THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM
Receiver Matthews excited to return to Eagles
PHILADELPHIA — Jor- dan Matthews was so excited to return to the Philadelphia Eagles again that he picked up his young son and ran around the house.
“I was like a kid in a candy store,” Matthews said Monday. “It was like getting drafted all over again. I was just so happy. I picked up my son, ran around the house like he was Simba. It was a good feeling. This is where I wanted to be.”
The Eagles reached out to Matthews after Desean Jackson was placed on injured reserve last week and officially signed the 27-year-old wide receiver Monday. It’s his third stint with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft.
Matthews was traded to Buffalo before the 2017 season in a deal that brought cornerback Ronald Darby to Philadelphia. He missed the team’s Super Bowl run but returned last September. Matthews had 20 catches for 300 yards and two touchdowns last season and caught a 37-yard TD pass in the playoff loss at New Orleans.
He averaged 75 receptions and 891 yards receiving in his first three seasons with the Eagles and had 19 TD catches.
“We can just pull up his highlights. The guy has made a lot of plays for the Eagles over the years,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “He has excellent football intelligence. He knows our system. He has familiarity there. I think there’s great comfort with him in the huddle. There’s rapport and chemistry with he and Carson (Wentz), which is important, so certainly nice to get him back.”
Matthews has a close relationship with Wentz going back to the quarterback’s rookie year, when he was No. 3 on the depth chart behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel until becoming the starter the week before the season started.
“I got to know him before he was Wentzylvania and I think that time spending with him makes that relationship real,” Matthews said. “It’s not like I’m gonna talk to you because he was throwing me the ball. I didn’t know he was going to throw me the ball that year. I just wanted to get to know him because he was a cool dude and obviously our faith in Christ has grown us together.”
The Eagles haven’t had much production from their wideouts this season except for Jackson, who played one full game and a couple of series in two others. Alshon Jeffery has shown signs of decline and dropped three passes in the last game. Nelson Agholor has struggled to make plays and also has had big drops. Mack Hollins is mainly a blocking receiver.
“We have plenty of good players that are out there in the huddle with Carson and we have to find ways to create those explosive plays, get guys open, and help them get open and then make the plays when the plays are there to be made,” Groh said.
The Eagles signed twotime Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks to a fouryear contract extension. The deal is reportedly worth $56.2 million and makes Brooks the highestpaid guard in the NFL. Brooks made a remarkable return to the starting lineup by Week 1 after tearing his Achilles tendon in January.
At Ashburn, Va., Dwayne Haskins’ time has finally come.
The Washington Redskins on Monday named Haskins their starting quarterback for the rest of the season. The 15th overall draft pick takes over with Washington 1-8 and the New York Jets up next Sunday.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Dwayne,” interim coach Bill Callahan said in announcing the muchexpected move. “He’s worked hard, he’s smart, he studies, he prepares, so this will be a great opportunity for him going forward.”
Haskins is 27 of 44 for 284 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions in three appearances — two in relief and a start Nov. 3 at Buffalo. The Jets game will be his second NFL start.
“It helps to have a full week of preparation where you’re the starter,” secondyear receiver Trey Quinn said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him grow because he’s a talent. He’s definitely a talent, so sky’s the limit right now for him. It’s just up to him to take the extra time and learn on his own.”
Previous coach Jay Gruden and Callahan had been reluctant to hand the reins over to Haskins because he looked much more like a long-term project than a ready-made professional quarterback. Veteran Case Keenum started seven of the first eight games and longtime backup Colt Mccoy the other.
But Haskins showed enough in his audition against the Bills to earn the full-time role. Callahan liked Haskins’ consistency and decisiveness in completing 15 of 22 passes with a limited playbook.
At Cleveland, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said wide receiver Antonio Callaway’s benching was a one-game punishment.
Callaway didn’t play in Sunday’s 19-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills after being a surprising healthy scratch despite quarterback Baker Mayfield saying the receiver had been included in the game plan.
Kitchens did not divulge his reasons for sitting Callaway, who was suspended four games earlier this season by the NFL for violating the league’s drug policy.
On a conference call Monday, Kitchens said he wasn’t confident the 22-year-old Callaway would respond to the discipline.
“I don’t know if he got the message or not,” Kitchens said. “But I’m not wavering.”