NFL Notes: Falcons reach terms for new $1B stadium


NFL Notes: Falcons reach terms for new $1B stadium

ATLANTA - Atlanta's mayor and Falcons owner Arthur Blank have agreed to financing terms for a new $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium to replace the 20-year-old Georgia Dome and keep the team's home games in the city's downtown, the two men said Thursday.

Mayor Kasim Reed said the city would provide $200 million of construction costs through bonds backed by the city's hotel-motel tax. The Falcons franchise, owned by Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, would provide $800 million and be responsible for construction cost overruns.

The Falcons would pay for up to $50 million in infrastructure costs not included in the construction budget and help retire the last few years of debt on the Georgia Dome, which was publicly financed entirely using the hotel-motel tax.

Also, Blank's private foundation and the city each would spend $15 million on surrounding neighborhood development (See full story).

Giants' Webster, Baas rework contracts
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster and center David Baas have re-worked their contracts for the 2013 season with the team, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Giants haven't announced the deals, told The Associated Press that the starters and the team just finished work on the contracts.

NFL Network first reported the agreements and said Webster took a $3 million pay cut. He had a disappointing 2012 season and will earn $4 million in the final year of his contract.

NFL Network also said Baas re-structured his five-year contract. He still will earn $4.25 million in third year but his base pay was lowered to $1.25 million. The other $3 million will come as a signing bonus (See full story).

Broncos look to Dumervil for cap relief
DENVER - The Broncos are asking defensive end Elvis Dumervil to take a pay cut so they can create more salary cap room for free agency.

Dumervil signed a six-year, $61.5 million contract in 2010 when Josh McDaniels was coaching the team and before John Elway joined the Denver front office. The seven-year veteran is scheduled to make $12 million in 2013.

The team wants Dumervil to take a cut or restructure his contract, according to a person familiar with the situation, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the negotiations were not public (See full story).

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Evaluating Carson Wentz

Eagles 21, Vikings 10: Evaluating Carson Wentz

Sunday was by far the ugliest game of Carson Wentz's young career.
But it was also a gutsy effort by the rookie quarterback in a 21-10 win over the Vikings (see Instant Replay).
It's not too surprising that Wentz struggled against a Minnesota defense that has been among the best in the NFL this season. Wentz finished 16 of 28 for 138 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Here's a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Wentz against the Vikings.
1st quarter, 9:46, 2nd-and-12, PHI 9 — Eagles 0, Vikings 0
Starting with the ugly, Wentz has no business throwing this football. There was no pressure on the play. Wentz has time and throws to Brent Celek, who was smothered by linebacker Eric Kendricks. There was no window to throw into and Wentz, as he does from time to time, misses high and hits safety Andrew Sendejo.
1st quarter, 5:28, 3rd-and-11, PHI 38 — Eagles 0, Vikings 0
Another throw that just made no sense to try to make. Wentz does get some early pressure to his right, but he dances around it pretty easily and has plenty of time to reset and make a better read. Sure, Mike Zimmer is a defensive wiz and does an excellent job disguising coverages, but there's no excuse for Wentz here. Nelson Agholor is double covered and this is an easy pick for Xavier Rhodes.
2nd quarter, 0:55, 1st-and-10, MIN 38 — Eagles 8, Vikings 3
Love the play call here. The Eagles just converted a huge fourth down. With time running down in the half, Doug Pederson elects to take a shot down the field. It sort of looked like Rhodes fell asleep while Dorial Green-Beckham shifted gears and started to run by him on a stutter go route. The ball looks like it's leading Green-Beckham perfectly, but Rhodes has an elbow in DGB's gut and a fist full of jersey. If Rhodes doesn't grab Green-Beckham, it's likely a touchdown. Ultimately, it's an incompletion. The refs were really letting the defensive backs be physical on both sides.
3rd quarter, 8:25, 1st-and-10, MIN 28 — Eagles 11, Vikings 3
This play sort of typified Wentz's day: It was almost disastrous but the kid found a way to get it done. Wentz, who had issues all day simply hanging on to the football, fumbled the snap. It didn't appear to be a great snap by Jason Kelce, but it also appeared that Wentz took his eyes off it. It's probably one he should've handled. What is so impressive about Wentz is that there isn't an ounce of panic in his game. He simply picks up the loose ball, rolls to his right and hits Darren Sproles for 19 yards. Similar to the big play against the Steelers, Wentz drew the linebacker Kendricks with the threat of running, leaving Sproles wide open for an easy pitch and catch.
3rd quarter, 5:45, 3rd-and-goal, MIN 5 — Eagles 11, Vikings 3
We've been hearing about Green-Beckham's role possibly expanding, but it hasn't quite come to fruition. Pederson pointed out earlier in the week that he'd like to get DGB involved in the red zone and that he excelled at running slants and using his big body. That's exactly what happened on this play. Wentz put the ball right on the money on the slant and Green-Beckham bullied his way into the end zone. The stats aren't impressive (two catches on four targets for eight yards and a touchdown), but it's clear Wentz is starting to look for Green-Beckham more.
Overall analysis
After forcing the issue in the first half against an elite defense, Wentz settled in and let the game come to him. The protection held up for the most part and Wentz just took what the Vikings were giving him. What you have to love is that Wentz found a way to get it done on a day when it looked like he couldn't. He played game manager and let his defense dominate in the second half. The ball security issues — the two picks, a couple bobbled snaps — are troubling, but really a gutsy performance by the kid.

Grading the Eagles' 21-10 victory over the Vikings

Grading the Eagles' 21-10 victory over the Vikings

It wasn't pretty, but anytime you knock off a previously undefeated team in Week 7 in the NFL, it's a good win. The Eagles got the job done thanks in large part to a stellar defensive performance against the Vikings, a team that's mastered winning just these types of games. Not on this Sunday though. The Eagles took the lead on a first-quarter kickoff return for touchdown and never trailed from there, which is an A+ performance overall any way you want to break it down.

The education of Carson Wentz continues. The rookie signal-caller completed only 57.1 percent of his passes for 4.9 yards per attempt and a pair of ugly interceptions. It's difficult to place all of the blame on the quarterback when he's constantly under pressure, although the protection seemed to improve as the game progressed, and Wentz just seemed slow to settle in. He got the win, which is the important part.

Grade: C-

Running backs
Ryan Mathews continues to go underutilized as he carried the ball 14 times for 56 yards. Although if he continues to fumble in the fourth quarter like he did for the second time in three weeks, his role might decrease even more. Darren Sproles pitched in three carries for 26 yards as well, and the duo combined to make three receptions for 50 yards. The grade would've been better were it not for the late turnover.

Grade: B

Wide receivers
We knew going in there wouldn't be a ton of opportunities for Eagles receivers down the field against a stingy Vikings secondary. Sure enough, Wentz only completed 11 passes to wideouts for only 67 yards. However, with the exception of one drop, the group made the plays they were supposed to, and Dorial Green-Beckham atoned later with a five-yard touchdown. Noting spectacular, but they got the job done.

Grade: C+

Tight ends
It would be unfair to grade the tight ends based on what they had to work with. Zach Ertz and Trey Burton each "dropped" an intended target, but the passes were way off the mark in both instances. And Brent Celek was wide open down the seam for a likely touchdown, but Wentz was under pressure and didn't even have a chance to look his way. Not their fault the quarterback isn't able to get them the ball right now.

Grade: Incomplete

Offensive line
This had the makings of another ugly game up front, as right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled out of the gate again with a very early false start. The Eagles gave him the help he needed though, and the unit really came around as a result. Case in point, the Vikings managed just two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits the entire game. And that was with Jason Peters exiting the game in the fourth quarter. The O-line did give Wentz a case of happy feet early on, but it was quality effort otherwise.

Grade: B+

Defensive line
The front four avoided another slow start this week. Brandon Graham hit Sam Bradford five times, one of which caused an interception, while Connor Barwin strip-sacked Bradford, forcing another giveaway — and all those turnovers was in the first quarter alone! The D-line set the tone early and never relented. The push up front to stop consecutive Vikings rushing attempts with one yard to go from the Eagles' 6-yard line resulted in a turnover on downs and likely sealed the victory.

Grade: A

Even when the Eagles linebackers have performed, they haven't necessarily made an impact. Not the case against the Vikings on Sunday. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham each had a sack and combined to make four tackles for loss and break up three passes. Along with Mychal Kendricks, who, by the way, tackled well for a change, the linebackers alsp registered five quarterback hits.

Grade: A+

Defensive backs
Active game for Rodney McLeod, and easily the biggest of his brief Eagles career. The fifth-year safety recorded an interception, a sack and a forced fumble to go with his six tackles on the afternoon. Strong day for the cornerbacks as well, as Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills all broke up passes. Plus, Malcolm Jenkins' transition to corner after the injury to Ron Brooks was seamless thanks to the solid play of Jaylen Watkins filling in at safety.

Grade: A

Special teams
For the first time in franchise history, the Eagles have kick returns for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. This time it was Josh Huff going the distance from 98 yards out. Donnie Jones was a huge help in the field position battle with a 50.5 average, and Caleb Sturgis made field goals of 35 and 21 yards.

Grade: A

The Eagles rarely blitz, but Jim Schwartz realized he could exploit a patchwork Vikings offensive line this week and brought the house. The aggressive approach paid off, as three of the defense's four sacks were by linebackers or defensive backs and Bradford was under siege the whole game. Doug Pederson's game plan for the offense was better this week as well, particularly in the second half when he leaned more on the ground attack. The coaching staff got the penalty epidemic under control as well, as the Eagles were flagged only five times for 33 yards, so a nice job overall.

Grade: A-