Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles trade Jordan Matthews, draft pick to Bills for CB Ronald Darby

Eagles trade Jordan Matthews, draft pick to Bills for CB Ronald Darby

A day after their first preseason game, the Eagles traded wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby.

Matthews, a free agent after the season, has been the Eagles' most productive receiver the last three years, catching 225 passes for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns.

But with his impending free agency, the additions of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Mack Hollins, and the more glaring need at cornerback, the Eagles decided to make a deal. 

Darby, 23, was a second-round pick in 2015. In two seasons with Buffalo, he had 137 tackles and two interceptions. 

Darby had an impressive rookie season, placing second to Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. 

Pro Football Focus graded Darby that year as the fifth-best rookie cornerback since 2006, behind only Casey Hayward, Tyrann Mathieu, Joe Haden and Desmond Trufant.

As Buffalo's No. 1 corner last season, Darby didn't have as much success. Quarterbacks had a 104.8 rating when targeting him. To put that in perspective, Jalen Mills had a 97.7 passer rating against and Leodis McKelvin was at 113.0.

Darby is under contract through the end of the 2018 season. He has a cap hit of $800,426 this season and just under $1.1 million next season.

In a separate move, the Bills traded wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams for a second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines.

With Matthews gone, Nelson Agholor is expected to man the slot for the Eagles.

Things starting to click for Eagles 2nd-year DE Alex McCalister

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USA Today Images

Things starting to click for Eagles 2nd-year DE Alex McCalister

Earlier this week, Alex McCalister did something new. 

The second-year defensive end lined up out wide but before the snap, slipped inside just in time to dip and speed past offensive tackle Taylor Hart for a training camp sack. 

"I would just run around people in college," McCalister said. "But everybody in the league is fast as hell, so you have to learn switch-ups and stuff." 

At 6-foot-6, McCalister used his redshirt rookie season to gain some weight necessary to play in the NFL. Even with the extra weight, he's still long and lanky. Speed is still his greatest attribute. But speed isn't enough. 

He can't be a one-trick pony as a pass-rusher. Not in the NFL. 

So he's been working hard at developing a changeup to go with his fastball. 

"It's big," veteran defensive end Chris Long said. "Good pass-rushers can threaten your inside, through you and on the edge. With the gifts [McCalister] has, to develop that part of his game is just going to make him really hard to block.

"Alex has a lot of gifts. Learning some new moves is just going to accentuate those gifts. I think everybody has to realize what their strengths are at some point and work on their weaknesses."

McCalister is happy about how he's improved his inside moves. He said all training camp he has been hitting offensive tackles with speed, so he knew he'd be able to sneak inside and beat them with a change of pace.

He's been noticing that tackles start to cheat when they think the outside speed rush is coming. 

"Yeah, they just bail out immediately off the ball," McCalister said. "Which is good. I'm starting to set people up. Now I can take that inside move or show some power." 

For the last week or so, McCalister has looked like a different player. He suffered a hamstring injury earlier in training camp, but since returning, he's been making a push while working with the third-team defense. The problem for McCalister is the depth at his position. Even without Marcus Smith, who was cut last month, McCalister is probably the sixth defensive end on the roster after Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, Chris Long and Steven Means. 

He's starting to make a push though. 

In the Eagles' preseason opener, McCalister did some good things. He had 34 snaps, second most on defense, and picked up his first NFL (preseason) sack. He used a speed move around the right tackle to sack quarterback Taysom Hill with just over five minutes left in the game. He also forced a fumble on the play. 

McCalister had two tackles, the sack, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble. Not bad. 

"I don't think it was a secret," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He made some plays in the game, but he was also up and down. It's a little bit difficult at the end of the game because you don't have — early in the game you can roll waves of guys through. You get into that fourth quarter and there is nobody else, and they've got to stay out there for an extended period of time. That being said, just all those guys need to be more consistent. I think every single guy out there made a play somewhere along the line. But it's not just about making a play, it's about making all the plays or making the majority of the plays and being consistent, and Alex is still working on that."

McCalister agreed with Schwartz's assessment. He acknowledged that he needs to be more consistent, but also thinks that will come once his conditioning gets better. Missing time with a hamstring injury didn't allow him to stay in as good of shape as he normally is. 

Playing at the end of the game, McCalister just stayed in and didn't get to be part of a rotation. 

"Suck it up," McCalister said. "Fight. I'm glad nobody took me out though, because in my head, I know I can fight through it."

For the last week or so, McCalister has looked like a different player and he's noticed it too. Although he doesn't know what sparked it, something has finally clicked. He no longer beats himself up over mistakes; he just moves on to the next play. 

He used to drag after making a bad play; now he doesn't. McCalister knows it sounds cliché, but he's just trying to take every day and every play one at a time. 

"I don't know [what changed]," McCalister said. "I don't know what it was. But I'm glad it happened."

Dimitri Patterson injures 2 police officers trying to flee court room

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AP Images

Dimitri Patterson injures 2 police officers trying to flee court room

Former Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson injured two police officers while trying to flee during a family court hearing on Tuesday, according to police, via The Miami Herald.

Patterson, 34, appeared in Lawson E. Thomas Court Center when he was ordered by the judge to be taken into custody. At that time, he tried to run out of the door and tackled a female officer who fell and hit her head, while another officer suffered a wrist injury before Patterson was taken into custody.

The female officer was taken to the hospital but later released.

This isn’t Patterson’s first brush with the law. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported in 2015 that the Miami native was charged with felony child abuse.

Per police reports obtained from the incident, Patterson met his ex-girlfriend at Aventura Mall on Aug. 1, 2015, for a custody exchange of their 1-year-old child when an argument ensued over child support payments.

“While placing the boy in the back seat of the car, Medina told Patterson to calm down, warning him that she wouldn't allow him to take the child,” Cimini reported.

“Patterson ‘grabbed her around her neck and threw her to the ground,’ according to the incident report. ‘While this occurred, [Medina] was holding [the boy]. This action caused [him] to fall also and hit his head.’”

Court records show Patterson was eventually acquitted for culpable negligence and battery.

Patterson spent time with the Redskins, Chiefs, Eagles, Browns, Dolphins and Jets during his eight-year career. With the Eagles in 2009 and 2010, he appeared in 27 games (nine starts) with 50 tackles, four interceptions and one sack.

Patterson was last with the Jets in 2014 but suspended indefinitely by the team after leaving without contacting the organization. He was released a short time later and retired.