Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Notes: Chargers cut CB Brandon Flowers, OL D.J. Fluker

NFL Notes: Chargers cut CB Brandon Flowers, OL D.J. Fluker

CARSON, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers have released cornerback Brandon Flowers, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and receiver Stevie Johnson.

The Chargers announced the moves Tuesday.

Flowers spent three seasons with the Chargers after making the Pro Bowl and leaving Kansas City in 2013. He made just four interceptions in his three seasons, and he appeared in just six games last year while dealing with a concussion.

Fluker was the Chargers' first-round pick in 2013. The versatile lineman was due to make $8.821 million next season, and he started all 16 games last season on the right side of the line.

Johnson caught 45 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers in 2015. He missed last season after injuring his knee early in training camp.

Falcons: Julio Jones has minor foot surgery
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons say wide receiver Julio Jones is expected to be ready for the start of training camp after having minor foot surgery.

Jones had the procedure on Monday and posted on his Twitter account: "Surgery was a success! Thanks to all that prayed for me."

Falcons spokesman Brian Cearns said Tuesday that Jones is expected to be at full speed for the start of training camp.

Jones missed two games last season with a sprained left toe and also missed practice time in the second half of the season with foot problems. He still had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns and was named to his second straight All-Pro team.

Bills: Contract extended to RB Gillislee
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have extended contract offers in retaining the rights to running back Mike Gillislee and offensive lineman Ryan Groy.

The moves announced Tuesday give the Bills the right to match any offers teams make to the two restricted free agents. Additionally, the Bills would be compensated a fifth-round draft pick should Gillislee sign elsewhere once the NFL's free-agency period starts on Thursday.

Gillislee has been a dependable backup behind LeSean McCoy since joining the Bills in November 2015. Last season, he had 577 yards rushing and scored nine touchdowns, including one receiving. He also led the NFL in averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

Groy started the final seven games last season at center after Eric Wood broke his right leg.

Jets: WR Jalin Marshall banned 4 games for PEDs
NEW YORK -- The NFL has suspended New York Jets receiver Jalin Marshall for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancers.

The suspension of the second-year player from Ohio State was announced Tuesday. Earlier, the New York Daily News reported he tested positive for Adderall.

"I really just want to apologize for this mistake. I inadvertently took medication without an exemption from the league on one occasion," Marshall tweeted. "It has not happened since & will not happen again. Already looking forward to 2017 and doing whatever I can to help this team win."

Marshall can participate in all offseason team events, including training camp and preseason games, before serving the suspension.

Also a kick returner, Marshall made the Jets as an undrafted free agent. He had 14 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, but a torn labrum in his shoulder forced him to miss six games.

Vikings: Longtime LB Greenway retires
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- NFL players usually don't get to leave the game like Chad Greenway did.

From start to finish, Greenway had quite the career.

Proudly declaring he's "healthy and happy" and ready for retirement after 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings , Greenway turned his time at the podium at a farewell news conference into a 25-minute thank-you to the people who influenced and supported him over the years. Former teammates Jim Kleinsasser and Ben Leber were among those in attendance, along with Vikings greats Carl Eller and Bud Grant.

General manager Rick Spielman praised Greenway's exemplary citizenship off the field, and coach Mike Zimmer expressed his appreciation for being able to lean on Greenway's leadership to help sell his message in the locker room.

"I wish I would've had him when he was younger," said Zimmer, who has been with the Vikings for three seasons.

The 34-year-old Greenway reminisced about his family's farm in South Dakota, where he recalled telling his father at age 5 or 6 while helping him feed cattle that he would play professional football one day. The encouragement offered by Alan Greenway, who died of cancer during the 2014 season, was one of many meaningful ways he impacted his son's life over the years. Greenway needed to pause several times to compose himself between cracks in his voice.

"The most amazing man in the world, hands down," Greenway said. "I'm so proud to carry the name that he gave me and hold it to a high standard. I'm so proud to be his son. It was hard losing him, but at the same time it's fun to be able to carry on his name and his legacy with my own kids."

Zach Ertz: Criticism of Doug Pederson's play-calling was 'definitely misconstrued'

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USA Today Images

Zach Ertz: Criticism of Doug Pederson's play-calling was 'definitely misconstrued'

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and right tackle Lane Johnson clarified comments that were interpreted as critical of coach Doug Pederson’s play-calling.

Several Eagles players lamented the lack of offensive balance following the Eagles’ 27-20 loss to the Chiefs in Week 2, with Ertz’s postgame interview in particular drawing attention (watch here). The fifth-year veteran’s statements about the lopsided run-pass ratio were viewed by many as a direct indictment of Pederson — evidence, perhaps, the head coach runs the risk of a locker-room mutiny, if he runs nothing else.

Ertz attempted to set the record straight on Wednesday.

“Those were definitely misconstrued,” Ertz said after practice. “I would never second-guess Doug’s play-calling. I’ve never been a guy to question the head coach. People kind of took it way out of context.”

While Ertz acknowledged balance was an issue in Kansas City, he explained the ratio was a symptom of the problem, for which some of the responsibility falls on the players.

“I said, ‘It started with myself in the run game. I’ve got to be better,’” Ertz said. “And I said, ‘Ideally, in a game, it would be 50-50 if the situation presents itself,’ but that game, it never presented itself to be the opportunity to run the ball because we were down. We had to throw the ball 17 straight times at the end of the game, so the numbers were very skewed.

“People took my comments way off. I was pretty disappointed with how they were perceived, but I guess it is what it is.”

Pederson’s play-calling has been closely scrutinized since last season, but the fervor over offensive balance reached new levels this week. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz dropped back to pass a whopping 56 times, compared to only 14 handoffs in the loss.

Everybody, including Ertz, seemed to recognize it’s difficult to beat an NFL opponent that way.

“You can't be throwing the ball 40 times in a game,” Ertz said Sunday postgame. “How many times did he throw today?

“That's not ideal. Low 30s is probably where you want him at. Thirty runs, 30 passes, if you're going to get 60 plays.

“We want to be a balanced offense. We’ve got the linemen to do it, we've got the running backs to do it, we've got the tight ends to block, we've got the receivers to block, we've just got to go out there and put it together.”

At the same time, the Eagles have struggled to run the football consistently in 2017, averaging only 3.5 yards per handoff. Furthermore, the passing game was working against the Chiefs, allowing Wentz to throw for 333 yards. The Eagles offense never took the field with a lead at any point during the contest, either, and therefore maintained an aggressive approach throughout.

Johnson appeared to question the run-pass ratio postgame as well, saying the Eagles have to run the ball to take pressure off of Wentz. On Wednesday, however, Johnson defended the game plan against Kansas City’s defense.

“(Pederson) felt outside on the edge that they couldn’t guard Zach, they couldn’t guard (Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery). You saw (Ertz and Jeffery) made big plays, so they really couldn’t.

“That’s what he saw, pretty much was mismatches all week. You saw Ertz with a big game. That’s why we threw the ball so much.”

Ertz also feels Pederson’s plan was appropriate plan given the circumstances.

“You’re going to put your team in the best position,” Ertz said. “Whatever he thinks the matchups are to benefit the team, whether it be in the run game or the pass game, that’s going to be the majority of the play calls.

“It’s going to differ each and every week, and that’s why you build an offense like we have, because we’re able to be so different each and every week, and it’s just going to depend on the week, on the matchup.”

There’s no denying that Ertz, Johnson and probably the rest of the roster would either agree with or wouldn’t mind a little more play-calling balance from Pederson. That’s not a sign of a head coach losing the locker room. The players are confident in Pederson to make the correct calls and right the ship – and for their part, that they will be able to execute in the run game when the time comes.

“We have a lot of great pass-catchers on this team,” Ertz said. “That’s not a knock on (our run game). I think we’re a very balanced team. Our O-line can run the ball when we establish the run game.

“We’re going to be better at it this week, the rest of the season hopefully. We have a lot to improve on as an offense. We’re not going to be where we are now in five weeks or so. We’re excited about having the opportunity to play a really great front this week, and we have to establish the run game.”

Eagles injury update: Secondary hamstrung for second straight day

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CSN

Eagles injury update: Secondary hamstrung for second straight day

It looks like all three members of the Hamstrung Trio (see story) weren't practicing again on Thursday. 

At the start of Thursday's practice, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins, who suffered hamstring injuries on Sunday against the Chiefs, were not participating. This will be the second straight day all three will miss practice. 

McLeod was the only member of the trio to even make an appearance at practice before reporters were kicked out after individual drills. He walked onto the field with a compression sleeve on his right leg and began to watch.

There was, however, a new safety on the field. Newcomer Trae Elston, who was claimed off waivers from the Bills, was on the field for the first time with the Eagles. He was wearing No. 35. 

It'll be tough for the Eagles to get Elston caught up by game time on Sunday at 1 p.m. Aside from Elston, the Eagles have just Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos as safeties, although linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill could be used in a pinch and Jenkins thinks a couple cornerbacks have the ability to play safety (see story)

Ronald Darby (ankle) and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) were the other two Eagles who weren't practicing on Thursday. Darby is out for at least another few weeks with his dislocated ankle. 

Vaeao missed the Chiefs game and looks to be in danger of missing another week. In his absence, rookie sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls played nine snaps and played well. Qualls could see his workload increase as the fourth DT against the Giants.