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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson spoke Monday for the first time since missing a team meeting on Saturday and being benched against Arizona as a result, admitting that he missed the meeting but failing to discuss whether he did so to send a message to the team.
The official explanation for Jackson's absence from the meeting was that he overslept, but when asked whether he was actually making a statement about his unsettled contract, Jackson declined to answer the question directly.
"I missed the meeting and my punishment was my punishment, and I'm not going to sit here and ask any other questions or answer any other questions," Jackson said. He said the contract has not affected his play, though, and vowed to just "handle my business."
Jackson said that he and Andy Reid "talked as men," and that he understood the coach had to take action "for the team's sake."
Jackson is making roughly $600,000 on his rookie deal this season, despite a career that already includes two Pro Bowl berths, and has been unsettled by the lack of progress regarding a possible contract extension.
"I think everybody knows the contract situation, and as a human being there's just things you have to go through in life," Jackson said. "I'm just ready to continue and go forward. . . .
"I can admit to some things probably that I've done that I need to better," he added.
Jackson had a meeting with teammates and coaches, during which he admitted that it has been "hard for me to come to work and be happy just because of everything that happened."
"I kind of just explained to them the things I've been going through, me not being myself, it being hard for me to come to work and be happy just because of everything that happened," Jackson told reporters in his first comments since being benched Sunday for missing a team meeting Saturday. "I addressed it as a professional, as a man, and I know what I need to do to continue to better myself and put me in the best position possible for my career."
Outsiders, he said, "don't know what I'm going through. I'm the one that has to come to work, I'm the one that has to be here. Everybody can have their opinion and say whatever, but I'm the one that's dealing with it."
Coach Andy Reid said Jackson will return to his starting role Sunday against the New York Giants.
Andy Reid met the media in his weekly Monday press conference and understandably the questions and criticism were more pointed than in recent weeks. At one point, Reid was asked the question many Eagles fans are asking today. Is he the right coach to lead this team?
"I am" Reid responded.
However, the coach did acknowledge the fans frustration in watching a team with so much preseason promise simply wilt so quickly.
"I’ve always said this, I completely understand that" Reid said "What we’re going to do is take care of our business and make sure that we get it right. I know our fans deserve that, so we understand that. I understand that, and I think everyone on our team understands that."
Of course, the major topic of conversation was the benching of DeSean Jackson after the pro bowl WR missed a meeting on Saturday. Reid said that Jackson remained a starter at WR, but no one is above the rules.
"I’ve always had a good relationship with DeSean. Now listen, I’ve done this with other players so we can’t forget that part. I’ve done this two or three times with other players where I’ve sat them down, so it’s just one of those things that happens. And I will tell you that, myself included, nobody is bigger than the football team and so if you’re wrong in a spot then you have consequences, too. And that’s how it works."
As for what needs to be done moving forward, Reid says that it’s all about closing out games. The Eagles have blown five fourth quarter leads, including four at home, the only team in NFL history to do so.
"I see that we need to work on a few things. We’re close, obviously, if we’re ahead in the fourth quarter there’s a period of time there that you have to figure out and straighten out, especially in five games. If you can do it for the first three quarters and given in the fourth quarter, then you should be able to finish the game, and that’s our challenge as coaches and players to make sure we get that win. And so, that’s what we’re going to continue to do."
Prior to Sunday’s game, Michael Vick was the fourth most accurate passer in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. In fact, you’d have to say that this accuracy he developed when he got to Philadelphia has as much to do with his success here as anything. So that’s a major reason why it was odd to watch him struggle the way he did against Arizona. The accuracy was simply not there, a fact he admitted to after the game.
“I was inaccurate today and never really got comfortable" Vick said. I’m very hard on myself and that just can’t happen."
What he never did say yesterday was why he was so inaccurate. However, at this Monday press conference today, Andy Reid may have revealed the reason. On the second play of the game, Reid says Vick broke “a couple” ribs.
Reid said that Vick told him he “blanked out” the pain and it didn’t affect his play, but the coach said he thought it did. Honestly, there is no “thought” about it. Clearly it did. Reid also said that Vick didn’t tell anyone he was hurt and coaches just thought he “got the wind knocked out of him.”
Vick’s status for next Sunday’s prime time game against the Giants is unknown, meaning that Vince Young could be the Eagles starter in the game.
As for other injury news, King Dunlap suffered a concussion and Jeremy Maclin is dealing with shoulder and hamstring injuries. Reid said that the shoulder is more of a concern than the hamstring.
Eagles WR DeSean Jackson was benched yesterday after missing a team meeting on Saturday. His benching came not only as a surprise to the fans, but it seems to the players as well. After the game, LeSean McCoy said it was a “shock” to hear DeSean would not be playing.
“Yeah, you game plan for having one of the most explosive deep threats in the game, it was an absolute shock to hear he wasn’t going to be playing” said McCoy.
He also said that it was clear that the team missed his contributions today.
“With the type of player he is, he plays a big role for this offense. Any player that says we didn’t miss him is not being honest.”
However, McCoy says he’s not disappointed with DeSean.
“No, he’s a grown man. We are good friends and he’s accountable for everything he does. That is more his situation. He has guys on this team that will do anything for him. I think he knows that he is wrong for it and he’s sorry. I am sure he will do anything that will help him get back with this team and play this game. He’s a professional athlete, so he has to deal with his situation.”
The big news prior to the Eagles game today was that pro bowl WR DeSean Jackson was deactivated after missing a team meeting. With the Eagles WRs struggling to get open and dropping five passes today, it’s no surprise that Jackson’s absence was the first thing Michael Vick was asked about after the game.
Vick admitted that the loss of Jackson hurt.
“Anytime you have one of your premier players, one of your go-to guys, it does, yeah it does." Vick said. "But we have to respect the decisions that are made. We wish it never had to come to that, but it is what it is and you still have to go out and win the football game.”
Vick also said that he didn’t think DeSean was being singled out for particularly harsh punishment.
“Well, coach has always been a no-nonsense guy since I’ve been here. Since I’ve known him. If it was anybody else aside from DeSean, it would have been the same punishment. It was not because it was just him. So I think there’s certain things that are tolerated and there’s certain things that are not. It’s just a situation where coach had to make a decision and he felt how he felt and I think DeSean respected it and there weren’t any hard feelings and that’s the end. I think he’ll learn from it and move on.”
All that said, Vick doesn’t blame the loss of Jackson for the loss. He reserves that blame for himself.
“I was inaccurate today and never really got comfortable. I’m very hard on myself and that just can’t happen. You have to find ways to get it done. I didn’t do it and I just have to figure out a way to get it done next time we’re in the situation.”
The Philadelphia Eagles blew another fourth quarter lead as they dropped their second straight home game in a 21-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. It was the fifth blown fourth quarter lead of the season for the Eagles, which is easily the most in the NFL this season. Michael Vick played probably his worst game as an Eagle going 16-34 for 128 yards and a pair of INTs. He also got little help from his undermanned WRs corp who dropped five passes. On the defensive side of the ball, the team surrendered 14 fourth quarter points, giving up 315 yards and 3 TDs to second year backup QB John Skelton.
To say the defense is terrible is just pointless. We all know and it's barely worth repeating. The only thing I will say is that if Juan Castillo doesn't deserve to be fired for somehow allowing a rookie safety to be matched up in single coverage downfield with Larry FItzgerald when you have both Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel in the game... I don't know what else he can do. Aside from just pulling the defense off the field and allowing the opposition to score freely, he could not have handled this defense worse.
But let's get to the offense, which was as bad as we've seen all season. We've pointed out a few times this season the incredible bad luck that has led to so many of Michael Vick's picks this season. Tipped passes, WRs getting the ball stripped away etc... but there was none of that today. He threw four picks today, all of which were 100% his fault. Now, only two counted, but that doesn't erase the decisions from the ones that were called back. It was easily the worst we've seen Vick play as an Eagle. He simply wasn't seeing the field. His accuracy, which has been so good all year, was non-existent. He was just awful.
But even given that, we can't excuse the rest of the team. When Vick would make a decent throw, it would be dropped. I counted five drops today, two from Steve Smith and one each from Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek & Riley Cooper. You also saw Vick really struggle to find open targets for large parts of the game and obviously DeSean Jackson's benching and Jeremy Maclin's injury played a big part in that. But really it reveals another theme we've seen all year from this group. When one guy or one unit is struggling, no one is there to pick them up. Michael Vick has a bad game and his WRs drop any decent pass he does throw. The offense puts up 24 points in a half and the defense gives up 30 the next half. It's like the only chance this team has to win a game is if everything goes right, which to me is the mark of a bad team.
However... Like we've said for years in the Reid era, when the passing game is struggling, he doesn't fall back on his running game. He "keeps firing." The Eagles had over 40 called passes today and handed off to LeSean McCoy, who is arguably been the best RB in the NFL this year, 14 times. With those 14 carries he produced 81 yards and a TD. The Eagles passing game today generated 128 yards and two turnovers.
The Eagles offense has sputtered all day, but finally seemed to come to life at the end of the half thanks to LeSean McCoy. The man they call "Shady" scored a TD for the ninth consecutive game, breaking the Eagles franchise record of 8 straight games with a TD previously held by Steve Van Buren. It was McCoy's 12th TD of the season, which leads the NFL.
The Eagles other score came from a defensive TD when Asante Samuel picked off Cardinals QB John Skelton and returned the ball 20 yards for a TD. No player in the NFL has more INTs than Samuel over the past four seasons. It was his fifth pick six of his career.
The Arizona score came on a 10 yard strike from John Skelton to Larry Fitzgerald to tie the game at 7-7. The Cardinals had moved the ball well in the first quarter, but came up empty when Jay Feeley missed two FGs.
Jeremy Maclin was tagged with a very hard shoulder to shoulder hit from Cardinals’ safety Adrian Wilson and has been taken to the locker room with a shoulder injury. NFL.com’s Michael Fabiano says his return is questionable.
[Update by JasonB, 11/13/11 1:53 PM EST ] Jeremy Maclin has returned to the Eagles sideline and will back in the offense for the next series.
It’s a big blow for an Eagles offense that is already without DeSean Jackson today, who was benched and did not dress after missing a team meeting on Saturday. That leaves the Eagles with little used WRs Steve Smith and Riley Cooper to play outside while Jason Avant handles slot duties. Both Smith and Cooper have both had bad drops so far.
The Eagles offense has sputtered so far and were held scoreless in the first quarter. Arizona has been able to move the ball, but two missed Jay Feeley FGs have the game tied at nil-nil as we head into the second quarter.
DeSean Jackson’s spokesman has released a statement to the Inquirer saying that the pro bowl WR made “an honest mistake” when he overslept and missed a special teams meeting on Saturday. The spokesman says that DeSean understands the suspension and still wants to be a part of the team.
“He wants to be an Eagle, he’s happy being an Eagle, he loves what he’s doing in the community, but he realizes there are consequences for his actions and he’s not above the team,” said Jackson spokesman Bobby McRae. “When he gets back he’s going to be motivated and he’s going to work hard to contribute to what he needs to do.”
DeSean Jackson is in the final year of his rookie contract and has been looking for a new deal this season. This past Monday was the deadline to put bonus money on this year’s cap, so often that means that extensions get done before that.
DeSean Jackson will not play today after missing a team meeting, so starting in his place for the Eagles will be Jason Avant. That should mean an increased about of targets for Avant, but the real winner could be former Giants WR Steve Smith. Smith signed a one year deal with the Eagles in the offseason coming off microfracture surgery on his knee. He has dressed the past two weeks but has not played, however he figures to be in line for a greater role today with Jackson out.
The Eagles like Avant in the slot, so there's a good chance that Smith will play in place of Jackson on the outside on most snaps while Avant keeps his familiar role in the middle. This could mean that Smith, who should be available in all leagues, could be a sleeper for today. The pessimistic estimates for when Smith might finally be nearer to his old self in terms of health were right around this point in the season. Week 8, Week 9 etc was what we were hearing from the Giants as far as when they expected him to be back up to speed.
So that's right about where we are now. It will be interesting to see if Smith is healthy enough to take advantage of the opportunity he'll get today.
Safety Nate Allen (concussion) and guard Evan Mathis (toe) were both listed as out on Friday's injury report and are also on the inactives list. Also on the inactives list are offensive lineman Winston Justice, quarterback Mike Kafka, cornerback Curtis Marsh and defensive end Philip Hunt.
The Arizona Cardinals will play without starting quarterback and former Eagle Kevin Kolb. Kolb had been batting a toe injury and was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. Instead, the Cardinals will send John Skelton under center for Sunday's contest.
Safety Kerry Rhodes (foot) and linebacker Joey Porter (knee) were both listed as out on Friday's injury report and are also on the inactives list. Tight ends Rob Housler (groin) and Todd Heap (hamstring) will also miss the game per today's inactives list. Wide receiver Stephen Williams offensive tackle D'Anthony Batiste round out the inactives list for the Cardinals.
The Eagles have always been a very good second half team under Andy Reid. In fact, since Reid became the coach, the team is 32-19-1 in November, the second best mark in the NFL over that time. If this team has any hopes of even sniffing the playoffs this season, they'll need to be even better this time around. At 3-5, the Eagles have to be considered a very long shot. The good news is that they resume their run at reaching .500 against one of the worst teams in the NFL this afternoon when the Cardinals visit the Linc today at 1pm.
Did you know?
The Eagles have gained 3.475 yards through 8 games. That's the 8th most in the NFL since 1940.
The Eagles and Cardinals made a pretty major trade this offseason when Philly sent QB Kevin Kolb to Arizona for pro bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick. DRC played for the Cardinals for three seasons, pulling down 16 INTs over that time. Other than Kolb, the Cardinals also employ former Eagles Stewart Bradley and Sean Considine. Bradley signed 5 year, $25 million deal with Arizona in the offseason and has been a huge disappointment so far, failing to crack the starting lineup.
This is the 105th meeting between these former NFC East rivals. Their first meeting was November 10th 1935 when they were still the Chicago Cardinals. The Eagles are 54-55-5 against the Cardinals all time. Under Andy Reid, the Eagles are 5-4 against Arizona. Overall, Reid is 19-11 against NFC West teams.
Eagles wide receiver and punt returner DeSean Jackson missed a team meeting Saturday and is being held out of today's game against the Cardinals as a result.
According to the projections by our pals at Numberfire, Michael Vick could be in line for the highest scoring fantasy day of any player this afternoon. They've got Vick, Aaron Rodgers & Cam Newton all projected for about 17 fantasy points as the highest scorers of the week. Here are Vick's full projected numbers for today's matchup with the Cardinals.
22.19/33.61, 221.41 yds, 1.50 TDs, 0.70 INTs for 17.14 pts
Michael Vick has not played against the Cardinals since he's been with the Eagles, but in two games in Atlanta he did rush for 8.9 yards per carry. Yahoo! fantasy rates his matchup against Arizona as five stars.
Cardinal defense is improving slightly but still lack a pass rush and vulnerable on back end so very good matchup.
Arizona is giving up the 10th most fantasy points to QBs this season, so obviously this could be a monster week for Vick.
The Eagles host former quarterback and the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. The Birds are 14 point favorites and Kolb is questionable with a toe injury.
The Eagles host the Cardinals this week at Lincoln Financial Field in a game that could be a bounty for fantasy players who own Eagles. Not only are they big favorites, fantasy projections are calling for big games for a few Eagles.
DeSean Jackson has had a so-so start to the season, but could be primed for a breakout this week against a Cardinals team he's played well against in the past. In two career games against the Cards, Jackson has 12 catches for 168 yards and 2 TDs. Here are his Numberfire projections for week 10.
Brent Celek was written off as a fantasy option after a fairly disappointing 2010 and being largely anonymous over the first five weeks of this season. However, over the past three games he's had a resurgence with 18 catches and a pair of TDs. So if you're in need of a TE this weekend, Celek could be a very strong play.
In two career games against the Cardinals, Celek has 12 catches for 168 yards and two TDs. The Cardinals have been ok against TEs this season however, giving up the 17th most fantasy points against them.
The Numberfire projections for Celek this week aren't terribly exciting, but I still think he could have a solid game and will continue to benefit from increased targets.
3.82 rec for 41.91 yds, 0.34 TDs for 6.26 pts
The Eagles try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they take on the Cardinals on Sunday. Check out this preview of Week 10's matchup of NFC birds.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb might not play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to Friday's injury report. Kolb missed practice for the third straight day this week with a turf toe injury and is listed as questionable. He would be backed up by John Skelton.
Meanwhile, running back Chris Wells (knee) made full participation in practice Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is now listed as probable, along with cornerback Michael Adams (neck).
The following members of the team are listed as questionable: tight end Todd Heap (hamstring), cornerback A.J. Jefferson (foot) linebacker Paris Lenon (groin), running back Anthony Sherman (ankle) and kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling (shoulder).
King Dunlap will likely replace Mathis in the lineup. Despite Dunlap's inexperience at the guard position, Jason Brewer of Bleeding Green Nation expressed optimism regarding Dunlap's chances this weekend.
Allen will be replaced by rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett. The Eagles' second round draft pick out of Temple has played in four games this year, contributing four tackles. Brewer is worried Jarrett might not be ready for a starting role.
Certainly Jarrett has a good pedigree and figures to be an important part of the D in the coming years, but right now this is a player without a lot of experience. In fact, filling in for Allen in the second half last week was the first notable time he's seen playing safety all year. So while I'm glad to have the shot to see our second round play, I'm nervous about seeing an inexperienced rookie out there. That said, if he was going to be out there for any game... Let's be honest, it's this one.
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel was forced into limited participation in Thursday's practice due to a groin injury. Samuel is the only change from Wednesday's injury report. Defensive end Juqua Parker joined Samuel in limited participation with his high-ankle sprain.
As for their opponents this week, the Arizona Cardinals, the injury report reads as follows:
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: tight end Todd Heap (hamstring), cornerback A.J. Jefferson (foot), linebacker Paris Lenon (groin), running back Anthony Sherman (ankle), kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling (shoulder), running back Chris Wells (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: cornerback Michael Adams (neck)
Visit Bleeding Green Nation for complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles have blown four fourth quarter leads so far this season, easily the highest total in the NFL this season and among the most ever over the first half of an NFL season.
After making some mistakes during a Week 9 loss to Chicago that he described as "not acceptable," Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie noted Thursday that his appreciation for nickel cornerbacks has grown.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Nate Allen (concussion) and guard Evan Mathis (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday.
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