Sun Dec 5 7:25pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson walks off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh works the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell (14) runs the ball against New York Jets middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) C.J. Mosley felt the disrespect when the Philadelphia Eagles didn't shake hands at midfield during the pregame coin toss.
The New York Jets linebacker saw it when he said Fletcher Cox laughed at Robert Saleh as the coach argued with officials about a call.
''At the end of the day, it's all about respect,'' Mosley said after a 33-18 loss Sunday. ''And right now, teams are not respecting us. That's well-deserved, whether it's by self-inflicted wounds or the history of the Jets.''
Mosley has been around long enough to know what respect looks like, especially from his first five NFL seasons with Baltimore. And the usually reserved linebacker was as fired up after the game as he has been.
''It was all over the field,'' Mosley said of the feeling of disrespect. ''As a competitor, as a warrior, when you fight with your brothers, that pisses you off.''
The wins have been few and far between during his time with the Jets, and another rough loss won't help things.
''The past doesn't matter,'' Mosley said. ''The guys that are here, the coaches that are here, we can affect the future. And we can affect right now. So today, we didn't do our job and the results are the results.''
And they're not good.
The Jets dropped to 3-9 in what will be an 11th straight season - the NFL's longest active drought - without a playoff appearance. In this one, they allowed backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to lead the Eagles to scores on each of their first seven possessions. And the only time Philadelphia was stopped was on its final drive in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
''What's disheartening is that I know when we watch this tape and we sit down together,'' Saleh said, ''there's going to be a lot of missed opportunities that we had from a defensive standpoint to get the ball back to our offense, especially when they were rolling.
''Especially on some of those third downs when we could have been a lot better.''
The Eagles went 6 of 13 in those situations. They also converted their one fourth-down attempt.
But the most damning moment for the Jets' defense came in the third quarter - and really, for almost the length of the period.
The Eagles held the ball for 13:50, running 24 plays for 81 yards while scoring three points. And that came after Philadelphia got a field goal just before halftime. Meanwhile, the Jets ran just three plays in the third quarter, gaining 3 yards in 70 seconds.
''They had the ball to finish the first half,'' Saleh said. ''Then they go eight minutes and then it's a quick drive for us and then they had the ball again for however many minutes it was. So you're looking at over an hour of real time where our offense was on the field for just a quick minute.''
Philadelphia held the overall edge in time of possession: 35:36 to 24:24.
But things started off promising when Braxton Berrios returned the opening kickoff 79 yards and Zach Wilson found Elijah Moore for a 3-yard touchdown a few moments later. But Alex Kessman - signed Saturday from the practice squad to replace the struggling Matt Ammendola - missed the extra point in his NFL debut.
Minshew and the Eagles answered with a 36-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert to take a 7-6 lead.
Wilson and the Jets came right back with a 1-yard touchdown run, but Kessman was wide left again on the extra point.
''I've just got to make them,'' Kessman said. ''It's what I do for a living. I've got to make those kicks. There's no excuses.''
Mosley and Hall acknowledged the Jets didn't specifically prepare for Minshew, saying the Eagles offense would be similar whether the backup or Jalen Hurts were under center.
But the defense simply couldn't stop Minshew from marching the Eagles down the field.
Over and over.
''It's disappointing,'' Saleh said. ''Our offense was rolling. We scored three touchdowns early in the first half and Zach and the receivers, the run game - all of it was working really well. If we could have gotten a stop early, it felt like our offense would've turned around and gotten some points.
''We had some chances there, but obviously, it wasn't good enough.''
That has been the story of the season for the Jets, whose defense was expected to be a strength while Wilson adjusted to the NFL.
Instead, it has been one of the league's worst overall units.
And has no one respecting the Jets.
''We all hold ourselves accountable, we all hold ourselves to the same standard,'' Mosley said. ''So, we have to make sure that we're always on the same page. And when we see things on the field and when we see things off the field, we have to communicate and talk to each other. And that's from top to bottom.''
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On Thursday, the Chicago Bears hired former Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus to be their head coach. Eberflus took a Colts defense that was ranked 26th and 27th in total defense before he arrived and made them a top-10 unit. The Colts never featured tremendous pass rush rates and blitzed at one of the lowest rates in the league, but the Bears defensive scheme only blitzed 2.4% more and both teams ran a variation of a 4-3 base defense, so it's possible there won't be much change in philosophy. However, the biggest question will be who Eberflus hires as offensive coordinator and what that means for Justin Fields. Since Eberflus spent four years coaching under former NFL quarterback Frank Reich, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that he soaked up some knowledge in that relationship and will use it to make a hire that's in the best interest of his quarterback's development.
After earlier reports that Byron Leftwich was set to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, reports surfaced early on Wednesday that the negotiations were held up because Leftwich wanted Jacksonville to get rid of General Manager Trent Baalke to hire Adrian Wilson, who is Vice President of Pro Scouting for the Arizona Cardinals. Not long after that, Adam Schefter reported that the Jaguars interviewed former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio for their head coaching position. While we don't know where this will end up, Fangio has been a far more run-heavy coach in his career than we'd expect Leftwich to be since Leftwich has learned under Bruce Arians. It's possible that if Fangio were to be hired in Jacksonville, we could see a running back committee of Travis Etienne and James Robinson in the same way Denver deployed Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon this year. It would also potentially sap the upside of Trevor Lawrence, Laviska Shenault Jr., and D.J. Chark, so let's hope Jacksonville does the right thing here.
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has told teams that he will remain with the Cowboys next year and not pursue any more head coaching positions. Six teams had requested interviews with Quinn, but he decided to return in pursuit of a Super Bowl. The Dallas defense under Quinn this year finished as the number one fantasy defense thanks to their propensity for turnovers., so Quinn's return should be good news for the Cowboys DST next year as well. Also, fantasy managers in IDP leagues don't have to worry about new schemes for studs like Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement Thursday, Jan. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Big Ben will be remembered for this size, athletic ability and big arm. He was different and will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The Steelers will pivot to Mason Rudolph, for now, but there will be a number of options in free agency. Rudolph will be a QB2 in fantasy if he's the starter.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) popped up on the injury report with a knee issue. Despite showing up on the latest injury report, the 25-year-old was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. He is expected to be all systems go for the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The former No.1 overall pick completed 28-of-37 passes for 348 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception in Saturday's 19-16 Divisional-Round win over the Tennessee Titans. He's been on absolute fire recently, throwing for 1,563 yards, 10 touchdowns, and one pick over his last four games. Burrow is an excellent QB option with a $7,500 price on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (thumb) popped up on the injury report with a thumb issue. He was a full participant in Wednesday's practice despite showing up on the latest injury report. In last week's Divisional-Round win over the Tennessee Titans, the 23-year-old hauled in seven receptions on nine targets for 96 yards. He is expected to be all systems go for the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Higgins caught three passes for 62 yards in the Week 17 win over the Chiefs and is an excellent mid-tier option at his $6,400 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (toe) participated fully in Wednesday's practice. Last week, the 26-year-old was limited with a toe injury and was inactive for the Divisional -Round game against the Buffalo Bills. He is expected to be available for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams will split touches out of Kansas City's backfield with Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Jerick McKinnon. Due to the uncertainty of his role, Williams is more of a GPP option in Sunday's main DFS slate.
Green Bay Packers PK Mason Crosby is likely to be released during the offseason as a cap casualty, according to The Green Bay Press-Gazette's Pete Dougherty.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers indicated he should have made a decision about his future by late February during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, which coincides with when the Packers would potentially utilize the franchise tag on WR Davante Adams, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Fantasy Spin: If Rodgers and Adams return to Green Bay in 2022, or reunite elsewhere, both would be No. 1 options at their respective positions. Rodgers' decision as to whether he'll play in 2022 figures to be the first domino to fall.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) practiced fully on Wednesday. The 49ers have removed his sprained shoulder from the injury report, but his sprained right thumb remains. The 30-year-old has somehow led the 49ers to the NFC Championship despite throwing for 303 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions over both playoff games. He threw for 316 yards, one touchdown, and two picks in the Week 18 win over the Rams. Garoppolo should be all systems go against the Los Angeles Rams and is the only value option at quarterback for Sunday's main DFS slate with a $6,200 price tag on FanDuel.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. Teammate Elijah Mitchell also missed Wednesday's session with an ongoing knee issue. Wilson suffered a low-ankle sprain during the first quarter of Saturday's Divisional-Round game over the Green Packers and did not return. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, he could play in the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. The 26-year-old has two more chances to practice in some capacity and will most likely be questionable for Sunday's game. If active, Wilson could have an expanded role if Mitchell (knee) cannot suit up. Stay tuned.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee) did not practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury. The 25-year-old did not participate in the Rams walkthrough session and was listed as a non-participant. He's considered day-to-day, and it's unclear if Van Jefferson will miss the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He caught two passes for 31 yards in the Week 18 loss to the 49ers. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor his status throughout the week. If active, Van Jefferson provides salary relief with his $5,200 price tag and is a solid option against the 49ers in Sunday's main DFS slate. Stay tuned.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle isn't listed on the injury report ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. He was seen limping at the end of the Divisional-Round win over the Green Bay Packers but is expected to be all systems go for Sunday. The 28-year-old logged a full practice Wednesday and was removed from the injury report. He caught five of seven targets for 10 yards in his previous contest against the Rams. Despite the dud against Los Angeles in Week 18, Kittle provides excellent value at his $5,800 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (knee) isn't listed on Wednesday's injury report ahead of the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. The 26-year-old said he was sore after taking a helmet to the knee in last Saturday's Divisional Round win over the Green Bay Packers. On Wednesday, he logged a full practice and was removed from the injury report. Samuel caught four passes for 95 yards and rushed for 45 yards on eight carries and a score in his previous game against the Rams. Deebo will have a vital role in the NFC Championship Game and is a strong option with his $8,400 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's DFS slate.
San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa (non-injury), C Alex Mack (non-injury), RB Elijah Mitchell (knee), OT Trent Williams (ankle) and RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 26. CB Ambry Thomas (knee) was limited during practice, while QB Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) fully participated in practice.
Atlanta Falcons TE Lee Smith announced his retirement from professional football Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Free-agent WR Josh Gordon was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 26. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), CB Rashad Fenton (back), WR Mecole Hardman (hip), WR Tyreek Hill (heel), LB Anthony Hitchens (back), DT Chris D. Jones (groin), CB L'Jarius Sneed (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (neck), RB Darrel Williams (toe) and OG Andrew Wylie (elbow) fully participated in practice.
Buffalo Bills OG Ike Boettger (Achilles) and CB Tre'Davious White (knee) are on schedule in their recoveries, according to head coach Sean McDermott.