Adam Schefter is reporting what we basically have known for a few weeks: the Eagles are planning to use the franchise tag on Michael Vick and will listen to trade offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Slapping the franchise tag on Vick is a no-brainer to keep the Pro Bowl QB in an Eagles uniform. While the Eagles will have to pay a premium to keep Vick, if he can put together another season like last year, he will be worth every penny.
As for Kolb, who has already said he wants out if he isn't starting for the Eagles, this may be the perfect time to deal him. With a number of teams searching for a starting quarterback and Kolb set to make just over a million dollars next season, there should be plenty of offers for the Eagles to mull over. Expect the Birds to only make a move if they are given an offer they can't refuse, like multiple 1st and 2nd round picks, since Kolb is still valuable backup for the Eagles behind the injury-prone Vick. Should the Eagles deal Kolb, look for them to seek out a veteran backup that could be counted on to start a game or two.
Of course, none of this can really happen until a new CBA is worked out, which could be months from now, if then.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Adam Schefter is reporting what we basically have known for a few weeks: the Eagles are planning to use the franchise tag on Michael Vick and will listen to trade offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
With Jeff Fisher and the Titans going their separate ways, it was only natural for this question to come up: could Fisher be the Eagles answer for their defensive coordinator opening? While it makes a ton of sense, from his ties to the Eagles organization to his mastery of the 4-3 scheme, don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Sure, Fisher would be a perfect fit for the Eagles, but you can bet there will be a few of teams willing to hand him a head coaching gig right away. Fisher also could take a year off and essentially hand pick his next coaching job. The best chance the Eagles could have to land Fisher is if he decides to take a year to figure out his next move and decides to temporarily take a less stressful assistant position.
With plenty of sources already saying that Fisher won't be taking a defensive coordinator job with the Eagles or any other team, what looked like a perfect match seems extremely unlikely to happen. You can't blame Andy Reid if he at least gives Fisher a call, though.
The Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers AHL affiliate, have unveiled their new mascot, as pictured above. What it is and how exactly it is supposed to relate to a Phantom is beyond me. From the crooked teeth to the crossed eyes, just what exactly is this thing supposed to represent? This is just further proof that, besides the Phillie Phanatic, mascots suck.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
UPDATE: Dick Lebeau himself squashes the speculation, saying that if he is coaching in Pennsylvania next year, it will be in Pittsburgh.
With the Eagles defensive coordinator search stretching into a second week and most of the top candidates snatched up, there has been speculation that the Eagles have a "mystery candidate" in mind to replace the departed Sean McDermott. Some intriguing news has emerged today that may give us a clue as to who the mystery man might be: Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's contract expires after this season.
LeBeau, who has coached one of the best defenses in the league over the last decade, would be a hot commodity if the Steelers let him become a free agent. ESPN is already speculating that LeBeau could land with the Cardinals, who have a slew of former Steelers on staff already. Of course, at age 73, LeBeau could be planning on retiring and may not even seek another job in the league.
While LeBeau employs a 3-4 scheme, I'm pretty sure the Eagles would be willing to change things up if they can land a coordinator of his caliber. While it would be a longshot at best, you can't blame the Eagles for at least trying to convince LeBeau to move across the state. After all, he has some experience with the team when he was their special teams coach way back in the early 70's.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Don't count on seeing Leonard Weaver in an Eagles uniform, or any NFL uniform, ever again. According to CSN Philly, Weaver just had his third major operation to help repair his ACL that he shredded way back in Week 1 of the NFL season. The report goes on to say that Weaver still can't even lift his foot and that there have been very few cases of players returning from an injury as severe as Weaver suffered. As anyone who follows him on Twitter can attest to, Weaver sounds optimistic about returning to the Eagles, but this report makes it sound very unlikely that he is going to play another down of football in his life.
On the field, the Eagles will miss Weaver, but their offense isn't one that relies on a fullback to do all that much. Sure, it would be nice to have a big back like Weaver in short yardage situations, but with Michael Vick under center, a quarterback sneak is probably a better option. Weaver was also a decent threat in the passing game, something that Owen Schmitt, his replacement for the season, never really was. Still, while there is a drop-off from Weaver to someone like Schmitt, in the Eagles offense, it really won't hurt them all that much.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
After another weekend of good football, we are now down to four. Here are my picks for who will be going to Dallas. Remember, all picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.
Record Last Week: 3-1, .750
Playoff Overall: 4-4, .500
Packers @ Bears
You've heard it before but it bears repeating: these two teams have played each other 181 times in their long history and yet this is only the second time they will meet in the playoffs. That's remarkable. What's also remarkable is how quickly the Packers have gone from the 6th seed in the NFC to Super Bowl favorites. While everyone picked them in the preseason to go the distance, they stumbled at midseason as they dealt with injuries, losing to the lowly Redskins and the Dolphins in overtime. A late season injury to Aaron Rodgers set them back, too, which is how they became possibly the best 6th seed ever. These two teams have met twice this season and played close, low-scoring games, with each team winning at home. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing right now and the Packers having at least some semblance of a running game, I expect them to put up plenty of points. It will be up to the Bears to keep up and I simply don't see it happening. My pick: Packers
Jets @ Steelers
Despite all the bluster and all the controversy, Rex Ryan has done one hell of a job with the Jets, taking them to back-to-back AFC Championship games in his first two years as head coach. He has a way of getting his teams motivated to win games they have no business winning, like their upset over the Chargers last year and their unlikely win over the Patriots last week. If they want to pull of another upset this week, Mark Sanchez is once again going to have to play way above his ability and the Jets defense is going to have to create havoc for the Steelers banged-up offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger is going to have his hands full trying to perform his escape act against a hungry Jets defense but I like the Steelers chances of putting up some points because they have something the Patriots don't have: a deep threat. Mike Wallace should be able to spread the field, something the Pats couldn't do, and that will take the Jets out of what they did last week and force them to have some help deep. I expect this one to be close and low-scoring but I expect Pittsburgh to edge out the Jets after they put pressure on Sanchez and force him into a few bad turnovers. My pick: Steelers
Those are my picks for the Championship round of the NFL Playoffs. Check back in two weeks for my Super Bowl pick. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comments section!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Phillies 6th starter just got a very nice raise. Kyle Kendrick, who will likely be the 5th starter for the Phillies once they trade Joe Blanton, has avoided arbitration and signed a one year, 2.45 million dollar contract with the team. It is nearly a 2 million dollar raise for Kendrick, who made $480,000 last year.
If/when the Phils trade Blanton, Kendrick has a chance to be a part of something very special in the Phillies rotation this season. If he stays in the rotation all season long, he will certainly earn his big raise; if he is relegated to bullpen duty, the Phillies have badly overpaid.
According to Anthony SanFillipo, Paul Holmgren is about to be rewarded for putting together one of the best teams in hockey. Later this week, the Flyers are going to extend their general manager for three more years in a contract worth 4.5 million dollars.
While Holmgren has made his fair share of questionable moves and struggles with the salary cap, you can't argue with the results on the ice. Since Homer took over for Bobby Clarke 4 years ago, the Flyers have made it to a Conference Final, the Stanley Cup Final and are poised for another deep run this year. Sure, he still doesn't value goaltending and he can't manage money, but Homer has made some great trades and kept the Flyers consistently good doing his tenure.
In Homer we trust, at least for three more years.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Just a few days ago, Eagles head coach Andy Reid said that defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was going to stay with the team for another season. Apparently Andy completely changed his mind (or he was lying), because the Eagles announced today that they have fired McDermott.
McDermott has been with the Eagles since 1998 and spent two years as the Eagles defensive coordinator after taking over for the late Jim Johnson in 2009. He did an adequate job with the defense as he tried to stick to the same formula that Johnson successfully used for several years. After their defensive failures in the red zone this season and their inability to stop the run in the playoffs, however, McDermott had to know that his chances of retaining his job would be slim.
As for who will replace McDermott, the smart money is on current Eagles secondary coach Dick Jauron. With the Browns reportedly looking to hire Jauron to be their defensive coordinator, the Eagles probably have to promote him if they want to keep him around.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Eagles were unfortunately eliminated in the first round (again), but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of good football left. If the first round of the playoffs is any indication, we are in for a great couple of weeks of NFL action. Of course, it could also be our last NFL action for a long, long time if they don't get this labor situation figured out.
Despite my poor record in the first round and the fact that the Eagles have been knocked out, I will continue to make my weekly NFL picks throughout the playoffs. Remember, all picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.
Record Last Week: 1-3, .250
Ravens @ Steelers
If history shows us anything, expect this to be a hard-fought, low-scoring battle with plenty of big hits. Based on their reputations, both teams are very similar. Both rely on a solid defense and a good but not great offense. Unfortunately for the Ravens, their offense hasn't exactly lived up to their reputation, though they have only allowed 27 total points to the Steelers in two meetings this year. If the Steelers offensive line can give Ben Roethlisberger any kind of protection, he should be able to find Mike Wallace deep and carve up the Ravens secondary. If the Steelers defense can shut down Ray Rice and Joe Flacco is forced to make plays, the Ravens won't be putting many points on the board. While I like the Steelers to win, this will definitely be a close game. My pick: Steelers
Packers @ Falcons
With the emergence of James Starks, the Packers suddenly don't have a weakness. When I picked the Eagles to beat the Pack last week, I assumed that the Birds defense didn't have to respect the run because Green Bay had such a one-dimensional offense. Now, with Starks ripping the Eagles for over a hundred yards and Aaron Rodgers able to pick apart any defense on the planet, the Packers offense looks unstoppable. Of course, there is the possibility that Starks had such a good game against the Eagles defense because they have had major problems stopping the run all year. The Falcons are a better overall team than the Eagles and have very few weaknesses. In fact, I struggle to even come up with anything the Falcons don't do well. They have a balanced offensive attack, an above average defense and they play very well at home. Despite all of that, I'm going to stick with my prediction from last week that the winner of the Packers/Eagles game would be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. My pick: Packers
Seahawks @ Bears
Do I have to apologize after saying it was an "absolute joke" that the Seahawks made the playoffs? Absolutely not! Sure, the Seahawks played a great game and knocked out the defending champs, but, as we know in the NFL, any team can beat any other team in any given game. While I will give the Seahawks credit for playing their best football of the season at the right time, I don't think it's going to carry over for another week. The Bears aren't a great football team but their defense is leaps and bounds better than the Saints D and they certainly won't be allowing Matt Hasselbeck to carve them up. If the Packers couldn't score more than 10 points against the Bears in Week 17, what chance do Hasselbeck, Marshawn Lynch and Co. have of putting up big numbers? The only way Seattle wins this game is if Jay Cutler turns back into the turnover machine that he was earlier in the year, which actually has a legitimate chance of happening. This one could be a close game but the Seahawks run ends here. My pick: Bears
Jets @ Patriots
It's hard to have much faith in the Jets after they got drubbed by the Patriots in Week 13. Still, if you look way, way back to Week 2 and ignore the fact that Mark Sanchez has been pretty terrible this season, you can see how the Jets might have a chance in this one. While I expect this game to be much closer than the last time they played, the Pats are simply too good to lose to a team with as many weaknesses as the Jets. The gameplan for the Pats is actually pretty simple in this one: get up by a touchdown early and laugh as the feeble Jets offense tries to fight their way back into the game. My pick: Patriots
Those are my picks for the second round of the NFL Playoffs. Check back every round for my playoff predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comments section!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I guess the NHL is trying to tell us that having the best team in the Eastern Conference doesn't necessarily mean you have the best players.
The NHL announced the rosters for the 2011 All-Star game and, surprisingly, only one Flyer made the team: Claude Giroux. While Giroux is having a great season, the Flyers had at least two other players who are equally deserving in Danny Briere and Mike Richards. Given that Briere is 7th in the league in goals, it's fair to call him a snub and the only likely explanation as to why he wasn't named to the team was that he asked the league not to pick him.
Of course, before we get too angry about who was left off, it's important to give Giroux his due. The 28 year old is averaging nearly a point per game and has developed into the player we all thought he could be, already hitting career highs in goals, assists and points this season.
Still, only one All-Star from the best team in the East? Come on, NHL!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The Eagles season has been over for just a few hours and we already have out first rumor: Kevin Kolb wants to be a starting quarterback next season. While that news isn't that surprising, the Inquirer is reporting that if Kolb isn't going to be the Eagles starting quarterback next season, he will demand a trade.
While the Eagles would be smart to hold on to Kolb as insurance if/when Michael Vick gets injured, there might be no better time to trade Kolb than now. With several teams looking for quarterbacks this offseason, including the Vikings and Niners, the Eagles could get a decent draft pick for Kolb. Of course, with the NFL labor situation looking dicey, who knows if teams will even be making trades.
The bottom line in this whole situation is that if Kevin Kolb gives the Eagles a start me or trade me ultimatum, he should start packing his bags. Despite the interception he threw to end the season, this is Michael Vick's team now.
And so another Philly sports season ends with a tough loss.
While David Akers may end up being the goat after missing two field goals, there is plenty of blame to go around for the Eagles in their 21-16 loss to the Packers. We can blame the defense, which couldn't make a stop on third down to save their lives. We can blame Winston Justice, who got eaten alive by Clay Matthews during a key Eagles drive. We can blame Andy Reid for not having the Eagles offense prepared in the first half, when they managed to score only 3 points.
No matter who is to blame, which is really all of the above, the Eagles had their chance at the end and the season ended on a Michael Vick pass to Riley Cooper (of all people) that fell short. While it's hard not to be upset with how it ended, the Eagles had a good season for a team that was supposed to be rebuilding. Very few people expected the Eagles to be back in the playoffs this year, let alone be one of the better teams for a good portion of the season.
With that said, the Eagles have once again been bounced in the first round of the playoffs. With another long offseason ahead, the Birds will need to focus on bringing in some better defensive pieces and of course make sure that Michael Vick isn't allowed to leave town. Despite how this season ended, the Eagles have a bright future and a lot of young players, like LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jamar Chaney, that are only get better in the coming years. Time will tell whether they will be the ones to finally lead the Eagles to that elusive Super Bowl victory.
(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The Eagles and Packers have announced their inactive players for their playoff showdown:
Eagles: S Jamar Adams, LB Stewart Bradley, DT Jeremy Clark, G Max Jean-Gilles, T Austin Howard, CB Brandon Hughes, QB Mike Kafka, DE Bobby McCray
Packers: S Atari Bigby, G Evan Dietrich-Smith, CB Josh Gordy, DT Howard Green, FB Korey Hall, QB Graham Harrell, G Nick McDonald, LB Frank Zombo
The Eagles will be without two starters for this game as Jean-Gilles and Bradley are unable to go. Filling in at right guard will be Nick Cole, who hasn't started a game since Week 11. Filling in at middle linebacker for Bradley will once again be Jamar Chaney, who has done quite well considering he is just a rookie. There was some hope that Bradley would be able to play today but apparently his elbow just isn't strong enough for him to be effective.
This one promises to be a good one, folks. The Eagles and Packers are very closely matched and there should be plenty of offensive fireworks. Let's hope Michael Vick can work his magic. GO BIRDS!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
With the signing of J.C. Romero finally made official, the Phillies found themselves with an extra player on the 40 man roster. That extra player turned out to be Sergio Escalona, who has been designated for assignment by the Phils.
Escalona, who pitched in 14 career games with the Phillies, never quite lived up to the potential he showed in 2009. For a team that has been starved for lefty help out of the bullpen, Escalona never did enough to step up and prove that he could be a steady contributor. After never getting above Double A last year, the writing was on the wall that Escalona wasn't going to be a part of the Phillies plans.
Since all of the Cliff Lee excitement, things have been pretty quiet for the Phillies. While there have been grumblings here and there about a Chad Durbin signing, the Phillies seem pretty content with their roster. Personally, I'm still hoping they add another right-handed outfield bat to the mix.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Finally, after 17 weeks of warming up, the NFL is ready for the Big Show. There are tons of intriguing storylines that could be played out in the coming weeks, from a Michael Vick return to Atlanta in the NFC Championship to a rematch between the Patriots and Ravens. No matter how it all plays out, one thing is for sure, the NFL has the best playoff system of any professional sport.
I will continue to make my weekly NFL picks throughout the playoffs. While my picks during the regular season were against the spread, my playoff picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.
Record Last Week: 10-6, .625
Final Regular Season Record (against the spread): 135-121, .527
Saints (11-5) @ Seahawks (7-9)
I'm not sure what the solution should be but it's an absolute joke that a 7-9 team made the playoffs and is the home team in the first round. I don't know if you need to have fewer divisions or make a rule where you have to have at least 8 wins but the NFL looks really bad when a team as terrible as the Seahawks is three wins away from the Super Bowl. That said, since they somehow play decent at home, I don't think this will be a 30 point blowout. Even terrible teams can show up on any given Sunday, so while the Saints will likely win this one by two touchdowns, they may not annihilate the Seahawks like everyone thinks. My pick: Saints
Jets (11-5) @ Colts (10-6)
On paper, this looks like a classic good defense vs. good offense game. Look a little closer at the Jets defense, however, and you notice the 45 points the Patriots racked up against them and even the 38 points they gave up against a mediocre Bears offense. So, while the Colts have their own issues, especially with their lack of depth that has been exposed due to injuries, this is a pretty good matchup for Indianapolis. Besides, when it comes down to picking Peyton Manning at home vs. Mark Sanchez on the road, what kind of sane person is going to pick against the Colts? My pick: Colts
Ravens (12-4) @ Chiefs (10-6)
This is the third straight game where the road team has a better record than the home team. Seriously, NFL, can't you just let all the teams qualify and then seed them all based on record? The Chiefs looked earmarked as a one and done team, especially after how poorly they looked last week against the Raiders. The Ravens aren't great in any one area but they are a good team nearly everywhere; with a defense that is weaker than it has been in recent years, they will need their offense to pick things up if they want to make a Super Bowl run. My pick: Ravens
Packers (10-6) @ Eagles (10-6)
Nearly every expert is picking the Packers, so why am I going with the Eagles? Is it simply because I'm a biased Philly sports fan? Perhaps, but I think the demise of Michael Vick has been greatly exaggerated. Just a few weeks ago, Vick was the toast of the NFL, drawing serious consideration for the MVP award as he led a dominant Eagles offense to great heights. Now, after one bad game against the Vikings where he got banged up early on, Vick has suddenly morphed back into his old self? I don't buy it. Sure, the league has started to figure out how to slow Vick down with speedy pass-rushers but the Eagles have had two weeks to scheme up a counter and they should be ready. With one of the best defenses in the league and a quarterback licking his chops to pick apart a weak Eagles secondary, the Packers present a difficult matchup for the Birds. However, they also have an offense that is incredibly one-dimensional and a defense that is quick but not quite quick enough to keep up with the Eagles weapons, so I think the Packers will fall just short. That is, unless Vick gets hurt. My pick: Eagles
Those are my picks for the first round of the NFL Playoffs. Check back every round for my playoff predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comments section!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
You have probably seen the last of Michael Leighton in a Flyers uniform. After clearing waivers today, the Flyers have sent Leighton down to the Phantoms, where he will play the remainder of the season unless the Flyers try to put him on re-entry waivers. Since any team can claim him for half the cost if the Flyers put Leighton on re-entry waivers, there is little chance he will be in the Flyers crease ever again.
For a journeyman goaltender like Leighton, he's back in a familiar position of NHL-limbo. He is likely extremely frustrated after he established himself as a starting goaltender in the playoffs last year but he is unfortunately caught up in a numbers game with the Flyers. Hopefully, at some point, Leighton gets another shot at being a starting goaltender in the NHL, just not with the Flyers.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Here's how quickly someone can go from Stanley Cup goaltender to not having a job in the NHL: the Flyers have placed Michael Leighton on waivers. Leighton, who looked less than stellar in his first NHL start in months, has proven to be the odd man out in the Flyers crowded goaltending situation. Clearly, no other teams were interested in acquiring a goaltender who hasn't proven that he is healthy yet.
There are a few things that can happen next, from Leighton being claimed by another team to joining the Phantoms. Clearly, the Flyers are content with having Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovksy continue to battle it out for the starting spot in net. No matter what happens, the Flyers have cleared up a little more cap space by jettisoning Leighton
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Here we go, here is the schedule for the first round of playoff action:
(5) Saints @ (4) Seahawks, 4:30 pm (NBC)
(6) Jets @ (3) Colts, 8:00 pm (NBC)
(5) Ravens @ (4) Chiefs, 1:00 pm (CBS)
(6) Packers @ (3) Eagles, 4:30 pm (FOX)
With both conferences basically wide open, we are in for a very entertaining playoffs, starting with the first round that features the defending champs and what should be a handful of good football games.
With their win over the Bears, the Packers have earned the 6th seed in the NFC and will be traveling to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles next week. While the schedule for the first playoff weekend has yet to be released, there is speculation that the game will be on Saturday night.
This game will be a rematch from Week 1 of the season when the Eagles lost 27-20 at home in an injury-filled game. That game saw the Eagles lose Jamaal Jackson and Leonard Weaver for the season and also saw the emergence of Michael Vick after he took over for the injured Kevin Kolb. A lot has changed for both teams since Week 1 so expect a very different game this time around.
I'll post the first round schedule as soon as it gets released.
Even though they won, this has still got to be pretty embarrassing for the Cowboys. The Eagles, playing the entire game with backups at every position, barely lost to the Cowboys, 14-13, in an incredibly boring and meaningless game.
Since the Eagles didn't bother to play the game, as they rightfully shouldn't have, I'm not going to bother to do a recap. Kevin Kolb looked below average in the game, completing just 18 of 36 passes for 162 yards, a touchdown and 3 interceptions, and didn't do much to give Eagles fans confidence if Michael Vick were to get hurt next week. The only Eagle that got significant playing time this week that I want to see more of is Jerome Harrison, who picked 105 total yards in the game. Harrison is a tremendous change of pace back and I would love to see him get a few extra touches in the playoffs.
The Eagles finish the season with a 10-6 record, a pretty solid record considering many thought this was a rebuilding year for the Birds. Now let's see if the Michael Vick magic can carry them to that elusive Super Bowl title.
The Eagles and Cowboys have announced their inactive players for their meaningless Week 17 game:
Eagles: LB Shawn Bradley, DE Trent Cole, WR DeSean Jackson, T Winston Justice, DT Trevor Laws, RB LeSean McCoy, CB Asante Samuel, QB Michael Vick
Cowboys: OT Alex Barron, K Kris Brown, G Phil Costa, DE Clifton Geathers, QB Chris Greisen, OT Jermey Parnell, S Andrew Sendejo, WR Teddy Williams
The Eagles are clearly treating this week like a bye as all of their offensive and defensive stars are taking the week off. Expect to see plenty of Jerome Harrison and maybe even some Mike Kafka as the Eagles treat this game like a preseason contest.
It's hard to care too much about a game the Eagles don't even care about but it's always fun to watch the Eagles beat the Cowboys. Look for Kevin Kolb to have a big game as he angles for a starting job for another team next year. GO BIRDS!