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.


Uncertain Futures in Philly Ahead for 4 Flyers Following 2020-21 Season

By Siobhan Nolan, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

At the end of the 2020-21 season, a total of eight Flyers players will be up for new contracts. Of these eight players, four are unrestricted free agents and four are restricted free agents. It can be safely assumed that RFAs Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim and Sam Morin will be offered extensions with the Flyers, and UFA Erik Gustafsson's fate will be determined after his first season with the team, though the current thought is that he will be on his way back into free agency in a year.

The remaining four players have a hazier future in Philadelphia.

Continue reading "Uncertain Futures in Philly Ahead for 4 Flyers Following 2020-21 Season" »


Week 11 Preview: Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) at Cleveland Browns (6-3)

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The last time the Eagles played the Cleveland Browns, things were very different. Carson Wentz was a rookie making his NFL debut. The Browns were on their way to being the second 0-16 team in league history. I was still in high school. The Eagles had never won a Super Bowl.

Now, the Browns are a winning team competing for their postseason birth since 2002. Meanwhile, the Eagles are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time since that aforementioned 2016 season.

The Birds travel to Cleveland coming off of a demoralizing loss in a season full of them. With a record of 3-5-1, the Eagles still sit atop the NFC East but the Giants are right on their heels at 3-7. Tensions in the Eagles locker room might be the highest they’ve been since Chip Kelly and his stupid visor were still on the sideline.

Not great, folks! Meanwhile, the Browns are coming off of an ugly win against the Houston Texans. Cleveland is 6-3, currently just outside the playoffs in the AFC but firmly in the picture. The Eagles should expect the Browns best effort on Sunday, because they need this game to stay in the hunt.

I’d say the same about the Eagles, but that’s exactly what I said about last week’s game. Look how that turned out.

Continue reading "Week 11 Preview: Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) at Cleveland Browns (6-3)" »


KGH meets Real Prince Blue

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The Kelly Green Hour is back minus LJ Harrell who sadly was busy putting in his hours at work!

Connor (@connorten) is joined by Prince Blue (@realprinceblue), the host of Real Time with Prince Blue on Last Out Media!

We talk a potentially big and very disappointing loss to the New York Giants, we rant about Eagles media and media attention (specifically Wentz and Pederson) plus we look towards a matchup against the Cleveland Browns in week 11!

Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you may listen. Follow @kellygreenhour on twitter and our network of writers and podcasters @sportstalkphl!

 


Phillies Set 40-Man Roster Ahead of Rule 5 Draft

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Nick Maton has been added to the 40-man roster (Frank Klose/Sports Talk Philly)

Friday night was the deadline for Major League Baseball teams to set their rosters ahead of the upcoming Rule 5 draft.  Players on the 40-man roster may not be selected by clubs in the draft, scheduled for the winter meetings, which will be held virtually December 7-10.  The Phillies announced that they have added six players to the 40-man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft.

The players protected by the Phillies are:

  • Kyle Dohy. left-handed pitcher
  • Bailey Falter. left-handed pitcher
  • Damon Jones. left-handed pitcher
  • Nick Maton, infielder
  • Francisco Morales. right-handed pitcher
  • Simon Muzziotti, outfielder

A couple of the players protected could help the Phillies sooner than later.   

Nick Maton and Damon Jones both spent some time in Phillies Spring Training in Clearwater and got some playing time.  Jones could factor into the 2021 Phillies bullpen from the left side, and Maton could potentially fill a utility infield role.

Francisco Morales is one of the top Phillies pitching prospects, likely tagged for Double-A and maybe Triple-A in 2021; Morales is someone hurt by the lack of a minor league season in 2020.   The MLB Pipeline Top 30 lists 2022 as a target date for Morales.

Both Kyle Dohy is also probably close to the major leagues.  He could get a look in Clearwater in the Spring and have the chance to show what he can do for a mid-season call-up, depending how the Phillies bullpen goes.  The same could be said for Bailey Falter, who did not make the MLB Pipeline Top 30 prospect list, but pitched pretty well at Class A Clearwater in 2018 and Double-A Reading in 2019.

Simon Muzziotti could be a potential Phillies center fielder of the future, but he is still is somewhat young.  Muzziotti is just 21 years old (he turns 22 next month) and probably will get a decent look in big league camp in Clearwater.  Muzziotti was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox, but made a free agent after the Red Sox were found to be in violation in the rules concerning international signings..  The Phillies swooped in and signed him in 2017 as a 16 year-old.


Phillies Hire Cotham to Be Pitching Coach

The Phillies made their first major addition on Friday afternoon.   After Bryan Price decided to retire from full-time coaching, the Phillies were left with a major vacancy on their coaching staff.  The Phillies will replace Price with someone with whom both Price and Phillies manager Joe Girardi is familiar:  Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham.  The Phillies announced the move Friday afternoon.

Cotham spent two seasons in the major leagues as a reliever.  In 2015, Cotham pitched for the New York Yankees with Girardi at the helm.  He then was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2016 as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, and Price became his manager.   Cotham signed with the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2017 season, but announced his retirement before throwing a pitch at the big league level.  But it sounds like Cotham leaves a good impression with his coaches.

With the Reds, Cotham served for two seasons as assistant pitching coach, under Derek Johnson, who was his college coach at Vanderbilt.   At just 33 years old, Cotham has built a reputation for his analytics, and work with Driveline Baseball, which describes itself as a "data-driven baseball performance program".

The Reds featured the 2020 Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer.  Bauer is a free agent looking for a new team. Bauer praised Cotham's work with pitchers in Todd Zolecki's piece about the appointment. It's unclear if the Phillies are interested in signing Bauer, but having Cotham certainly would not hurt the Phillies' chances to sign him.

The Phillies also have a bullpen coach vacancy after the contract of Jim Gott was not renewed.  

 


Grading the Sixers' Draft Picks

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The 2020 NBA draft has come and gone, and it’s safe to say the new Sixers’ front office regime has left its mark. Between draft day trades and selections, the team looks to be trending in the right direction. 

Heading into the night the Sixers had five selections but would only end up making three. Here are my grades for each of the Sixers’ picks.

Pick No. 21: Tyrese Maxey 

Grade: A+

When the draft process began, Tyrese Maxey was looked at as a lottery pick. The Sixers landing him with the 21st overall pick is a tremendous value. He is already being talked about as being the steal of this draft. 

The Sixers needed to upgrade at the guard position and then have done that in drafting Maxey. His ability to create offense and score in multiple ways should be a big boost to the Sixers’ offense. 

On day one Maxey will be a spark plug off the Sixers’ bench and provide much-needed scoring for the second unit. If he can continue to improve his shot from deep, Maxey could be the starting point guard of the future. 

It’s not every year that you land a lottery-level player at the back end of the first round. That is why this pick is a no-brainer A+ pick for the Sixers. 

Pick No. 49: Isaiah Joe 

Grade: A 

Another area that the Sixers needed to improve was outside shooting. Along with trading for two knockdown shooters on draft day, they used one of their second-round picks on one as well. 

Despite being picked towards the end of the draft, Isaiah Joe has a chance to become an NBA rotation player. Along with his NBA-ready range from deep, Joe also has the measurables to hang around in the league. 

Standing at six foot five with a six foot ten wingspan, Joe has a good base for a three-and-D player. His main area of concern is weight, weighing just 180 pounds. Adding on muscle is the key thing he needs to address at the NBA level. 

In his two years at Arkansas, Joe shot 37.8% from three on nine attempts a game. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could never have enough shooting around them, making taking a chance on Joe an easy decision. 

Pick No. 58: Paul Reed 

Grade: B+

With their third and final pick of the night, the Sixers selected big man Paul Reed out of DePaul. Although this pick is graded a B+, Reed was the most fascinating pick in the draft for the Sixers. 

Last season for DePaul Reed averaged 15.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and a stellar 2.6 BPG. Despite standing at just six foot nine, he plays much bigger than he is. 

After recent cuts to the Sixers’ roster, it looks like Reed will be taking one of the team’s two-way slots this year. The time in the G-League could benefit Reed as he figures out what his role will be in the NBA. It will also give the Sixers a chance to see how versatile he can be at the NBA level. 

Reed’s size and game make him a very interesting prospect. His ability to rebound and defend around the rim at his size makes him a potential small-ball center. Reed is also a great athlete who runs the floor great. 

The idea of him and Ben Simmons in the frontcourt together is an interesting one. Reed can also step out and knock down shots on the perimeter, which could open lanes for Simmons and Tobias Harris when Joel Embiid is off the floor. 

This is a pick where the grade could change down the line. If Reed can show he can play his same style at the NBA level, he becomes an extremely versatile prospect for the Sixers. He could even put himself in the conversation to be the backup to Embiid somewhere down the line. 

Although the Sixers’ front office had limited time together heading into this draft, they performed outstandingly. They addressed major areas of need and have greatly improved the fit of the Sixers’ roster. Now it’s time to see how they can finish rounding things out in free agency.

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