Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Considering that the Eagles hung 40+ points on the 2007 - 2008 champions in a season sweep this year is encouraging. It's not a surprise then that many outlets are elevating the Eagles as the chic pick to run through the NFC as the outsider with the best chance to knock off the Vikings and/or Saints.
Not so fast, I say, after watching a clearly flawed defensive performance in Sunday night's victory over New York - the fourth in a row in the series in favor of Philly.
Some of the defensive lapses were surely due to the fact that it was a primetime game against a rivalry with heavy playoff implications, but that does not excuse the Eagles from every misstep they made Sunday.
The missed tackles - on both sides - were the most obvious culprit of the onslaught of big plays for both teams. After back-to-back drops by Hakeem Nicks (he was bailed out on both plays by questionable illegal contact calls by Quintin Mikell), the rookie receiver out of North Carolina broke through the secondary like a bulldozer into cardboard boxes on his way to the end zone for a 68-yard touchdown.
Nicks's drops, as well as some other blown opportunities by the Giants - such as Mario Manningham's failure to get both feet in the end zone on a play originally called a touchdown before being reversed, thus delaying a score and wasting precious seconds in the fourth quarter - may point critics to the Eagles' secondary as the reason for the Giants wideouts to be able to get open so frequently throughout the night. The real reason, however, has more to do with the battle in the trenches - one that the Eagles clearly lost.
Eli Manning felt little pressure all night and was seemingly given three or more seconds to throw at least once on every set of downs. With all that time, it's no wonder that Manningham, Nicks and Steve Smith were able to get open so frequently. Even an average NFL receiver can only be covered for so long. Look no further than Brandon Jacobs' assault on the defensive line as evidence that the Eagles front four may have trouble getting pressure on quarterbacks in the playoffs.
If that means that Philly will have to use elegant blitz packages sending six or seven men at a time to get any pressure on the opposition's passing game, Drew Brees and Brett Favre would likely have a field day against the Eagles, especially at home in their respective domes. That would mean the Eagles would have to win another shooutout, this time most likely without punt (DeSean Jackson) and fumble (Sheldon Brown) returns for scores to hold off an equally-potent opposing offense.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Call them bandwagon fans if you wish - hell, you can even call me one, although I'd be offended - but those "bandwagon fans" are exactly what soccer needs to thrive in mainstream America.
Unfortunately, that group of fans saw a U.S. collapse. Most of them probably missed the first half in an ultimate bandwagon effort to watch the final 45 minutes and say they witnessed the U.S.'s first FIFA-based tournament victory. So what they really saw was Brazil outscoring a defenseless (in more ways than one) U.S. team 3-0.
The adage of "there's always next year" holds true in this case, because the World Cup will be right back in South Africa in 2010. To even make the quarterfinals in the World Cup would proabably be a surprise. And a championship opportunity like today's? Almost out of the question - much like the re-acquisition of all the fans lost today.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
With all their young pitchers - the best of which are still in the minors - why not bring in this 300+-win veteran/Cy Young winner for the rest of the season to mentor the young players? He's had elbow and shoulder problems, but at the least he could be a middle reliever. Maybe Baltimore can ditch Danys Baez or Scott Williamson to make room.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
While I will still criticize Kobe for his failure as team leader in last year's finals, he's still the best player alive and one of the best of all-time.
As for LeBron, he's still very young and in much the same situation that Jordan was in early in his career (when I was too young to even remember.)
(Even if Jordan never lost a final and these two players have been on one of the losing finals teams in each of the last two seasons.)
Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine was my wake-up call.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Three technicals in two minutes - here we go again.
Did I curse Birdman? He just got dunked on for the second time tonight - neither by Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol.
Nice ESPN2 shot of A.J. Burnett packing a huge wad of dip in the Yankees clubhouse. Is that the key to his shutout tonight?
Cool story about Nuggets forward Chris Anderson. While traveling with the Mount men's basketball team this winter we happened to be staying in the same hotel (The Embassy Suites in Secaucus, N.J.) as Denver before they played the Nets.
I got in the elevator to go down to the bus before our game and who else was standing there but the Birdman? I had watched part of the Nuggets game the night before and he had gotten off to a hot start. When I asked him how he finished for the night (in a Denver victory) his numbers weren't much more than what I had seen in the beginning of the first half.
"I had to shut it down," Anderson told me. "We got another game tonight." It was interesting to hear a professional athlete talking about the need to save energy. If you think about all the traveling they do, though, it makes sense - especially after playing road games on consecutive nights. And the way he's playing this postseason it seems as if that was energy well-conserved.
Sidenote: Courtney Nyce of the Mount women's team got two autographs from Carmelo Anthony - one of them for me. That was a pretty good road trip.
I'm torn as to who to root for in the Blackhawks vs. Red Wings Game 5. Detroit is a near lock to join Pittsburgh in its second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, but there are pros and cons to the game ending tonight.
If Chicago wins, that will mean Detroit will have had to play at least one additional game before facing the Pens.
If they lose, however, Pittsburgh will have nearly a two-week wait between Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup. Not only is that too long for a hot team to have off (see Colorado Rockies 2007), but it would also be a complete buzzkill to the excitement of the NHL Playoffs. (Didn't think I'd say that anytime soon.)
I guess more rest while the opponent gets beat up would be better than seeing Game 1 a few days sooner. Go 'Hawks.
But this is Kansas City. The cheap team that, off the top of my head, let Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, David Cone and Jermaine Dye all go before their prime. So why not deal Greinke for some prospects like they did with Beltran?
They've finished better than fourth only twice since 1996 - both times third place finishes - and have only one winning season since 1995, including four seasons with 100+ losses.
The Royals are .500 thus far behind one of the best starts by a pitcher in recent history. They're not going anywhere in the fall.
Greinke leads the majors in ERA (0.84) complete games and shutouts (two). He also has 81 strikeouts to 12 walks. At just 25-years-old, he would command a number of quality players in a trade, and would save the Royals up to $34.25 million, the remainder of Greinke's contract, from 2010-2012.
As for where he might go, you can eliminate the pitcher-needy White Sox. Although they sought Jake Peavy in a trade (that Peavy rejected) there is no way Greinke will be dealt within the division. If he's willing to go to the National League, both the Braves and Cubs could use him.
Atlanta is 23-22 just 2.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East, and already has the 11th-best staff in the majors by ERA. The Cubs, meanwhile, are four games out in fourth place in the NL Central and could use plenty of help in their rotation. And speaking of the Phillies, the defending champs may be in first place, but are one of just five teams with a staff ERA higher than 5.00. Just get Jamie Moyer his 250th win already and drop him out of the rotation.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
The Taneytown, Md., native - 10 minutes from campus in Emmitsburg - is the first Mount player in history to receive the honor.
New Post-Up blog coming on FrederickNewsPost.com in the morning.
Monday, March 2, 2009
There were complaints similar to the ones circulating now when the team released Jeremiah Trotter in 2007. Trotter was a step slower and the team knew it before all the fans and media it surprised by letting him go. Trotter left a significant leadership void for the Eagles, which allowed Dawkins to step into that role more fully. Who will fill Dawkins' shoes, though, may be the biggest question.
Dawkins, who can still lay the big hit, definitely wasn't the same coverage safety this season as he had been in the past. With the signing of Joselio Hansen, the team was also free to trade Lito Sheppard for some picks, which is exciting considering the way this organization finds franchise players on draft day.
Just as Stewart Bradley and Co. have filled in well for Trotter, so will Quintin Demps* for Dawkins.
*Joining free safety Demps is strong safety Quintin Demps. Has any team in the history of the NFL had two players with the same oddly-spelled first name playing together at safety?
If Demps retains the top spot on the depth chart at FS, someone else will be getting more return opportunities. If DeSean Jackson is expected to play a bigger role at receiver, he should probably be weened off the return game as well except for big situations.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Standing up to the J.C. Romero decision instead of falling for his story of innocence.
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
I'm not really a Shaughnessy fan but I like the approach he took to the Jeff Jagodzinski firing as BC's football coach. We're too used to coaches and players bailing out of or renegotiating contracts to realize that that is exactly what they are - contracts.
Ben Tysiac, Charlotte Observer
This story was all right, but it could have been great if it had a quotation from Stephen Curry, since he is the subject of the story. Plus it cited Billy Packer as some sort of college basketball expert, which is like saying Strom Thurmond is an expert on equality.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
How Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is holding his players to a higher off-the-field standard.
By Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer
Another exploration of McNabb's successes and shortcomings (notably a Super Bowl loss) in Philly.
By Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star
Why the vacant Kansas City Chiefs GM position is the best in the NFL.
By TJ Simers, Los Angeles Times
Responses to the questioning of Pete Carroll's recruiting tactics.