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Chip Kelly takes issue with talk that his offense has been figured out

Chip Kelly AP

In the Eagles’ last two games, their offensive possessions have resulted in 15 punts, five interceptions, one fumble, one missed field goal and one made field goal — and that made field goal, Philadelphia’s only scoring drive of the last two weeks, came on a drive that started in field goal range. So does that mean opposing defenses have coach Chip Kelly’s offense figured out?

Not according to Kelly, who took issue with that notion when asked by a reporter today if that’s what has happened.

“I don’t think that people have it figured out,” Kelly said.

So why aren’t the Eagles putting points on the board? Kelly said it’s simply a matter of poor execution. Kelly said that if the plays were being executed properly, the Eagles’ offense would be effective even if everyone knew what was coming. Kelly said the NFL’s best offenses, like Denver and Green Bay, succeed with quarterbacks throwing perfect passes.

“I can tell you what Peyton Manning is going to do, but you still have to stop them and you still have to execute,” Kelly said. “I watched Aaron Rodgers last night, his first touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, where he whizzed it by the kid’s head before he had a chance to turn around, put it right on the money where Jordy, the only thing he could do is catch it. It’s still about executing and I think everybody kind of knows going into the game plan, you’re not going to surprise people eight games in.”

Kelly seems to believe the biggest problem is that starting quarterback Michael Vick and second-string quarterback Nick Foles are both hurt, and the Eagles are down to third-string quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The last two, if I look at the last two and just analyze what the situation is, in both games we got to our third quarterback,” Kelly said. “I think that’s a difficult proposition, you know, especially when you don’t have a lot of reps for those guys to go around at practice. We have to execute.”

So basically, all Kelly thinks has been figured out is that the Eagles struggle when playing their third-string quarterback. Just like most teams would.

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Jaguars cut Mike Brewster on way to 57 players

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The Jaguars signaled their desire to find a new center early in the offseason when they tried to sign Alex Mack away from the Browns and their failure to land their target hasn’t stopped them from moving on from the No. 1 man on the depth chart when camp opened.

Mike Brewster was cut on Friday as the Jaguars started making their way to the 53-man limit ahead of Saturday’s deadline. All told, the Jags made 18 moves on Friday to leave themselves with 57 players.

The Jags haven’t made a formal announcement about who will be starting at center for them this season, but Jacques McClendon got the nod in the team’s third preseason game with Luke Bowanko starting on Thursday night in the preseason finale. Brewster played 26 games and made 10 starts for the Jaguars last season.

In addition to the previously reported dismissal of quarterback Stephen Morris, the Jaguars also waived quarterback Ricky Stanzi, fullback Eric Kettani, guard Drew Nowak, defensive end Gerald Rivers, wide receiver Chad Bumphis, tackle Cody Booth, defensive lineman DeAndre Coleman, defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli, safety Craig Loston, kicker/punter Kasey Redfern, guard Tyler Shatley, tight end D.J. Tialavea and linebacker Marcus Whitfield. Tight end Brandon Barden was waived-injured with a groin injury.

Jacksonville wound up the day’s moves by placing wide receiver Tandon Doss and cornerback Rashaad Reynolds on injured reserve after they were hurt in the preseason finale against the Falcons.

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Jim Irsay agrees to plea deal

Jim Irsay AP

Colts owner Jim Irsay and Indianapolis prosecutors have reached an agreement on a plea deal related to Irsay’s impaired driving arrest.

The prosecutor’s office confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that Irsay, who previously pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges, will change his plea next week.

“I can confirm that Mr. Irsay’s case has been set for a change of plea hearing on Tuesday, September 2nd at 11:00 a.m. in Hamilton Superior Court IV,” Andre Miksha, a spokesman for the Hamilton County prosecutor said. “I cannot provide any details of — or even verify the existence of — an agreement unless and until one would be tendered to the Court at such a hearing.”

Prosecutors say that when Irsay was pulled over on March 16, he had “oxycodone and/or hydrocodone” in his system and officers “continuously had to support Irsay in order to prevent him from falling over.”

Irsay is expected to face league discipline, but such discipline has not yet been announced.

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Ravens make first cuts on way to 53 players

Nathan Overbay, Stanley Jean-Baptiste AP

The Ravens have started the process of whittling down their roster to 75 players by releasing five guys who were long shots to make the roster this summer.

Baltimore announced that tight end Nathan Overbay (pictured), linebacker D.J. Roberts, center Reggie Stephens, defensive tackle Levi Brown and defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins have all been waived.

Overbay spent time on Houston’s practice squad last year and has bounced around the NFL since 2010. Stephens was on Baltimore’s practice squad in 2013 and has also made the rounds since entering the league as a 2010 seventh-round pick. The other three players were signed as undrafted free agents this spring.

The moves bring the Ravens to 70 players, leaving them with 17 more moves to make before Saturday’s deadline. Two of those moves will likely be taken care of when running back Ray Rice and safety Will Hill are placed on the suspended list. Defensive tackle Terrance Cody remains on the PUP list and transferring him to the regular season version would take care of one more bit of roster housekeeping in Baltimore.

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Bills’ initial cuts include Jordan Palmer, Brian Moorman

Palmer Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have commenced the process of trimming the roster from 75 to 53.  To get there, the Bills got rid of one of their newest and oldest players.

Gone is quarterback Jordan Palmer, who signed with the Bills earlier this week.  Also gone is punter Brian Moorman, who spent 11-plus seasons with the team before being cut in 2012 and then re-signing with the Bills in 2013.

The Bills also have released linebacker Xavius Boyd, defensive tackle Landon Cohen, tight end Dominique Jones, cornerback Kamaal McIlwain, cornerback Sam Miller, fullback Evan Rodriguez, receiver Naaman Roosevelt, and center Jared Wheeler.

All teams must be at 53 teams by Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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Aldon Smith hit with nine-game suspension

Smith Getty Images

The NFL made a statement yesterday against domestic violence, and today’s is about repeat offenders.

The NFL announced that 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended for nine games for violating the NFL’s policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

Smith will be eligible to return on Nov. 10, but that means the team will play half the season or more without two of their best defensive players. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is coming back from a knee injury in the playoffs, and isn’t expected back until mid-season.

Smith has been one of the league’s best pass-rushers in recent years, with 42.0 sacks in 43 games.

But he’s also been a persistent off-field headache, with a DUI from last September leading to a stint in rehab. The league said they’d take his voluntary leave into consideration when deciding penalties, but they’re not in a lenient mode at the moment after admitting they screwed up the Ray Rice penalty.

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Bolts bounce cornerback Crezdon Butler

Butler AP

Cornerback Crezdon Butler was believed to be on the roster bubble in San Diego.  He was.

Per a league source, the Chargers have released Butler.  A fifth-round pick of the Steelers in 2010, Butler has played for the Cardinals (2011), Washington (2012), Cardinals again (2012), Bills (2012) and Chargers (2013).

Despite no career starts, Butler appeared in 12 regular-season games last year for San Diego and both postseason games.  With four accrued seasons, he instantly becomes a free agent.

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Ahmad Dixon, Akiem Hicks fined for preseason infractions

Akiem Hicks AP

Add Cowboys safety Ahmad Dixon and Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the list of players fined for infractions during last week’s preseason games.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Dixon was fined $22,050 for striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area and that Hicks was fined $16,537 for roughing the passer.

Dixon was penalized for striking Dolphins wide receiver Matt Hazel high on a pass near the end zone in the fourth quarter of the game between Miami and Dallas. Hicks was fined for slamming Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to the turf during the first quarter of last week’s game. He was also penalized during the game.

Dixon can appeal to have the fine reduced as it is more than 25 percent of his weekly salary and it is his first offense. Hicks was fined for a hit late last season, which means he’d need to be fined more than 50 percent of his weekly pay in order to appeal on the grounds that it was excessive.

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Bears get rid of another converted college QB project

Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears Getty Images

It wasn’t a good day to be a converted college quarterback with the Bears.

In addition to the previously reported wide receiver Armanti Edwards, the Bears also parted ways with former Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Lynch was trying to make it as a running back after a standout college career, which saw him rush for more than 4,000 yards and pass for more than 6,000.

The Bears also announced the release of tight end Jeron Mastrud and offensive linemen Dennis Roland and Robert Turner.

Those five moves get them to 70, meaning 17 more will have to come tomorrow.

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Eagles will place Arrelious Benn on injured reserve

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Eagles got on the road to 53 players by saying goodbye to quarterback G.J. Kinne on Friday and the moves have kept on coming.

PFT has learned that the Eagles will place wide receiver Arrelious Benn on injured reserve. It’s the third straight year that Benn has wound up on that list with this year’s concussion joining 2013’s torn ACL and a variety of injuries in 2012 as the reasons why his career has been sidetracked after catching 55 passes for the Bucs in his first two NFL seasons.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team has also cut running back Henry Josey, who showed well at times during the preseason. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that wide receivers Ifeanyi Momah and Quron Pratt have also been dropped from the active roster. All three players have practice squad eligibility.

With the previously reported moves, the Eagles are down to 69 players which leaves them with plenty of work to do before they are at the 53-man limit.

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Kirkpatrick gets fined $22,500 for hit on Ted Ginn

Kirkpatrick AP

One of the higher-profile hits from Week Three of the preseason didn’t draw a flag.  One of the lesser-known hits did.

On a first-quarter punt fielded by Cardinals receiver Ted Ginn, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick lowered the boom.

The helmet-to-helmet hit drew no flag, but it has drawn a $22,050 fine.  NBC’s Cris Collinsworth spotted it in real time.

“So here we are in preseason having seen a ton of flags,” Al Michael replied, “and the one time we should have seen one, we don’t.”

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Bengals release BenJarvus Green-Ellis

BenJarvus Green-Ellis AP

The Law Firm will no longer practice in Cincinnati.

The Bengals announced Friday that they have released veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The move has been discussed for some time with speculation growing by leaps and bounds when the team selected Jeremy Hill in May’s draft.

Hill was a workhorse on Thursday night while Green-Ellis sat out much of the preseason with a hip injury that probably sealed his fate in Cincinnati. Green-Ellis spent the last two seasons with the Bengals, running 498 times for 1,850 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the arrivals of Hill and Gio Bernard over the last two seasons made him expendable.

Green-Ellis doesn’t offer much in the passing game, but a team looking for a short yardage banger could probably do worse if Green-Ellis is healthy enough to get back to work. Given his status as a vested veteran, Green-Ellis may have to wait until the second week of the regular season to find new work if teams want to avoid guaranteeing his contract for the entire season.

The Bengals also announced that they have parted ways with linebacker Brandon Joiner, defensive tackle Lakendrick Ross and quarterback Tyler Wilson.

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Jags waive Stephen Morris, plan to put him on practice squad

stephenmorris AP

Rookie quarterback Stephen Morris is out in Jacksonville. For now.

A league source tells PFT that the Jaguars are waiving Morris. However, if he clears waivers their plan is to bring him back and put him on the practice squad.

Morris completed 16 of 25 passes for 120 yards in the preseason. He was always a long shot to make the 53-man roster in Jacksonville, where Chad Henne is the starter and rookie Blake Bortles is the franchise quarterback of the future.

Morris was the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes for the last two seasons (and parts of the two seasons before that) and finished his college career with 7,896 passing yards.

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D.J. Swearinger not fined for hit that concussed Welker

Wes Welker, D.J. Swearinger, Jeff Tarpinian AP

Texans safety D.J. Swearinger earned the ire of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and a penalty for a hit in last week’s preseason game that left Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker with a concussion, but the league didn’t think he did anything that warranted further punishment.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Swearinger did not receive a fine for the hit. Manning was fined $8,268 for the taunting penalty he received for getting in Swearinger’s face and expressing his feelings about the hit that left one of his top receivers with his latest concussion.

Welker was hurt when Swearinger hit him shortly after he reeled in a 9-yard catch. Tom Curran of CSN New England and others argued that Manning bore some of the blame for Welker’s injury because he threw a pass to Welker in a spot where he was sure to be hit hard by one of the three defenders around him.

The league’s opinion on that matter will remain unknown, but we do know that they don’t think Swearinger crossed a line on the play.

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Bucs punt kicker Connor Barth for younger alternative

Connor+Barth+Carolina+Panthers+v+Tampa+Bay+amA1CE9Y95Gl Getty Images

The Buccaneers continue to do business faster than anyone, as they’ve made the majority of their cuts already.

The latest is kicker Connor Barth, per the Tampa Bay Times.

That leaves the kicking job to Patrick Murray, a second-year player from Fordham.

The 28-year-old Barth had been with the Bucs since 2009, but they’re going with the younger (i.e. cheaper) version. He was franchised and given a four-year, $13.2 million deal in 2012, but spent last year on the non-football illness list after he tore his Achilles in an offseason charity basketball game.

Barth’s been good enough for long enough that he’ll likely be a regular on the Tuesday tour of unemployed kickers, which we envision traveling from city to city together in a small car or bus.

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NFL does not fine Ndamukong Suh for roughing the passer

ndamukong AP

One of the NFL’s most-fined players caught a break this week.

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has been fined repeatedly and suspended once for on-field misconduct, was not fined for his roughing the passer penalty last week against the Jaguars.

Suh’s late hit on Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne was fairly egregious, enough so that Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he’d need to talk to Suh about not hurting his team with penalties. So it’s something of a surprise that the Lions didn’t dock Suh’s pay.

The NFL doesn’t explain the reasons when it doesn’t fine a player, so it’s hard to understand why Suh got away with this one. He’d be wise not to push his luck when the regular season begins.

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