Author Archives: Vince Quinn
So as you may have heard recently Ray, Turtle and I have been given the opportunity to try a podcast with a big company. While I’m really excited for the opportunity it hurts to say that the Wooder Cooler is now officially on hiatus. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to check in on the Philly sports thoughts of myself and our staff over the past two plus years. You’re–as they said back in the day–“the bomb”.
For all of the people that have made this thing happen: Hank, Ray Boyd, Ransom, Nick, Bill, Pete and Ray McCreavy…thank you. I’m still holding out hope for a drunk podcast.
So much love and kisses that it would probably weird you out even if we were married,
This week we’re having a live show!
Look for the link to the show through our social media accounts on Sunday around 3:15 and then listen to us live and CALL IN to our podcast! We’ll be doing the show through blog talk radio. Assuming everything goes well we’ll try to do more of these in the future and other related ideas (Callers only show, live Q and A with a guest) So crack a beer, relax in your living room and enjoy the show this Sunday!
If there’s a question you’d like to have us discuss but can’t make the show leave a comment and we’ll make sure we get to it!
Every team in sports has a window and—in the case of the Eagles—their window to win a title closes after the next two seasons. I understand that on the surface this is not a popular opinion, so allow me to explain before the tar boils and the feathers are plucked.
When a team’s window is discussed in the realm of the NFL the most common thing associated with how much time they have left is based on the age of the quarterback. The Cowboys, for example, are considered to have a few years left because Tony Romo is 33 years old (feel free to giggle). Therefore, the Eagles would have a huge window to win because Nick Foles is only 25 years old. This is wrong.
Yes, it’s been two years of The Wooder Cooler clogging up your Facebook and Twitter feeds and no one has fought me over it yet so I’ll take that as a good sign. I’d like to thank the people who comment on our posts, listen to our podcast, and make us a regular part of your day to day. You guys are the best (and I’ll probably hug you).
This site has taken some major strides in our second year…we did some work with an ESPN affiliate, both myself and Ray have begun putting our sports writing on CBSPhilly.com, and we’re doing Around the Cooler from a professional radio studio. It’s been wild and exhausting and endlessly enjoyable.
I’ve also fooled around with some things this year whether it be guest writers or podcast segments and anything in between. Like all experiments, some flopped and some were a great success. So while the site hasn’t gone through many major changes in the last few months and I want it to be clear that I’m by no means satisfied with where we are. There’s always a way to get better and I’m open to any avenue that allows us to do that so expect bolder moves over the next year. #TogetherWeBuild
Allen Barbre is a local man of mystery. A career journeyman and reserve, Barbre’s name has regularly bubbled up when discussing the Eagles season because he’ll replace the (probably) suspended Lane Johnson. What’s strange is that Barbre’s move to a starting role is a forgone conclusion, yet he played only 82 snaps for the Eagles last season. So who the hell is he? Let me explain.
Barbre first came into the league in 2007. A four year starter at Missouri Southern, Barbre was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round with the 119th overall selection. A tackle by trade, Barbre was a little small for his position at 6’4″, 310 pounds and never received much playing time until the 2009 season in which he started seven games. Given that the Packers let Barbre walk as a free agent after that season, it’s fair to say that he didn’t impress.
In 2010, Barbre had a brief stint with Miami, but ultimately caught on with the Seattle Seahawks. In that time Barbre remained in a back-up role, making seven appearances for the Seahawks before being released on October 1st, 2012.
This is where things really get interesting.
In a fantastic piece by Sheil Kapadia over at Eagles 24/7, he breaks down one of the foundational running plays in the Eagles playbook: the inside zone.
Here’s a quick bit of the article:
“It’s something we work on every day,” said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. “It’s always gonna be our bread and butter.”
Johnson estimated that 40 to 45 percent of practice time for the offensive linemen is rooted in perfecting principles associated with the inside zone. Kelce doesn’t think that’s an exaggeration.
“I would say yeah, we really spend a lot of time on our double-team blocking with our offensive line coach and trying to make sure that our offensive line is working together,” he said. “That’s not really exclusive to that play in particular. We do that on a lot of different plays. But that play, especially against a four-down defense, there’s a lot of the double teams that come around and everything. It’d be hard to put a number on it. But we definitely spend a lot of time on it.”
This isn’t close to the full depth of insight that Kapadia provides so make sure to check out the whole article here!
Training camp begins truly begins next Friday for the Eagles when all of the players on the 90 man roster report for duty. At that point a slow step means a player is too old, routine plays signify Pro Bowl potential, and everyone recalls things like “Remember freaking out at Carey Williams last year for no good reason? That was fun.”
However, before we get back to badgering and obsessing over the main players of the Eagles’ upcoming season I’d like to take the time to mention some oddities and fringe players that make training camp so much fun. These projects and castaways are the type of guys that make the experience so exciting.
For example, there was a time when the Eagles drafted an absurdly athletic tight end out of Florida named Cornelius Ingram. He was 6’4″ and he was fast and I loved him. But little did I know that the Eagles drafted him with the understanding that his torn ACL was improperly repaired from the following year. Essentially, I later discovered, they put him out on the field waiting for him to tear it again so that they could properly fix it.
With Chip Kelly in town, the obsession has shifted from players from lesser collegiate divisions and torn ACLs to generally monstrous players. Here’s a few freaks that will generate buzz in one way or another:
At 6’8″, 239 pounds at the receiver position, he’s impossible to ignore. Then there’s also the fact that he ran a 4.4 forty last year. Was he a bit of a dud with nuances of the game? Yes. The Eagles didn’t even bother to place him on the practice squad. However, if he shows some progress from last year’s camp Momah could make some noise for the Eagles as a red zone specialist or come off of the bench for the Sixers.
2. Michael Bamiro
Another 6’8″ giant, Bamiro is trying to make his home with the Eagles as a converted guard. In addition to being oversized for his position, Bamiro is a bit of a freak in the way the he avoided the draft last year entirely due to a loophole and then signed with the Eagles undoubtedly because of his connection to
William Tra Thomas. Now that Allen Barbre is filling in for Lane Johnson for the first four weeks of the season, Bamiro has a better chance to sneak his way onto the roster—if only for a few weeks.
3. Alejandro Villanueva
Again, 6”9″, 277 pounds. Are you sensing a theme or should I tattoo it onto your face in reverse so that you can read it in the mirror? Another lowly-projected experiment, this US veteran is competing to take on the role as a space eating defensive end a la Clifton Geathers of last season. Like all of these players, special teams will be a factor for this member of the special forces’ chances of making the team.
4. Frances Mays
At 6’9″, 291 pounds, Mays will be in direct competition for Villanueva on the defensive line. Mays, who had six sacks in 21 games with Texas A&M, started playing football when he was 18 and seems like more of a practice squad hopeful than a surprise star. Though we know the saying, “Big people beat up little people” (Unless, of course, those big people fight me).
As it has been made abundantly clear in the title, this is the second part. If you’d like to check the top 10-6 players in the NFL, check it out here!
So, let’s get into the top five best players in the NFL…
5. Adrian Peterson
When you look at the Minnesota Vikings over the last few years, it’s inseperable from Peterson. He’s been the heart and soul of the team since his modest rookie season of 1,341 yards and 12 TD’s in 2007. Six Pro Bowls and two rushing titles later, Peterson is still dominating the league. His raw power at the running back postion has led to some of the more memorable perfomances of my lifetime–like Peterson’s 199 yard effort against the Packers that fell just short of the all-time single season rushing record. Despite playing with a bad team, he’s still one of the purest elite talents in the league.
4. LeSean McCoy
However, Adrian Peterson in not LeSean McCoy. McCoy gains the edge over Peterson because he demonstrates a more rounded game. His cutback ability and vision makes him a a home-run hitter in the run game, His hands and speed make him dangerous in the backfield, and he’s a capable enough blocker that you can’t justify ever taking him off of the field. Now that he’s paired with Chip Kelly, a currently close debate will no longer be a competition. This is Shady’s world.
3. Aaron Rodgers
Ever since he got out from under the thumb of Brett Favre, Rodgers has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s got the arm, accuracy, and poise to dominate in Mike McCarthy’s spread offensive scheme despite an consistently below-average line.
At this point, Rodgers is the Packers. As long as he stays healthy he’ll single handedly take them to the playoffs every year. He’s just that good.
2. Peyton Manning
Though he’s not Peyton Manning. Peyton, despite his age, is still the king at quarterback. His accuracy, resiliency, and leadership have Peyton as arguably the best quarterback of all time.
Then there’s the play calling. Sometimes people say they go from playing checkers to playing chess. In Peyton’s case, he’s gone from toc-tac-toe to Dungeons and Dragons–masterfully creating the traps and terrors that doom an unprepared party.
In short, respect your elders.
1. JJ Watt
Hands down. Or should I say hands up? After all, Watt’s commitment to batting passes when his pass-rush stalls has become a trademark of sorts. At 6’5″ with a nearly seven foot wingspan, he’s a remarkable pain in the ass to quarterbacks of all sizes.
And then there’s his pass rush. Watt demands double teams (and the not too uncommon triple team) on a play by play basis because he’ll likely destroy the QB otherwise. He had 20.5 sacks in 2012 and another 10.5 in 2013 despite the attention gained from being defensive player of the year. He’s the Juggernaut, bitch–and the best player that the NFL has to offer. All hail the King!
Training camp is still just over two weeks away, but damnit I’m a football obsessive and it’s close enough. It’s like sneaking out for a “phone call” to unleash a nasty fart during a date. I need this. So, what I’ve decided to do is give my own opinion on who the ten best players in the league are since the NFL has been doing their own countdown.
Now before I get into this I’d like to clarify a few things. This has nothing to do with career achievement or what necessarily happened in the last season. This is my top players based on who I think are the best players in terms of ability, influence on the game, and proven to not be a Lou Bega-esque one-year wonder.
So let’s get into my first half:
10. AJ Green
Green, most of the players you’ll see on this list, is a freak athlete. At 6’4″ 207 pounds he has the size and speed to dominate the game by stretching the field and owning the air for jump balls. However, what truly makes Green stand out above the other receivers is his hands. Green is phenomenal at locating the ball and routinely make circus catches appear effortless. Unsurprisingly, he’s now notched 29 touchdowns in three career seasons. The man is not good. He’s unreal.
9. Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham is the epitome of what the ideal modern-day tight end should be. He’s 6’6″, has the speed to out run most linebackers, and has a strong body that is capable of dominating in traffic. Unless the Chinese government has secretly bred a love child of Reggie White and Dion Sanders, there’s really no way to shut him down. Graham simply dominates the game. If New Orleans continues to botch the contract situation with him, Graham will be one of those rare free agent mega deals that pans out. He’s a can’t miss player.
8. Luke Kuechly
Power, speed, toughness, vision, effort. Kuechly is the complete package in the middle for the Carolina Panthers. In his two years in the league, Kuechly has 320 combined tackles, six interceptions, and 15 passes defensed on his way to the 2012 Rookie of the Year, 2013 Defensive Player of the Year and 2013 First Team All-Pro selections. He can do anything the position calls for whether it be busting up a stretch play or holding his own in coverage. In an age where the league has trended towards passing, Kuechly will encourage quarterbacks to keep the status quo.
7. Richard Sherman
I’ll have to admit some bias on this selection because I’ve already publicly stated that I love Richard Sherman. His attitude, the ability to press, the willingness to tackle—he’s the ideal cornerback in the same way the Graham is the ideal tight end. The NFL is a passing league and as such it’s becoming increasingly important to have a player that can shut down the NFL’s best pass catchers. All you need to do to prove my point is remember the four hours of static that you watched called Super Bowl 48. Point Sherman.
6. Calvin Johnson
Megatron is the sixth best player in the league. It’s seems wrong, I know, but it’s by no means a slight to the likely Hall of Fame Lion. Calvin Johnson is the Bob the Builder of wide receivers. He has all the tools to get the job done. Jump ball? Check. Blazing speed? Check. Ability to work the middle of the field? Check.
When compared to receivers around the league, Johnson is simply in a class of his own. It couldn’t have been made any more evident than during his 2012 campaign in which he notched 122 catches for 1,964 yards in a single season—though four pro Bowl selections and three First-Team All Pro selections don’t hurt either.
So this is my first half of my top five. Check back in a few days for the second half of my rankings! In the meantime, feel free to tell me how much you hate my picks. I get off on that kind of stuff.
So it was brought to my attention the other day, but I haven’t had the chance to post about it with the holidays and whatnot. Serena Williams, who was playing at Wimbledon throughout the last few days, showed up to her doubles match seemingly in fine shape. However, when she started warming up prior to the match she was unable to do ANYTHING related to tennis. It was as though she had the motor skills of a drunken two year old. Take a look (42 second mark on really demonstrates well):
So something was obviously seriously wrong with Serena and she has since admitted to having a serious ‘bug’. However, as stunningly weird as this was, I couldn’t help but think of an instance where this happened to a Philadelphia legend: Charles Barkley.
Creepily similar, no? The slow reaction, the dumbfounded expression—they’re exactly the same. All I’m saying is that if some time in the next few weeks Rafael Nadal goes missing, look up.