Mon Nov 23 7:29pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) scrambles during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) sacks Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) in the end zone for a safety during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is sacked by Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles have too many problems to pin the blame on one person.
While coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz get most of the criticism for the team's 3-6-1 record, which is good enough for first place in the pitiful NFC East, there's plenty of blame to be spread around.
Personnel boss Howie Roseman passed up wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to draft J.J. Arecega-Whiteside in the second round last year and took wideout Jalen Reagor ahead of Justin Jefferson in the first round this year. It's too early to judge Reagor, but Arcega-Whiteside was a healthy inactive last week and has only 12 catches in two seasons.
He also drafted backup quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round this season when the Eagles had more pressing needs.
Injuries have been a major factor in the team's struggles. The Eagles have used 12 players on the offensive line, including 10 different starters. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, running back Miles Sanders and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have missed significant time.
Wentz is having the worst season of his career with 18 turnovers, including 14 interceptions. But he's constantly under pressure because his protection has been poor and his young receivers aren't always where they should be on routes.
Wentz has also missed open receivers and made bad decisions, including a pick-6 in a 22-17 loss at Cleveland on Sunday.
However, Pederson continues to dismiss any questions about benching his quarterback because he sees Wentz getting little help.
''In this city, it's all about the QB and the head coach and everybody else can almost go by the wayside, I guess. So it's almost like a two-man band,'' Pederson said Monday. ''But there is enough work to be done by all positions. Receivers can play better. O-line can play better. ... Running backs, we need to hang on to the football. Quarterback needs to play better. Defensively, we have got to get off the field on third down. Got to be able to tackle better. Same way on special teams. Got to be able to tackle in space.
''There is enough to go around that none of it is excusable. We all hold each other accountable, coaches and players. That's why I keep saying that we have a lot to play for. There is a lot of pride here. That's what we're going to do.''
The Eagles are running the ball effectively until Pederson stops calling runs. They had 96 yards in the first half on 19 attempts, but only ran six times in the second half in a one-possession game for the most part. Miles Sanders had 63 yards on 11 carries in the first half, but only 3 yards on five runs in the second.
Philly's wide receivers aren't getting open enough and hardly make any contested catches. Wentz targeted his wideouts 17 times against Cleveland, getting only eight completions for 69 yards. Jeffery mistimed a jump on a pass inside the 10 in the fourth quarter and it went for an easy interception.
Linebacker Alex Singleton had 11 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss. Singleton was signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent out of Montana State in 2015. He was cut by the Seahawks, Patriots and Vikings, excelled in two seasons in the Canadian Football League and signed with Philly last year. Singleton made his first career start in Week 6.
''Alex has been a big bright spot for us,'' Pederson said. ''He's played a ton of snaps obviously on defense. He's a core teams player, great leader, great energy giver, just somebody that has really embraced his role.''
Wide receiver Travis Fulgham has two catches on 12 targets in the past two games after an excellent stretch of five games. He had 28 catches for 427 yards and four TDs after debuting with the Eagles on Oct. 4. His decline in production coincides with Jeffery's return. Jeffery has zero catches in two games.
''I'm not worried about Alshon's presence right now. I'm concerned about Travis' production and getting him better and helping him get better,'' Pederson said. ''He needs to get better. As I've mentioned, we all have enough to do, enough work to do, and obviously he is part of that group.''
Right tackle Lane Johnson (shoulder) and cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc (ankle) didn't finish the game at Cleveland. Tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) is getting closer to returning.
2 for 12 - After going 0 for 9 on third down in a loss to the Giants, the Eagles weren't much better. They converted just twice in 12 tries.
The Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks (7-3) on Monday. They're 3-0 in prime-time games but are 0-5 against Russell Wilson, including a 17-9 loss in an NFC wild-card game last January.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 11
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury, with the expectation that he can return to practice Wednesday. Darnold has expressed some optimism that his shoulder has improved with the time off, although how aggressive the Jets will be in rushing their young QB onto the field remains to be seen. Joe Flacco has filled in for Darnold, leading the offense to 27 and 28-point performances, respectively, in the past two weeks with the team's full allotment of wide receivers at his disposal. Even when healthy in 2020, Darnold has done little to inspire confidence in fantasy managers, making the Jets quarterback room an avoidable conundrum heading into Week 12 no matter who eventually gets tabbed to make the start.
The San Francisco 49ers placed defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis on the COVID-19/reserve list Sunday, with the move becoming public Monday. With San Francisco having been on its bye week, the duo did not have to worry about missing game action, although their status for next Sunday's matchup against the Rams remains in question. (Players do not have to test positive to be placed on the list.) Jones has started all 10 games for the 49ers Defense this season, having compiled 14 tackles (six of which have come for a loss), in addition to two quarterback hits and two sacks. Willis has been utilized with less frequency, but the loss of either against Los Angeles would be a hit to the team's defensive line depth. Check back to see how San Francisco moves forward throughout the week as they continue to combat roster moves within the organization.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (thigh) would have only been able to practice in a limited capacity Monday had one been available to him. With the Ravens taking on the Steelers on Thanksgiving, the team's primary pass-catching threat has just three days to recover from the team's Week 11 matchup to get ready for its arch nemesis. Andrews had arguably his best game of 2020 on Sunday, compiling a season-high 96 receiving yards versus the Titans, while also hauling in his sixth touchdown of the year. The Steelers Defense gave Andrews fits during their Week 8 matchup, limiting him to three catches for 32 yards, as the Pro Bowl tight end is yet to find the end zone in four career meetings against Pittsburgh. Check back throughout the week to receive updates to his status as they become available.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is expected to land on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain, ruling him out for at least the next three weeks. The move paves the way for Frank Gore to become the bell cow out of the backfield, with Ty Johnson set to serve as his backup. Perine notched his second rushing score of the season Sunday, and figured to continue seeing a solid amount of reps down the stretch in 2020 as New York attempts to gauge his skill level heading into next year. But the injury will complicate the Jets' offense even more than before, making them a targetable group for fantasy managers deploying the streamer option for season-long defensive units. It's possible that Perine could return before the conclusion of the year, but in the meantime, Gore can be added off of the waiver wire as an RB3/Flex in medium-sized or larger season-long formats.
The Las Vegas Raiders made a splash earlier Monday by signing Vic Beasley to their practice squad, following up that announcement by claiming outside linebacker/defensive end Takk McKinley off of waivers. McKinley has already failed a physical with two different organizations, with the Raiders hoping to add him to their defense for the stretch run of the 2020 season. In four starts with the Falcons this year, McKinley has compiled eight tackles, seven quarterback hits, one pass defended, and one sack. The move may come as particularly appealing to McKinley, who could get a chance to face Atlanta as soon as Sunday, as the Raiders are set to travel to take on the Falcons in Week 12. Even with McKinley in the mix, the Raiders defense remains outside of fantasy consideration in all but the deepest of season-long formats.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Ravens on Thanksgiving, thereby having just three days' rest between their Week 11 and 12 contests; if the estimated practice attendance for Monday is any indication, they may be at far less than 100 percent for that contest. A whopping 15 players were listed as "DNP" had a practice session happened, headlined by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury related), but also including JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot), Eric Ebron (non-injury related), cornerback Joe Haden (knee), and defensive end Cameron Heyward (non-injury related). Many of those absences could be chalked up to the Steelers attempting to limit their players' reps ahead of a key matchup, but check back throughout the coming days to see how their practice participation status progresses.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (ankle) were both listed as DNPs on the team's injury report for Monday, indicating that they would not have been able to suit up for practice, had there been one. With just three days to recover from Week 11 before facing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, two of Washington's key offensive cogs will have a short window to heal up. McLaurin roasted the Cowboys' secondary earlier this year for seven receptions, 90 yards, and a touchdown, but his absence would pave the way for Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr., and Isaiah Wright to take on larger offensive roles in Week 12. As for Gibson, J.D. McKissic looms as the biggest beneficiary out of the backfield if Gibson's ankle ailment proves problematic. Check back for updates on both players as they become available.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein (back) appears to be heading into Thursday's matchup against Washington at less than 100 percent after sustaining a minor back injury during Week 11. Zuerlein missed an extra point versus Minnesota -- his third of the year -- but he added another field goal to his total, making him a flawless 17-for-17 inside of 50 yards this season. Head coach Mike McCarthy expects Zuerlein to be ready for Thursday's game, and with the Cowboys offense having begun to trend back in the right direction with Andy Dalton at the helm, Zuerlein reclaims much of the fantasy shine that had worn off due to the team's floundering offense. Check back prior to kickoff on Thanksgiving to make sure Zuerlein gets the green light to suit up.
New York Jets QB Mike White was released Monday, Nov. 23. TE Ross Travis was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed former Falcons and Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley to their practice squad on Monday. Beasley didn't work out for the Titans this year and was released three weeks ago after recording only three combined tackles and one forced fumble in five games in 2020. Beasley was the eighth overall pick by the Falcons in the 2015 draft out of Clemson, and he excelled as an inside linebacker with Atlanta in 2016. Beasley recorded a league-high six forced fumbles (one for a touchdown) and 15.5 sacks that year on his way to being named a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. Since then, though, the 28-year-old has 18 sacks in four seasons. He'll provide intriguing pass-rushing depth for Las Vegas.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 23.
Fantasy Spin: It's unclear at this point whether or not Thielen tested positive or was deemed a close contact - the distinction being that the former would rule him out for Week 12 while the latter would give him a chance to play against the Carolina Panthers. Stay tuned. If Thielen can't go, Justin Jefferson would step up into the lead role. Olabisi Johnson would likely start opposite him, but he'd be a desperation play at best. Irv Smith might stand to benefit the most from a fantasy perspective.
The Minnesota Vikings placed wide receiver Adam Thielen on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. It's not immediately clear whether Thielen actually tested positive for the virus or if he's just a high-risk close contact of another individual on the team or otherwise that tested positive for COVID-19. If Thielen is just a high-risk close contact, he has a shot at playing in Week 12 against the Panthers if he continues to test negative while quarantining all week. But this news will put his availability in question for this weekend. Thielen has 123 yards receiving in Week 11 and has four touchdowns in the last two weeks, so losing him would be big for fantasy managers and the Vikings. Rookie Justin Jefferson would become the team's top wideout, with OlaBisi Johnson and Tajae Sharpe or Chad Beebe likely joining him in three-wide sets.
The Seattle Seahawks placed tight end Greg Olsen (foot) on Injured Reserve on Monday. The 35-year-old veteran suffered a ruptured plantar fascia in his foot in the Thursday night win over the Cardinals, most likely ending his season and possibly his career. Olsen has been in the league for 14 years and considered retirement previously after dealing with foot injuries while at the end of his tenure with the Panthers. He wasn't very fantasy relevant in 10 games this year with Seattle, catching 23 of his 35 targets for 224 yards and one touchdown. With Olsen out for most likely the rest of the year, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister should split pass-catching duties at tight end, making it hard to predict which player will be more productive on a weekly basis.
Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (hip), CB Mike Ford (concussion), DL Da'Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and RB D'Andre Swift (concussion) did not participate in practice Monday, Nov. 23. DE Austin Bryant (thigh), LB Jarrad Davis (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), WR Marvin Hall (toe), S Will Harris (groin), TE T.J. Hockenson (shoulder), OG Jonah Jackson (knee), LB Christian Jones (knee), LB Reggie Ragland (ankle), QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) and OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) were limited. The Lions did not practice on Monday, so the report is an estimation.
Chicago Bears S Eddie Jackson was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 23.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule considers running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) week-to-week with his injury, but McCaffrey is considered unlikely to play in Week 12 against the Vikings, according to a source. All fantasy managers can do now is hope that the Pro Bowl running back can return during the fantasy playoffs, which run from Weeks 14-16 in most leagues. Backup Mike Davis had 19 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 15 yards in the Week 11 shutout win over the Lions. He'll remain Carolina's featured back with RB1 upside for as long as McCaffrey continues to be sidelined. Keep an eye on McCaffrey's practice status later in the week but have other plans ready in case he misses another game.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said that he expects quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) to practice on Wednesday. Bridgewater is dealing with an MCL sprain in his right knee and was inactive in the Week 11 shutout win over the Lions. Backup QB P.J. Walker went 24-for-34 for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the start with Bridgewater sidelined. He'd have some low-end QB2 upside against Minnesota's defense if he were to make another start for Bridgewater. Fantasy manager would like to see Bridgewater get in a full practice at some point this week in order to feel comfortable rolling with him as a QB2 if he were return to action on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (shoulder) is expected to miss around three weeks with a Grade 2 AC joint sprain in his shoulder after getting injured in the Week 11 win over the Jets. Nwosu will seek a second opinion but will be a candidate for Injured Reserve. A second-round pick out of USC in 2018, the 23-year-old has contributed 23 tackles (15 solo), eight QB hits, two passes defensed and 3.5 sacks in 10 games so far this season. The Chargers Defense will be a little bit short-handed in the middle of the field for at least the next three weeks. They'll be more of a back-end starting fantasy unit against a high-powered Bills offense coming off their bye in Week 12.
The Chicago Bears placed star safety Eddie Jackson on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. If Jackson was deemed a high-risk close contact of someone else that tested positive for the virus, he'll have a good chance of playing in Week 12 against the division-rival Packers if he continues to test negative. Losing him against Green Bay, though, could become a big issue for one of the stronger defensive units in the NFL. Jackson has also been IDP relevant as a playmaker in the secondary in 2020, ranking 14th in fantasy points at his position. The former fourth-round pick in 2017 has 58 tackles (46 solo), three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that tight end Vance McDonald has been cleared to come off the COVID-19 list and will return to practice on Tuesday. Meanwhile, tight end Zach Gentry (knee) is dealing with a significant knee injury and will not play on Thursday night against the division-rival Ravens. McDonald hasn't played since the Week 9 win over the Cowboys, but it looks like they'll have him this week against Baltimore. As long as Eric Ebron remains healthy, McDonald just isn't fantasy relevant with all of the offensive weapons around him. The veteran tight end has only nine receptions on 11 targets for 61 scoreless yards in eight games this season.