Author Archives: Vince Quinn
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?
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.
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.
The offseason is almost over for the Eagles as we near the start of (not so) voluntary workouts, which start April 21st. There’s also that little, totally under-hyped thing called the draft on the way. Instead of blathering about needs that we all know I’d rather discuss the players that should get the boot before the regular season starts. I’ll be doing this series in installments because I said so. Wanna fight about it?
The first player on this list actually really hurts. However, as much I don’t like it, it’s time for Brandon Graham to move on. Graham, who was the Eagles first pick in the 2010 draft, is no longer a fit with this team.
The initial intent was to land a pass rushing force on the opposite side of Trent Cole in the 4-3. It worked. Despite a slow start to his career and a torn ACL, Graham was one of very few bright spots for the 2012 Eagles. In fact, he was utterly dominant. Take a look at the numbers according to PFF:
Amidst what has been a truly historic season for the Sixers, the main focus has been directed towards youth. When Brett Brown and his staff were hired it was clear that the focus was player development.
Thanks to a piece from Dan Feldman at ProBasketballTalk, we get a glimpse into how the coaching staff has managed such a young squad. For example, check out this excerpt about Tony Wroten:
Of 76ers who’ve actually played this season, 20-year-old Tony Wroten is youngest.
“You would never realize that I’m the youngest guy playing right now,” Wroten said.
That’s because Wroten spent last season with the Memphis Grizzlies. The guard has played more NBA games than anyone in Philadelphia outside Young, Anderson and Byron Mullens.
That’s a fun fact for you! If you’d like to read the whole piece, which has plenty of interesting nuggets, you can view it here.
I personally find Feldman’s piece fascinating because the issue of locker room culture has come up quite a bit recently. Both the Eagles and Sixers are young teams with new leadership and I think any chance to get behind the scenes is beyond beneficial. It means one thing to talk about locker room culture, but to understand aspects of the day-to-day for a team provides a better picture of how the organization operates a whole.
With this information, it’s quite clear that the team is on the right track.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
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Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.
After weeks of back and forth, the Eagles released DeSean Jackson on Friday. Now, he’s a Washington Redskin.
The debate over Jackson’s departure has hinged on the simple and seemingly unanswerable question: Was this the right move?
In order to give a fair assessment of this decision you can’t look at the move as an isolated instance. Yes, the Eagles just released a 27-year-old Pro Bowl receiver coming off of a career season. Yes, they’ll need to add some depth. However, I don’t think the answer can be found by asking ‘how does this affect the team?’ It should be ‘what does this say about the organization?’
So I’m looking through some basketball news today and saw this gem from ProBasketballTalk:
AsTom Haberstroh of ESPN pointed out on twitter, in the 149 minutes Turner and Hibbert had played together since the trade deadline move to bring Turner to Indiana, he has gotten one assist passing to Hibbert. One.
It makes me smile. Even though the Sixers only managed what amounted to a second round pick in the deal, it’s fairly cathartic to see him screwing up a legitimate title contender in the Pacers who have been 8-10 since March 1st.
Turner has earned a steady decrease in minutes the last few games and continues to put up some god awful stat lines. For example, Turner played all of seven minutes against the Spurs shooting 0-2 from the floor with no assists. Three nights prior to that against the Wizards Turner dominated in 14 minutes, going 0-4 with no assists.
It seems like the Villain is more of a sleeper cell.
I’ve spent some time following the Phillies this preseason it’s fair to say that they’re in line for a fairytale season. That fairytale unfortunately is Humpty Dumpty. The Phillies are a fragile, bumbling, egg seemingly bound to splatter across the city and truly stink up the joint if you’re a pessimist. If you’re not so perpetually hateful of joy, then they’re a wildcard contender firmly swaying on the fence. Either way, no one is comfortable.
At this point, everyone knows the story. A young team raised through the farm system came together and built a truly great era of Phillies baseball that arguably underachieved with one championship. Now that team is old, overpaid, and not nearly as likely to contend in October.
How unlikely are they to contend? ESPN figures the Phillies to be the second worst team in the entire league placing them ahead of only the Sixers-esque Houston Astros with a projected win total of 66 games. If you’d like to go with Vegas odds, the Phillies are projected in the ballpark of 77 wins for the year. In other words, it’s a good time to check out mytopsportsbooks.com.
However, the point of all this is not to discuss the problems of this year. In fact, I’m not interested in next year all that much either. I don’t care if Humpty Dumpty can stay together, I want a different fantasy–and it won’t be soon before long.
Why? The core issue of the Phillies problem isn’t actually age. It’s sentiment. the Phillies are an organization that has supported their beloved veterans to a fault. They’re the anti-Banner Eagles causing a frustrating, yet admirable quandry.
Therefore, the only way to quash the love-fest is to have it die. In 2016, the World Series era will have died a horrible death. Jimmy Rollins will be gone, as will Cliff Lee (likely opt out), Jonathan Papelbon (expiring contract), and Chase Utley (retirement). The Phillies will be left with nothing but Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard (then 38, 33, and 37 respectively) to symbolize a bygone era. Fortunately the Phillies will likely spend the rest
By removing those contracts, the Phillies will have freed up what is $64 million dollars in payroll this season. They’re currently spending $180 million total in 2014. Add in the value that management won’t spend on last ditch effort signings like AJ Burnett ($15 million) and Marlon Byrd ($8 million), they’ll have a ton of money to rebuild with a more stable foundation (and maybe a new GM?).
Also, by virtue of a low likelihood of success, the odds of the organization again hitching their cart to current players is unlikely. They won’t hold the same high-profile cache which leads to over-valuing your own players.
Am I fantasizing here? Yes. But since I can’t push Humpty Dumpty off the wall myself, I’ll dream of a clean slate.