Can Felix Jones Help the Eagles?

Can Felix Jones Help the Eagles?

You wouldn’t necessarily describe the Eagles as being thin at running back, not with All-Pro LeSean McCoy and impressive 22-year-old Bryce Brown. However, since Dion Lewis was shipped to Cleveland for linebacker Emmanuel Acho, there is definitely an opening on the roster.

That explains why the team is kicking the tires on Felix Jones. On Tuesday ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Eagles gave the former Dallas Cowboy and first-round pick a workout, which for now GM Howie Roseman is describing as “due diligence.”

That explanation is fine, but assuming all went well the Birds may want to consider offering Jones a contract next.

For starters, it’s unclear who will fill the third running back spot vacated by Lewis. Chris Polk seems the clear favorite among the players currently on the roster. Polk managed to make the team last season as an undrafted free agent out of Washington, so the organization appears to think highly of him. Chip Kelly's familiarity with him from the Pac-12 can't hurt, either.

Aside from Polk, the club has two new undrafted rookies on the 90-man roster, likely just camp bodies. Maybe they have a shot at making the final cut, but then a little veteran competition couldn’t hurt, either.

Brown for that matter is no sure thing. With his combination of size and speed, there’s no doubt the Eagles would like the second-year back to be the uncontested number two behind Shady. Fact is he had a fumbling problem last season, and while that can be corrected, it’s not a given, especially not over one offseason.

Still, Jones could be more than competition. He never quite fulfilled his potential with Dallas, but the cat didn’t post bad numbers at all, running for 2,728 yards over five seasons at an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. He added another 1,062 yards through the air on 127 receptions.

That said, 2012 was Jones’ worst season in the NFL. Part of the reason for that might be playing in the worst rushing offense in the NFL. Regardless, he posted a career-low 3.6 YPC regardless, while his 664 yards from scrimmage were his lowest since he was a rookie.

And Jones hasn’t always been the most sound ball carrier himself, fumbling the ball at least twice in each of the past four season despite limited touches.

Is he a player in decline? Hard to say from the outside, and likely one of the answers the Birds were trying to get from a workout. Jones isn’t old or anything, turning 26 today as a matter of fact, and he doesn’t have a ton of mileage on him at the NFL level, only 569 carries in five seasons – that’s two seasons worth to some backs.

Of course the other issue here is besides returning kicks – something the team wouldn’t necessarily ask him to do – Jones doesn’t play on special teams. The third back usually helps out on the coverage unit, something Polk did for the Eagles last season.

Then again, the team carried four running backs a season ago, so it’s not exactly mandatory.

Could Jones help the Eagles? He was a special talent coming out of college, it just never quite materialized in the pros. He has been an effective spell though, something the Birds could probably use in Kelly’s up-tempo system.

We’ll see what the Eagles think after they’ve had another camp or two to evaluate their own players, but don’t undersell Felix Jones. He didn’t live up to being a first-round pick, but he might have some value yet in the NFL.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.