Nick Foles

Eagles To Start Nick Foles In Week 1

While Carson Wentz is close to returning, the Eagles will play it safe for the time being. Nick Foles will start for the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 1 against the Falcons, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Wentz is on the verge of completing a “fantastic” rehab, in the Eagles’ eyes, after tearing an ACL and LCL late last year. The Eagles, however, are prioritizing Wentz’s long-term health over having him start before he’s 100 percent ready, Rapoport adds.

The starter’s been cleared for 11-on-11 sessions but interestingly has not been given the green light for contact work yet. So, Foles will start the season after delivering Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title. The Eagles redid Foles’ contract this offseason and turned down trade offers for their high-level backup.

While Foles did not perform well in the Eagles’ dress-rehearsal game in Cleveland, he still delivered a dominant postseason and will face the Falcons for the second time this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz Cleared For 11-On-11 Drills

As Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz continues his rehabilitation from a torn ACL, he’s been medically cleared to participate in 11-on-11 drills, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The news isn’t a complete surprise, as Wentz had been expected to be cleared at some point over the next week. But the revelation is undoubtedly a positive, especially given that Eagles head coach Doug Pederson recently said Wentz would need to participate in at least a week’s worth of 11-on-11 work in order to suit up for Week 1. However, as Wentz said earlier this week, there is no guarantee he’ll be ready for Philadelphia’s season opener.

“I obviously would love to be out there,” Wentz said. “That’s been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be close. I’m still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it’s not just my decision. There’s coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I’m at and time will tell here.”

Wentz has yet to be cleared for contact, the next step in his recovery, but the Eagles have options at the ready if he’s not available for Week 1. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is dealing with a shoulder injury but isn’t expected to miss extended time, and he’d fill in if Wentz misses any regular season action. Philadelphia also has Nate Sudfeld, Joe Callahan, and Christian Hackbenerg on its roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bengals, Lewis, Eagles, Foles, Chiefs, AAF

The Bengals are counting on some new coaching roles making a major difference this season. Marvin Lewis survived another year on the hot seat but knew he would need to rearrange his staff after another disappointing season. Teryl Austin will succeed now-Raiders DC Paul Guenther in running Cincinnati’s defense, and Lewis made Bill Lazor the full-time OC. The team jettisoned longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander as well, with other new staffers coming in to help a team that’s fallen in the AFC hierarchy the past two years.

I made up my mind I wanted to coach,” Lewis said, via Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “So, do I want to go start over somewhere where I don’t know the people or coach these group of guys downstairs that no one else has? That’s an easy decision. You look at what’s open and these are the best players. And that’s what you want.

I knew we were going to have a lot of change on the coaching staff. I knew I had to make changes and those are the things that (owner) Mike (Brown) and I had to discuss. I had to make changes on people that had been with me for a long time and had been friends, and it’s difficult.”

Lewis added that he didn’t want to make wholesale roster changes, pointing out the number of Pro Bowlers still on the team, but the Bengals aren’t receiving much attention as a contender this season. They’re hoping these staff moves can re-route them back to the AFC playoffs.

Here’s the latest from the football landscape:

  • The Eagles received a scare Thursday night when Super Bowl MVP and temporary starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. The shoulder sprain Foles suffered is believed to be a minor malady and not one that will require a significant rehab effort, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. It’s looking like it will come down to the wire on whom the defending Super Bowl champions will start at quarterback on opening night, with Carson Wentz unlikely to play in the preseason. The Eagles not having Foles would throw a major wrench in their plans, despite third-stringer Nate Sudfeld having a nice offseason.
  • Steven Nelson will be a full-time outside cornerback this season, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star notes. This change emerged in the offseason, one that featured breakout slot man Kendall Fuller’s arrival, but the Chiefs are evidently committed to trying Nelson – their most frequent slot corner over the past two seasons – as an outside man. The 2015 third-round pick is entering a contract year. While Kansas City has looked at other corners this month – Bashaud Breeland and Orlando Scandrick – the trio of Fuller, Nelson and David Amerson remains atop the depth chart. Nelson did leave the Chiefs’ game Friday night with a head injury, however.
  • Former Jets second-round pick Stephen Hill and ex-Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger are two of the notable new names signed on to play for the Alliance of American Football. The AAF announced 100 more players will join. Ex-Rams running back Daryl Richardson, former Saints and Jets ball carrier Khiry Robinson, linebacker Deontae Skinner and running back Storm Johnson are among the new contingent. Former Giants and Ravens safety Will Hill and veteran kicker Nick Novak, who was with the Chargers last season, were among the first wave to sign.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Redskins

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

East Notes: Allen, Cooks, Eagles

Bills fans are anxiously looking forward to the inevitable ascension of Josh Allen, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News takes a look at the team’s quarterback competition with training camp fast approaching. A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman know that, if either of them start the season under center — and McCarron is generally seen as the favorite to open the year as the starting signal-caller — they would just be keeping the seat warm for Allen. Carucci notes that Allen’s natural talent was on full display throughout spring practices, and he adds that all three competitors have developed a friendship during their time together. The Buffalo News scribe examines each player’s case to start on Week 1, and he notably does not rule out any possibility at this juncture.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks just inked a massive extension with the Rams, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England had a pretty good idea that Cooks, who was scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2018 season, was going to get that kind of money given the robust state of the wide receiver market. However, the Patriots just did not value him that highly and were approaching this year as though it would be Cooks’ last in Foxborough. So, when presented with the opportunity to get a first-round pick for him this offseason, New England pounced.
  • Earlier today, the Patriots signed No. 31 overall pick Sony Michel.
  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com takes a look at 10 Giants who are in danger of being cut because of their salaries, the status of their position groups, or some combination thereof. Dunleavy’s list is headlined by guard John Jerry and defensive end Kerry Wynn.
  • Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has made more trades than any other general manager since 2010, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, who believes that Roseman will make more trades in the coming weeks. Shorr-Parks puts a potential return on each player on the roster, and he notes that Roseman would likely be open to moving Nick Foles and Brandon Graham, though it would take at least a first-round pick to acquire Foles and a third-rounder to land Graham.
  • In a separate piece, Shorr-Parks offers his take on the locks, longshots, and bubble players on the Eagles‘ roster as it currently stands. As Shorr-Parks has indicated previouslyRonald Darby is another trade candidate if De’vante Bausby continues to play well in training camp.

Eagles Notes: D-line, Wentz, Foles, Sudfeld,

The Eagles‘ defensive line is the best position group in all of football, opines Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Wesseling makes his case for the Eagles’ line as the best unit in the NFL by highlighting all the big name talent it has. Fletcher Cox may be the best interior lineman in the league after Aaron Donald, Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham is returning, as is promising second-year edge rusher Derek Barnett, and the team added “three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett and former All-Pro Haloti Ngata” this offseason.

The Eagles’ ability to win in the trenches was a huge part of the team’s success last season, and it should continue in 2018. They constantly reset the line of scrimmage and practically lived in opposing teams’ backfields. Wesseling says that what the Eagles have been able to do with their defensive line has been so impressive that other teams have started “copying Philadelphia’s blueprint up front.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • “One of the biggest surprises” of the Eagles‘ offseason workouts, OTAs, and minicamp was how healthy Carson Wentz looked, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Shorr-Parks writes that the “only sign” Wentz was even recovering from an injury was the brace he was wearing on his left leg. It sure sounds like Wentz has a very good shot at being 100% healthy by the time week 1 rolls around.
  • Speaking of Wentz’s health, it might be a factor in whether or not the team decides to trade Nick Foles, but Nate Sudfeld‘s development might be too. Shorr-Parks notes that if Sudfeld “really impresses” this summer, it could make a deal more likely. However, “short of the Eagles acquiring a first-round pick”, he writes, a trade is still “unlikely.”
  • Shorr-Parks thinks Jalen Mills will wind up as the team’s slot cornerback and that last year’s second round pick Sidney Jones will be moved outside. He thinks Mills will for the second year in a row “lead the Eagles‘ cornerbacks in snaps.”

Extra Points: Foles, Eagles, Bucs, Clark

Last offseason, Nick Foles considered several opportunities before ultimately joining the Eagles. This included a chance to sign with the Buccaneers, where head coach Dirk Koetter was heavily pursuing him. During an appearance on SiriusXM Radio, the quarterback discussed his decision to join Philly.

“Initially we were trying to stay (in Kansas City),” said Foles (via Ed Kracz of TheEaglesWire.com). “We loved Kansas City. I never thought I’d handle being a backup because I always like being on the field, but my heart had changed. Those were my favorite years of football being in Kansas City. We loved being there, loved the barbecue, loved my teammates. We tried to work it out but couldn’t.

“We were trying to figure out what was best for our family. My wife at the time was really pregnant. That comes into account. Do you want to move somewhere where you know no one or go to a city you were traded from but know so many people and wonderful people? That was a tough decision for me.”

Well, we all know how that ended up. Foles joined the Eagles and was forced into the starting lineup following a season-ending injury to Carson Wentz. The 29-year-old ended up starting all three of the Eagles’ playoff games en route to a championship and a Super Bowl MVP.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • Meanwhile, during an appearance on FS1, Foles discussed his backup role and his revised contract with the Eagles. “I would love the opportunity to lead a team,” Foles said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Now, let me also say this, I’m not just going to go to a team and say, ‘Hey, I want to lead this team,’ and not see where they are. It’s about an environment. . . . So if that does come to be, I want to find the right [place], be with the right team, a team like the Philadelphia Eagles organization…They had me under contract this year. Everyone wanted to know where I was going to be. I’m grateful to be a part of it. They restructured my deal. They wanted me there. I wanted to be there this year. We’ll see what happens after the season, but I’m excited about this 2018 Eagles season. I get to wear that jersey at least one more year, and I’m super excited about wearing it one more year.” Back in April, Foles and the Eagles agreed to a reworked deal that included a mutual option for 2019.
  • Former NFL agent Joel Corry says Danielle Hunter‘s new deal shouldn’t define the market for Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (Twitter link). The 2015 second-round pick had spent his entire three-year career in Seattle, and he finished the 2017 campaign with 32 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games (12 starts). The 25-year-old will earn $943K in 2018 before hitting free agency next summer. The anticipated franchise tag for his position is expected to be around $17.5MM, according to Corry.
  • Earlier today, Hunter signed a five-year, $72MM extension with the Vikings. We’ve listed reactions to the new deal, we’ve heard from general manager Rick Spielman, and we’ve explored why linebacker Anthony Barr could be next in line for an extension.

East Notes: Pryor, Eagles, Giants, Bills

Terrelle Pryor and Todd Bowles have a slight difference of opinion when it comes to the wide receiver’s timetable. Though, maybe the Jets‘ fourth-year head coach doesn’t want to make an unnecessarily bold proclamation in this case. Bowles is not certain the recently signed wideout will be available when training camp begins. Pryor did not practice this week. After encountering more ankle trouble in the spring, Pryor underwent surgery earlier this month. Despite the ankle trouble limiting him this offseason, one that’s involved a boot on Pryor’s right foot at minicamp’s outset, Pryor believes he’ll be available on Day 1 of camp.

For now, in my mind, I’ll be there the first day,” Pryor said, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Right now, I’m healthy and I’m ready to get back to form and have a dominant year.”

Pryor also said the injury he suffered early last season — a torn deltoid ligament in his right ankle during Week 1 — affected him throughout his woeful Washington campaign. The veteran was not able to practice much due to the malady and ended his Redskins season on IR.

I just really couldn’t focus on my game because I was too worried about my foot,” Pryor said. “It kind of took control and controlled my mind.”

Here’s the latest from around the East divisions:

  • Doug Pederson said this week (via Kalyn Kahler of SI.com) he’s considering splitting first-team reps evenly between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles during training camp. Although the Eagles‘ franchise centerpiece has not been cleared for 11-on-11 work, he continues to progress and is expected to be ready by September. But an even split — similar to how Pederson handled matters in 2016, when Sam Bradford was still on the team — puts Foles in better position to lead the offense if Wentz endures a setback.
  • The Giants may have a new contender for the center job. Jon Halapio is making a strong push to be the starting snapper, with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reporting the fifth-year player has emerged in this role after an “extremely strong” spring. Brett Jones entered the offseason as the player most observers assumed would succeed Weston Richburg as Big Blue’s full-time center, and the Giants tendered him at a second-round level. Halapio, once a sixth-round Patriots pick, re-signed as an ERFA. He started six games last season as a guard, his first action as a pro despite being a 2014 draftee, and has now impressed the Giants’ new coaching staff. While that second-round tender should give Jones a good chance come camp, this is an interesting situation on a retooling offensive line.
  • Speaking of unlikely starters, Nathan Peterman may have a reasonable chance of starting for the Bills in Week 1. While A.J. McCarron is the assumed stopgap while Josh Allen learns, ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak calls Peterman a serious contender for the starting job. This would be a strange turn of events after Peterman’s one rookie-year start went so poorly, but it appears McCarron might not have an automatic route to the job.

Eagles Notes: Foles, Bryant, Shittu

A recent reported indicated that the Browns had offered the Eagles the 35th pick in the 2018 draft for Nick Foles at some point this offseason before they ultimately ended up trading for Tyrod Taylor. The report stated that the Eagles approached Foles with the deal, that Foles shot it down, and so the Eagles turned it down out of respect for his wishes.

Foles is now pushing back on that claim, saying there’s no truth to it. Foles said he “didn’t turn down any trade” and added that the first time he heard of the proposed deal was when people started texting him about the article (Twitter link via The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Zach Berman).

If the trade was indeed offered by the Browns and considered by the Eagles and it was not shot down by Foles, it’s an indicator that the Eagles are confident in the health of Carson Wentz as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL.

Here’s some more news on the Eagles as they continue OTAs:

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Cowboys

The Eagles reworked backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles‘ contract earlier this year, adding incentives to the deal while also tacking on a mutual option for the 2019 season. Initial reports indicated Foles will collect $250K per start and an additional $250K per win if he serves as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, but he can earn even more than that during the postseason, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For every playoff game in which Foles plays 33% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps, he’ll take home $500K. If the Eagles win a postseason contest with Foles under center, another $500K goes in his pocket.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • While the terms of Foles’ deal could allow him to collect extra cash in 2018, Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams‘ contract language might enable Dallas to escape his pact with no financial penalty, as Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram writes. Williams, of course, was arrested last week for public intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident, charges which Williams disputes. Nevertheless, if Williams is convicted for any sort of alcohol-related offense, he’ll almost certainly face a league-imposed suspension, and “all” Cowboys players have void provisions in their contracts related to bans, per Williams. At present, Williams is scheduled to earn a fully guaranteed $3.5MM base salary in 2018, and Dallas would take on $7.25MM in dead money by releasing him.
  • Head coach Doug Pederson would like the Eagles to re-sign safety Corey Graham “if it works out,” per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Graham will be 33 years old when the 2018 campaign gets underway, but PFR ranked him as one of the 10 best available safeties before the free agent market opened in March. Although Graham has yet to garner any known interest over the past several months, the safety market has been infamously slow to develop, so the lack of Graham suitors is perhaps unsurprising. Graham played 367 snaps in 2017 as Philadelphia’s third safety behind starters Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins.
  • The Eagles have announced a series of hirings and promotions within their front office. Of note, Jake Rosenberg was named vice president of football administration, Jon Ferrari was named director of football operations, Andy Weidl was named director of player personnel. Meanwhile, Trey Brown — whom you may remember from recent Microsoft Surface commercials and last year interviewed for the Bills’ general manager position — is no longer listed among Philadelphia’s front office roster, as Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic tweets.