Eagles schedule highlighted by West Coast trip, Christmas game

Eagles schedule highlighted by West Coast trip, Christmas game

The Eagles got their wish. Sort of. 

Last month at the NFL owners meetings, head coach Doug Pederson revealed that the team had asked the NFL to put two of their West Coast trips back-to-back. The best-case scenario would have been to have their games against the Rams and Chargers in back-to-back weeks. 

That didn't happen. 

But the Eagles will still have two weeks out west in early December. The NFL schedule, released on Thursday night, has the Eagles playing at Seattle against the Seahawks on Dec. 3 and then facing the Rams in Los Angeles on Dec. 10 (see schedule)

The back-to-back West Coast games will allow the Eagles to spend a week likely in L.A. instead of making an extra couple cross-country trips. The last time the Eagles spent a week away before a game was in 1995. The Eagles will still need to head to L.A. to face the Chargers in Week 2. The Eagles haven't played in the Los Angeles metropolitan area since 1990 against the Rams in Anaheim. 

While the NFL gave the Eagles a little gift, the league is also making them work on Christmas. 

The Eagles will host the Oakland Raiders at the Linc on Christmas night for a Monday Night Football matchup. The Eagles have played on Christmas Day only once before, back in 2006. The Eagles beat the Cowboys in North Texas, 23-7. 

Perhaps the Eagles deserve the Christmas game this year after the 2016 schedule. In 2016, the Eagles had a Thursday night game on Dec. 22 that gave them an extended break through the Christmas weekend, something many players in the locker room really enjoyed. Christmas Day was on a Sunday last year. 

The Christmas game is one of five primetime games for the Eagles in 2017. The others are Oct. 12 at Carolina (Thursday night), Oct. 23 vs. Washington (Monday night), Nov. 19 at Dallas (Sunday night), and Dec. 3 at Seattle (Sunday night). 

This is the third straight year the Eagles will face the Cowboys on the road in a Sunday Night Football contest. It's the fifth time since 2012 that's happened. 

Between Weeks 6 and 7, the Eagles will have an extremely long time to prepare to face Washington on Monday night (Oct. 23) after facing the Panthers on a Thursday night game the previous week (Oct. 12). It's almost like another bye week. 

After a Week 4 bye in 2016, the Eagles' bye in 2017 comes at Week 10. 

The Eagles will kick off their 2017 season on the road to face Washington on Sept. 10. The Eagles lost both games to Washington last season and have lost their last five contests against it. They haven't won at FedExField since the 2013 opener. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Eagles opened their season on the road against an NFC East team. 

Including the opener, the Eagles will be on the road for three of their first four games to start the season (see Roob's full breakdown).

The home opener is in Week 3, when the Eagles welcome the Giants to town. 

For the second straight year, the Eagles will host the Cowboys to finish off the season. 

The NFC East faces the AFC West in 2017, setting up a battle with Andy Reid's Chiefs in Kansas City in Week 2. The Eagles, who lost to Reid's Chiefs, 26-16, in 2013, will face Reid for the second time since his firing in 2012. The Birds went 1-3 vs. the AFC West that year, with their only win in the division coming courtesy of Nick Foles' seven-touchdown game vs. the Raiders. 

Also on the 2017 docket is the NFC West. The Eagles will again travel to Seattle, where they lost, 26-15, in 2016. The 49ers will come to the Linc in 2017. It's just too bad that Chip Kelly won't be with them. 

Six of the Eagles' 13 opponents had losing records in 2016, but five of those 13 opponents were playoff teams in 2016. 

This year, the Eagles face off against the NFC West, the AFC West and the Panthers and Bears, who were both the last place finishers of their respective divisions, thus matching up with the Eagles, who finished last in the NFC East in 2016. 

Here's the full schedule: 

Week 1 -- at WAS on Sept. 10 (1 p.m.)
Week 2 -- at KC on Sept. 17 (1 p.m.) 
Week 3 -- vs. NYG on Sept. 24 (1 p.m.) 
Week 4 -- at LAC on Oct. 1 (4:05 p.m.)
Week 5 -- vs. ARZ on Oct. 8 (1 p.m.) 
Week 6 -- at CAR on Oct. 12 (8:25 p.m.)
Week 7 -- vs. WAS on Oct. 23 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 8 -- vs. SF on Oct. 29 (1 p.m.)
Week 9 -- vs. DEN on Nov. 5 (1 p.m.) 
Week 10 -- BYE
Week 11 -- at DAL on Nov. 19 (8:30 p.m.) 
Week 12 -- vs. CHI on Nov. 26 (1 p.m.)
Week 13 -- at SEA on Dec. 3 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 14 -- at LAR on Dec. 10 (4:25 p.m.)
Week 15 -- at NYG on Dec. 17 (1 p.m.)
Week 16 -- vs. OAK on Dec. 25 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 17 -- vs. DAL on Dec. 31 (1 p.m.)

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

The Eagles have completed one round of OTAs and will kick off another next week, starting Tuesday. 

OTAs are basically light practices in shorts and there's not a ton to gain from watching them, but they're not completely worthless. We already learned who some starters are for now and got a chance to see some new players on the field. 

Training camp will be here before you know it. 

To your questions: 

This is an interesting question because I think if I'm his teammate, I'd be a little annoyed. Especially if I'm some backup player making league minimum and the $100 million man doesn't show. 

But it really isn't like that. Even talking to players off the record, they don't seem to be bothered that Fletcher Cox wasn't with the team during a week of OTAs. Basically, players assume if a guy isn't there, they have a reason and are working out on their own. 

Guys especially understand if a player misses because of contract reasons — get paid, fellas. Obviously, that's not the reason Cox is missing. He signed a $100 million deal last offseason. And Cox's absence allows some other guys to get more reps, which is good for younger guys. 

It definitely doesn't look good from the outside that Cox isn't there. And it's pretty obvious Doug Pederson wants him at the facility. But the players inside the locker room? They're more understanding. 

Let's pump the breaks on the Nelson Agholor OTAs praise. Sure, he looked pretty good in the one day we got to watch of practice this week, but Agholor has looked good in shorts before. 

Does he have a shot at being a starter? Maybe a very slim shot. But the chances he actually beats out Torrey Smith for a starting gig seem minuscule. Perhaps you're thinking Smith is completely shot after looking that way in San Francisco, but it's hard to imagine he can't beat out Agholor for the job. 

That said, Agholor will be on the team this year. His contract makes cutting him nonsensical. And it'll be interesting to see how he performs without the pressure of being a starter. To me, it would make sense to occasionally work him into the slot, something the coaching staff hasn't done much of in the last couple years. 

I put these together because I want to make this point first: we have only been allowed to watch one of their three practices, so we don't have a lot to work from. But I'll give you what I can. 

Barnett: He looks impressive in shorts, at times beating Lane Johnson, who is a very good tackle. That bend we've heard so much about was evident really early. Remember Joe Douglas' talking about ankle flexion? Well, it's absolutely there. It's clear Barnett is a technician, but I'll reserve my judgment until training camp when the pads go on. 

Wentz: Thought he looked fine. I saw some folks saying they saw differences in his mechanics ... Eh. Hard to say in one practice. What I did see were a few beautifully tossed balls and some chemistry forming with Alshon Jeffery, who ought to be the team's No. 1 target this year.

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has had a lot of time on his hands this week while sitting at home on his Kentucky ranch as his team went through optional practices in the Twin Cities.

Zimmer was under strict orders to leave the team and rest his right eye, which has needed eight surgeries to try to repair a detached retina. The lingering issues have led some to wonder if he would be forced to shorten his career.

Zimmer has heard the speculation all week long. The hard-nosed coach said he has reached out to some of those doubters personally this week.

"I'll be back shortly," Zimmer vowed in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "One eye or two, it doesn't matter. I'll be back. We can put that retiring thing to bed quickly."

Zimmer missed one game last season due to the problems with his eye . He tried to work through the issues, but said on Friday that he was told to skip this week's practices and go home to allow his eye to recover.

"It's not much fun," he said. "Usually I love it down here in my place here. But I don't love it too much this week. It was kind of a forced situation. But for the long run it's the best thing for me."

Giants: Smith trying to resurrect career
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith didn't catch a break in his final two seasons with the New York Jets, and it seems his chances of resurrecting his career with the Giants are facing obstacles.

Not only does Smith have to beat out incumbent Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job to Eli Manning, his prospects of making the team took another hit in the NFL draft when the Giants selected Davis Webb with their third-round draft pick.

The 26-year-old Smith doesn't seem concerned.

Speaking after the Giants organized training activities Thursday, Smith sounded confident for a player who had a promising rookie season four years ago and then regressed, in large part due to inconsistency.

"Honestly, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone other than myself," said Smith, who has played in only three games in the past two seasons, starting one. "I am just trying to be my best every single day, focusing on trying to be perfect. I know that is a far goal to try and reach, but just trying to be perfect every day and understanding what is required of me once I step onto the field, and then trying to get it done."

Redskins: Injured Moreau final draft pick to sign
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have signed the final member of their 10-player draft class, third-round pick Fabian Moreau.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The cornerback out of UCLA tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. He was projected to be a first- or second-round pick before the injury and went 81st overall to the Redskins.

Moreau says doctors told him it was a five-month recovery, putting him on track to be ready by late in the preseason. The 23-year-old was at Washington's practice facility for rookie minicamp and the first sessions of organized team activities.

Coach Jay Gruden says the team is playing by ear the injury situations of Moreau and fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson and hopes they learn the schemes for the secondary as they rehab.

NFL: Judge tosses lawsuit over cheerleader wages
SAN FRANCISCO -- A lawsuit accusing the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders lacks evidence to support that claim, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. The suit sought class action status on behalf of all NFL cheerleaders.

"To state an antitrust claim here, plaintiff must plead not only `ultimate facts, such as conspiracy, and legal conclusions,'" Alsup said. "The complaint must answer the basic questions of `who, did what, to whom (or with whom), where, and when?'"

An email to an attorney for the 49ers cheerleader, Drexel Bradshaw, was not immediately returned. The cheerleader was only identified in the suit as "Kelsey K."

Alsup gave her an opportunity to amend the lawsuit and refile it by June 15.

The lawsuit was among a spate of legal actions in recent years accusing NFL teams of failing to pay cheerleaders for hours they spent practicing and making public appearances.