NFC East Wake-Up Call: Suspension Confusion
With 53-man rosters being finalized across the NFL, let’s take a spin around the NFC East to see what’s going on with the rest of the division:
In Dallas, the Cowboys didn’t make a ton of noise with their cuts, but they did make a little noise by signing former Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez to be Dak Prescott’s backup. Sanchez was cut earlier in the day by the Broncos, which means the Eagles won’t get a pick from Denver after trading him in the offseason. Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram has more on the signing.
The Cowboys and Sanchez reached a one-year agreement Saturday, shortly after he was cut by the Denver Broncos. The Cowboys must make a roster move to officially add Sanchez. Quarterback Tony Romo could be moved to short-term injured reserve to clear a spot for Sanchez, although that decision can’t be made until Sunday.
If the Cowboys go that route, Romo would not be eligible to play until the Nov. 6 at Cleveland. The Cowboys must weigh that against the chance that Romo could be healthy enough to return a week earlier on Oct. 30 against Philadelphia.
Romo sustained a compression fracture in his lower back last month in a preseason game at Seattle, and is expected to miss eight to 10 weeks. The eight-week mark would be Oct. 20, and executive vice president Stephen Jones acknowledged the difficulty of making that decision after Thursday’s preseason finale.
Despite reports, Randy Gregory did not win his appeal, and he may still be suspended for additional games, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has not had his appeal heard regarding an additional suspension by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy, a source told ESPN on Sunday.
The NFL has not announced more than a four-game suspension for Gregory, and the league still considers his potential “4-plus-10” suspension to be pending, according to the source.
When final roster cuts were made Saturday by NFL teams, there was a mention next to Gregory’s name on the Cowboys’ roster of a four-game suspension, but that was in reference to his violation announced in February, not the additional violation reported in July, which the NFL has not made any announcement about.
The Cowboys host the Giants Sunday in their season opener at 4:25 p.m.
In the Big Apple, the Giants cut former fourth-round pick Andre Williams to finalize their roster. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post has more on the former big back.
They made 22 moves, and the most eye-catching was that they waived running back Andre Williams, who had a promising rookie year, slumped badly in 2015 and apparently did not do enough this summer to beat out Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey or rookie Paul Perkins.
The only other former draft pick to get axed was receiver Geremy Davis, a 2015-sixth-rounder.
“Andre is a guy that played some good football for us,” Ben McAdoo said after his first cut-down day as head coach. “We’re going to miss him. It was another one of those really tough decisions to make. We feel that with Rashad [Jennings], Shane [Vereen], Orleans, Paul Perkins and Bobby Rainey, we have some versatility there to play all three downs, and on special teams as well.”
McAdoo said “there were some good players we had to let go.’’
With the Eagles trading Bradford, the Giants have better chances of winning the NFC East, opines Gary Myers of the New York Daily News.
So, the season opens next week with the Giants in Dallas facing rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott, a summertime star against vanilla defenses, and the Eagles beginning at home against Cleveland with rookie Carson Wentz expected to start if he’s physically ready after cracking two ribs in the preseason opener. If not, the Eagles will go with journeyman Chase Daniel, who has thrown 77 passes and started just two games in his seven years in the NFL but knows coach Doug Pederson’s offense after three years together in Kansas City.
The NFC East starting quarterbacks: [Eli] Manning, [Kirk] Cousins and two rookies.
This officially makes the NFC East a two-team race: Giants vs. Washington, Manning vs. Cousins.
Manning had a career high 35 TDs last season with 14 INTs and 4,432 yards. Cousins had a breakthrough in his fourth year with 29 TDs, 11 INTs and 4,166 yards and is making nearly $20 million in 2016 playing for the franchise tag.
The Giants go into Dallas to take on the Cowboys Sunday afternoon.
One Redskins fan found a team workbook from undrafted rookie linebacker Ejiro Ederaine, who had been released, in a dumpster. Scott Allen of the Washington Post has more on this bizarre story.
Like with most NFL teams, the Redskins’ playbooks are on team-issued iPads, the contents of which can be erased remotely in the event that they’re lost or stolen. While the Redskins might prefer that none of their in-house materials wind up in a dumpster, where they could potentially be discovered by a dumpster-diving Cowboys fan, a Redskins spokesman told The Post on Thursday that there is no proprietary information in the workbooks that were found in Ashburn.
Josh told the Junkies that he contacted the Redskins on Wednesday about what he’d found and a representative told him that the Redskins’ head of security would be in touch. As of Thursday morning, Josh hadn’t heard back from the team.
Josh later described some of the contents of the materials he found.
“It has what you do in a hot route, what his assignment would have been, what the guy next to him’s assignment would have been. It has breakdowns and handwritten things of the new calls, like the defense changed the call or whatever,” he said. “He scratched it out and put the new verbiage for it. I mean, it’s got everything.”
Josh Norman says Odell Beckham Jr.’s fame rests on “one stupid little ball,” writes Liz Clarke of the Washington Post.
But in a forthcoming book, “Panthers Rising,” by Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler, Norman had some pointed words to say about Beckham’s own claim to fame, dismissing the sensational one-handed catch he made on “Sunday Night Football” against Dallas his rookie season as “one stupid little ball.”
An excerpt of the book was posted on the Observer’s website Friday afternoon. In it, Fowler recounts how Norman characterized Beckham when the two sat down for an interview following the Panthers’ Super Bowl appearance but before Norman had left Carolina for Washington in April.
“I’ll be honest,” Norman told Fowler of Beckham, “I don’t care for the guy at all. … Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player or whatever, but he’s not what he thinks he is. If you hit guys like that, if you completely jam them and shake them up, they can’t relate to that. So they start making excuses like, ‘Oh, he touched me.’ They don’t know how to respond because they never got hit like that. So me, every time I see him, I’m going to hit him in the mouth. I don’t care. Until he stops crying and b—-ing.”
The Redskins host the Steelers Monday night to open up their season.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles signed three players to the 53-man roster and five to the practice squad.
“It was [Pat] Shurmur who convinced the organization that [Sam] Bradford had the intelligence and the work ethic to learn Norv Turner’s offense quickly.” What They’re Saying.
“This was not our blueprint. This was not part of the plan.” Howie Roseman says the team wasn’t looking to trade Bradford.
Who did the Eagles cut to initially get down to 53? Here’s the list.
The Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first- and a conditional fourth-round pick.
“Things only got worse as the conversation ended with, ‘Bring in your playbook as soon as possible. We’ll have someone waiting for you.'” Weekend Reading.
“I want him in that room with me and these receivers because I know he’s a great player.” Jordan Matthews wanted Paul Turner to be on the team.
“Until I get further word from the league office, he goes in as my starting right tackle.” Doug Pederson expects Lane Johnson to start at right tackle against the Browns.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Bradford trade marks the true beginning of the Doug Pederson era, opines Mike Sielski of the Inquirer.
Though Bradford was not the Eagles’ long-term answer at quarterback, the longer he remained the starter, the more Pederson stood to gain. His presence bought Pederson the commodity that every first-year head coach wants most: time. Even if Bradford had foundered under Pederson, it was never realistic to think that Pederson’s job would be in immediate jeopardy. The Eagles’ pursuit of [Carson] Wentz had commenced after Pederson came on board. He was involved in the process. He had input (though how much input he had is another question). He deserves a fair opportunity to coach the prospective franchise quarterback he helped to handpick. Besides, even if Bradford had stayed and the Eagles’ pre-Wentz performance turned out to be so bad that it raised concerns about Pederson’s competency, would Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie admit so quickly – one year after firing Chip Kelly – that they had again hired the wrong head coach?
No, in the same way that no one could get an accurate gauge of [Andy] Reid‘s strengths and weaknesses until he put [Donovan] McNabb under center for good, Pederson had a grace period as long as Bradford was here. He had nothing to lose. All the perceptions were aligned in his favor. Bradford was Kelly’s guy. Bradford was leftovers that Pederson was required merely to reheat and serve on a paper plate. Bradford was the overpaid, underachieving quarterback who, in seven NFL seasons, had suffered two season-ending knee injuries and won no playoff games. The excuses for failure would have been ready-made. If Bradford thrived for Pederson, then maybe Pederson was indeed the quarterback whisperer the Eagles (and Pederson himself) often bill him to be. If Bradford went down with another terrible injury or couldn’t lift the Eagles beyond the threshold of mediocrity, so what? Pederson had a 6-foot-5, 23-year-old, facile-minded, cannon-armed second chance waiting his turn on the sideline.
Tommy Lawlor discusses cutting Taylor Hart yesterday.
Hart is a surprising cut. He was drafted to be a 3-4 DE, but made the transition to DT in the new defense and played well this summer. Hart was especially effective as a run defender. He had a very strong preseason. The Eagles turned out to be deeper at DT than they ever expected. Beau Allen played lights out and rookie Destiny Vaeao was very impressive as well.
I am surprised that the Eagles are sacrificing a DT so they can add a DB. The one place that does make sense is on STs. If [Terrence] Brooks is active on gamedays, he could help on STs. Hart would offer help trying to block kicks, but Brooks could be a core STer. This isn’t a case of the Eagles trying to get rid of Hart. They were impressed by him this summer. They could try to keep him on the practice squad if he goes unclaimed.
One person this does say a lot about is Vaeao. Clearly the Eagles are high on him. They didn’t want to cut him for fear he might get claimed. Vaeao is a very good fit for the Eagles defense and could be a key backup. He also has starting potential.
Doug Pederson will speak to the media around 11:30 a.m.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.