Eagles have one healthy wide receiver on 53-man roster


SportsPulse: Lorenzo’s picks have been like clock work going 2-1 each of the first three weeks of the season. For Week 4 he gives his three locks hoping to finally have the perfect weekend. USA TODAY

PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles were determined not to be stuck in a situation like they were over the final four games of last season, where Greg Ward, a former practice squad player, would be their top wide receiver.

Yet three games into the season, here they are again with their top three wide receivers either out or possibly unable to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Eagles placed rookie Jalen Reagor on injured reserve Wednesday. Alshon Jeffery is still working back after having foot surgery last December. And DeSean Jackson, who left the game Sunday with a hamstring injury, did not practice Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.

That’s in addition to tight end Dallas Goedert, who was placed on IR on Tuesday with a broken ankle. 

It got even worse on Thursday as J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and rookie John Hightower also missed practice for unknown reasons.

That left Ward as the only wide receiver on the current 53-man roster practicing Thursday. 

The others were practice squad players Deontay Burnett, Travis Fulgham and Marcus Green. Rookie Quez Watkins, who’s on injured reserve, is practicing this week. He’ll likely be added to the roster in the next day or so.

Last season, the Eagles won their final four games with a depleted wide receiver corps. That’s why quarterback Carson Wentz said he is used to the feeling by now.

“Without a doubt, it can be a resource,” Wentz said about the success last season with unheralded players. “It’s something to look back on and say, ‘How did I get on the same page with some of these guys even though it was a short amount of time to build that chemistry quickly?'”

Ward was the linchpin in that resurgence over the last four games in 2019. He was called up from the practice squad in November after never being on an NFL roster through his previous two-plus seasons.

Over those last four games, all must-wins, Ward had 21 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown. That included the game-winning TD pass against Washington last Dec. 15.

Ward has continued that this season. He’s second on the team with 14 receptions. He converted two third-downs in Week 1 against Washington and two more in the Eagles’ 23-23 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Ward also hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass against the Bengals, beating his defender down the sideline.

When the season began, Ward was considered the slot receiver, mostly working the middle of the field, especially on third downs. Ward was not expected to be the top wide receiver. 

Yet there he was against the Bengals on Sunday, leading the Eagles both in receptions (eight) and yards (72).

None of that is a surprise to Wentz.

“Last year when he was asked to step up late in the season, he did an unbelievable job,” Wentz said. “So he’s a guy I have a lot of trust with, a lot of confidence in. He gets it. He was a quarterback in college. He sees the game differently. He plays fast. He understands it. He does a great job man and zone coverage, just knowing were to be and the timing.”

“I can’t say enough good things about how hard he’s worked and how he’s going right now.”

Really, the Eagles didn’t have much choice after Jackson left late in the second quarter with his injury.

For the second half and overtime, the other receivers on the field with Ward were Hightower, in his third career NFL game; and Burnett, himself promoted from the practice squad two days before the game. He was sent back to the practice squad after the game.

Ward knew he had to step up without Jackson, Jeffery and Reagor, just like he did last season.

“I have the same expectations and standards for myself every single week,” Ward said. “We’re hoping those guys play. Regardless of what happens, I’m always going to be ready. I’m going to make sure that I’m on top of my game.”

At the same time, the Eagles haven’t gotten much out of Arcega-Whiteside, their second-round pick in 2019.

Arcega-Whiteside has yet to catch a pass this season after a disappointing rookie season with only 10 receptions for 169 yards. He was on the field for just 18 out of 91 offensive plays against the Bengals, and wasn’t even targeted.

Pederson said Arcega-Whiteside suffered a minor injury in pregame warmups that limited his snaps against the Bengals. On Wednesday, Arcega-Whiteside’s injury was listed as a calf.

“The thing that we look at now moving forward, we’re going to have to find creative and unique ways to use all our players on offense,” Pederson said. “The tight ends, the runners, obviously, with Carson.”

“We’ve done this before. We did it at the end of the season last year. We won the four straight to get us into the postseason, and it appears we’re going to have to do that again.”

Several players don’t practice

On Wednesday, G Jamon Brown, T Jack Driscoll and T Jason Peters sat out with illnesses. DT Fletcher Cox (abdominal), S Rudy Ford (groin), CB Avonte Maddox and CB Trevor Williams also sat out. Those limited were RT Lane Johnson (ankle), C Jason Kelce (rest) and RB Miles Sanders (glute).

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NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 4 games against the spread

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Several of the BTSC staff pick all the NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The 2020 NFL season is now underway! With the number of undefeated teams down to seven, only one matchup features two unbeatens in Week 4. Unfortunately, the game between the Steelers and Titans will not occur in Week 4 and the exact date it is set to be played has not been set at this time.

For the 2020 NFL season, six of the BTSC staff (a group I have affectionately named the “BTSC Super Six”) have signed up to pick every game against the spread and the over/under point totals. We are doing things a little different this year and including the Thursday games. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a group of Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

We are using a new program called Tallysight this season. It will allow us to show picks in a much more “friendly to the eye” manner. To understand how it works, the default tab is for our picks against the spread. To see the over/under picks, click the “O/U” tab in the upper right.

Last week, when picking games against the spread we were all within three games of each other. Shannon grabbed the top spot this week going 10-6 with myself, Bryan, and Geoffrey all coming in one spot behind at 9-7. Bryan continues to win the overall picks against the spread at 31-17 with me coming in next at 28-20. The only person coming in under 50% on the season is Jeff at 20-28.

When it comes to picking the over/under, Michael and Shannon both had a great week going 12-4 with myself, Bryan, and Jeff going 10-6. Although he came in last in Week 3, Geoffrey still leads overall at 27-21 where my 26-22 record is the only other one above .500 on the season.

So here are the picks for the games for Week 4 of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along!

Heat's Dragic, Adebayo doubtful for Game 2

2:29 PM ET

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic and big man Bam Adebayo are both listed as doubtful for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, it was announced Thursday.

Dragic has a plantar fascia tear in his left foot, while an MRI for Adebayo revealed a neck strain following Wednesday’s 116-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1.

Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, who turned his left ankle at the end of the first half Wednesday night, was wearing a wrap on his left ankle Thursday. He said he will be ready for Game 2 of the best-of-7 series on Friday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).

“At this point, it’s all hands on deck,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday. “And it’s not like the guys that were potentially sliding into the rotation haven’t played before; these guys have confidence and have played big roles

Feds: Two breached players' social accounts

3:38 PM ET

Associated Press

A Louisiana man and a Florida man allegedly gained access to professional athletes’ social media accounts and either sold the information or used it to extort payments, according to federal criminal complaints released Wednesday.

Trevontae Washington and Ronnie Magrehbi each face wire fraud conspiracy and computer fraud conspiracy counts filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey.

Washington, 21, of Thibodaux, Louisiana, allegedly obtained usernames and passwords for multiple NFL and NBA players’ accounts and sold access to the information.

Magrehbi, 20, of Orlando, Florida, allegedly obtained an NFL player’s email and Instagram account information and extorted money by publishing explicit photos of the player and threatening to publish more.

Washington and Magrehbi were scheduled to make initial court appearances Wednesday in their respective states. They were not alleged to have worked together on the scams.

AD shines in Finals debut but 'job is not done'

2:30 AM ET

The Miami Heat started the game sending a double-team at Anthony Davis, but it didn’t take long to discover that there wasn’t much they could do to slow down the Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar big man.

In his NBA Finals debut, an animated Davis dominated, scoring 34 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 3 shots to help the Lakers crush the Heat 116-98 on Wednesday and take Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

“It’s easy for AD,” Lakers power forward Markieff Morris said when asked about Davis’ first Finals game. “Like I’ve been saying since I got on this team, honestly, if you ask me … we got LeBron [James], but I think he’s the best player in the world.

“He [does] it on both ends, he’s doing it consistently every night, he gives you what you ask for

Mike Tomlin disappointed in not playing, doesn’t care about potentially playing 13 in a row

NFL: Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh SteelersCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach did not hold back when asked if he cares about playing 13 games in a row.

Thursday was a rough day for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fan base. What started with optimism the game in Week 4 vs. the Tennessee Titans would be made up either Monday or Tuesday turned south in a hurry.

After hearing of another player and personnel member testing positive for COVID-19, the NFL has decided to postpone the game between two 3-0 teams and move it to later in the season.

When will it be played? No one knows at this point. Sure, there are some options, but the NFL has yet to set an official date for the contest scheduled to be played in Nashville.

Believe it or not, but the Steelers held practice Thursday, even after the news broke of the game being moved out of Week 4. After practice Mike Tomlin met with media, via Zoom, and spoke about how he was truly disappointed his team won’t get to play this week.

This per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Of course, the next line of questions turned to the fact if the Steelers are to be granted their bye week this Sunday, it would mean 13 straight weeks of games to end the 2020 regular season.

Mike Tomlin’s thoughts on that?

Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports spells it out for your:

The league could suggest the Steelers will still get their Week 8 bye, and create a Week 18 for games which need to be made up, but at this point that doesn’t seem likely. If playing 13 straight games is what the Steelers have to do, then so be it.

As for the bye week itself, the Steelers players won’t be able to leave town like usual since they will still have to undergo daily testing. After the outbreak in Tennessee it makes daily testing even more of a focus moving forward.

So, the Steelers have the weekend off. What next? No one knows, but the NFL is likely to make their plans public sooner rather than later. And we will have all that news, and more, right here at BTSC…so stay tuned!

Sources: Rivers serious candidate for 76ers job

12:29 PM ET

After productive meetings with Philadelphia 76ers ownership and management on Wednesday, Doc Rivers has emerged as a serious candidate to become the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.

Rivers’ candidacy has gained momentum, although no offer has been extended to him, sources said.

Rivers was a late entry into a process that had become increasingly focused on former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who still remains in consideration with the Sixers, sources tell ESPN.

Once the LA Clippers dismissed Rivers on Monday, the dynamic of the Sixers coaching search changed. Rivers has been intrigued enough with the roster, marketplace and organization to fly from the West Coast to sit down with Philadelphia’s hierarchy — owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and general manager Elton Brand.

Rivers, 58, had two years left on his Clippers contract, sources said, so he remains owed a significant

Ainge: Walker 'definitely not himself' in bubble

12:51 PM ET

Tim BontempsESPN

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge said star point guard Kemba Walker was “definitely not himself” during the team’s stay inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“I wasn’t there [in the bubble],” Ainge said Thursday during his end-of-season conference call following the Celtics’ loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. “I was watching from here, but I could see, even when he was here before the bubble started, which is why he was shut down a little bit and doing strength training and trying to prepare himself for the playoff run and the intensity of the playoff run, but he was definitely not himself.

“In fairness to Kemba, he doesn’t want to say that. He doesn’t say that to our coaches. He doesn’t say that to you, the media. He doesn’t

Putting the Steelers postponed game against the Titans in perspective

NFL: AUG 17 Preseason - Patriots at TitansPhoto by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It wasn’t all that long ago all Steelers’ Nation wanted was football of some kind.

Well, it finally happened.

Going into the 2020 season, nothing in the NFL, or professional sports in general, has been what fans have been accustomed to over the years. There was no preseason. There are no fans in most stadiums and those that have fans are at a very limited capacity. Players are being tested for COVID-19 every day except game days, and all media sessions are done virtually. These are just some of the necessary adjustments in order to have NFL football in 2020.

Now the NFL has had to make the first postponement of a game, not only in day and time, but in which week of the season it will be played. Unfortunately, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers who are one of the teams involved in this game.

Yes, we all know this was not the Steelers doing. They just happen to be the opponent of a team that had a Covid outbreak at their facility.

Yes, we know it sucks. You can’t go anywhere on social media Thursday morning without hearing about how bad it sucks. But you know what? It’s what we (fans, players, coaches, league employees, etc.) signed up for in order to have an NFL season.

I’ve seen rants about the Steelers can’t make the Super Bowl now if their bye week is in Week 4. I’ve also heard rants about the Steelers now having a brutal stretch of games through the middle of their season if the game gets rescheduled in Week 7 and the game against the Ravens gets moved to Week 8. (At the time of writing, no announcement has been made on when the game will be played.)

Is this an ideal situation for the Steelers? Absolutely not! The Steelers were already focused on how their season was laid out in groups of four games and where the bye week fell. Now everything has changed.

But 2020 changed everything.

What hasn’t changed in the NFL this season? Of course there’s a lot that hasn’t changed, but it’s been hard work to keep it that way. Not even a quarter of the way through the season and one game being moved has everyone up in arms? What happened to three months ago when all we wanted was an NFL season at all?

Right now, the NFL is in a very good situation that through a quarter of the season it appears only one game has been affected. One game. Out of 64. That’s 1.56% of the games played so far. Frankly, I think the league is doing pretty well.

More importantly, we’re getting football.

Steelers’ Nation just needs to calm down after the initial knee-jerk reaction to not having a game this weekend. Yes, it throws off of a lot of things. As someone who runs this website along with Jeff Hartman, this throws a wrench in that so much of what we have done and were going to do this week. But we have to adapt. It’s better than not having an NFL season at all.

Teams knew this was going to be the case going into the season. They were going to be times where there would be an unequal competitive advantage. Whenever this was the case with the game happening in Week 4 and the Titans not being able to practice, Steelers fans had no problem with it because they came out on top of the advantage. Now, in order to hold the game at all, we’re concerned that the Steelers are put in a tough spot. They are. But just like everyone else in the NFL, they have to learn to deal with it.

This is the point where I would love to bust out the quote by John Patrick Mason (played by Sean Connery) in the 1996 movie “The Rock” where he talks about losers and winners. Since the quote itself is not appropriate for our classy website, I’ll just keep to the point which was made: Losers whine about the tough circumstances they are put in and how it might inhibit their success. Winners… they win. They overcome. They don’t make excuses.

If the Steelers are a championship team, they will handle whatever adversity is put before them.

Personally, I’m just very happy this Covid outbreak with Tennessee came up on Tuesday and not Saturday. What if the Steelers had made the trip to Tennessee? What if they played the game and one player ended up getting the virus? What happens when that player travels back and didn’t have a positive test right away and the Steelers are dealing with the same situation the Titans are facing? It is much better to not play this game now and only have one game affect the rest of their schedule than to be dealing with an outbreak.

The NFL will learn from this how better to proceed when these types of situations arise. Hopefully the NFL can continue on with the season without any other glitches. The Steelers are going to have to do the same.

The 2020 season is going to be overcoming so much more than getting more points on the scoreboard than your opponent each week. There will be off-field issues to overcome. Competitive balance will be more inbalanced than ever before. But it happens. It’s better than the alternative of no football.

If the worst-case scenario of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Covid world of 2020 is having to move one game for the season, this is not a terrible thing. It could be worse. The glass is half full.

If we were go back 3 to 6 months ago and ask all of Steelers’ Nation if they would take an NFL season knowing this bump in the road was going to happen, I bet the overwhelming majority would sign up for it in a heartbeat in order to have a season.

A game has been moved. The season will continue on. It is what it is.

On to Philadelphia.

Podcast, Know Your Enemy: The Tennessee Titans

Michael Beck, Geoffrey Benedict and break down all the news you need to know surrounding who WAS supposed to be the Black-and-Gold’s next opponent, the Tennesee Titans

It’s time once again to become a scout for the Steelers before their latest game. However, the Week 4 test courtesy of the 3-0 Tennessee Titans will have to come later due to the postponement. But still check out Know Your Enemy. It’s the show where Michael Beck and Geoffrey Benedict break down the upcoming opponent for the Black-and-Gold. This week Mike and Geoff welcomed Hawk and Lock Down from Tennessee Titans Weekly. What kind of threat are Ryan Tannehill, Derek Henry and the Titans? These questions and more will be pondered on the latest episode from the BTSC family of podcasts. As always, it is a good time to talk everything Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • A look at the Titans
  • Guest Hawk and Lock Down from Tennessee Titans Weekly.
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael and Geoffrey walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2: