Quick Thoughts: Eagles 2014 Schedule

The Eagles is schedule is out, which you can check out here. We already knew the teams they would play, but now that we have the full picture here are some quick thoughts:

  • There’s only two truly easy games on this schedule: Jacksonville and Tennessee. As a whole, this is a tough year.
  • For the remaining, more difficult games, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Eagles get swept by the NFC West. They’re the best division in football. No question about it.
  • Including 4 o’clock games, which are more or less nationally televised, the Eagles have nine games in the NFL spotlight. Four of those games are “prime time.” If you think the Eagles will sneak up on anyone this season, you’re dead wrong.
  • Getting Seattle to come to Philly is huge for the Eagles and, since they’ll be playing Thanksgiving day, a once doubtful victory is a puncher’s chance. The Eagles will have ten days to rest and prepare for the defending champs.
  • Speaking of the Thanksgiving game…will anything be more beautiful than seeing the Jones’ family pissed off on the best American holiday? I’ll dedicate my fourth plate to them for sure.

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What Will Sixers Do After 1st Pick?

Gary Harris (credit: Sports Illustrated.com)

Gary Harris (credit: Sports Illustrated.com)

All the talk about the upcoming NBA Draft for the Sixers focuses on what the team will do with their first selection and rightfully so. The Sixers will have a legitimate opportunity to acquire Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid, each of which could be a franchise changing piece. However, the draft doesn’t end there.

The Sixers will potentially have another six selections after their first. Five of those will come in a second round that by comparison is quite rich in talent much like the first round.

So, what will the Sixers do after their first pick?

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Hold On, You’re Going Home: The Finale

This is the fourth installment of the Hold On You’re Going Home Series. You can check out the previous three installments in order here, here, and here.

During Easter I somehow stumbled into three or four conversations that found their way towards an iconic character in television: Michael Scott. As a result, I will be doing this final installment of Hold On You’re Going Home in a way that would make him proud

roast

Roast Time!

 

Damaris Johnson: You were charged with embezzlement before joining the Eagles and after these two years we know the only thing that you embezzled is talent. Boom! You’re going home!

Bryce Brown: I know you had some problems at school, but no one ever mentions your kindergarten struggles…you’d only color outside of the edges. Boom! You’re going home!

Nate Allen: For a guy that can be described using the words “Florida” and “safety” you do a surprisingly horrible job of standing your ground. Boom! You’re going home!

Curtis Marsh: You wouldn’t have so many injuries if you had milk with your Wheaties as a kid. Then again you may have never had Wheaties either. It’s the breakfast of champions. Boom! You’re going home!

BONUS! DeSean Jackson: You got flack for being a bad guy in Philly, but I imagine you’ll do great work for the DC community when Dan Snyder hires you as a sign language translator. Boom! You’re already gone!

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Josh Harris is Dead On

The Sixers finally snapped their historic losing streak. (credit: ESPN.com)

This team is young and on the rise. (credit: ESPN.com)

Seriously.

The Sixers’ owner has gotten some flack for claiming that this season was “a huge success.” However, despite the 19-63 record, the NBA record tying 26 straight losses, and the abysmal amount of NBA talent he’s absolutely right. The 2013-2014 season was a monumental success.

To begin, we wanted that record. If the Sixers went 35-47, which would have given them the 11th best odds for the first overall pick, the year would have truly been a failure. This team was intended to tank and tank they did. That ugly, miserable 19-63 record is the shit in the soil that leads to a quality harvest. The worst is over in the best way possible. Don’t forget that the Sixers will almost certainly take the Pelicans’ pick from the Jrue Holiday trade too.

Secondly, you have to look at last year’s draft. It may be hard to remember at this point, but Michael Carter-Williams was considered a risky project with a bad jumper. A year later, the 14th pick in the draft is going to be the Rookie of the Year. If you take a look at the other recent picks in the 14th slot MCW’s season alone made this year a huge success for the organization. They couldn’t have stumbled across a better fit for their slogan “Building from the Ground Up”

Speaking of which, receiving Henry Sims in exchange for Spencer Hawes fits the mantra quite well too. You see the important thing is perception. The Sixers weren’t digging for gold in the mountains this year, rather they were searching for nickels on the beach. Sims is one such nickel. He’s a young hard-working player that will provide help from the bench next season—a low-risk, high-reward success story. Tony Wroten fits the bill here as well.

Lastly, if you follow this team you have to love Brett Brown. His brief tenure here has been a refreshing antithesis to the Doug Collins era. The style of play, the day to day focus on teaching—he has developed a culture focused on a greater future rather than a mediocre present (and we know the importance of culture). Assuming more talent is added to the roster it’s hard to imagine his trajectory going anywhere but up.

Given all of this, it’s quite clear that the Sixers achieved all of their goals. They stunk, found some role players, and added a quality coach for the job. Sounds like a huge success to me.

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Hold On You’re Going Home: Part Three

This is part three in the Hold On, You’re Going Home series. If you’d like to check out the first two installments you can check them here and here!

Alex Henery

A widely-known, but highly under-appreciated fact of life in the NFL is that kickers score the most points. Period. When looking at the list for the NFL’s all-time leading scorers the first non-kicker is Jerry Rice…and he’s 31st. Kicking is an essential part of NFL success, which is exactly why Alex Henery needs to be shown the door.

Selected in the fourth round out of Nebraska, Henery was considered an elite kicking prospect. He was the most accurate kicker in college history with a 89.5% conversion rate and was showered with awards over his four seasons as a Husker. The kid was good.

However, that success hasn’t translated to the NFL. In fact, Henery has regressed each season that he’s been in the league. His career kicking percentages are 88.9% (2011, 5th place), 87.1% (2012, 15th) and 82.1% (2013, 22nd). For 2013 specifically, Henery’s numbers took a dive due to struggles in the 40-49 yard range where he hit seven of ten.

So just how important is that decrease in field goal accuracy?

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He’s In: Jabari Parker To Enter NBA Draft

parkerThe wait is over.

Duke small forward Jabari Parker will indeed be entering the NBA draft this year. The announcement comes following weeks of uncertainty on Parker’s part.

The top Freshman in the nation flirted with the idea of going back to Duke for a sophomore season and even went so far as to submit for housing at Duke next year. He won’t be needing that dorm assignment anymore.

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Eating Crow: An Open Apology to Paul Holmgren

Dear Paul,

Congratulations on making it to the playoffs! For a building riddled with tankitis, I’m sure there’s no better cure than playoff fever and most Philadelphians will agree. But I’m not writing this letter to talk of Stanley Cup dreams, rather I’d like to offer you an apology.

At this beginning of this season I had my doubts. Actually, I wanted your head to be punched off of your body by Ron Hextall…and that was before you fired Peter Laviolette three games into the season.

How was I going to trust a rookie head coach and an inconsistent goaltender to propel a sagging sadsack into the playoffs? How was adding another center going to improve a center-heavy team? Like every actress’ attempt to start a singing career, it simply wasn’t going to work. I prepared for another year of playoff-less hockey.

Instead, the Flyers have truly impressed me. Despite being in the gutter at the beginning of the season the Flyers have evolved into a legitimate playoff threat and the major pieces have your fingerprints. For example, Wayne Simmonds.

Simmonds, who was a part of the Jeff Carter/Mike Richards reconstruction project, has evolved into the best power play threat of his kind in the league. His production has been so stellar that he led the team in goals for the season with 29 (15 PP).

Then there’s Steve Mason who had a career year in both record and save percentage. A qestionable commodity before the start of the season, Mason has proven to be a rock for your team while stealing a few games in the process. The sooner he gets back into net, the better this team’s championship odds are.

But again, this letter isn’t about the Cup. It’s about you and the credit you deserve for making this season what it is. You’re an unpopular man working under an unpopular owner. It’s not exactly ponies shitting rainbows, but you’ve made the bold moves to make it work and, for that, you have my respect.

For now.

Sincerely,

Vince

 

 

Flyers make 2 key signings hours apart

The Flyers made some noise today just before the playoffs begin on Thursday in New York.

First, they extended pending free agent, Andrew MacDonald to hefty new deal. Reportedly worth 30 million over a 6 year span. The 27-year old was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The second move made came just moments ago.

After speculation about him returning for his Senior year, Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, signed his entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Gostisbehere will report to the Phantoms this coming weekend.

The signing comes a few days after Gostisbehere’s monster performance in the NCAA National Championship against Minnesota. Posting a +7, a goal and two assists in the 7-4 victory.

What are your thoughts on the signings Flyers fans? Overall positive?

25 Years Later; The Hillsborough Tragedy

It’s not very often when we walk into a sports arena or stadium and think about the safety precautions that are taken into account before we enter to enjoy our favorite teams. It’s so rare to have the unfortunate headline of a death or injury of spectators. Recently coming to my mind is the death in texas, of the fan who fell over a railing going for a foul ball at a Rangers game.

Of all the tragedies to happen, one of the worst to occur happened today 25 years ago in England.

Liverpool and Nottingham soccer clubs were set for a match in the FA cup semi-finals in Hillsborough Stadium. What resulted in the small stadium in Sheffield, England, made the sport of soccer seem so small and unimportant.

It was a typical day in the England, Liverpool fans flocked in full force to the Hillsborough Stadium. The fans of Liverpool were, like most away supporters, segregated in the stadium from the Nottingham fans. The section that Liverpool’s fans were set to spectate from was accessible through a narrow concourse. An estimated 24,000 plus Liverpool fans were expected to go through just 23 set up turnstiles. With the addition of a construction delay in the area and Liverpool fans wanting to take in the area, Liverpool fan’s went to the stadium late.

The build up of fans and the small area of congestion, in addition to the set area that supporters for Liverpool were to enter, resulted in confusion. Fans of Nottingham attempted to enter through Liverpool’s entry, but were turned away. As they attempted to leave, the build up of fans in the area prevented them from moving.

As the teams came out for warm-ups, fans in the area became antsy and pushed one another to the gates. Forcing the fans in the front forward and pinning them into riot gates set up around the field (a common structure in European Stadiums.)

What resulted was a human’s worst nightmare. The fans up front were crushed to death due to compressive asphyxia. Fans went into a panic fans in the upper levels attempted to help fans below by pulling them up. But the amount of fans entering was just too much.

The result of this disaster was a total of 96 death and 700 plus injured. Still to this day police that worked the game are questioned for their lack of safety precautions.

Next time you are at a sporting event, remember the people around you are responsible for your safety as well. 96 people lost their lives 25 years ago for a lack of safety.   

Hold On, You’re Going Home: Part Two

Fat Orlando Bloom?

Fat Orlando Bloom?

This is the second installment in the “Hold on, You’re Going Home” series You can view the first installment here.

The case for keeping Matthews is simple when put in recent context. In a way Casey Matthew is the anti-DeSean. A player under Chip Kelly in college, Matthews has a long-established relationship with Kelly. Also, given that he’s still on the team it’s reasonable to believe that he buys into the “Chip Kelly way”.

Secondly, Chip famously said that there’s an obvious way for someone to make the team “special teams, special teams, special teams.” Matthews has certainly been a solid special teamer as well as he led the team with eight ST tackles last season.

However, the fact remains that he’s the anti-DeSean in talent as well.

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