Jags’ Lawrence: ‘Everyone is frustrated; everybody is disappointed’

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence has not lost a lot of football games in the last few years, but after playing his first two games in the NFL, Lawrence and the Jaguars are 0-2 as they fell to the Broncos(2-0) 23-13 in their home-opener at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

It started out well for Lawrence as he connected with Marvin Jones on a 25-yard touchdown pass as the team drove 83 yards on their opening drive to take an early 7-0 lead. However, Jacksonville’s offense would not score again and would accumulate only 106 yards the rest of the way following that opening drive.

“Yeah, I think it’s a combination of a few things, just some ill-timed errors on everyone really,” Lawrence(14-33, 118 yards, touchdown, two interceptions) said after the game. “It was different people each time; we had a turnover and another one at the end, so that’s on me, and some penalties, whatever it may be—just bad timing for those things to happen. And then Denver played off that momentum and put a few scoring drives together. I think we were in the game the whole game. Really first half should have had the lead. Then after that, I didn’t think we kept playing like we did in that first quarter.”

Jones, who had six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown, added on the offensive struggles after the first drive: “We just had a lull. We just had lulls. I think it was a common theme after that drive in the second and third quarters. It’s just something that we need to figure out, and we have to find that energy and that spark and keep it. So yeah, I think that’s what it was.”

Even with the losing, Lawrence feels Jacksonville is improving.

“Yeah, I hate losing, like I said last week, so it’s not fun, obviously,” Lawrence said. “But at the same time, you’ve got to — you’ve just got to realize we’re getting better, and each week we’ve got to keep getting better, and it’s a long season. We’ve still got 15 more games, kind of like I said last week. That’s the mindset in the locker room, too. Everyone is frustrated; everybody is disappointed. Obviously, we worked our tails off to win this game, and we felt like we were prepared. Just got to keep getting better, though.”

At 0-2, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer will do everything he can to keep things positive in Jacksonville and keep the “nonsense” out of the locker room.

“I’ve seen nonsense seep into organizations when you’re 2-0, and I’ve seen it when you’re 0-2,” Meyer said. “Well, I guess I haven’t seen it when you’re 0-2, but I’ve seen it when you lose a game. We can’t allow that. The good thing is I don’t see that happening. If I do, I told the players and staff that’s the one thing that will not be tolerated with the Jags is nonsense.”

Jacksonville did play better in Week 2, but again, they fell short. As they go forward, they have to limit the turnovers(two) and take advantage of scoring opportunities(two missed field goals). Growing pains are not easy, but it may be what the Jaguars have to go through in 2021.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on’

For most of the first half on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-1), in their home-opener, were outplaying the San Francisco 49ers(2-0), and after a 91-yard reception by Quez Watkins gave the team first and goal from the six-yard line and Philly leading 3-0, it appeared that the Eagles were about to take complete control of the game.

However, after a pass interference penalty gave the Eagles the ball at the one, Philadelphia was not able to score and was stopped on 4th and goal from the three after trying to pull off the “Philly Special,” but Greg Ward’s pass sailed through the end zone and the 49ers would hold. Ultimately, San Francisco would drive the ball 97 yards, which would end with a Jimmy Garoppolo 11-yard touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead at halftime. In the end, San Francisco would defeat the Eagles 17=11 at Lincoln Financial Field.

That 14-point swing before the half turned the game around, and the 49ers goal-line stand was the key. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who calls the plays for Philadelphia, felt he let the team down with his play-calling during that red zone sequence.

“I don’t think I called good plays in that area,” Sirianni said. “There are going to be times where you’re going to look at it and be like, ‘I want those calls back.’ When they work, it was a good play. They didn’t.

“So, it was my fault. I didn’t call good enough plays right there. I didn’t put the players in good enough positions, but we’re all in this together, coaches and players.”

Philadelphia had several missed opportunities on Sunday, including a blocked field goal. In addition, they out-gained San Francisco(328-306). Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 12/23 for 190 yards with 82 yards rushing, touchdown, felt the team had too many self-inflicted wounds against the 49ers.

“We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on,” Hurts said. “I think that’s plain and simple right there. We have to be consistent in our execution. I have to be consistent in my execution and operation as a field general. It’s something to learn from today – a lot to learn from. They were things we could control, so that’s what hurts the most. We give credit to a good team and a good defense out there. Those wounds out there were self-inflicted.”

The Eagles may have also lost one of its leaders on Sunday. Pro Bowl DE Brandon Graham limped off the field in the second quarter, and according to reports, he may have a ruptured Achilles tendon. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox discussed Graham’s injury after the game.

“I mean, it’s always tough, and it was a pretty emotional moment for me to see BG limp off the field because I think me and BG – I know me and Brandon have played so much ball together and to see him walk off the field was pretty rough for me,” Cox said. “But we know Brandon, he’s in a good spot right now, and we’ll talk once he figures out what’s going on. At the same time, we got his back, and we’ll go from there and get ready for the next game.”

Philadelphia got another solid performance from their defense, and without a first down in the first quarter, but a lot of credit goes to the 49ers’ defense, who did a good job of limiting Hurts and the Eagles. 

This is a game the Eagles should have gotten, and they will be kicking themselves after this one.

Tom Brady tells young quarterbacks what they need to do to succeed

With seven Super Bowl titles, when Tom Brady talks, all young quarterbacks should listen. At age 44, Brady is still going and playing at a high level.

Last week, with his start against Dallas, Brady, who won FedEx Air Player of the Week, became the first player in NFL history to make 300 career starts while also tying Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (302) for the ninth-most games played in NFL history.

In addition, Brady threw three-or-more touchdowns in a game for the 94th time in his career, surpassing Peyton Manning (93) for the second-most such games in NFL history.

Earlier this week, the 22-year veteran gave advice to young quarterbacks.

“Good luck,” he said. “It’s tough, but it’s up to them. Yeah, if you do the right stuff, you have a shot. But I see a lot of people not do the right stuff. I try to influence the people I can. First of all, you have to love it. If you want to do it for a long period of time, you have to really excel at it, and that really comes from loving it. It’s a lot of different motivations over long periods of time. Lots of little things at different moments – some is more motivation, some is more inspiration, but there are a lot of different things that play into it.”

Football is a physical game that takes a toll on your body, but Brady’s love for football and his competitive spirit pulls him through.

“Well, I always love it. There are probably days I love more than others, but I definitely love it,” Brady said of football. “I love working out. I think the point is you push your body physically, your mind, and your spirit mentally and emotionally, and all of those things have to kind of stay in the right place over a long period of time. There are a lot of things that can take away from it. It’s a hard thing to do. There haven’t been many people who’ve done it, but I think I, in my part, have been very fortunate to have the right people in my life that have really allowed me to be successful – physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

To do what Brady has done in football, you have to love the sport, and Brady loves it, which is why he might be the G.O.A.T.

Giants’ Lawrence on going offsides: ‘I can’t make that mistake’

For the fifth straight season, the New York Giants are 0-2 after falling to the Washington Football Team 30-29 on Thursday night at FedExField.

This was a game the Giants should have won.

New York was on the verge of winning after Washington’s Dustin Hopkins missed a 48-yard field goal with no time left on the clock. However, Giants DT Dexter Lawrence went offsides, and Hopkins got another chance and connected from 43 yards.

On Friday, Lawrence discussed what went wrong.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’ve got to be more disciplined in that time at the end of the game like that in a critical situation. That’s why I’m on the field. It was unfortunate to have it happen then, and he missed it, but I’ve just got to do better….

“I hold myself to a high standard. I don’t play for myself; I play for my brothers on the field with me. For things like that, it is part of the game, but at the same time, for me, I can’t make that mistake. I don’t want to let my brothers down. I don’t want to let my family down. It’s just an unfortunate turn of events. The frustration is there on myself, not because of the call or anything like that.”

Lawrence was not the only one that let the Giants down on Thursday night. With the Giants up 23-20 in the fourth, wide receiver Darius Slayton dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone. If Slayton makes that catch, the Giants probably win.

Slayton described what happened on the play.

“Tried to run it down, probably should have dove,” Slayton, who had three catches for 54 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown reception, said on Friday. “Didn’t quite make the play…

“It’s a play that I 100 percent expect to make. Like I said, (I) tried to run it down; I should have ran it down. I’ve ran down a lot of balls in my life. At the end of the day, it’s a four-quarter game, and the game was far from over at that point. Had to move on quick and today is a new day; next week is a new week. Move on quick and make it back in the future.”

New York wasted a very good performance from quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for 249 yards and one touchdown. Jones also ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Most importantly, Jones had no turnovers. In addition, wide receiver Sterling Shepard had nine grabs for 94 yards, and Graham Gano made five field goals(35 straight made field goals).

The Giants host the Falcons next Sunday.

Jags’ Meyer: ‘I’m here and committed to try to build an organization’

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has no interest in the USC coaching job, at least that’s what he said on Wednesday.

“There’s no chance that—I’m here and committed to try to build an organization,” Meyer said.

On Monday, USC fired head coach Clay Helton, and from there, the speculation was that Meyer had an interest in that job, but he made it clear that he wants to stay in Jacksonville.

The 57-year-old Meyer, who won three National Championships in college with Florida and Ohio State, has gotten off to a rough start in Jacksonville. The Jaguars did not look very good in their season-opening loss to the Texans, and there have been rumors that players have been unhappy with some of his coaching methods. 

In addition, many have criticized his handling of the quarterback competition between the number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew.

However, according to Meyer, everybody is committed to getting things right in Jacksonville.

“I think every team—I don’t ever want to fall into that trap of saying this is a 4-year plan, a 3-year plan,” he said. “That’s not fair to players. This is a one-game plan, and then we’ll worry about the next game. So, that’s not fair to the [players]. There are some guys that have played a lot of football in that locker room, and they deserve our very best, and that’s what it is. Other than a bruised soul that we all have right now, we’re still swinging away.”

It’s only one game, and no expected Jacksonville to be world-beaters overnight. Meyer may have to adjust some things, but that all comes with experience on the NFL level. 

Brady named FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was voted FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 1, the NFL announced on Wednesday.

In Tampa’s 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys, the 44-year-old Brady completed 32-of-50 passes for 379 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Buccaneers on a game-winning drive to secure Tampa Bay’s first win of the 2021 season. Brady’s four touchdown passes tied for the second-most among all NFL quarterbacks in Week 1, while his 379 passing yards ranked third in the league.

With his start against Dallas, Brady became the first player in NFL history to make 300 career starts, while also tying Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (302) for the ninth-most games played in NFL history. In addition, Brady threw three-or-more touchdowns in a game for the 94th time in his career, surpassing Peyton Manning (93) for the second-most such games in NFL history. Brady also became just the second quarterback in NFL history with 100 career 300-yard passing games, joining Drew Brees (123).

The win marked the ninth-straight win for Tampa Bay dating back to last season. In each of the last eight wins during that streak, the Buccaneers have scored 30-or-more points, matching the longest such win streak in NFL history along with the 2007 and 2010 New England Patriots. Against Dallas, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski all had 90-plus receiving yards in the game, becoming the first Buccaneers trio to ever accomplish that feat in the same game. Gronkowski caught a pair of touchdown passes from Brady in Week 1, marking their 85th and 86th-career regular season touchdown connections, which surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the third-most in NFL history.

Washington’s Heinicke on starting: ‘I’m excited for the opportunity’

Coming into the 2021 NFL season, Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke was slated and prepared to be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, things have now changed.

Fitzpatrick could reportedly miss 6-8 weeks due to a right hip subluxation that he suffered on Sunday in a loss against the Chargers.

If the 28-year-old Heinicke plays well, this could be his job for the rest of the season and beyond. In four seasons, Heinicke has started just one regular-season game in 2018 with the Panthers and started a playoff game for Washington last season, where he threw for over 300 yards in a losing effort to the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild-Card round.

At this point, with Fitzpatrick out, Washington has not brought in another veteran quarterback, which means Washington is giving Heinicke a chance to shine. 

“I think someone asked me the question after the game, you’ve had a lot of doubters out there, stuff like that, and I don’t care about the doubters outside the facility,” Heinicke said on Tuesday. “It’s the people in the facility that I care about. If they have confidence in me and they believe in me, that’s all that I care about. Like you just said, that kinda tells me they have that confidence in me. So, it means a lot to me; it helps me play better. It gives me a lot more confidence, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Heinicke has been dreaming about being a starting quarterback in the NFL, but for Heinicke to keep the job, his mindset has to be one play at a time.

“Something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and here we are,” he said. “So, I really try and take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one play at a time. I feel like if I just live in the moment, everything else will take care of itself. I don’t try and get too ahead of myself. When we’re at practice, I just listen to the play, remember what we talked about — meetings, what we’re trying to get accomplished, and really take it one play at a time. We’ll worry about the other stuff later.”

Look, you never want to see anybody get injured, but it’s next man up in the NFL, so Heinicke has to seize the moment. If he wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he must play well during this stretch, which begins on Thursday night at home against the New York Giants.

Eagles DC Gannon explains how the defense turned things around against Atlanta

After two series, it appeared that the Atlanta Falcons offense was poised to score a lot of points against the Eagles on Sunday. 

Atlanta had drives of 72 and 74 yards, but Philadelphia kept them from scoring touchdowns. The Falcons would not score again after their second scoring drive, and Philadelphia would defeat Atlanta on the road 32-6.

The Eagles allowed 260 yards of total offense(102 total yards in the second half) and sacked Matt Ryan three times. Philadelphia allowed only 114 yards after the Falcons’ first two offensive drives.

On Tuesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon discussed the team’s adjustments on defense after the first two drives.

“I think the main two things that changed were we cleaned some technique issues up after the first couple series there,” Gannon said. “I think guys settled in a little bit better and started trusting their keys. We talk about alignment, assignment, key, technique. If you don’t have those, if one of those four things is wrong, it’s hard to play good team defense.

“I think really it’s a credit to our players; they settled down and just started getting back to the basics of that. That’s really pre-snap that we can control everything. The technique part is post-snap. But alignment, assignment, where they put their eyes, that’s all pre-snap. I think we kind of settled down and did a better job of that.

“We got to some different things we had in our back pocket that we knew we were going to run and got to some of those calls. They executed well.”

Give Philly’s defense a lot of credit. They played very well on Sunday and deserve just as much recognition as the offense for the Eagles defeating the Falcons on Sunday.

Let’s see if the defense can keep it going against the 49ers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Washington to start Henicke against Giants in Week 2 after Fitzpatrick injury

On Monday, the Washington Football Team got some bad news when they learned that starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would have to go on injured reserve after an MRI revealed a right hip subluxation.

Fitzpatrick will have to go on IR for at least three weeks, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Fitzpatrick is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The 38-year-old injured his hip after being hit by Chargers LB Uchenna Nwosu on a pass play in the second quarter in the team’s 20-16 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday.

Taylor Heinicke, who replaced Fitzpatrick on Sunday, will get the start against the Giants on Thursday night. The fourth-year quarterback was 11/15 for 122 yards and one touchdown against the Chargers, and Washington head coach Ron Rivera was pleased by what he saw from Heinicke.

“Well, obviously, we were pleased,” Rivera said about Heinicke. “We moved the ball well; we made some things happen. We moved to ball well early, too. We just didn’t put it in the end zone, but with Taylor, we got one in the end zone. I thought the throw that he made to [TE] Logan [Thomas] was a heck of a throw.”

Kyle Allen will be the backup to Heinicke.

This injury is a tough break for Fitzpatrick, but at the same time, it could open the door for Heinicke to prove that maybe he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback for Washington going forward. 

This could also open the door for Washington to think about free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, who is available after being recently released by the Patriots. Rivera and Newton have history together as the two spent time with each other in Carolina. However, Newton is not vaccinated for Covid-19, which could make things tricky.

Newton had his best years with Rivera in Carolina, including being the league MVP in 2015 and leading to the Super Bowl that same season. Who knows if the 32-year-old Newton gets a shot in Washington, but if it happened, it sure would be interesting to see.

Giants’ Jones: ‘We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball’

Many people call Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’s 2021 season a make-or-break year, and yesterday epitomized what we have seen out of Jones in his short career.

We saw some decent moments from Jones, including a 37-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard that gave the Giants an early 7-3 lead. However, in the third quarter, with New York trailing 17-7 and driving deep into Broncos’ territory, Jones fumbled after a 15-yard scramble, which Denver recovered. 

After the fumble, the Broncos would add a field goal to take a commanding 20-7 lead.

“Yeah, turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game, and they’re big plays,” the third-year quarterback said. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball, and you’ve gotta do a good job. But we’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”

Giants head coach Joe Judge added: “We’ve got to do a better job as a team eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That’s a team focus right there, so this isn’t about any one player. It’s about a team improving and, look; good teams improve week to week. As I talked to the team, that’s what our focus has to be, to be a better team in Week 2 and a better team in Week 3. It’s a long season. We literally have an entire season ahead of us, okay. Any other year, it was 16 games; we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing and make sure we’re the best team we can be.”

This loss is not all on Jones. The Broncos were able to move the ball against the Giants effectively. Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 28/36 for 264 yards with two touchdowns, and Melvin Gordon had 101 yards rushing, including a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. 

Denver converted 10 of 18 third and fourth-down opportunities, and according to Giants safety Logan Ryan, the defense did not play well on Sunday.

“It wasn’t our standard,” Ryan said. “We were terrible early last year in a similar way on third and fourth downs. We have to be better.”

Disappointing game for the Jones and the Giants’ defense, but fortunately for them, they get back at it on Thursday night in D.C against the Washington Football Team.