NFC East Notes: Lichtensteiger questionable Sunday


NFC East Notes: Lichtensteiger questionable Sunday

Add Doug Marrone and Jay Gruden to the list of Eagles head coaching candidates. The Birds are scheduled to interview Marrone, currently coach at Syracuse, this weekend and have requested permission from the Bengals to interview Gruden but have yet to hear back (see story).

Heres what else is going on around the division:

Lichtensteiger questionable vs. Hawks
Redskins left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, who started all 16 regular season games for Washington, will be a game-time decision for Mike Shanahan in Sundays wild-card game against Seattle, reports.

Lichtensteiger sprained his ankle in the third quarter of the division-clinching win over the Cowboys and was replaced by rookie Josh LeRibeus for the remainder of the game.

I was excited. I was thinking do not get beat, so I was going a million miles an hour, LeRibeus said. It cost me a couple of times but I settled down after that.

Lichtensteiger did not participate in practice all week.

Bears to interview Dallas coach
Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis was slated Saturday to interview with Chicago for its vacant head coaching position, ESPN Dallas reports.

The Bears fired Lovie Smith following a 10-6 season in which they missed the playoffs.

DeCamillis, who has served in his current position since 2009, has been a special teams coach for his entire NFL coaching career, previously with the Jaguars (2007-08), Falcons (1997-06), Giants (1993-96) and Broncos (1988-92).

Interestingly, the Raiders requested to interview DeCamillis for their vacant special teams coaching job last year, but the Cowboys denied the request. This time, Dallas couldnt block an interview.

NYs Thomas could change positions
After a third ACL injury, Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas may attempt to make the switch back to safety, according to ESPN New York.

Though New York has a 6 million option on the 27-year-old, they likely wont exercise it and instead cut Thomas by March. But the team could reach a new deal with him before next season.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese thinks a position switch could be good for the former second-round pick.

He may be one of those guys at this point in his career, if he does get back on the field from the injury, you might have to move him to a different position like safety instead of playing corner, he said. Because a couple ACLs playing corner is tough to do.

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Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

For the most part, Carson Wentz had a pretty successful rookie season. 

Sure, the Eagles finished with a 7-9 record, but Wentz did enough to continue the franchise's belief that he is indeed the quarterback of the future. 

Another guy in Dallas did the same thing with the Cowboys. Actually, Dak Prescott had an even more impressive rookie season, leading the Cowboys to 13 wins, while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

Prescott, a fourth-round pick, had a great year, but didn't try to do too much. And that's what impressed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson the most. 

"[Prescott] understood this right away, that he didn't have to win the game for them," Pederson said on The Doomsday Podcast, hosted by Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. (Pederson also talked about running the Rocky steps). "He knew that he had a good defense, a tremendous offensive line, a great runner, he had some veteran players that he could rely on and he learned that early. As soon as he had the opportunity to play and that was early, from Day 1. 

"That's something that a young quarterback, sometimes it takes them a while to figure out the game that way. That's the impressive thing, that he learned how to handle that business that well, utilize the people around him and understand that he didn't have to go win the game."

While Prescott had plenty of help during his rookie season, it was pretty evident Wentz was lacking in that area. 

Prescott had a great offensive line, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and others. Wentz had an offensive line that was missing Lane Johnson, an often-injured Ryan Mathews and receivers like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham playing serious snaps. 

So it made sense when the team went out this offseason and signed Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and recently LeGarrette Blount, as free agents, finally getting Wentz some real help. 

"We had opportunities to get those two guys and it was obvious last year, we were young at the wide receiver position," Peterson said. "We needed some leadership, some veteran presence there and we went out and got that with Torrey and Alshon. We still want to build through the draft, we still want to acquire young talent. 

"LeGarrette Blount now is a guy that gives us that big back, running back, that can come in and compete and hopefully he does everything he did at New England the last couple of seasons. He had 18 rushing touchdowns for over 1,000 yards and we just expect that same level of performance here."

Maybe having weapons will allow Wentz to do what made Prescott so impressive to Pederson in 2016: not too much. 

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Pete Mackanin is still searching for answers to the Phillies' offensive woes following Sunday afternoon's disheartening 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh during which the Phils could only muster three hits.

The latest lineup twist as the search for an answer continues will see Michael Saunders bat in the eight-hole tonight as the Phils open a four-game series with the surging Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park (see game notes).

When he has started this season, Saunders has been a fixture within the middle of the Phillies' order. After all, the offseason free-agent signing was an All-Star for Toronto last season when he hit 24 homers and drove in 57 runs.

But this season hasn't gone as planned as Saunders is hitting just .232 with four homers and 15 RBI in 41 games with the Phils this season.

With Saunders' drop down the lineup, Tommy Joseph will bat fourth, Maikel Franco fifth and Odubel Herrera sixth against Rockies spot starter Jeff Hoffman.

Tonight's full lineups can be found below:

1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Aaron Altherr LF
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Maikel Franco 3B
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Cameron Rupp C
8. Michael Saunders RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff SP

1. Charlie Blackmon CF
2. D.J. LeMehiau 2B
3. Nolan Arenado 3B
4. Carlos Gonzalez RF
5. Mark  Reynolds 1B
6. Gerardo Parra LF
7. Alexi Amarista SS
8. Tony Wolters C
9. Jeff Hoffman SP