Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson, Daniel Snyder union will be a disaster

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DeSean Jackson, Daniel Snyder union will be a disaster

Daniel Snyder got his man. Daniel Snyder has gotten his man in the past. It has rarely gone well for Daniel Snyder.
 
DeSean Jackson signed with Washington on Tuesday (see story). It’s said to be a three-year deal for $24 million, with $16 million guaranteed, according to Forbes.  
 
Isn’t it grand? As landing spots go for the former Eagle, you couldn’t pick a more dysfunctional destination than Washington.
 
Yes, Jackson is coming off a season in which he had a career-best 1,332 receiving yards, tied a personal best with nine touchdowns and made his third Pro Bowl. And, yes, the Eagles will face him twice a year in what’s sure to be must-watch, drama-filed matchups. But, come on, he went to Washington. That has to assuage any fears from the woe-is-the-put-upon-fan/the-Eagles-will-rue-the-day crowd. Shy of signing with the Oakland Raiders or the Saskatchewan Roughriders (that’s a real team! Sort of!), it’s hard to imagine an organization that could render Jackson more inert than Washington.
 
Between Jackson’s bloated contract and his off-field concerns, it wasn’t surprising that the Eagles moved on. It also wasn’t surprising that Jackson’s first and last free-agent stop -- the lack of any real market for him was telling -- was Washington, where he immediately fell in with some Redskins players. And Wale. It’s the perfect union. And it’s almost certainly doomed.
 
Under Daniel Snyder, Washington has become the football equivalent of Goodwill. All the other teams drop off their unwanted goods. The only shock here is that the Eagles didn’t ask the Redskins for a receipt so they can use Jackson as a tax write-off next year.
 
Despite being a very rich man, Snyder has never been a savvy decision maker with his football team. He’s the NFL’s anti-Midas. A quick and schadenfreude-filled review of Snyder’s many, many (there are many) ill-advised and hilarious decisions over the years:
 
In 2000, Washington gave aging Bruce Smith a five-year, $23-million deal. (Keep in mind, per the norm in the NFL, that not all of the contract money outlined here was guaranteed.) Smith played four years with the Redskins. He had double-digit sacks just once.
 
Also in 2000, Washington signed Jeff George (four years, $18.5 million) and Deion Sanders (seven years, $56 million). George played eight games in two years and then retired. Sanders lasted one season before finishing his career with the Ravens.  
 
In 2002, Snyder threw a five-year, $25 million contract at Steve Spurrier to get him to leave college. Spurrier went 12-20 in two seasons, then quit and went back to college.
 
In 2003, Laveranues Coles got five years and $35 million. He lasted two seasons.
 
In 2004, Mark Brunell signed for seven years and $43 million. He started just nine games in two of his three seasons, and he never had a QB rating higher than 86.5 for the Redskins.
 
In 2006, Antwaan Randle El got a contract for seven years and $31 million. That’s an awful lot for a guy who was always more of a punt returner than a receiver. He played four years in Washington.
 
But Snyder and the Redskins really outdid themselves in 2009 when they signed Albert Haynesworth for seven years and $100 million. Haynesworth recorded just 6½ sacks over two years before the Redskins traded him. He even failed a conditioning test in Washington. Which was awesome.
 
Oh, and Snyder OK’d a trade for Donovan McNabb.
 
Washington isn’t a football team. It’s the Island of Misfit Toys.
 
And if you think Jackson has gotten some bad press recently, it’s nothing compared to the kind of ink Snyder gets. It’s part of the reason why Jackson will fit right in with Snyder. They can compare clips and assure each other that they’re misunderstood.
 
Here’s a long list of things for which Snyder has been criticized over the years. Among the owner’s many, many (there are many) curious and/or detestable acts: He charged fans to attend training camp. He sued ticketholders. He filed a ridiculous libel lawsuit. And during the debate over the team’s offensive moniker, he told USA Today the team will “never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
 
If that sounds like a stable work environment where Jackson is sure to thrive and make the Eagles regret their decision to release him, you must work some place that’s really scary. It was so bad in Washington that Shanahan, who isn’t exactly warm or fuzzy or fun, said Snyder meddled with his team by getting too close with Robert Griffin III. That probably sounds familiar to Washington fans. Former coach Joe Gibbs once called Clinton Portis, who was tight with Snyder, the team’s “assistant general manager.”
 
That’s good news for Jackson. He can be Snyder’s new guy. Which is good news for the Eagles and their fans.

Let's learn from past, keep Eagles' preseason positives and negatives in perspective

Let's learn from past, keep Eagles' preseason positives and negatives in perspective

It happens this time every year. 

Two preseason games are now in the books and the overreaction portion of the program has commenced. It's only natural. We're seven-plus months removed from the Eagles' last regular-season game. You have an entire offseason of hype and buildup. There's free agency, the draft, OTAs, training camp, and finally there's the wonderful world of exhibition games. We're dying for storylines and answers. And projections based on illusions become reality.

A stroll through some names of training camps past are a stark reminder not to go overboard anointing these guys the next big thing. Here are some blasts from the past: Henry Josey, Jeremy Bloom, JaCorey Shepherd, Gizmo Williams, Billy Hess. Remember them? No points off if you don't, but they were thought to be the answers in years past.   

Remember way back in the day, like Aug. 29, 2015? The Eagles played their third preseason against Green Bay. New Birds quarterback Sam Bradford's line that night: 10 for 10, 121 yards, three touchdowns and a 156.7 passer rating on three drives. They thought they had found their guy. Bradford went on to have a middling season with a 7-7 record as a starter. His individual stats matched the record, and a year later he was dealt to Minnesota. His coach, Chip Kelly, did not last the season. 

Take last year for instance — Paul Turner was Jerry Rice reincarnated. Now, the receiving corps was awful and Turner, an undrafted free agent stuck with the practice squad, eventually got time with the club during the regular season. But we may want to hold off on his Canton enshrinement.

Which brings us to the consternation surrounding the 2017 Eagles' first-team offense and running game. Granted, sans two amazingly athletic plays by Carson Wentz in the Packers game, the first team has not looked ready for prime time. 

But let's take some things into account. Teams game plan minimally for preseason games. Unless, of course, you're Dom Capers and you blitz an entire exhibition game. The Eagles did not prepare for the extra men sent, therefore they didn't handle it well. 

Thursday against the Bills, the Eagles' first-team offense was without left tackle Jason Peters. They were also missing Wendell Smallwood, and Darren Sproles barely sniffed the field. That will hurt production. 

In the Packers game, 5-foot-9, 180-pound Donnel Pumphrey ran the ball off-tackle multiple times. That ain't happening in the regular season. Would you like to see Wentz protected better and the ones be more productive? No question. Is it time to push the panic button? Certainly not.

The flip side is keeping some of the positive performances in perspective. It's beyond encouraging how Mychal Kendricks has looked through the first two games. But let's not lose sight of the non-factor he's been the last couple of seasons when things were real. 

There is no bigger believer in Derek Barnett than me. From the moment I knew where the Eagles would be selecting in the draft, I wanted him in midnight green. I'm a firm believer he will be starting sooner rather than later. And he has not disappointed in the exhibition games. But some of the guys he is facing will be pumping gas in Jersey real soon. Not playing in the NFL.

Perspective and long views are not easily attained. But they're necessary tools when it comes to this time of year.

NFL Notes: Jaguars open up QB competition after Blake Bortles' struggles

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NFL Notes: Jaguars open up QB competition after Blake Bortles' struggles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blake Bortles may have started his last game in Jacksonville.

Coach Doug Marrone opened up the team's quarterback competition Thursday night after another inconsistent performance from Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

Bortles completed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards in a 12-8 exhibition loss to Tampa Bay. All four of his drives ended with punts. The first-team offense now has three points in Bortles' six preseason possessions.

He misfired to Allen Robinson twice Thursday, including a woefully underthrown pass down the seam that drew boos from the home crowd and caused some head-shaking on the sideline.

"It's hard to not hear people booing," Bortles said. "But if they're cheering or booing, it's kind of irrelevant, at least for me it is. I think you've got to treat adversity and prosperity the same way. They're not booing for no reason. They're booing because you didn't do your job" (see full story).

Steelers: LB Shazier returns to practice
LATROBE, Pa. -- On a day when the Pittsburgh Steelers were set to break camp and return home, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier was just glad to be back on the field.

Shazier fully practiced during the Steelers last day in Latrobe after missing the previous two weeks with a slight hamstring pull.

"I was telling the guys on the sideline that I was so thankful to be back in the mix," Shazier said after Friday's practice. "It was great to be back out there, running around and seeing football from the inside of my helmet instead of from the sideline."

Shazier said he isn't playing in the team's second preseason game on Sunday when the Steelers host the Atlanta Falcons. Though he admitted to feeling behind, the fourth-year linebacker believes he can catch up.

Ravens: Zuttah returns after being traded
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have signed center Jeremy Zuttah, who returns to the team that traded him to San Francisco in March.

Zuttah started every game last year and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. He was dealt to the 49ers so Baltimore could save salary-cap space and move up 12 spots in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

Zuttah was released by San Francisco last week, and the Ravens signed him Friday to join a depleted offensive line in dire need of a veteran presence in the middle.

The Ravens were counting on John Urschel to play center this season, but he abruptly retired in late July. Ryan Jensen has been playing center, but he could move to guard to replace Alex Lewis, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

The 31-year-old Zuttah started 41 games in Baltimore over the past three years.

NFL: Gun charge against linebacker Greene
ELIZABETH, N.J. -- A gun charge against an NFL linebacker has been dropped because the man who said he gave him a weapon admitted he lied, the player's attorney said.

The charge against free agent Khaseem Greene was dismissed by a judge on July 17 after a request from prosecutors, NJ.com reported this week.

His attorney, Joshua McMahon, provided an audio recording to NJ.com of the other man telling detectives he lied about Greene's involvement in a shooting outside a nightclub in Elizabeth last December.

Jason Sanders' admission came the same day he told detectives that Greene was involved, but it wasn't included in a criminal complaint that alleged that Greene was seen on camera handing him a gun, McMahon said. Sanders is accused of firing into a crowd and remains jailed on aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

McMahon said the audio recording proves prosecutors moved forward with charges even though Sanders admitted he lied.