- According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Cowboys WR Amari Cooper had an ankle scope procedure that was done for maintenance and isn’t expected to keep him out long.
The controversy over Eagles HC Doug Pederson‘s decision to insert third-string QB Nate Sudfeld into the game in the fourth quarter of Week 17’s loss to Washington amped up another degree when it came out that players were angry about the decision during the game, including team leader C Jason Kelce going to Pederson to ask about it midgame. Kelce took to Instagram, though, to try and clear up some of the controversy.
“Thought I would clear the air just to clarify and more accurately depict what happened during the game on Sunday,” Kelce wrote. “At the end of the third quarter, I was told on the bench that Sudfeld was going in the game. I went up to Doug and asked him if he was taking Hurts out, he said, ‘Yes, I think Nate’s earned the right to play.’ I said, ‘Everyone else is staying in?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’ I then went to find Suddy. Started taking snaps on the sideline with him, called the other linemen over and had them listen to his snap count to make sure everyone was on the rhythm of his cadence, and then went out for the next drive.
“At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational. We all knew leading into the game that Sudfeld was told to be ready to play, and that Doug wanted to see what he could do in a game situation. All of us during the week leading up were excited for Nate, a guy that has been with us for four years to get an opportunity in a real game to show the world what he can do. We all have complete confidence in Nate as a player, there’s a reason he’s been here this long, and a reason the team brought him back. And that’s because we feel like Nate is a guy we can win with.
“I understand the optics of how it looked, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little surprised given the circumstances that the move happened when it did, but every one of us did our best, and all of us believe we can win with Nate Sudfeld. It was a difficult situation be be put into, especially when you have a 10-year veteran center who doesn’t snap the ball accurately on your second drive of the game. I know we can win games with Nate because I know Suddy can play. It didn’t work out Sunday, but as always, that’s not just on him.”
- Fansided’s Matt Lombardo writes that he talked to executives around the league who think Pederson created a major problem for himself. One NFC personnel director thinks he’s in danger of losing the locker room: “Doug better be careful. If players or coaches see that you aren’t giving your best effort or trying to be successful, they can see right through you. It doesn’t matter who you are, teammate or head coach, they’ll cut you out. And they might not let you back in….Players know. If you don’t fight for them, they’ll turn around and quit on you mighty quick. They’ll tune you out and you’ll lose the locker room for good.”
- Another executive had the theory Pederson’s move was meant to send a message about what he thinks of second-round QB Jalen Hurts compared to QB Carson Wentz: “What it looked like to me is Doug Pederson stood on the sideline and said ‘I’m still the coach of this team, and Carson Wentz is still my guy.’ You can’t win with Jalen Hurts. He’s 7-for-20, he’s missing wide-open throws that any quarterback can make, that we’re asking him to make, and he just can’t make them. You want to move forward with this guy, but right now, I can’t win with him.”
- Sudfeld apparently didn’t get any practice reps during the week and wanted plays called once he got into the game that weren’t. (Ryan Dunleavy)
- Eagles senior offensive assistants Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg will not have their contracts renewed for 2021. (Chris Mortensen)
- The Eagles will also look to hire a formal offensive coordinator, which makes QB coach and passing game coordinator Press Taylor‘s future with the team a little more uncertain as well. (Jeff McLane)
- According to the Athletic’s Dan Duggan, Giants DB Logan Ryan‘s three-year, $30 million extension includes a $6 million signing bonus. He’ll make a base salary of $5.5 million in 2021 and base salaries of $9.25 million each of the final two years
- Ryan’s 2021 base salary and $8.5 million of his 2022 base salary are guaranteed, which should give him solid job security until the final year of his deal in 2023.
Washington QB Taylor Heinicke impressed the team in his relief appearance for Dwayne Haskins a couple of weeks ago shortly after he was signed out of a long layaway. Now Heinicke could start or play a large chunk of the team’s playoff game against the Buccaneers Saturday and he says he’ll be relying on his knowledge of the playbook that he picked up from his time with the coaching staff in Carolina.
- NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport mentions Washington expects QB Alex Smith (calf) to be available for Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers.
- Washington HC Ron Rivera said Heinicke took the bulk of the first-team reps in practice Thursday Smith was “a little bit sore.” (Nicki Jhabvala)
- Washington third-round RB Antonio Gibson said his toe definitely swelled up after playing the Panthers in Week 16 but he avoided any setbacks from Week 17’s game. (John Keim)