Eagles news and notes for 11/4
While the Eagles can say that they did not determine for certain whether or not Huff brought his gun to the NovaCare Complex, it is that gray area that has led to speculation on, for instance, social media. Huff was arrested at around 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday and was at the Eagles' facilities prior to his arrest.
When asked if he brought his weapon to the Eagles' facilities, Huff said that he did not, via Tim McManus of ESPN.
The 25-year-old acknowledged that he was at the Eagles' NovaCare facility Tuesday morning prior to the arrest but told ESPN that he made a stop before heading home over the Walt Whitman -- to pick up his gun. He would not reveal where.
"No," said Huff, when asked if he brought the weapon into the NovaCare facility. "I'm not Gilbert Arenas, bro. No. No. I'm not going to bring a gun onto the premises. I'm not going to bring a gun and put my life, put my teammates in jeopardy of anything. That's not me. It's solely for protection, and that's that."
Roseman said that he, owner Jeffrey Lurie, head coach Doug Pederson, and team president Don Smolenski came to a group decision to release Huff. Perhaps they weren't convinced.
Still, there were those three words. Josh told us. That phrase was telling. It was the key, really, to understanding why - for all the mistakes that they made in handling this situation, for all the trouble they'd been courting this year in the player-personnel decisions they've made and the culture they've cultivated - the Eagles did the right thing Thursday by booting Huff from the building.
Delaware Valley Port Authority police, according to their report of the incident, had arrested Huff on the New Jersey side of the Walt Whitman Bridge at 11 a.m. Tuesday, and Huff had been at the NovaCare Complex earlier that morning. The NFL prohibits any player from having a gun on league facilities, even if he is legally permitted to carry one. And because they have outfitted the NovaCare campus with security cameras, the Eagles would have known exactly when Huff left and how much time had elapsed before his arrest, and they likely would have known those things when Roseman and coach Doug Pederson met with Huff on Thursday morning to tell him they were releasing him.
So Roseman was asked: Did Josh have a gun on the premises here before he left?
"Josh told us that he did not," Roseman said.
Josh told us. With that bit of attribution, Roseman made it clear that, unless Huff was keeping Carson Wentz-style hours in the film room, the Eagles believed they had cause to be skeptical of his story. Roseman is smart. As a lawyer, he's trained to maintain plausible deniability, to know exactly what he can say and what he can't. And if getting pulled over with some pot and a gun that Huff could legally carry in Pennsylvania didn't at first seem scandalous, the timing and ramifications of his actions were. The possibility that Huff had toted that weapon on to team property and violated NFL policy - and that the world now perceived that he had done so - was enough for the Eagles to deem Huff too dumb and dangerous to play for them anymore.
“Some of my comments wasn’t a representation of a professional. I apologize, one, for swearing,” Agholor told reporters. “I’m not perfect [and] I’ve sweared before, but there’s young children out there that listen to what we say and respect what we say and I don’t want to give anybody a representation that I’m not somebody that comes from a good household. I know how to communicate, I know how to explain myself and I let passion and emotion get the best of me that day when I was speaking.
“But the most important thing is I understand ownership, especially in this game. This game is tricky. You can be very successful and then sometimes you can fail, but if you don’t own them both and if you don’t believe in both, then you’re not in the right place. You have to have the same mindset 24/7 win or loss. In a loss, I should’ve owned up.”
Agholor was asked after the Eagles’ 29-23 overtime loss to the Cowboys about his first-quarter drop on third down inside the red zone, which could’ve helped Philadelphia score a touchdown instead of a field goal on that drive. Agholor caught three of his four targets in Dallas for 25 yards as his season production continues to be unimpressive.
“I was disappointed in myself because our fan base could feel that I don’t care about a loss, but I truly do. And I do care about drops. I care about all those things,” Agholor said. “I was very emotional when I spoke. But the most important thing I cared about that moment was the fact we lost a football game. My mind was racing. I hated that we gave so much effort and regardless of missed opportunities, we lost, so I didn’t want to hear anything about missed opportunities.”
The Eagles need to win on Sunday in what is a wide-open playoff race in the NFC. New York comes off its bye week and has won two consecutive games with one of the most explosive passing games in the NFL, and a rebuilt and opportunistic defense.
There are things to work on. It's about starting fast and finishing strong and the Eagles haven't done either consistently since opening the season 3-0. They've got an offensive line that starts two reserves - right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and left guard Stefen Wisniewski, who gets the call if Allen Barbre is out. Barbre did not practice on Wednesday and is "week to week" with a hamstring injury, according to Pederson. They need to become more explosive in the passing game, more consistent in the running game, condense their mistakes, make more third-down conversions and score more touchdowns in the red zone. On offense.
And on defense, they must put together four quarters of domination, as they did in the wins over Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Sunday won't be an easy out, not in the very least, with the high-octane Giants passing game on the way.
"Our focus has to be on finding a way to beat the Giants," middle linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "We know how good they are and all the weapons they bring to the table. We have to play our best football to beat them."
A win would be huge. To go into the second half of the season at 5-3 with a rookie starting at quarterback, another at right tackle, with a defense that has, largely, led the way, puts the Eagles in the thick of things in the playoff picture.