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September 2020

Eagles Re-Sign Recent Draft Pick To Practice Squad

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Much was made over the last week of the Eagles cutting a seventh-round pick, who was not playing, to make room for Vinny Curry on the active roster.

The team did exactly what every team in the league does and cut a young player who is not ready trying to get them through to the practice squad.

Unfortunately, Casey Toohill was claimed by the Washington Football Team who are awful enough that they can afford to carry seven defensive ends and piss in someone's Cheerios because they know they have no chance and are currently just seeking a quarterback.

With that unfortunate situation unfolding, the Eagles were able to reclaim their 2019 fourth-round pick at the position, Shareef Miller, and sign him to the practice squad instead.

Continue reading "Eagles Re-Sign Recent Draft Pick To Practice Squad" »


Eagles To Be Without Two More Offensive Starters, Additional Key Players

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Many fans have been in disbelief about the amount of injuries the 2020 Eagles have sustained.

Even more amazing is how, over the past three weeks, that same team has managed to hang with some of the league's best teams despite playing second or third-string guys anywhere.

In their latest game, a two-point loss to the Ravens, the Eagles nearly came all the way back despite Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz being out of the game.

That trend seems like it is likely to continue, with ESPN's Chris Mortensen breaking news on the team's injuries Monday afternoon.

Continue reading "Eagles To Be Without Two More Offensive Starters, Additional Key Players" »


Eagles Evaluation: Birds Hang With Another Top Team Despite Injuries

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

It hurts to say it yet again, but this was a winnable game for the Eagles.

For the second week in a row, the Eagles faced one of the league's most elite teams.

For the second week in a row, the Eagles played that opponent down to the wire.

For the second week in a row, it came down to a handful of plays that all went in the opposite direction that decided the game and the Eagles needed just one of those things to win the game.

Continue reading "Eagles Evaluation: Birds Hang With Another Top Team Despite Injuries" »


Phillies Spending Options for 2021

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies will have a new front office for 2022, it could be 2021 if president Andy MacPhail retires a year early. Basically, managing partner John Middleton prefers a fresh start for the 2020-21 offseason, but the big-ticket negotiations will belong to him regardless.   

 

No-man’s-land:

For the Phillies faithful, winter is a time to dream of a roster without holes and bemoan management’s failure to deliver a championship-caliber team. Unfortunately, even the ‘20 New York Yankees had shortcomings despite exceeding all three tax levels involving the CBT (competitive-balance threshold).  

IN OTHER WORDS:

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” - Helen Keller

Fans aren’t differentiating between the normal 162 with spending, signings, trades and offseason preparation compared to 2021. And excluding the inconvenient details facing front-office execs amplifies expectations no GM can meet. Yes, 2021’s certainty is uncertainty!                                 

Prior to COVID-19’s influence, organizations made decisions based on rules protecting players from losing career opportunities due to franchises with overstocked pipelines. Moreover, management combines their talent planning for three to five summers, not just next April.

Due to the pandemic, 2020 had many new wrinkles: the universal DH, no spectators, COVID-19 protocols, a truncated schedule, and other rule changes, temporary and permanent. So no one should assume a return to normalcy without better control of the virus. However, 2021 should have more games and some attendance.

Continue reading "Phillies Spending Options for 2021" »


Three Sleeper Draft Prospects for the Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

We are about a month away from the 2020 NBA draft. Whether the Sixers will make the 21st pick for themselves is still up in the air, but they still hold four picks in the second round. With multiple selections in round two, here are three sleeper prospects the Sixers should consider taking a flier on.

Malachi Flynn: G, San Diego State 

Flynn is an upperclassman guard coming out of San Diego State. This past college season Flynn averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, and 1.8 SPG. At six foot one and 185 lbs size could be brought up as an issue, but there is a lot to like about Flynn's game.

Finding a solid backup point guard has been something the Sixers have struggled to do in the past, but drafting Flynn could potentially solve that problem. His ability to facilitate and create offense for himself would be a nice boost to the Sixers' second unit.

Along with what he could do for the second unit, Flynn could fit with the starters as well. He operates well in the pick-and-roll and is a solid shooter from deep. Flynn could be a primary ball-handler when Simmons is off the ball and could be a guy to come off screens or dribble handoffs and knock down threes.

As an upperclassman, Flynn has the potential to be a guy that could come in and produce for the Sixers on day one. If on the board when the Sixers pick at 34 or 36, Flynn could be a solid pick just outside of the first round.

Isaiah Joe: G, Arkansas

One key area the Sixers need to upgrade in this offseason is perimeter shooting. Lack of shooting on the outside greatly impacted the Sixers' spacing on offense. Isaiah Joe is a prospect that could greatly upgrade the Sixers' three-point shooting.

Joe is a sharpshooting two-year guard coming out of Arkansas. He is coming off a sophomore season where he averaged 16.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.7 APG. Although he is more of an off-ball guard, Joe could be a seamless fit on the Sixers if drafted.

Having a guard who can come in and consistently knock down threes is something the team has missed since the departure of JJ Redick. This is a role Joe could come in and fill for the Sixers. In his college career, he shot 37.8% from deep on just over nine attempts a game.

Joe has a lot of potential as a floor-spacing guard, and his shot is best off the catch making him a perfect fit on the floor with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Along with what he could bring to the offense, Joe could also hold his own on the defensive side of the ball.

At six foot five and 180 pounds Joe has a frame that could allow him to defend both guard position. He also has a 6'10 wingspan that helped him average close to two steals a game in college.

Between his shooting and potential on the defensive side of the ball, Isaiah Joe could be a solid pick up for the Sixers in the second round of the draft.

Josh Hall: F, Moravian Prep

The Sixers need to focus on drafting prospects that can come in and contribute on day one. That being said, Josh Hall is a prospect that is a project but could yield huge dividends down the line.

Hall's journey to the NBA draft is different from most prospects. He will be going right from prep school to the NBA after foregoing playing in college. Skipping college could hinder how ready he is on day one, but his game should transition to the NBA nicely. 

At six foot nine with long arms Hall will be able to slide in at either forward position. He has a solid frame at 190 pounds but could afford to put on some muscle as he gears up to play at the NBA level. 

Hall is a wing that can attack the rim at will with his height and long arms, and also has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc. His build and skillset draw a lot of comparison to New Orleans Pelican's All-Star Brandon Ingram. 

With the G-League being so accessible to teams today taking a guy like Hall late in the second round is almost a no-brainer. His size and skills are tailor-made for today's game, and the G-League will help polish his skills for the next level. 

At 20 years old, Hall isn't far off from being ready for the NBA. After seeing what the Blue Coats' staff has done for the development of players like Shake Milton and Marial Shayok, there's no doubt they could turn Hall into a serviceable player for the Sixers. 

If the Sixers do intend to use any of their second-round picks this year, these three prospects are names the team needs to monitor. 

Sixerdelphia


Phillies Pitching Coach Bryan Price Retires

When Joe Girardi took the helm as Phillies manager ahead of the 2020 season, he added an experienced pitching coach.  Bryan Price was named pitching coach under Girardi, replacing Chris Young.  However, it appears that Price is done coaching full-time for the Phillies after just one season.

Todd Zolecki notes that Price has decided to retire from his full-time pitching coach position:

So what does that particular wording mean?

It suggests that Price could stick around part-time in another role.  Price has experience as a pitching coach for four major league teams and managing the Cincinnati Reds.  Could he be an "advisor" to the general manager, whoever that might be?

Price drew high praise from the Phillies pitching staff as Spring Training got underway, as well as at "Summer Camp".

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia called the move a "personal decision". But whatever the reason, the Phillies will have to solve the very important role that they have struggled to staff.   In recent seasons the Phillies have employed Bob McClure, Rick Kranitz, Young, and then Price, with a fifth new pitching coach in five years on the way.

Kranitz, dismissed because Young was seen as a rising coaching star, meanwhile has  assisted the Atlanta Braves to back-to-back division titles.

The Phillies have not announced any other coaching changes as of this moment.  Aside from Price and hitting coach Joe DIllon, the remainder of the coaching staff was retained from the staff of former manager Gabe Kapler.  Girardi's most recent pitching coach with the Yankees, Larry Rothschild, was available last offseason but took the pitching coach role with the San Diego Padres.


M.D.L: Most Disappointing Loss - Eagles vs. Ravens Recap

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

After playing for the tie against Cincinnati and then getting beat by poor defense and Chase Claypool in Pittsburgh last week, the Eagles face the MVP Lamar Jackson and one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles enter still very much in shot of the NFC East, but another beat down of negative media attention met them this past week as rumours about Howie Roseman’s control of draft picks and who plays on game day came to light. So, here we go!

The first half was ugly. The offensive line looked bad with Matt Pryor and Lane Johnson joining the injuries and missing on the offensive line. Doug Pederson started with some stagnant playcalling and Wentz did not look good. The defense may have given up 17 points, but they looked good and made some good stops. It is difficult for a defense to do it all as the Eagles offense didn’t even have positive yardage until over five minutes into the second quarter. Ultimately, the Eagles were shut out 17-0 in the first half despite a brief surge to end the first half thanks to Jalen Hurts and the most creative play calling we have seen from Pederson all year.

The Eagles opened up the third quarter forcing a three and out on the Ravens first possession. Miles Sanders then blew away for a 74 yard run and fumbled, but thankfully JJ Arcega-Whiteside did something positive for the Eagles by recovering the fumble in the end zone to secure the touchdown. The Eagles defense then allowed Lamar Jackson to sneak in on a 37 yard run into the end zone. The Eagles began a strong offensive push to end the third quarter and leading into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles ended up marching 81 yards and twelve plays and finished with a Jason Croom touchdown reception. Yes, Jason Croom, the third TE that has been protected over the last couple weeks from the practice squad. The successful two point convert to Greg Ward Jr. gave the Eagles a glimmer of hope at 24-14 early in the fourth quarter. The Ravens responded with a field goal to go up 27-14 and then a failed fourth down attempt by the Eagles led to another field goal by Justin Tucker to put the game out of reach at 30-14. But oh wait, a 75 yard, 11 play drive was capped with a Travis Fulgham touchdown to put the game within eight points with less than four minutes left. However, despite all the theatrics and the comeback Wentz’s one yard run was successful, but Pederson’s two point conversion play call was a failure, just as bad as the first. Finally closing the door on a resilient comeback by the Eagles, despite the positives there remain many concerns.

The offensive line was not good! And that is likely putting it nicely. Miles Sanders broke out a big run for the second week in a row in what was the best play by the offensive line. Although Matt Pryor was the worst pass protector heading into week six and you would think his loss wouldn’t be so sorely missed, well I for one will say I missed Matt Pryor because Jamon Brown was not good at RG. Calais Campbell feasted with a monster stat line (3 sacks, 4 TFL and 4 QB Hits). The offensive line also continues to not look the same without Lane Johnson. Without Lane Johnson the team remains well below .500 and shows the importance he has for this team especially from a leadership perspective. Hopefully he will be able to return after the Giants game, I would assume they give him the added rest on a short week and get him back at better health against the Cowboys. Jason Kelce is now the senior leader and he made some nice plays and has done his best to lead this offensive line into battle! 

We are going to call it the Jalen Hurts affect. The Eagles offense was not looking good for the majority of the first half until Jalen Hurts came in and busted off a big run. Jalen Hurts is a body that must be accounted for and the Baltimore Ravens found that out in the second quarter and he seems to have had an impact going forward on what the Ravens defense did whenever he was on the field. Hurts finished with a line of (2 rushes for 23 yards), but his importance to this offense can’t be understated by a stat line. Nor is this a calling for Carson Wentz job, it proves Hurts can have a role and will have a role for the rest of the year as some of the best offense has come thanks to his field presence.

The play calling from Pederson is frustrating and seems to be concerning and a point of criticism every week, but one thing you got to love is the continued emergence of Travis Fulgham who caught six of ten targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. Zach Ertz played better this week then the last two weeks, but did only catch four of his ten targets for 33 yards. Zach Ertz disappearing act over the last three weeks remains frustrating and concerning and one can only hope his injury isn’t serious that he suffered today and that Goedert is able to return very soon and help Ertz draw some attention away from him.

The secondary certainly deserves praise this week as the Ravens receivers, including Marquise Brown, were kept fairly silent. The main damage was done in the middle of the field and in the slot where the Eagles continue to be exploited, whether missed tackles or poor coverage by linebackers, they have proven to be the reason the Eagles defense cannot maintain for a full 60 minutes. Marquise Brown was held to four receptions for 57 yards. The large amount of passing damage was done via the middle of the field with Nick Boyle (3 rec., 33 yards) and Devin Duvernay (3 rec., 31 yards). Mark Andrews was only targeted four times and caught two passes for 21 yards. The Ravens rushing attack, largely Lamar Jackson, abused the Eagles in the open field with nine rushes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Despite a strong showing in defending the pass, the middle of the field remained a glaring weakness against the run this week and the front four seemingly failed to get enough pressure on Jackson. 

Oh and would it be an Eagles game without talking about injuries. Zach Ertz went to the locker room late in the fourth quarter, seemingly with some issues with his ankle. Jack Driscoll left the game late in the fourth quarter as well after being rolled up on. Miles Sanders left the game in the third quarter and was later ruled out. Jalen Mills, among others who also spent time in the blue tent at some point during the game. Despite the likely return of Desean Jackson on Thursday night, this short week does not bode well for injuries this week and their ability to play. We can only hope none of these injuries are serious. 

One thing you can try to knock, but will have a hard time respectfully doing it, is their resiliency! I have certainly given Wentz, Schwartz and Pederson their fair share of hate and rightfully so in certain circumstances, but they are the leaders of these wars. The refs were on our side for penalties, 12 penalties for 132 yards versus our three penalties for 20 yards. However, the analytics just weren’t there seemingly for Pederson or they just were not properly used. He went for a two point convert early trying to run it in with Wentz and got stuffed and put us behind that additional score we needed late. So when it came time to go for two again he went to the air twice with Ward and Arcega-Whiteside. Then, when it mattered most and he went for two, he turned back to trying to get Wentz to do it with his feet and failed, miserably, frustratingly and so many other words I’m sure Eagles fans want to use.

The Eagles move to 1-4-1 with two big games coming up divisionally against the Giants on Thursday and the Cowboys the week after. Pederson started the game out too slow from a play calling perspective and made two cringeworthy two point conversion attempts, the first and the last one, which very well were likely our demise. Schwartz and his defense made multiple stops and held the Ravens to less yards then the Eagles got despite the painfully slow start from Pederson, Wentz and the offense. Yes they gave up 30 points for the third time this year, but they were also on the field for 36 minutes to the Ravens defenses 23 minutes. Time of possession is important and this was too much in favour of the Ravens.

We have a short week to digest this heart wrenching game, but needless to say the Eagles have never needed wins more than the next two weeks. See you Thursday night after the Eagles face the Giants.


Halftime Report: Ravens at Eagles

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By Matt Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The 4-1 Ravens visit the 1-3-1 Eagles in a battle of the birds. The Ravens have dominated this entire game and lead 17 to 0 at the half. Here's what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:


First Half Offensive MVP

QB Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts was able to give the Eagles a little burst late in the second quarter. He broke off a few nice runs for 23 yards, and has been one of the few bright spots in the first half.


First Half Defensive MVP

DE Brandon Graham

Graham had a decent first half with one sack and four tackles. He has been the only bright spot on the Eagles defense thus far.


Who Needs To Step Up

The Entire Team

The Eagles have looked horrific in the first half, and if they want a chance to make a huge comeback, everyone needs to step up. Both the offense and defense are going to need to make plays in the final 30 minutes.


Who To Watch Out For

QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson had a great first half, finishing with 18 rushing yards and 85 passing yards for one touchdown. The Eagles will need to slow him down in the second half if they want a chance at coming back.


Injury Report: Baltimore at Philadelphia

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By Evan Krawczuk, Contributing Writer

The Eagles have a tough week six matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a running back that just so happen to be able to throw a football 65 yards. It'll be tough matchup for the Eagles on both sides of the ball as the Ravens also have a stingy defense. 

Injury Report 

Philadelphia Eagles  

Questionable

Darius Slay CB

Big Play Slay missed some time this week going though concussion protocol. Slay would be a huge loss for the Eagles this week. His status could be key to an Eagles victory.

Out

Lane Johnson RT

The sore ankle finally catches up with Lane Johnson. Johnson did not participate all week and will not be playing this week. Auburn product Jack Driscoll should be seeing Johnson’s reps.

Desean Jackson WR  

Jackson was limited all week with a bad hamstring. Not to worry though, Travis Fulgham is a man amongst boys  and should be able to carry the load. The Birds hope to see Jackson back for next week’s game.

Alshon Jeffery WR  

Is Alshon ever going to play this year? He is STILL out with a foot injury. At this point, you have to wonder if Alshon would interrupt the connection Wentz has with other receivers.

Matt Pryor G/T

The Eagles O-Line is taking another hit this week. Pryor is out with an illness.  Get excited though, Jamon Brown should be getting the start at guard this week.

Avonte Maddox CB

Maddox’s status has not changed since last week. Maddox is still out with an ankle injury. He still, luckily, has not been placed on injured reserve so he can play as soon as he is healthy.

Marcus Epps S

Epps is out with a rib injury this week. He didn’t practice all week. This may be a good thing for the Eagles defense because Epps couldn’t cover even if there was Thanksgiving leftovers and he was tinfoil.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Questionable

Marcus Peters CB

Peters missed some time this week with a thigh injury. He appears to be healthy and is expected to play.

Jimmy Smith CB

The Raven’s other corner, Jimmy Smith, also missed some time this week but his was because of a knee injury. Doug Pederson should see this and attack the outside.

Ronnie Stanley T

Bookend tackle Ronnie Stanley missed a little bit of practice this week with a shoulder injury. By the end of the week he was a full participant and will be ready to go Sunday.

Tyre Phillips G

Phillips, like Stanley, also missed some time this week with a shoulder injury. Phillips is also expected to play but these injuries on the Raven’s offensive line may be an attack point for Jim Schwartz’s defensive line.

Out

Brandon Williams DT

Just placed on the COVID list, Williams plays a huge part in containing the run game for the Ravens. Over the past four years, the team has allowed just under 90 yards rushing per game when he is out there to stop the run as opposed to nearly 160 yards per game when he is not. That should make it a better game to hand Sanders the ball.


Eagles Activate Pair Of Defensive Players From IR

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles placed a player on the COVID list Friday afternoon to open up a second spot on the 53-man roster.

On Saturday, the team filled those spots with a pair of defensive player returning from injury.

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