Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Notes: Giants clear cap space by cutting Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings

NFL Notes: Giants clear cap space by cutting Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants cleared roughly $10 million in salary cap space by releasing long-time fan favorite Victor Cruz and starting running back Rashad Jennings.

The team announced the moves on Monday after the two helped the Giants get back into the playoffs for the first time since playing in the Super Bowl in 2012.

The 30-year Cruz joined the Giants as a free agent in 2010 and his game-breaking ability as wide receiver helped them win their second Super Bowl under Tom Coughlin. A knee injury and a calf problem caused him to missed most of the 2014 season and all of the following season. He made a remarkable return this past season but was limited to 39 catches and one touchdown, which was the only time he got to celebrate with his traditional salsa.

Jennings joined the Giants as a free agent in 2014, after four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and one with the Oakland Raiders. In three years, he played in 40 games and rushed for 2,095 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 94 receptions for 723 yards and two scores (see full story).

Chiefs: Reid makes minor moves to coaching staff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs have promoted Brad Childress to assistant head coach and announced that Matt Nagy will take over as the sole offensive coordinator in a minor shake-up of Andy Reid's staff.

Childress and Nagy served as co-offensive coordinators last season. Their new roles were announced Monday.

Childress takes over from David Culley, who served as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach last season. Culley left in the offseason to be the quarterbacks coach in Buffalo.

The Chiefs already have hired Greg Lewis to work with wide receivers.

Nagy began his coaching career with Reid in Philadelphia, then followed him to Kansas City as the quarterbacks coach. Last year was his first as co-offensive coordinator.

49ers: Shanahan adds 3 more coaches to staff
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has added three new members of his coaching staff.

Shanahan announced Monday that Mike McDaniel will be the team's new run game specialist, Mike LaFleur will be wide receivers coach and Taylor Embree will be offensive quality control coach.

McDaniel and LaFleur both worked in Atlanta with Shanahan when he was offensive coordinator for the Falcons.

Embree is the son of 49ers assistant head coach and tight ends coach Jon Embree.

Packers: Allison pleads not guilty to marijuana charge
MANITOWOC, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

Allison's attorney, Brian Maloney, entered the plea on his client's behalf Monday. WLUK-TV reports Allison was not in court and was not required to be there.

The charge against Allison stems from a traffic stop in September in Manitowoc County. The next hearing is set for April 25.

Allison emerged in the last couple of weeks of the regular season with eight catches for 157 yards and a score while filling in when Randall Cobb was hurt. The undrafted rookie free agent out of Illinois played with a hamstring injury in the Packers' 44-21 loss to Atlanta in the NFC championship game.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz grateful Jake Elliott 'saved my butt'

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USA Today Images

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz grateful Jake Elliott 'saved my butt'

Zach Ertz was sitting in the locker next to Brent Celek after the game and at one point he leaned over to his teammate and said simply, "Thank God we won that game."

Because if the Eagles lost Sunday, Ertz would have been the goat.

Ertz had one of the tougher games of his career Sunday, with a costly fourth-quarter fumble that led to a game-tying Giants touchdown and also a dropped touchdown when he was wide open, although he did make up for that by catching a TD one play later.

"It sucks," Ertz said. "If we lost that game, I would have been in the dumpster."

Ertz, covered all day by Landon Collins, one of the NFL's best safeties, did catch eight passes for 55 yards and his first touchdown of the year in the Eagles' wild 27-24 win over the Giants at the Linc (see observations).

The fumble was only the third of his five-year career. That's three fumbles out of 268 receptions.

"The guy made a great play," Ertz said. "I was trying to gain some more yards after the catch, and he kind of just reached around and pulled my arm down and I fumbled. 

"I've got to work on ball security, something I'm going to emphasize this week. I've had (three) fumbles in my career, so I'm not going to over-think it, but at the end of the day, I've got to do better."

Ertz's last fumble came in a loss to the Redskins in December of 2015, forced by Bashaud Breeland and recovered by Dashon Goldson. That was Chip Kelly's final game as Eagles head coach.

His only other fumble came in a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco in 2014.

"I've never seen Darren Sproles fumble, and he fumbled last week, so it's going to happen if you play long enough in the NFL," Ertz said. "All you can do is work on it. Luckily, Jake (Elliott) saved my butt."

The end zone drop came with the Eagles up 7-0 in the third quarter. Wentz could have taken a little steam off the football, but it was still a ball Ertz should catch.

"I couldn't get my hands up fast enough," he said. "The linebacker flashed before me and the ball just kind of snuck up on me, kind of like what happened against the Redskins last year. 

"Luckily, came back the next play and I was able to make a much tougher catch."

Even on a bad day, Ertz still caught eight passes, and he's now second in the NFL with 21 receptions, five behind Antonio Brown. He's also 10th with 245 yards. Both numbers lead all NFL tight ends.

“With a guy like Zach, we know who he is," Wentz said. "Those mistakes don’t happen often. 

"That first ball I definitely threw it harder than it needed to be, and it kind of surprised him a little bit. We came right back to him, and that was huge. 

"I know with a guy like that, confidence is never going to go anywhere, and my confidence in him never is either. The fumble is one of those things you brush off and come right back to him. The guy made some great plays for us today.”

Ertz's 21 receptions are fourth-most in Eagles history after three games and seventh-most ever by any NFL tight end after three games.

Ertz has now played the equivalent of four full seasons in his career, and his 268 catches are seventh-most ever by a tight end after 64 games.

Most importantly, his five catches, 55 yards and touchdown against the Giants Sunday helped the Eagles knock off a division opponent and find their way to 2-1. 

“Last year we didn’t have a lot of wins (in) adverse situations like we faced today," Ertz said. "We weren’t perfect today, anybody in our division is not going to be perfect. But I think it showed a lot about our resilience today and overcoming adverse situations."

Report: Darren Sproles tore ACL and broke arm on same play

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Associated Press

Report: Darren Sproles tore ACL and broke arm on same play

Still riding high after a crazy win on Sunday, the Eagles got some bad news the next morning. 

Darren Sproles is done for the season. Maybe for his career. 

According to a report from ESPN, Sproles tore his ACL and broke his arm on the same play on Sunday afternoon at the Linc. The play came early in the second quarter. It first looked like Sproles hurt his knee and was then kicked on his right wrist on the way down. 

Sproles will have surgery on his arm on Monday and surgery on his knee later, per the ESPN report. 

The 34-year-old running back once said this would be his final NFL season but then backed off those comments when asked this summer. 

"We're gonna see," he said in June. "Right after we make the playoffs, then come back and ask me." 

It's possible Sproles' career is over, but it's also possible he'll try to make a comeback so his career doesn't end like this. 

After picking up 11 rushing yards on Sunday before leaving the game, Sproles now has 19,155 all-purpose yards in his career. That's the eighth most in NFL history. 

In his absence on Sunday, Torrey Smith took over as the Eagles' punt returner. Smith tweeted after the game that he hasn't returned punts since high school.