NFL notebook: Eagles aim high
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The NFL notebook …
PHILADELPHIA — From the owner down to the interns, everyone associated with the Philadelphia Eagles has the same lofty expectation for this season.
“The only goal is to win the Super Bowl,” team chairman Jeffrey Lurie said.
Anything less than hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February won’t be considered a success. Not for a team that’s made nine playoff appearances, won six division titles and played in five NFC championship games in the past 12 years.
Led by Michael Vick, the NFL Comeback Player of 2010, the Eagles have a dynamic offense. They’ve also got a revamped defense that features a star-studded secondary.
“We definitely have something special,” Vick said.
The defending NFC East champions already were championship contenders before they went on a wild spending spree in free agency.
The Eagles acquired several big-name players, including six guys who’ve been to Pro Bowls. Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (via trade), defensive end Jason Babin, quarterback Vince Young, running back Ronnie Brown, wide receiver Steve Smith and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins are among the newcomers with impressive resumes.
It was the biggest offseason splash the Eagles made since adding Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse in 2004. They went to the Super Bowl that year, losing 24-21 to New England.
“Whatever it takes to try to get there, that’s what we’re going to do,” team president Joe Banner said. “I want the players to feel like that’s the goal. If we fall short of that, then we didn’t hit the goal. It’s really that simple. I’m glad that the mindset is that we have a real shot to do that, and that’s the goal. That’s what we’re shooting for. The expectations are high internally as well as externally, and I think that’s a good place to be.”
PITTSBURGH — Lawrence Timmons didn’t go to Facebook or Twitter to announce his new six-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers the way teammate and good friend LaMarr Woodley did after signing a similar deal with the club earlier this month.
“They said they wanted to keep it on the (down low) yesterday,” Timmons said. “Once you pay a guy like that, I’m going to do what they say.”
And — hopefully — play the way the Steelers want him to play.
The new deal announced Tuesday will pay Timmons $50 million if he sticks around until 2016, the kind of money that will make it difficult for the 25-year-old to be one of the league’s best-kept secrets much longer.
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is looking for one thing from Friday’s exhibition game at Kansas City.
“Consistency,” said the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. “One of the biggest things is we’ve got to be more consistent.”
Bradford has shown flashes of brilliance in helping the Rams to a 2-0 record this preseason. He has also struggled at times, going 15 of 27 for 183 yards and two touchdowns. He has thrown one interception and has a 85.9 quarterback rating.
Bradford was 8 of 15 for 138 yards in a 17-16 win over Tennessee on Saturday, including an 83-yard scoring pass to Brandon Gibson on the first play from scrimmage. But the first-team offense sputtered the rest of the half before exiting at the break.
The struggles seemed to bother coach Steve Spagnuolo. The first unit had appeared razor sharp in a 33-10 win over Indianapolis on Aug. 13. Bradford put up 17 points on his first four possessions then.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Shonn Greene’s foot is ready for football again.
The New York Jets running back missed the team’s 27-7 win over Cincinnati on Sunday night because of an infection that caused his foot to swell last week. He said Tuesday the foot is feeling fine and he expects to play in the Jets’ next preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night.
“I’m good to go,” he said after the team’s morning walkthrough.
NAPA, Calif. — Jason Campbell is as eager as anybody to find out more about Terrelle Pryor and how the Oakland Raiders plan to use the former Ohio State quarterback.
Those answers didn’t come Tuesday.
The Raiders are hoping they’ll come soon enough.
While Campbell returned to the practice field for the first time since a jarring hit to the helmet, Pryor was nowhere to be found at Raiders camp. Pryor can’t practice until he’s under contract, and he had yet to even travel to the West Coast by the time the team ended practice in the evening.
New coach Hue Jackson was optimistic that Oakland would reach a deal by the end of the week with Pryor, whom the team selected in the third round of the NFL’s supplemental draft on Monday. Messages were left seeking comment from Drew Rosenhaus, Pryor’s agent.
“You don’t know what we’re really going to do with him yet,” said Campbell, who was cleared to practice for the first time since he took a knee to the helmet in Saturday’s 17-3 exhibition loss to San Francisco.
“He’s definitely a big, fast guy. There are different things you can do with him. He’s a teammate now.”
We welcome him. We just go out here and do what we can to help the team win.”
Even Oakland’s starting quarterback had no idea his team would draft Pryor.
Campbell said he was sitting in a meeting room Monday when a few teammates poked inside to tell him the news. He hasn’t had a chance to speak with Pryor yet, and Campbell said he’s going to welcome the new quarterback when he arrives — the same way veterans Mark Brunell and Todd Collins did with him in Washington.
Just don’t expect him to concede his job.
“People forget, I’m still a young guy, too,” said Campbell, who’s 29. “So I’m trying to go out and get things right for this team and be the future for this team.”
Pryor will have plenty of catching up to do whenever he arrives.
He has missed three weeks of training camp, two preseason games and countless meetings. Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team’s memorabilia-for-cash scandal cost coach Jim Tressel his job.
When he was allowed to enter the supplemental draft, he was handed a five-game suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell — the same number of games he would have sat out had he returned to Ohio State. Pryor has said he will not appeal the suspension.
Pryor will be able to practice immediately after signing and play in the remaining two exhibition games. But he will not be eligible to practice with or play for Oakland during the regular season until the team’s sixth game.
“He’s already missed pretty much all of training camp,” Campbell said. “So there’s a lot of important information he’s missed out on.”
NOTES: Jackson said LB Travis Goethel is likely out for the season after tearing a ligament in his knee. He is expected to have surgery. … Temperatures soared into the upper 90s in Napa and a fan passed out briefly while watching practice on the sideline. Jackson and team trainers came over in the middle of practice to check on the woman. She was smiling and joking after a few minutes.