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NFC East report: Nicked up Nicks ready for some football

NFC East report: Nicked up Nicks ready for some football

Another day, another missed practice for Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who missed the bulk of training camp after breaking a bone in his foot back in May. Even though New York s opening week of the NFL season is a short one, what with Wednesdays game against Dallas, the stud receiver says hell be on the field.It's not that its perfect. But it's nothing that is going to stop me from playing, Nicks said, the New York Daily News reports. For all you fantasy players out there, the good news is youll know whether Nicks is active or not and thus can lineup adjustments are possible unlike when players have issues heading into late Sunday or Monday night games. Barring ominous sounding news and even against the Cowboys upgraded corners, feel confident using the top 10 fantasy receiver.Speaking of injuries, the Cowboys are still not sure or at least they are not letting the public know if they are about the status of three key contributors for Wednesdays game. Tight end Jason Witten, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and corner Mike Jenkins all made the trip to New York, but the assumption is the trio will not suit up. One report from over the weekend said based on the standard recovery from a lacerated, Wittens injury of choice as it turns out, the tight end is, extremely unlikely for the game, though the team remains hopeful. Youth is being served in the City of Brotherly Love. Well, at least for Philadelphias football team, the architects of which believe you can go young and still win big. The Eagles enter the season with their youngest roster since 1986.According to CSNphilly.coms Reuben Frank, the Eagles have ten guys are 21 or 22. Another 26 are between 23 and 26. And 12 more are in their late 20s.If it wasnt totally clear before, it is now, Frank writes. The Eagles believe the way to win a Super Bowl is with youth and with energy. With fresh legs and with tons of upside.Frank notes veterans like Asante Samuel, Vince Young and Ronnie Brown are out, kids like corner Brandon Boykin, running back Bryce Brown and quarterback Nick Foles are in.Everywhere they possibly could, the Eagles went young. Everywhere they possibly could, they shed veterans and added some young kid with blazing speed and tons of potential. Add it up, and this is the youngest Eagles team in 26 years."Dont think this is something new. Realize the Eagles top three offensive skill players LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin are all 25 years old or younger.

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When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

What do Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis have in common? They're all excellent NFL corners — and they all rank behind Josh Norman when it comes to ratings in Madden 17.

The Bronco (93 overall), the Seahawk (92), the Cardinal (91) and the Jet (91) should be proud of the grades handed to them for the next edition of the legendary video game. It's Norman, though, who's at the top of these top-notch defenders, checking in with a skillset that's good enough for a 94 in the eyes of EA Sports.

"Norman is expected to be a lock down corner for the Redskins this season," reads the description underneath Norman's name in a post ranking the elite cornerbacks that was published Thursday. "He is best in zone with his 97 zone coverage rating, but has the ability to match up in man to man situations with 90 speed and 92 man coverage."

These numbers are subject to change during the course of the season, so if No. 24 has a rough outing or two, he could tumble down a few points and give up the crown to someone else. As it stands now, however, Madden thinks he's the preeminent man at his position. 

And that's something Odell Beckham Jr. can't say.

RELATED: WHY DID SCOT MCCLOUGHAN PUNCH WALL?

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Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

Redskins activate Perry Riley from PUP list, LB set for practice

After opening training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that LB Perry Riley has been activated and will practice on Friday.

Riley went out last December with a foot injury and missed the Redskins run to the NFC East title. A six-year veteran, Riley was drafted by the 'Skins in 2010 and emerged as a starter in 2011. Riley struggled somewhat early in the 2015 season, but his play was improving into the second half of the year.

"I expect him to come on and continue his strides," Gruden said of Riley's improved play. 

Coindence or not, Riley's play improved once Will Compton took over at starting linebacker for Keenan Robinson.

"I think it did," Gruden said of Riley playing better paired with Compton. "Maybe it's just the whole entire defense got better as the season went on."

Gruden said that the defense as a whole was becoming more comfortable with new coordinator Joe Barry, and that should only increase this season. 

Some think with a $5 million cap number - and a potential savings of $4 million if he was released - Riley could be subject to a roster squeeze. But after Compton and Mason Foster, Riley is the only inside linebacker with significant NFL experience on the roster compared to Martrell Spaight, Steven Daniels and Terence Garvin. 

It will be interesting to watch Riley's return from injury, both to see how he looks, and to watch where he fits with the defense. In nine games last season, Riley grabbed two interceptions and 24 tackles.

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Josh Norman using his physicality to help cure Matt Jones of 'fumble-itis'

Josh Norman using his physicality to help cure Matt Jones of 'fumble-itis'

RICHMOND—Josh Norman was brought to the Redskins to help the defense. But he’s trying to solve one of the potentially biggest problems facing the other side of the ball.

In a part-time role last year, running back Matt Jones fumbled the ball five times, losing four of them. This year Jones is projected to be the full-time running back and if he continues to fumble at the same rate Norman and company will be coming onto the field a lot sooner than they planned on many occasions.

Norman has taken it upon himself to try to fix this. When Jones is carrying the ball Norman makes an effort to knock it out of the back’s arms. It’s become a running competition between the two.

“We crack up all the time because [Jones] knows when he comes to that hole I’m looking for that ball,” said Norman. “I’m punching; I’m looking to get it out of there.”

So far, Jones is doing a good job with ball security, something he’s been working on all offseason.

“He’s holding that thing high and tight and I don’t know if I've got him once yet,” said Norman.

Norman said that his goal is to knock the ball out of Jones’ grasp five times during training camp.

“I’m going to be lurking, trust me, I’m going to try and get it,” he said. “And that makes him better because he knows he’s going to have to hold that thing tight.”