Eagles’ Sirianni on Eagles-Giants rivalry: ‘I am just honored to be a part of it’

Last season, in Week 17, the New York Giants needed the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Washington Football Team to win the NFC East, and after three quarters, the Eagles trailed 17-14.

However, early in the fourth quarter, then Eagles head coach Doug Pederson replaced quarterback Jalen Hurts with Nate Sudfeld, who was awful, and ultimately, Washington would defeat Philadelphia 20-14 to win the NFC East.

The following day, Giants head coach Joe Judge was livid and ripped the Eagles for what transpired in that game. 

“There’s a number of sacrifices that have been made by all the players and coaches in this league,” Judge said back in January. “There’s a number of sacrifices that come along as well for the family members of the people connected to them. To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants.”

Philadelphia(5-6), who have won three of their last four games, will travel to MetLife Stadium to battle the Giants(3-7) on Sunday for the first time since last season. New York(3-7) has lost two of its last three.

On Friday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who was not here last season, spoke about the situation from last year.

“That’s a good question, but that’s something I can’t speak on since I wasn’t here for it,” Sirianni said. “I wasn’t in the building for it. It’s a big rivalry that we are all blessed to be a part of. I am just honored that I can be a part of this rivalry. And it’s a rare thing in the NFL – I don’t want to say a rare thing, but it’s pretty cool to have the rivalries that we have in this division, so I am just honored to be a part of it.”

In reality, after Pederson’s firing, this whole issue is kind of nonexistent. Plus, the Giants are not very good this season and just fired their offensive coordinator, so they have more significant issues to worry about. 

WFT’s Rivera on Heincke: ‘I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things’

The Washington Football(4-6) Team got their second straight impressive win on Sunday as they defeated the Carolina Panthers on the road 27-21.

Sunday’s game was all about the return of Cam Newton as the Panthers starting quarterback and the return of former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera to Carolina.

However, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who played with the Panthers in 2018, stole the show as he completed 16-of-22 passes for 206 passing yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 141.3. He also rushed six times for 29 yards.

The game was personal for a lot of people, which Heinicke discussed post-game.

“I was only here for a year, so it didn’t mean that much, but there was a lot of players, staff, and one of our general managers came from there,” he said. “We knew it was big for them, and it was kind of personal, and to know that they were going to win with those last two kneels, that was nice.”

Last week, in a win over Tampa Bay, Heinicke was 26/32 for 256 yards. According to Rivera, Heinicke is seeing everything better.

“I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things,” he said. “He is starting to see what he needs to see. He is throwing the windows he needs to throw. We are getting healthy up front. Now, we have got a couple of nicked guys. We got to get those guys back on the football field, but I think that is all a part of it as well.”

Heinicke explained why he has played so well in the past two weeks.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things, but me personally, I feel like I’ve played better by just going out there and having fun,” he said. “Being myself and letting the personality come out, and I think that rubs off on some of the guys. There’s guys out there fighting, and all 11 of those guys on every play are doing the right thing.

“We just have to keep the ball rolling. We have a big one on Monday against Seattle, and it’s going to be exciting.”

After losing four straight and being 2-6 heading into their bye week, Washington may have found their way, and Rivera sees a team that’s now playing together.

“Well, I think they are starting to play together,” Rivera said. “They are becoming resilient. They do the things that they need to. They rely on each other. The thing I am really pleased with is it is all starting up front on both sides of the ball. I think the offensive and defensive line is coming alive. Those guys are playing some very solid and sound football. Again, they are just doing the things they need to do to give us a chance.”

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who had five receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, added about the team’s turnaround: “I just think we have put two good weeks of practice together first and foremost. I feel like our o-line and our d-line are really establishing the line of scrimmage, which is very important. I feel like we are sustaining drives offensively. Defense is creating turnovers and short field. You’re creating winning formula.”

Notes:

-Washington won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four-straight games from Nov. 22nd to December 

=Running back Antonio Gibson finished with 95 yards on 19 carries.  This marks the first time Gibson ran for 90+ yards since rushing for 115 yards on November 26 of last season.13 of last season.

Bucs’ Arians: ‘We are doing one hell of a job on Monday through Friday, but we are not showing up on Sundays’

For the second straight game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-3) lose on the road, and this time against a very beatable opponent in the Washington Football Team(3-6) as the world champions fell to Washington 29-19 on Sunday at FedExField.

After the game, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was not very happy about the team’s performance following their bye week.

“That display was very reminiscent of the last one,” Arians said. “It’s baffling to me after the week of practice I watched these guys have that we could play that poorly. We played with enough passion and energy for about eight or nine minutes to win games in this league. We got to show up on Sundays. We are doing one hell of a job on Monday through Friday, but we are not showing up on Sundays.”

Tampa Bay never led in this one and trailed 13-0 in the second quarter, and Washington would take a 16-6 lead into halftime. The Buccaneers would draw closer in the third when Tom Brady connected with Cameron Brate on a six-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 16-13, but Washington responded with an eight-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Antonio Gibson’s one-yard touchdown run.

After the Buccaneers cut Washington’s lead to 23-19 in the fourth, Washington would go on a 19-play, 80-yard drive that took 10;29 and concluded with Gibson scoring again from one yard out to put the game away.

Washington’s 19-play, 80-yard, 10:29 fourth-quarter touchdown drive was the longest fourth-quarter drive in Washington franchise history in terms of plays since 2001. In addition, per Stathead, it was the longest fourth quarter drive in terms of time of possession
resulting in a touchdown in the NFL since 2001.

“That’s very disappointing for us,” Arians said about Washington’s game-clinching drive. “We pride ourselves on defense, and we lost too many games and given up the lead too many times in the fourth quarter.”

Ir wasn’t a good game for Tampa’s defense and wasn’t a good game for Brady, who threw two interceptions on consecutive possessions in the first quarter, which led to 10 Washington points.

It was the first time Brady has been intercepted twice in the first quarter of a game since 2012.

“It has nothing to do with his receivers; it is on him,” Arians said about Brady’s interceptions.

Brady, who threw for 220 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, added on the loss: “We just never really played on our terms. We played from behind the whole game. They played a good game. They had a good plan.”

This was a big win for Washington as they got revenge after losing to Tampa Bay in the playoffs last season. However, Washington’s star DE Chase Young did leave in the first half with an apparent knee injury.

“We know it’s a knee, there’s some concern,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said postgame about Young. “We’ll have him evaluated tomorrow, potentially an ACL but we’re not sure yet. Once we get the evaluation, we’ll know for sure.”

Regarding the Buccaneers, they’re struggling right now.

Simply put, the Buccaneers have to start playing better if they want to turn things around.

Best of the Rest:

-Washington QB Taylor Heinicke completed 26-of-32 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, and a 110.4 passer rating. He also rushed three times for 15 yards.

-Washington defeated Brady for the first time since September 28, 2003. It is the second time the team has ever beaten the three-time NFL MVP.

-Buccaneers DT Vita Vea was carted off in the fourth was apparent knee injury.

 

 

Washington’s Rivera on Buccaneers: ‘They get Tom(Brady), and then you see everything come together’

In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(6-2) went out and got maybe the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady, who ultimately led the team to their second championship in team history.

Before Brady, the Buccaneers had not made the playoffs since 2007, and the year before Brady came along, Jameis Winston did throw for over 5000 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, Winston did throw 30 interceptions, and Tampa finished 7-9.

The Buccaneers had a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but they needed a leader; they needed a player who could take them to the next level, and Brady was that guy.

During Tampa’s run to the Super Bowl, they won three times on the road, including against the Washington Football Team(2-6) at FedEx Field in the Wild Card round, and they return to FedEx Field on Sunday to battle the Washington Football Team.

On Friday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera discussed how Brady pushed the Buccaneers over the hump.

“I think you started off by saying it perfectly: Tom Brady,” Rivera said about how Brady being the difference in Tampa. “I think that really speaks for itself. You look at the year before they got Tom, and they were close. But they hadn’t gotten over the hump. They get Tom, and then you see everything come together. You get a guy with his experience, his years in the league, his six Super Bowl rings before he got his seventh, and that’s going to speak very loudly in your locker room. For any team in this league, that’s the biggest difference.”

Washington is still looking for a franchise quarterback. They started the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who got injured. Taylor Heinicke has had his moments, but it’s safe to say he’s not the guy. Washington has some talent on their roster, but they need a quarterback, and there are not many times where quarterbacks as good as Brady become available, so it will probably have to come through the draft.

 

Washington’s Rivera is hoping the team will turn things around in second half of season

The Washington Football Team head into their bye week on a four-game losing streak after falling to the Denver Broncos on the road 17-10.

During this losing streak, Washington has played some pretty good teams, including losses to the Packers, Saints, and the Chiefs. When they return after the bye week, Washington hosts the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Last season, after eight games, Washington was 2-6, but they finished the season 5-3, including a four-game winning streak, and ultimately, Washington was able to win the NFC East. 

Over the years, Ron Rivera-coached teams have done well in the second half of the season, and on Monday, Rivera explained why that is the case.

“Well, just because I’d like to believe that as we progress through the year, through the season, especially my early years as a head coach, a lot of things seem to come together,” Rivera said. “That’s what I kind of feel with last year; things kind of came to go at the right time for us. I like to believe we are on the same path. Just because I think some of the things that we’ve done have helped us to trend in the right direction. I mean, obviously offensively, we’ve outgained the last two teams we’ve played. Unfortunately, we just haven’t outscored them. And that’s important. 

“Defensively, we’ve been able to hold certain aspects of our opponents in check. We played against a couple of good running teams, and we’ve held them both under a hundred yards rushing. We played a very dynamic quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and kept him under his numbers. We still haven’t won. But the thing that you can sit there and say is it’s coming together. It’s not where we want to be, obviously, but if we continue to trend in the right way, we have a chance. So that’s really what we’re looking at.”

Health has not been on Washington’s side this season. Key players that Washington was counting on this season like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel, Brandon Scherff, Logan Thomas, and Sam Cosmi have missed time.

Rivera is hoping to get those key players back on the field at some point this season.

“We haven’t had the guys on the field that we feel could really help us to play better and hopefully win some football games,” Rivera said. “I think it’s going to be huge, being able to get Brandon [Scherff] and Sam [Cosmi] back on the football field. I think it could be very helpful having a healthy Curtis(Samuel) and Logan(Thomas) out there working together with our offensive guys. I think defensively, trying to figure out how we are, where we are. That’s a little bit more of a work in progress. I think some of the things that we’ve done lately have really shown that we have the potential to get it going again, but we just got to keep working on that. But finding who we are got a lot to do with the guys that we haven’t been able to use and play with, So I think coming out of this, we’ll see how we respond to it, especially if we do get those guys back on the football field.”

Fortunately for Washington, the schedule does get a little easier as they play the Eagles twice, Giants, but they still have games against the Cowboys(2X), Panthers, and Las Vegas. So, it should be interesting to see if Washington can turn things around in the second half of the season.

Washington’s Heinicke: ‘We just couldn’t get the ball rolling in the second half’

The Washington Football Team(2-4) battled hard against the Kansas City Chiefs(3-3) on Sunday and led at halftime, but Kansas City took over the game in the second half and would defeat Washington 31-13 at FedExField.

Washington has now lost two straight and three out of their last four.

In the first half, Washington had 200 yards of total offense and led 13-`10 at halftime, but they had only 76 yards of total offense in the second half and did not score.

WFT QB Taylor Heinicke, who completed 24-of-39 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown, felt the team could not put anything together in the second half.

“We just couldn’t get the ball rolling in the second half, whether it was penalties or keeping it on the sticks, or the defense making a good play, or a dropped ball, bad throw,” Heinicke said postgame. “We just couldn’t put it together. It was frustrating. But again, we’ll get better.”

According to Washington head coach Ron Rivera, the team needed to play a complete game to beat the Chiefs.

“I think the message to the guys more so than anything else is we have to handle adversity,” Rivera said. “We have to play two halves of football. We played a good first half. We didn’t play a good enough second half to give ourselves a chance to win. We’ve got to be able to handle the mistakes, correct the mistakes and just keep going forward. The truth is it’s the sixth game; we’ve got a few more left to play, obviously. We’ve got to shake this one off, learn from it, and get ready for next week. It’s all we can do.”

All four of Washington’s losses have come against teams .500 or better, so the schedule has not been easy, which Rivera addressed after the game.

“We did lose to four good teams, but we could have also beat a couple of them,” Rivera said. “That’s the hard thing to swallow if you’re going, to be honest with it. I mean, we had a chance last week, a chance the opening game. You are what your record says you are. The only way we can get better is to practice, work at it and then go out and play better. And that's pretty much what we have left.”

The next three games for Washington won’t be easy as they have two straight road games against the Packers and Broncos, and back home against the defending world champions, the Buccaneers, so the schedule will continue to be difficult, but Washington has to find ways to overcome it.

Sean Taylor’s jersey retired:

At halftime, the Washington Football Team retired the late Sean Taylor’s number #21 jersey. The Taylor family and friends were honored on the field with a framed Sean Taylor #21 jersey. Also, the team formally commemorated the renaming of the road leading to FedExField as Sean Taylor Road in a pregame ceremony with Taylor’s family, alumni, and team representatives.

Taylor spent four season in NFL, all with Washington. Sadly, his life was cut short after being shot by intruders who tried to burglarize his home back in 2007. He was only 24 years old.

Below are highlights of Taylor’s ceremony from today:

Washington Football Team to retire Sean Taylor’s jersey on Sunday

During the Washington Football Team’s October 17th matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, the team will honor nearly 100 alumni at FedExField, while also paying a special tribute to Washington alumnus and football legend, Sean Taylor. Taylor’s family will join the team on-field for a pre-game ceremony in which Taylor’s contributions to the team will be remembered alongside the retirement of his jersey number, 21. This will mark only the third time in the team’s 89-year history that a jersey number will be officially retired.

The team also will formally commemorate the renaming of the road leading to FedExField as Sean Taylor Road with family and friends of Taylor before the game. Sean Taylor’s family will have the opportunity for a private visit at Taylor’s locker on the Club Level, which has been perfectly preserved from his last game, and will enjoy the game from specially reserved suites. Co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder were especially close with Taylor and view him as an important part of the team’s legacy. They have remained supportive of his family over the years and will be helping to host the family during the game.

Taylor played for Washington during all four seasons of his NFL career. After being selected with the 5th overall and first Washington Football Team pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Taylor established himself as one of the top young safeties in the league and a fan favorite. Following a successful rookie year, Taylor started 15 games and led Washington to its first playoff win in six years. By 2006, Taylor was one of the premier defenders in the NFL. Then, tragically on November 27, 2007, Sean Taylor’s life was cut short after being shot during a robbery attempt on his Florida home. Posthumously, Taylor was honored by the NFL and named a 2nd team All-Pro selection in 2007. The following year, Washington announced he would be inducted as only the 43rd member of the Washington Ring of Fame.

On Sunday, alumni players, including those recognized as part of the franchise’s 80 Greatest and Hall of Fame and Ring of Fame inductees, will be honored with a special on-field halftime celebration, during which they will be introduced by decade.

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.

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.

Washington’s Rivera on Herbert: ‘He’ll be a formidable player for a long time in this league’

Much is expected out of Los Angeles Chargers second-year quarterback Justin Herbert in 2021. Last season, as a rookie, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, threw for 4336 yards and 31 touchdowns. Herbert became the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4000 yards and set a rookie record for most touchdown passes in a season.

The 6-6 Herbert was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2020 and clearly looks like a player who could be an upper-echelon quarterback for years to come.

On Sunday, the Chargers travel to D.C. to face the Washington Football Team. Washington head coach Ron Rivera liked what he saw out Herbert last season and believes Herbert could be a special player.

“Well, when we looked at him, we really liked who he is as a football player,” Rivera said on Monday. “He has got a nice, strong arm, and he’s built for the position. He’s very athletic for a big guy. He’s got a tremendous arm. He sees the field very well. He’s a good decision-maker. I mean, you put the tape on from last year, you got an opportunity to watch him make all the throws, literally make all the throws. 

“It’s just one of those things that you draft who you think you need, and that’s what we did. But, I really think that this is a good football player. He’s a young guy who’s going to continue to develop and grow, and he’ll be a formidable player for a long time in this league.”

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Washington had a shot at Herbert but ultimately drafted DE Chase Young with the second overall pick. At the time, Washington had Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, and the hope was that he could be the team’s franchise quarterback. That never came to fruition, and Haskins was released near the end of last season. 

Passing on Herbert could come back to haunt Washington and the other teams that passed on him.

Fortunately for the Chargers, he will probably only get better in Year 2