NFL Reports: Eagles

Barring another flare-up in the Terrell Owens soap opera -- which always is a possibility -- it appears that the Eagles will have the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver when they line up for their season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons on September 12.

Owens returned to the team on August 17 after being sent home from training camp for a week following an argument with head coach Andy Reid. The argument stemmed from Owens' unhappiness over the Eagles' refusal to renegotiate his one-year-old contract.

Owens reported to training camp on time, but then refused to communicate with Reid and offensive coordinator Brad Childress and refused to communicate with most of his teammates, including quarterback Donovan McNabb. At one point, he warned Childress not to speak to him unless he addressed him first.

After Reid threw him out of camp, Owens went on ESPN and called McNabb a hypocrite and said he was not going to change his attitude when he returned to camp. But the fact that Reid allowed him to return clearly indicates Owens had a change of heart.

Before he came back, the Eagles sent Owens a letter, documenting their unhappiness with the way he had been behaving and making it clear that if he continued down the same path, they would consider reclaiming a large chunk of the signing bonus money they gave him last year. McNabb has said he and Owens don't have to like each other or even talk to each other to be successful on the field this season.

"He's part of this team," McNabb said. "Understand that he is our teammate. For whatever happened last week and whatever happened while we were preparing for Pittsburgh, we knew he was coming back to be part of this team. He is still under contract here. He still has a locker in our locker room and he still wears his jersey.

"So when he came out to practice, it wasn't like I wasn't looking to throw him a pass or send a statement. When I'm on that football field, if you're open, you're getting the ball."

Owens hasn't played in either of the Eagles' first two preseason games. He sat out Saturday's game against Baltimore so that he could rest his injured groin. He and McNabb likely will play together for the first time outside of practice Friday against Cincinnati.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Rookie running back Ryan Moats had a nerve-wracking weekend last week. On Monday, the third-round pick played in his first NFL game. The day before, he proposed to his girlfriend, Tamishia Collinsworth. All in all, things went very well for Moats. Collinsworth accepted his marriage proposal and then he scored a pair of TDs in the Eagles' 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "(His NFL debut) was more nerve-wracking," he said. I know what I want (in a marriage). But the other one (the game) was harder to prepare for. This, I've been doing my whole life. No playbook for that. You don't do that every day. That's like, a once-in-a-lifetime thing. If you're doing that too many times, something's wrong."
  • Eagles vice-president of player personnel Tom Heckert is very good at finding diamonds in the rough. Two years ago, he had six undrafted free agents make an Eagles team that went to the NFC Championship Game. He appears to have found another one this year in linebacker Martin Patterson. Patterson, out of TCU, wasn't drafted mainly because he was clocked at no better than 4.9 at the scouting combine and his personal workouts before the draft. But he's definitely caught the coaching staff's eye in camp. "For a free-agent young guy coming in, I think he's done an extremely good job," defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "He's ahead of a lot of guys we've had. Johnson called the 6-1, 243-pound Patterson, "a very physical linebacker. He shows, in between the tackles, that he can play middle linebacker. He can take on a lead block. He takes on linemen well. He's still working on his pass coverage. That's probably his weakness right now. But he's had an excellent camp, no question about it."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You fix it like you do anything else. It's a process. We're in the process of putting our units together. We've got a lot of work to do on some things. Other things, we're further along on." -- Special teams coordinator John Harbaugh after the Eagles got burned for two special teams TD in their preseason opener against the Steelers.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Mike Labinjo v. Martin Patterson for backup middle linebacker job. Patterson, an undrafted rookie free agent, continues to turn heads with his strong play against the run. Labinjo, who came into camp as the likely backup in the middle to starter Jeremiah Trotter, has been slowed by a knee injury that has allowed Patterson to close ground.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:  Billy McMullen v. Justin Jenkins for No. 4 WR job: McMullen played well in the Eagles' first preseason game against Pittsburgh and leads that battle. Jenkins injured his knee on the first play of Saturday night's preseason game against the Ravens... Adrien Clarke v. Steve Sciullo for backup G job: Sciullo started five games last season and played pretty well. But Clarke, who spent his entire rookie season on IR, is having a solid camp and preseason... Mike McMahon v. Koy Detmer for backup QB job: McMahon has played well in the preseason, but Detmer's experience as PK David Akers' holder probably is insurmountable.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Reggie Brown. The rookie second-round pick caught five passes for 52 yards in the Eagles' first preseason game against the Steelers. He has not been overwhelmed by Andy Reid's complicated offensive system and appears to have a lock on the No. 3 WR job.

ROOKIE REPORT:

  • First-round DT Mike Patterson has played well and looks like he'll win a job in the club's four-man DT rotation... Second-round WR Reggie Brown caught five passes in the Eagles' season-opener against Pittsburgh...
  • Second-round LB Matt McCoy has struggled to learn the Eagles' defense and has not done much to grab the coaches' attention...
  • Third-round RB Ryan Moats had two TD runs against the Steelers and has played bigger than his 5-8, 200-pound size...
  • Fourth-round OT Todd Herremans has started the Eagles' first two preseason games at LT while Tra Thomas has recovered from a blood clot in his leg. With Thomas expected to be ready for the season-opener, Herremans will be the top outside backup at both tackle spots.

INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Correll Buckhalter (knee), who has been sidelined for nearly three weeks, will fly to Alabama to have his knee examined by Dr. James Andrews
  • WR Justin Jenkins injured his knee in Saturday's preseason game. The extent of the injury isn't known yet
  • CB Dexter Wynn, the club's top punt returner, injured his knee and ankle in the second quarter of the Ravens game. The extent of his injury still is undetermined
  • DE Jerome McDougle still is out after suffering a gunshot wound to the abdomen before the start of camp. He likely won't return until the first or second week in September, and probably won't be ready to play until Week 4 or 5
  • OT Tra Thomas, who has been out while recovering from a blood clot in his leg, returned to practice this week. He'll likely play in the Eagles' final preseason game on September 1 against the Jets
  • DT Paul Grasmanis (toe) sat out the game against the Ravens and could be hard-pressed to earn a roster spot because of the depth at the position
  • DT Sam Rayburn also missed the Baltimore game with an elbow injury
  • Other Eagles who didn't play against Baltimore: WR Terrell Owens (groin), DE Trent Cole (chest), DE Jamaal Green (foot), C Jamaal Jackson (triceps), CB Matt Ware (toe) and S Sean Considine (shoulder).

War Nest Top Stories