Del Rio’s foundation will do philanthropy in Mexico City
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio’s foundation will once again use a trip to Mexico City for some philanthropy.
Del Rio’s wife, Linda, and daughter, Lauren, will distribute backpacks filled with Raiders-themed items and school supplies to needy children on Saturday, the day before the Raiders take on the New England Patriots in their second game in Mexico City in two years.
Raiders alumni including Hall of Famers Fred Biletnikoff and Willie Brown will then hold a clinic for the kids.
The Raiders, the Jack Del Rio Foundation and the NFL are all donating $10,000 to Mano Amiga, a non-profit organization that helps needy children in Mexico.
“We are excited to return to Mexico City and to have another opportunity to fully engage and to provide resources and hope for the many wonderful people who became part of the NFL family last year,” Linda Del Rio said. “Our Jack Del Rio Foundation is partnering once again with the Raiders organization and the National Football League to foster the NFL’s goal to leave sustainable elements and resources where we have the privilege to live, work, and play.”
RUN STUFFERS: The Eagles have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense and they’ve won several games by a large margin, so teams aren’t even trying to run against them. Philadelphia’s opponents are averaging 18.4 rushing attempts per game, which is the fewest in league history. Only Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt had more than 40 yards rushing in a game against the Eagles (8-1). Hunt ran for 81 yards in Week 2, a 27-20 loss to the Chiefs. Overall, the Eagles have allowed only 66.4 yards rushing per game.
“We are a good penetration team up front, and then we have good tackling linebackers and good tackling safeties that can clean it up,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “It also has to do with some of the coverages that we play. Even if it’s a pass defense, there’s still enough guys that we can defend the run.”
SO MUCH WINNING: Entering Week 11, seven teams, nearly a quarter of the league, were on winning streaks of at least four games. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and LA Rams had each won four in a row. The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots were on five-game strings. And the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints were each on a seven-game run.
It’s the first time there were seven teams with at least a four-game winning streak since Week 14 of the 2011 season.
THAT’S WHY: Bengals fans are wondering why speedy first-round pick John Ross isn’t getting more playing time. One play last Sunday in a 24-20 loss at Tennessee showed why.
The receiver slowed while running a deep pattern on third down, so he wasn’t able to catch up to Andy Dalton’s throw. It was the only time he was targeted. Shoulder and knee injuries have limited Ross to a total of 17 snaps all season. He has run the ball one time on a reverse, and he has yet to catch a pass.
Coach Marvin Lewis took Ross to task for slowing up on the deep pass route. Ross didn’t expect Dalton to throw his way on the play.
“He let his teammates down, he let me down, he let Andy down,” Lewis said. “Maybe that ball’s not supposed to go there in that coverage, but if you do it right and you run like he can, that can be a big play for us. If he’d been running, likely he catches it.”
BAD RETURNS: The Broncos have finally benched rookie punt returner Isaiah McKenzie, who had five fumbles, including one Sunday night that ignited the New England Patriots’ 41-16 rout in Denver.
He’s been supplanted by Jordan Taylor, who, at 6-foot-5, is 9 inches taller than McKenzie, who’s generously listed at 5-8.
Coach Vance Joseph raised eyebrows in early August when he made McKenzie his punt returner before the preseason games had begun. He insisted the Broncos had drafted him specifically for that purpose, and he stuck with him over the first half of the season despite McKenzie’s constant yips.
His fifth fumble was the last straw.
“We can’t have any more issues as far as muffing the punts,” Joseph said.
Taylor is thrilled to get on the field. He’s been inactive five times this season and has just five catches for 41 yards.
“Just protect the ball,” Taylor said of his mindset. “As a punt returner, it’s either you catch it or you don’t. It’s hard not to think about that, but going out there in the game you just have to be confident in what you do during the week.”
Taylor said he’s not just going to fair catch everything, though.
“I think the main goal is to play it safe and catch the ball for sure, but if there are plays to be made I’m definitely not going to hesitate,” Taylor said. “I’ll try to take some chances.”
PRO BOWL VOTING: The NFL and Twitter are introducing a new way for fans to vote for the Pro Bowl roster through direct messaging.
Fans may participate via entry cards tweeted from all 32 team accounts or by directly visiting the @NFL profile page at Twitter.com/NFL. The entry cards will initiate a private direct message and enable fans to select a position group or search for a player or team to begin the voting process.
During the final week of Pro Bowl voting from Dec. 7-14, fans will be able to vote directly on Twitter. To cast a vote, fans should tweet the first and last name of the player, or the player’s official Twitter handle, along with the hashtag: #ProBowlVote.
Fans can also vote online at NFL.com/ProBowlVote. The rosters for the Pro Bowl will be announced on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. The Pro Bowl will be on Jan 28, 2018, in Orlando.
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Arnie Stapleton, Rob Maaddi, Simmi Buttar and Josh Dubow, and Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL