Alshon Jeffery rebuts WRs coach, says not behind

He is one of the NFL’s most curious case studies, a Birkenstock-loving control freak who parlayed an off-the-beaten-path collegiate experience into a starring role in one of America’s most hypercritical sports cities.

Now firmly entrenched as the Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz was characteristically proactive during the dog days of summer, hosting eight of the team’s receivers in early July for a de facto passing camp in Fargo, where he starred for FCS power North Dakota State. In addition to several days of workouts, Wentz treated his guests to a lakeside barbecue, jet-ski rides and paddle-boarding excursions, and a grand time was had by all.

Added Jeffery: “It’s the game of football. Every once in a while you’re going to run a wrong route, make some mistakes on a few plays. But I’ll be all right.”

Jeffery caught two of five targets for 23 yards in just 17 snaps in his first preseason action last week. Even with the botched route, Carson Wentz showed his willingness to feed the ball to his new receiver (target every 3.4 snaps). With 20 days until the regular season opener, Jeffery has plenty of time to catch up on anything he’s behind on before the games count.

As for fantasy, the swap of Watkins for Jordan Matthews is not a 1-to-1 move, as they’re vastly different players. Matthews plays predominantly in the slot and is more likely a replacement for Robert Woods (signed with the Rams this offseason) than Watkins. In 2016, Matthews played 58 percent of his snaps in the slot, which is also where most of his production came from (84 targets, 54 receptions, 604 yards, two touchdowns). For Buffalo last year, Woods accumulated 54 percent of his targets and 62 percent of his yards from the slot.

This move is also interesting after the Bills just signed veteran Anquan Boldin, who played 81 percent of his snaps last year in Detroit either in the slot or tight to the line. Matthews will likely lead the team in targets, while Zay Jones will be tasked with providing an outside/deep threat like Watkins used to. This move is a good one for Matthews’ fantasy stock as he escapes the crowded Eagles wide receiver room, but it can’t be seen as a positive for Tyrod Taylor. With the Bills already featuring a low-volume passing attack (32nd and 31st in the league in pass attempts in the last two years), losing the big-play ability of Watkins depresses Taylor’s fantasy ceiling. He’ll still be able to rack up points with his legs, but this is bad news for Taylor’s late-round quarterback credentials.

While a majority of Eagles fans would agree, this qualifies as news because some owners around the league are willing to bail on an experiment after just one season. It would be dangerous and ludicrous for the Eagles to dump Pederson a year after hiring him, especially after he hand-selected a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Eagles have had some bright moments this year despite the complete lack of a dependable wide receiver and, by all accounts, Wentz looks to be on his way to being a top-12 quarterback next season.

There is always an attractiveness to the unknown; could this year’s coaching class deliver another Adam Gase? It’s possible. But for a team with so much already in motion, changing coaches would be downright insane. The Eagles (5-8) have a chance to play some good football down the stretch against quality opponents with a lot to play for. Beating the Ravens (7-6) would go a long way toward quieting any discussion about the coach’s future in Philly.

Here’s what made it all the more exciting: Ross has been a fan of DeSean Jackson’s for years, and has since built a friendship with him. Jackson, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was chosen by the Eagles in the second round of the 2008 draft. The connection wasn’t lost on Ross.

The Eagles got the only chance to host Ross on a visit for a while, because he’ll undergo shoulder surgery on Tuesday to repair his right labrum. Ross said he hopes to resume visiting other NFL clubs within a week or two of the procedure, and expects to begin the rehabilitation process as early as Wednesday. As for his pro day, Ross went through position drills only — after running a combine-record 4.22 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, there wasn’t much to prove — and felt good about his performance.

Runager played 11 seasons in the NFL after being drafted out of South Carolina by Philadelphia in the eighth round in 1979. He spent his first five years with the Eagles, losing the Super Bowl following the 1980 season before joining San Francisco in 1984.

The Niners went 15-1 his first season and beat Miami for the title. Runager played four seasons for San Francisco and came back for one game in 1988. He also played four seasons for Cleveland.

Jacksonville Jaguars trade up to select Cam Robinson

After two years as head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2013 to 2014, Marrone infamously opted out of contract after the team came under new ownership. He went 15-17 in two seasons as Bills coach, but led the Bills to a 9-7 season in 2014, which was the first winning season for the franchise since 2004.

Thought to be a hot head-coaching candidate at the time, Marrone was passed over for several open positions, most notably the New York Jets, who hired Todd Bowles. Marrone has spent the past two years mostly in anonymity in Jacksonville — aside from a memorable defense of the New York rap scene.

With no guaranteed money left on the contract, cutting House saves Jacksonville $6 million on the salary cap. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week the Jaguars likely would release House if they couldn’t trade him away.

The move leaves the Jags with just four corners on the roster heading into free agency. Behind first-round stud Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Colvin, Josh Johnson and Doran Grant round out the position. Prince Amukamara, who took over the starting gig last season, is set to hit free agency. Jacksonville reportedly is aiming at re-signing the veteran corner.

With their first two picks, the Jags have immediately upgraded their running game, which takes pressure off the enigmatic Blake Bortles.

Over the last five seasons, the Jaguars have the NFL’s worst rushing offense (92.1 rush YPG since 2012), per NFL Research. That trend should end in 2017.

Khan mentioned that general manager Dave Caldwell “agreed and will now be charged with exploring all options to hire the best head coach possible” to lead the Jaguars. Khan also mentioned the team’s “extremely talented” roster, another sign of support for Caldwell. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Caldwell will name an interim head coach on Monday, and added Bradley was on the team flight back to Jacksonville.

This could be seen as an act of mercy for Bradley. In a statement after last season, Khan said that Bradley knew the Jaguars had to be “well above” where they finished a season ago when the team finished 5-11. The Jaguars spent big money in free agency and instead took a step back. It was only a matter of time before Bradley was fired, and Sunday’s collapse provided a good moment for a clean break.

See, I don’t even know yet if I’m picking Jacksonville to make the playoffs. But that’s the point. Even just a few weeks ago, who in their right mind envisioned South Carolina competing for a national title — in basketball? You can’t be Cinderella if everyone assumes you’ll be the belle of the ball. And let’s be honest: Jacksonville has some serious questions heading into the 2017 campaign. Allow me to address those right off the bat.

First of all, many folks expected a breakthrough performance by the Jaguars last season. And they disappointed in a major way, going 3-13 and finishing deep in the AFC South cellar. But let’s take a closer look at that 3-13 for a second. Jacksonville wasn’t getting blown off the field. The Jaguars lost eight games by seven points or fewer. And Jacksonville’s most impressive win — a 38-17 pasting of the Titans in Week 16 — came in Doug Marrone’s first game as the interim coach, replacing the fired Gus Bradley. In related news: Marrone earned the permanent gig and will be leading the Jags in 2017. This is no small thing. As I said a few weeks ago, Gus Bradley is a nice guy … but a terrible head coach. Marrone is a large upgrade. And now that he has Tom Coughlin running the front office? Yeah, I think Jacksonville’s pointed in the right direction.

The NFL announced Monday a decision on the location of the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the Tennessee Titans, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday in Jacksonville, is pending after Hurricane Irma slammed the city over the weekend.

Jacksonville is dealing with “record storm surge and immense flooding,” CNN reported, with many parts of downtown, including streets near EverBank Field, under feet of water.