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Eagles’ DeSean Jackson expected to miss Vikings game

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PHILADELPHIA — Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings but is hoping to play the following week against the Dallas Cowboys, according to league sources.

Jackson is targeting a return Week 7 against Dallas but that’s not a slam dunk. The current return window is believed to be between Week 7 and Week 9 against the Chicago Bears as he continues to heal from an abdominal strain suffered Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons.

“DeSean, we’re going to progress him this week, get him on the field, see what he can do from a rehab standpoint only, see where he’s at, and go from there,” coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday.

“I would think with a guy like DeSean, he’s a track guy, he’s a runner, obviously he’s got to have a level of comfort with that injury, all the stopping and starting and things of that nature. It’s really until I think he gets to that point that we make a decision.”

Jackson did not practice Wednesday.

The original hope was that Jackson would be out two weeks, but upon further consultation he opted to allow the injury to heal longer. Even so, there’s an expectation that he’ll have to play through pain when he does return.

The Eagles acquired the 32-year-old Jackson from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March to give Carson Wentz a deep threat. The two connected for a pair of 50-yard touchdowns in the opener against the Washington Redskins. Predictably, the Eagles have become less explosive in his absence. Philadelphia currently ranks 22nd in pass plays of 20-plus yards (14).

“We still feel we have the guys that are capable, without a doubt,” Wentz said of generating big plays downfield. “Obviously DeSean is his own type of player in that regard, but we still feel that we’re capable of doing that and we’ll still attack downfield when it’s there.”

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Browns’ Myles Garrett says fan punched him in face after taking picture

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Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said Wednesday on Twitter that he was “punched” in the face by a fan.

Garrett wrote that he was driving when a fan flagged him down to take a picture and then “gave me a pillow tap” [in the face].

The Browns completed their final bye week practice Wednesday.

Garrett is tied for the NFL lead with nine sacks.

The Browns next play Oct. 27 at the New England Patriots.



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Matt Nagy ‘cautiously optimistic’ Mitchell Trubisky will play

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is “cautiously optimistic” that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be medically cleared to return from a non-throwing shoulder injury and start on Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints.

“I always say ‘cautiously optimistic’… I feel good about [where we are with Trubisky],” Nagy said Wednesday. “But we’re preparing with both [quarterbacks right now].”

Trubisky, who practiced on Wednesday, reported that he’s close to full strength but said he needs to wear a harness on his left shoulder in order to play.

“I feel close [to 100%],” Trubisky said before practice.

“I think I’ve just got to show the training staff and the coaches that my shoulder and everything is strong enough to be able to put me out there, to withstand hits, to be able to do my job to 100 percent. I need to show them throughout practice this week that I’m good to go and I feel comfortable about where I’m at. We’ve done a good job with this rehab plan of getting on the same page and just communicating, and hopefully once I show everyone that I’m good to go in practice this week, they’ll let me roll and not look back.”

Trubisky suffered a dislocated left shoulder and slight labrum tear in the first quarter of Chicago’s victory over the Vikings on Sept. 29. Team doctors determined that Trubisky would not need to undergo surgery, but backup quarterback Chase Daniel started the next week against the Raiders in London.

“It was definitely painful,” Trubisky said of the injury. “I definitely wasn’t thinking ‘Is my season over?’ or anything bad like that, I was more thinking, ‘Can I go back in and finish the game?’ Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

“It’s different because it’s not my throwing shoulder, and that’s why I thought I might be able to go back in. I thought, oh, it’s just my left arm, maybe I could just catch a snap and be able to do all the handoffs and stuff and be able to throw, but I really couldn’t move it. So if what happened to this left shoulder would happen to my right, we might be in a different situation, but it feels pretty good right now. I’m pleased about the progress we’ve made, a lot of credit to the training staff in just getting that recovery, and thank goodness it recovered quickly.”

Trubisky finished last season with respectable numbers in Nagy’s system, passing for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions (95.4 quarterback rating) as Chicago went 12-4 and won its first NFC North title since 2010.

But Trubisky has mostly struggled thus far in 2019.

The former second overall pick had subpar outings versus Green Bay and Denver to open the year. He bounced back with a three-touchdown performance in Washington in Week 3 but has passed for just 588 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Chicago’s offense ranks near the bottom of the league in virtually every important offensive statistical category.

Trubisky rushed for a combined 669 yards and five touchdowns over his first two seasons in the league, but he has run only five times for 21 yards in 2019.

“The main thing we’ve got to do is definitely show consistency,” Trubisky said. “But we had some plays where we had some big-play potential. Or we had some drives that we had some good plays. And then we kind of sputtered out and didn’t finish the drives.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some things that open up. We look at what we did the first couple of games with some of the concepts, the runs and what everyone’s comfortable with and get those going. Get on the same page and make sure that we’re just executing. We’ve got enough talent to make it happen. We just got to believe in it.”

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Browns GM John Dorsey reaffirms commitment to Feddie Kitchens, Baker Mayfield

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BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey reaffirmed his commitment Wednesday to both coach Freddie Kitchens and quarterback Baker Mayfield, despite the team’s disappointing 2-4 start heading into its bye week.

Dorsey drafted Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick last year, then this offseason promoted Kitchens from interim offensive coordinator to head coach. Off a promising 7-8-1 finish to last season, expectations ballooned even more for the Browns when Dorsey traded for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the spring.

So far, though, the Browns have sputtered, and Sunday, blew a 20-6 lead to the Seattle Seahawks.

Dorsey said that despite that he’s been encouraged with what he’s seen from Kitchens, especially with how the Browns played against Seattle, coming off an embarrassing 31-3 loss at the San Francisco 49ers the week before on Monday Night Football.

“I think the team has responded really well,” Dorsey said. “I like the offensive scheme that he’s kind of developed which was on (display) in the Seattle game, by putting (Mayfield) in a really good position to move those chains.

“I think Freddie has done a really good job. I love where he is right now in terms of that first-year heading label you all try to stick with him.”

Dorsey also declared that he remains “100%” convinced of Mayfield being Cleveland’s franchise quarterback of the future, despite a slow start in his second season.

After finishing second in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting last year, Mayfield leads the NFL with 11 interceptions. He also ranks 33rd with a completion rate of 56.6% — way down from the 63.8% he posted last season.

“Mastering the quarterback position is very hard,” Dorsey said. “Right now, defensive coordinators are probably throwing different looks that he hasn’t seen. But Baker is one of those guys that he’s smart enough, he’s not going to make the same mistake twice. He’s learning from that.

“I like where he is. I like his competitiveness. I love everything about him — that hasn’t changed one bit, in terms of his competitiveness, his ability to throw the football. … I still think his balls are still accurate. Everybody keeps saying that there’s inaccuracy with his ball, I still think he throws a good football. … What I really like is his teammates like him.”

Dorsey was also effusive in his praise of Beckham, whom the Browns have had trouble getting the ball to at times. Despite the hype he arrived with, OBJ ranks just 31st in the NFL with 29 receptions and 16th with 436 receiving yards. He also only has one touchdown grab.

Still, Dorsey noted that Beckham has impacted the Browns in ways other than pass-catching.

“Is he a talented player? Yeah, he’s a talented football player,” Dorsey said. “If we can get the ball to him, we get the ball to him. But let’s don’t force it. Let’s win the game, that’s the objective.

“Odell is one of those guys who’s a selfless individual. I think he really does a nice job run blocking. I’m happy we have him.”

The Browns soon will add 2017 rushing champ Kareem Hunt to their offense. Hunt is serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and has been away from the team. Dorsey said that Hunt is “doing really well” and is ahead of schedule rehabilitating from sports hernia surgery.

“In a couple weeks he’s going to be back,” Dorsey said, “and I can’t wait to see him.”

Dorsey also hinted the Browns might not be done upgrading the offense heading into the trade deadline later this month. Cleveland has been connected to All-Pro Washington left tackle Trent Williams, who is holding out due to his unhappiness with the Redskins, and would bolster and offensive line that Dorsey admitted needs to be “more consistent.”

Dorsey wasn’t very cryptic in expressing his interest. Asked if he’s spoken to Washington team president Bruce Allen, Dorsey responded, “We’ve had a few conversations.” After Williams’ name was brought up, Dorsey answered, “It takes two to tango.”

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