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Major Changes On Eagles Offensive Line

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Friday afternoon, Lane Johnson told the media that the inside of his ankle collapsed.

Johnson has struggled to stay on the field and perform at a high level this year following his ankle getting cleaned out. Now, his season will be done as he was never able to fully recover.

The Eagles will certainly place Johnson on IR shortly when they make their roster moves ahead of this week's Monday night game.

The team will likely place rookie Jack Driscoll in at the right tackle position, however he has been dealing with injuries of his own. If he cannot go, undrafted second-year man Brett Toth would be the next man up.

Continue reading "Major Changes On Eagles Offensive Line" »


Phillies Bullpen Reconstruction for 2021

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

For the Philadelphia Phillies faithful, missing the 2020 playoffs was squarely on the MLB-worst relief corps. Clearly, this is a must-fix shortcoming for the organization to end their postseason drought of nine seasons because the locals don’t want to see or hear a full 162 replay summed up in three words. And now pitching!     

 

Measured Relief:

Costwise and talentwise, replacing the entire pen is not a realistic goal because free agents JT Realmuto and Didi Gregorius could re-up to reprise their 2020 roles. And the Phillies also need a rotation piece due to a departure. So, the front office has those openings to plug, as they compete for solid relievers.

IN OTHER WORDS:

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” - Theodore Roethke

In ‘21, games played and attendance will depend on the pandemic in April especially after losses of $100-120 million per deep-pocketed franchise. And wealthy spenders are reluctant due to 2021’s financial uncertainty over the offseason and into March, so this will affect offers and trade-based decisions.     

Though some will question certain moves, be aware of the pitfalls. To illustrate, some hurlers dropped 2-5 mph off their fastball due to lacking the adrenaline they have with a rooting home crowd or jeering away spectators. And 2020’s stats could also be deceptive due to only 60 contests and interrupted winter routines.  

Despite fans’ beliefs, most bullpens have only 3-5 solid arms out of eight. The others are middle relievers who appear in low-stress situations: mop-up duty, long relief, extra innings, and frames before the sixth. By comparison, all stats are not equal.   

Continue reading "Phillies Bullpen Reconstruction for 2021" »


Eagles Activate Practice Window For One Defender, Place Another On IR

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Tuesday afternoon, the Eagles made a change that could really turn their season around.

For the past few weeks, Eagles fans have seen the benefits of what the return of healthy players can do and the team made another move that could return a defender soon.

The team activated defensive end Genard Avery's practice window, allowing him the next 21 days to get healthy and on the field.

Avery, the team's fifth defensive end, has played just 68 defensive snaps. While he has 1.5 sacks on the year, his snap count is unlikely to get above about 20% of the total defensive snaps in any game.

Tight end Zach Ertz also currently has his 21-day practice window open.

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YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast - YWT #98 - Reverse Retro Review

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The YWT Podcast is back after another two weeks. There is still no hockey on the horizon just yet, but the guys offer up the latest news and some jersey talk as well.

The guys talk about the latest updates in the NHL's return-to-play plans for a 2020-21 season and where things currently stand. The guys also take an extensive look at the Reverse Retro jerseys released a couple weeks ago and give their grades for every jersey in the bunch.

Join Kyle Collington and Kevin Durso as they give you some quality hockey talk.

You can listen to this episode of the podcast below and be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Podcasts and Podbean

You can also watch the episode and subscribe to watch all episodes of the YWT Podcast on YouTube.

As always, we want you to follow the podcast on Twitter @YWTpodcast, follow Kevin Durso on Twitter @Kevin_Durso, and follow producer Mike Giletto Jr. on Twitter @Mike_Giletto.


Eagles Evaluation: Eagles Do What They Can To Lose NFC East

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles, coming off a terrible loss to the division-rival Giants, headed to Cleveland in a game that could turn their season around.

The 6-win Browns were a beatable team, much like the Ravens were earlier in the year.

But beatable was does not mean that the Eagles would win.

Continue reading "Eagles Evaluation: Eagles Do What They Can To Lose NFC East" »


Report: Sixers Trade Zhaire Smith to Pistons

Darly Morey and the front office continue to tweak the Sixers' roster in preparation for next season. Reports have come out that the team has agreed to trade guard Zhaire Smith to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tony Bradley.

This trade ends Smith's lackluster tenure in Philadelphia. After being drafted 16th overall in the 2018 draft, Smith has had trouble making it on the court for the Sixers. Injuries and illness plagued him since being drafted, appearing in just 13 games as a Sixer. A change of scenery could be good for Smith, and he is going to situation in Detroit that will allow him to see the floor in a less pressure situation.

In return they will get Tony Bradley, a 6'10 center who has spent the last three seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz. Bradley is just 22 years of age, and shows a lot of promise in his game.

Bradley appeared in 58 games for the Jazz last season. He would average 4.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 0.6 BPG playing a little over 11 minutes a game.

The recent moves the Sixers have made has created a log jam at the guard and wing positions, making it very unlikely that Smith would have seen the court this season. This move lessens the jam at guard, and gives the team added depth at the center spot behind Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard.

Bradley could provide solid minutes in the front court if Embiid or Howard miss a game or are rested. His 6'10 frame with a 7'5 wingspan provides great size and fits with team's defensive identity. At 3.5 million dollars he is also a cheap option for big man insurance this season.

Sixerdelphia


Eagles vs. Browns Recap: The ugly, gets uglier

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

After a disastrous, divisional loss last week to the New York Giants, the Eagles entered week 11 in yet another must win position against the Cleveland Browns with matchups against the Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cardinals to come. With one of the healthiest Eagles rosters we have had all season, there are really no excuses. Or should be very few excuses.

The first half was dominated by the defenses as the weather became a contributing factor to limited offense, very limited offense. Zero points were scored by both offenses and the only score overall was an ugly, ugly pick six thrown by Carson Wentz on a play that absolutely should not have ended that way.

The second half started out looking ugly, but took an early turn in the Eagles favour with a Fletcher Cox swat sack, forcing a fumble that was recovered in the red zone, leading to an absolute dime by Carson Wentz to Richard Rodgers making it a 7-7 game. The tie was short lived as in typical Eagles defensive fashion, one big play by the Browns put them into field goal range, which Parkey would nail for the 10-7 Browns lead. The game continued back and forth for a short while, before a beautiful coffin punt buried the Eagles at the one and Carson Wentz awareness and the offensive line reared their ugly head allowing a safety to put the Browns up 12-7.

The early part of the fourth quarter remained back and forth, a periodic big play including a big grab by Richard Rodgers that put the Eagles in field goal range, which Jake Elliot would hit to make it a 12-10 game. Unfortunately, the Eagles run defense got hit by a train as Chubb burst off a 54 yard yard run, capped by a five yard touchdown run by Hunt up put the Eagles down by nine points with just over nine minutes to go. From there the game got no prettier as the Browns pounded the ball down the defenses throat and burnt down the clock putting an end to the game and capping another tough Eagles loss to swallow.

The Best

As with every week finding the best of an Eagles game is difficult, but there is an underrated and underappreciated piece that made himself the best part of the Eagles game this week. Miles Sanders has struggled to get the proper usage that he rightfully deserves to get from Doug Pederson. Miles Sanders finished with a line of 16 carries for 66 yards and three receptions for fifteen yards on five targets. His yards per carry topping out at yet another impressive 4.1 yards. Due to the game script becoming more negative in the fourth quarter he didn’t see much usage late, but Sanders needs to be used and abused by Pederson in this offense early and often.

The Good 

The Eagles rushing defense was magnificent against a two headed monster that combined for over 200 yards last week in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, that was until early in the fourth quarter when Chubb burst off a 54 yard run, capped by a Hunt five yard touchdown run. The two combined on the ground to put up 55 yards on 21 carries and through the air put up ten yards on a single reception prior to those two runs. With the weather having such a hindrance on the air attack, this was still a positive to take away, because there were very few to take from this game. The combo of Chubb and Hunt finished with 33 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown plus a single reception for ten yards.

Alex Singleton had a strong game at the linebacker position, a week after TJ Edwards had himself a strong performance at linebacker. Singleton finished with a line of 12 tackles, one sack and a tackle for a loss. The young linebackers are flashing as Nate Gerry remains sidelined, which is a major positive for getting Gerry off the field when he does return, as he has been difficult to watch especially in coverage.

The Bad

The offensive line has their moments each week that make you think, “they aren’t that bad, they will get out of this rut”, but then they string together a number of plays that make you realize that this isn’t a rut, this is the Eagles offensive line. Kelce played the second half banged up with some heavy machinery on his hurt elbow from the first half. Olivier Vernon feasted, largely matched up against Jason Peters, with an all impressive hat-trick, three, sacks on the day. Carson Wentz ended up sacked four times and hit ten times. Once the pressure numbers come out, they will ultimately paint an even grimmer picture for this offensive line as Carson Wentz had limited time to work with in the pocket and got tossed around all day long.

The Ugly

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz connection is not there. They are clearly so far from the same page that one is the cover of a 300 page novel and the other is the back cover and it is affecting the Eagles offensively. Doug Pedersons play calling is so vanilla, that we might as well call it a blank, white piece of printer paper. He is doing nothing to open up the field, zero creativity in the passing game and just leaving Carson Wentz in the pocket to be eating alive by pass rushes. Pederson needs an offensive coordinator, plain and simple, nothing has been the same since Reich left for Indy and the passing game, rushing game coordinator is creating the narrative of too many voices in my personal opinion.

Carson Wentz yet again did not look good, passes overthrown, underthrown, in front of receivers, behind receivers plus of course an interception, which led to a pick six. The offensive line did him no justice, as they haven’t done all season, but Wentz is doing his weapons little justice when given the opportunity. Turnovers and awareness are major issues for Wentz that are not improving as the season wears on, which is not good considering he starts getting paid like our franchise quarterback next season. 

Wentz and Pederson continue to struggle through an identity crisis and it is not good with such an enormous cap situation looming for the next two years, re-tooling will be very difficult. The last two weeks continue to point out the ugly weaknesses and issues that the Eagles have all over the field. Their inability to play a full sixty minutes on either side of the football, continue to expose the Eagles for what they are, the ugliest leaders of an even uglier NFC East and a team in crisis needing a major re-tooling. The next four weeks aren’t going to be any easier for the Eagles on their road to the NFC East and the frustration will rage forward for Eagles fans.


Halftime Report: Eagles at Browns

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By Matt Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The 3-5-1 Eagles visit the 6-3 Browns in a week 11 matchup on a rainy day in Cleveland. The Eagles have had some promising drives, but they ended with turnovers and punts. The Browns head into the half with a 7-0 lead, with the only points of the game coming off of a Carson Wentz pick six. Here's what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:


First Half Offensive MVP

RB Miles Sanders

Sanders had an incredible first half with the exception of one terrible play which was a fumble in the red zone. The Eagles have been feeding Sanders and hopefully they will continue to do so in the second half. The second year Running Back finished the half with 63 rushing yards on 11 carries, and one catch for three yards. A big second half from Sanders will be pivotal to the Eagles coming away from this game with a win.


First Half Defensive MVP

The Eagles Run Defense

Going up against a run heavy team, the Eagles have done a great job stopping the run. The Birds have held the Browns to just 18 rushing yards in the first 30 minutes. The Eagles will need to continue slow down the Browns run game if they want to fly home victorious.


Who Needs To Step Up

The Eagles Offense

The Eagles offense started the game off promising, but they are yet to score any points. The Eagles offense will need to figure things out in the second half because they’re going to have to score some points if they want to win this game.


Who To Watch Out For

WR Rashard Higgins

The Browns offense did not have a great first half, but they did have a couple big plays including a 43-yard catch by WR, Rashard Higgins. Containing Higgins and making sure they don’t give up any more big plays will be key to the Eagles winning this week 11 matchup.


Injury Report: Eagles at Cleveland

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By Evan Krawczuk, Contributing Writer

The Birds are heading to Ohio after a bad, bad loss again the New York Giants. The Eagles were simply out-coached and out-played last week and it was embarrassing. Cleveland is not the Browns of the last two decades; they have some talent and are competing in that strong AFC North. Luckily, the Eagles are fairly healthy and, hopefully, they learned from their coaching mistakes last week to make this game competitive. 

Injury Report 

Philadelphia Eagles 

Out

Rudy Ford S

 Ford was out all week in practice with a hamstring injury. He will not be playing this week and the Eagles lose an important piece of their special teams unit.

Reserve/COVID 19 List

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside WR

Corey Clement RB

Vinny Curry DE

 All three of these guys were placed on the COVID list due to coming in close contact with someone who was COVID positive or testing positive themselves.  

  

Cleveland Browns

 Questionable

Wyatt Teller G

Teller was limited all week in practice with a calf injury. If he is out this week, Fletcher Cox and the rest of the Eagles D-Line could have a strong day.

Mack Wilson LB

Wilson’s status is a little bit more up in the air than Teller’s. Wilson did not practice Thursday and was limited on Friday. Wilson is dealing with a hip injury and it would be a huge loss for the Browns, more than impressive, defense.

Reserve/COVID 19 List

Myles Garrett DE

Chris Hubbard T

Andy Janovich FB

The big name here is obviously Garrett, who is the star of the Browns defense. With Isaac Seumalo active again and no Garrett, fans should expect better offensive line play this week.


Report: Dodgers Assistant GM is Candidate for Phillies Job

The Phillies are moving ahead with their search for baseball executives to lead the club.  We learned via Jayson Stark of the Athletic that the Phillies had begun interviews.  One of the names the Phillies are tied to has come out.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Jeff Kingston of the Los Angeles Dodgers is emerging as a candidate:

Kingston has risen up among the baseball ranks over the years.

Kingston got his start in baseball as an intern for Theo Epstein with the San Diego Padres and would go on to be Director of Baseball Operations, a position he held for nine years.  He then spent two years as assistant general manager for the Seattle Mariners under Jerry DiPoto, and then moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2018.  There, he assisted Andrew Friedman's construction of the team that won the 2020 World Series.

Would the Phillies hire a general manager before a president?   That is possible.  Are the Phillies in on Epstein, for whom Kingston worked?  Or do the Phillies know who they plan to hire for president and have not announced such?  Stay tuned.