL. After four seasons of bouncing between practice squads and the bottom of rosters with the Rams, Patriots, Lions and Raiders, the 27-year-old is the leading candidate to be the backup to 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers.9

The Panthers made the decision to go young with Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke (25) over veteran Derek Anderson (35), who had been Carolina’s backup since Newton was the top pick of the 2011 draft.

Gilbert is here because former Panthers senior executive scout Don Gregory, whose contract was recently not renewed, witnessed the comeback firsthand.

“Don saw what we were able to do with him at SMU and knew he had it inside himself to be the guy,” said Jones, who was a teammate of Gregory’s at Portland State.

That definitely was a pivotal time in Gilbert’s career.

“That was a great experience for me, as far as just figuring out how to battle through things,” Gilbert said. “To be able to bounce back and have a couple of good years at SMU certainly prepared me for this part of my career.”

New offensive coordinator Norv Turner was reminded of the success that backups Keenum and Philadelphia’s Nick Foles, the MVP of Super Bowl LII, had last season after being forced into duty.

“Somewhere along the way you’re probably going to play a guy that has limited experience,” Turner said.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Limited experience might be putting it kindly in Gilbert’s situation. His next snap in an NFL regular-season game will be his first.

But Gilbert doesn’t look at that as a negative. He relishes the opportunity should Newton have to miss a few snaps or even games, remembering that he has a lot of talent and veteran leadership around him to be successful.

How Mount Union became college football’s newest cradle of coaches

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He knew he couldn’t go back to Pitt for another season. The football program there had turned toxic. So Campbell packed up and left. He wasn’t far from his home near Canton when he first saw them by chance: about 60 young men, crossing the four-lane highway that flanks the campus of the University of Mount Union, headed for a workout at the stadium.

“It was a fascinating moment,” Campbell said. “Here’s where there are no scholarships, there is no money, there is no flash, but these guys love football.”

Campbell wanted in. He transferred to Mount Union and became an All-American defensive lineman. Then he entered coaching.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“It saved my life,” said Campbell, who is entering his third season as Iowa State’s coach. “That’s how passionate I am about my Mount Union experience and coach [Larry] Kehres. My life probably goes a whole different way if not for finding that place.”31

Campbell is among a growing group who found Mount Union as players and, after graduating, launched coaching careers. Mount Union claims two FBS head coaches in Campbell and Toledo’s Jason Candle, coordinators such as Ohio State’s Alex Grinch and Wake Forest’s Jay Sawvel, position coaches such as Michigan’s Ed Warinner, an NFL coordinator in the Indianapolis Colts’ Nick Sirianni and many others leading small-college and high school teams.

The school has long produced accomplished coaches — including former Carolina Panthers coach and longtime NFL assistant Dom Capers (class of 1971) and Ron Lynn, another longtime NFL assistant (class of 1966) — but the number has spiked in the past 15 years. Campbell and Candle, both 38, are among the 10 youngest FBS coaches. Grinch, 37, is one of the nation’s top coordinators. Sirianni just turned 37.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

How did a private, liberal arts school with an undergraduate enrollment of only 2,095 become football’s newest coaching cradle? It took a College Football Hall of Fame program patriarch too afraid to leave, 200-man rosters filled with “player-coaches” and a campus located in the garden spot for coaching.