A Chip off The Old Block

EagleSpeed

Hello guys another EagleSpeed article here, and this article will be talking about the rumors speculating around the Eagles willing to trade up for Marcus Mariota. I believe that it is for the best interest for the Eagles to keep Foles around as the Franchise quarterback. Well first before I get into that I want to explain why Marcus Mariota will be a bust in this league unless he goes to a team like Philadelphia or Miami perhaps.

To begin with, Marcus Mariota is a system quarterback, and very few teams come even close to what he does in College as far as scheme and plays. Which comes to my sense that if he gets drafted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers I don’t think Lovie Smith will be pulling College tricks up his sleeve because Lovie Smith isn’t that kind of coach. However, if a team like Tampa wants to waste their pick on Mariota and draft what is needed for him in the future later then that is up to them. Also it only took me the 1st quarter to see that Mariota passes are erratic and his throwing mechanics and accuracy are actually pretty poor. He misses wide open guys in College and even some of the passes he does complete are high. I see Marcus Mariota as a humble, and a calm Colin Kaepernick.

Now to Nick Foles as he is the Franchise quarterback I believe. The chemistry he has with the entire locker room is fantastic as quoted by Jordan Matthews “Nick can lead us to a Superbowl”. Nick Foles has a 14-4 record as a starter behind this year a patchwork offensive line, and even a down year. In his career Nick has thrown 46 td’s and 17ints. That ratio is among the best in NFL history. Not to mention Nick Foles has an NFL arm and can complete those deep passes to Maclin. Mark Sanchez all we would see from him would be these short crossing routes and screen passes. If you look at the touchdown before halftime vs the redskins the 1st time around that is a throw that Brady wouldn’t make. Which brings me to my next point. Foles is a warrior quoted by David Molk “After I saw Nick take that hit, and for him to lead us to a win? He is number 1 in my book”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jufU7-Zzssg
Lastly, the cost to trade up for Mariota would be too much like remember when the Redskins traded 3 1st round picks and 2 second rounders for RG3? That was to move up 4 spots in the draft think about moving up 19 spots…that is something I don’t want to happen as I believe the Eagles have the worst Cornerback situation and that is the Primary problem. Nick Foles is the starter for the next 1,000 years.

Rising Stars

urlSean

Flyers prospects in the World Juniors have played great. Oskar Lindbolm for Team Sweden has 3 goals(a natural hat trick) and 4 assists in 3 games played. He is a 6’1″ 192 lbs 18-year-old LW that we acquired with the 138th pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Yes I said 138th pick and he has really PLAYED GREAT in the World Juniors on NHL ice. He has the speed and skill set to be a perfect pair with Giroux and Voracek next season. Not to long after Oskar was drafted Philadelphia Flyers scouting director called him the biggest steal of the draft. His performances in last 2 World Juniors since being drafted has been VERY productive. In international play Mr. Lindbolm has played 39 GP 16-22-38. He is currently still with his SHL team the Brynäs which he has not been as effective when he is in international play. Where he only has 21 GP 4-5-9 all which he has scored this season in 17 GP. Ron Hextall will meet with Chris Pryor to fly to Montreal to watch rest of the World Juniors.
Samuel Morin looks like a man amongst boys in the World Juniors for Team Canada. He is not on the score sheet, but that’s ok though because his defensive ability has really stood out. He has really used his body to win battles along the boards in own zone. Has the reach to strip Jack Eichel and break up a scoring opportunity. He also has a +2 rating. I could see him making the roster next year due to the fact we need that big body. Not only the big body, but the fact he is OUR defenseman. Something we have not been able to do is groom our players. I believe he needs to use his shot a lot more because well see link below to understand. This kid has a powerful shot, reminds me of Shea Weber so much.
Robert Hägg has been alright. Not great. Not bad. Just good enough to get the job done. In 4 games he has 1 assist and is -1. He has looked a little shaky for being on a team that is unbeaten. I see him with Phantoms next year to get more of his game developed. He has flashed 2nd d line pairing. Robert also reminds me of another Nashville Predator Roman Josi. Rome has been very reliable for the Preds in all three zones. He can play the PP, he makes all the passes, and has the skating ability to start a rush. On that Sammy and Robbie would be perfect line pair because you get the best of both worlds.
Another quick thought, Shayne Gostisbehere would be in the World Juniors for Team USA if it wasn’t for his ACL tear. 

Philadelphia Eagles Future Outlook

Addison Hunsicker

Eagles huddle

The time frame to win in the National Football League with any core group of players is tight, primarily due to the physicality of the game which causes injuries and shortens careers. That’s what makes the Philadelphia Eagles collapse from the driver’s seat in the NFC East at 9-3, to missing the playoffs at 10-6 extremely disappointing. The talent was there with the core group of players Chip Kelly had in his second NFL season, and the Eagles still fell short, taking a step back after making the playoffs in Kelly’s first year. 

Kelly started the season off well at 6-2, in control of a playoff spot, but once Nick Foles and DeMeco Ryans went down for the season against the Houston Texans, the season spiraled downhill. Mark Sanchez took over the quarterbacking duties, and was serviceable at times, and a turnover disaster at others. The dark omen of the Philadelphia Eagles season was their loss at Green Bay, where they were absolutely obliterated in all facets of the game by the Packers. Even though the Eagles beat the Cowboys a few weeks later in Dallas on Thanksgiving, there was a sense that maybe this Philadelphia team could not beat playoff-caliber teams, and then came December. Three straight losses later to the Seahawks, Cowboys, and (this is embarrassing) Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles no longer had the ability to make the playoffs.

Sanchez played well, but Kelly’s offense lost a vertical presence without Foles, a presence that is key in the offense’s effectiveness. Besides Sanchez’s turnover flaws that were further exposed the more he played, the Eagles secondary was man-handled once the calendar flipped to December. Before December hit, Aaron Rodgers looked like an immortal superhero when he picked a part Philadelphia’s secondary, then in December Tony Romo’s stellar numbers were boosted after facing the likes of Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, and even Robert Griffin III had flashes of his rookie season en route to beating the Eagles.

Here the Eagles sit, trying to figure out what they need to do to improve this football team. Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis have expressed the need to fix the defense, while Kelly has also noted that he will be diving into the quarterback situation as well. Diving into the quarterback seems useless. Eagles’ players have publicly stated that they trust Nick Foles to lead them to a championship, and it is about time Chip Kelly does the same. Kelly is failing to see that he went 14-4 with Nick Foles as his quarterback, and while Foles certainly did not help his cause with his average play this season, he still went 6-2 despite turning the ball over with an injured offensive line and ineffective running game. 

Age in the NFL plays more of a role in determining a team’s moves than any other sport, because players do not have long careers. The entire starting offensive line (besides Lane Johnson) and Darren Sproles have already reached their late twenties and early thirties in age, and in a couple of years, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Riley Cooper will be reaching their peak in age too. Chip Kelly does not have time to trade up for Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, and wait for them to develop. Not only is time a factor, but what the Eagles would have to give up to get either of those two would not give them a bang for their buck. The Eagles would have to trade multiple high-value future draft picks for Mariota or Wintson, and then by the time they develop, they are going to need those picks they traded away to replace the current veterans who are reaching the end of their careers. When that happens, the last years Kelly will have with his high level players will be wasted waiting for a quarterback to develop, and then his best years with his quarterback are going to be wasted waiting for the rest of the team to develop. This potential problem can be solved by simply trusting Nick Foles.

Foles and Chip

The general misconception about Chip Kelly’s offense is the need for a mobile quarterback. While having a mobile quarterback helps Kelly’s cause, he does not have to have one. If he did, Nick Foles would not have gone 14-4 in the offense, nor would he have been as productive as he was. Chip Kelly needs a quarterback who can make efficient decisions and keep up with the tempo he wants the offense to run at. Nick Foles can do just that. Foles has shown a slight injury prone in his time in the NFL thus far, which has to change if he wants to be the franchise quarterback for the Eagles. Along with his injury issues, Foles has to clean up the back-foot throws that increased his rate of interceptions this year. Taking care of the football is what set Foles a part as the potential franchise quarterback in 2013, and if he returns to the 2013 Foles in terms of taking care of the football (of course, the 27-2 touchdown-to-interception will never happen again), he will cement himself as the Eagles’ guy, and Chip Kelly will have to accept it.

Now that the quarterback situation is resolved, Chip Kelly can focus his attention on the glaring problems that will prevent his football team from winning if the future in they are not addressed. Those problems of course, revolve around the Eagles’ defense. The Eagles cannot give up an average of 375.6 yards and 25.0 points per game again in 2015 and expect to contend with the elite NFC teams. Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis have to fix the defense, starting with the secondary. Teams began picking on Bradley Fletcher at the end of the season, and at times, it got tough to watch. Of course, Kelly and Davis did not help Fletcher’s cause by leaving him on an island against top NFL receivers, but still, Fletcher was not even putting up a fight. Along with Fletcher is Cary Williams, and while Williams is physical and can hold his own when he covers tall receivers, he commits too may dumb penalties that kill the Eagles. In other words, cornerback is a clear hole for the Eagles that needs to be filled.

Another questionable player on the Eagles’ defense is safety Nate Allen. There are times where Allen looks like a competent NFL safety, and there are others where he simply looks lost on the field. If he has solid corners in front of him, he along with Malcolm Jenkins could potentially make a solid safety duo. But the fact that Allen relies on the corners in front of him to play well and struggles with consistency on a play-by-play basis, shows that he is replaceable.

The Eagles fate at outside linebacker will be determined by Brandon Graham’s decision to stay in Philadelphia or walk, along with the development of 2014’s first-round pick in Marcus Smith, who could not get on the field at all for Philadelphia this season. Trent Cole is getting old, and only has a few years at most left in the tank before he decides to call it a career. Brandon Graham showed signs of possibly being a legit outside linebacker, the problem was, he barely got on the field because of Trent Cole. Playing time alone has caused Graham to think about walking away from Philadelphia, and if does, outside linebacker all of a sudden becomes yet another hole for the Eagles to fill on defense.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman, and head coach Chip Kelly have an array of decisions to make these next few months leading up to the draft and including the draft itself. If the Eagles fill the necessary holes on defense through the draft or free agency, and stabilize the offense with Nick Foles at quarterback, they will be in a good position to return to the playoffs once again in 2015. Whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles will be good enough to contend for a Super Bowl, well that remains to be seen.

Featured Image Source: Michael Perez/AP Photo

Staff Playoff Picks

Addison Hunsicker

The NFL playoffs are upon us, and for the second straight year we bring you the staff’s playoff predictions. Last year’s pick champion was Ray Dunne, let’s see if he can repeat.

Addison Hunsicker’s (Eagles Fan)
NFC
Cowboys over Lions
Cardinals over Panthers
Seahawks over Cardinals
Packers over Cowboys
Seahawks over Packers

AFC
Bengals over Colts
Steelers over Ravens
Patriots over Bengals
Steelers over Broncos
Patriots over Steelers

Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Seahawks
Champion: Patriots

Ray Dunne’s (Eagles Fan)
NFC
Lions over Cowboys
Cardinals over Panthers
Seahawks over Lions
Packers over Cardinals
Seahawks over Packers

AFC
Steelers over Ravens
Colts over Bengals
Patriots over Colts
Steelers over Broncos
Patriots over Steelers

Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Seahawks
Champion: Patriots

Anthony Dabbundo’s (Colts/Cowboys Fan)
NFC
Cowboys over Lions
Cardinals over Panthers
Seahawks over Cardinals
Cowboys over Packers
Seahawks over Cowboys

AFC
Colts over Bengals
Steelers over Ravens
Patriots over Colts
Broncos over Steelers
Patriots over Broncos

Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Seahawks
Champion: Seahawks

Nick Bougades’s (Steelers Fan)
NFC
Cowboys over Lions
Cardinals over Panthers
Seahawks over Cardinals
Cowboys over Packers
Seahawks over Cowboys

AFC
Colts over Bengals
Steelers over Ravens
Patriots over Colts
Steelers over Broncos
Steelers over Patriots

Super Bowl: Seahawks vs. Steelers
Champion: Seahawks

Ian Capell’s (Giants Fan)
NFC
Cowboys over Lions
Panthers over Cardinals
Seahawks over Cardinals
Packers over Cowboys
Packers over Seahawks

AFC
Colts over Bengals
Steelers over Ravens
Patriots over Colts
Steelers over Broncos
Steelers over Patriots

Super Bowl: Packers vs. Steelers
Champion: Packers

Jason Kantor’s (Chiefs Hater/We think he’s an Eagles Fan)
NFC
Cowboys over Lions
Panthers over Cardinals
Seahawks over Panthers
Packers over Cowboys
Packers over Seahawks

AFC
Colts over Bengals
Steelers over Ravens
Patriots over Colts
Broncos over Steelers
Patriots over Broncos

Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Packers
Champion: Packers

Chip Kelly’s offensive mindset must start including defense

Pat

The Eagles season ended on a sour note in 2013. After starting out the season 3-5, Philadelphia finished on a 7-1 run to finish out the season 10-6 behind the second ranked offense in the NFL per ESPN. The one thing that remained a problem, and it has been a reoccurring issue in Philly, was the adversity inside the defense. Head Coach, Chip Kelly, had an important offseason ahead of him last year. However, the offensive minded coach took a route that wasn’t easily foreseen.

He let DeSean Jackson go without anything in return. Then, he added Darren Sproles to the mix of things. In the draft, there were acquisitions such as Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. All offense players. The biggest issue going into last years offseason was defense, and Kelly was too stubborn to fix the problem. Jarius Byrd and Darrelle Revis were free agents. Demarcus Ware was also a free agent at the time. Imagine having those players mixed with DeMeco Ryans, Connor Barwin, Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox, and Malcom Jenkins. Our defense would’ve improved greatly, but sadly this can only be an imagination…

…The reality is, because of Kelly, Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen, and Cary Williams were burned every game. Our secondary was atrocious. Thus, our season ended without making the postseason. FYI Chip; without a proper defense your team will not win; no matter how good you make your offense. They need to stop opposing offenses, as well. You can put up 30 points, but if your defense allows 31 points you will lose every time.

The question is whether or not Kelly would go after defense this offseason. Unlike last year, the Eagles offense did not come near the skill level they showed last season. The Eagles, in my opinion, need another wideout. One who can resemble DeSean Jackson. A wide receiver who can stretch the field, and can attract the opposing defenses full attention; thus leaving our other offensive weapons open.

Then there is the quarterback situation. Should the Eagles draft a QB? Marcus Mariota? Absolutely not!! Our QB’s right now are just fine. Mark Sanchez should stay as Philadelphia’s backup. He is a decent backup. However, I do not believe he’ll be here. So, we will be getting a QB somewhere along the line during this offseason. Then there is Nick Foles. A 14-4 QB, who played with a makeshift offensive line. He was constantly pressured and sacked, which resulted in a broken collarbone. He threw so much every game because LeSean McCoy was struggling during the beginning of the season. With that said, he lead the league in passing yards before he got hurt. However, when the line was at full health, McCoy woke up… now he’s going to the Pro Bowl. So, why all the hate for Foles? He had no healthy line, and if he did he would have had the same success as McCoy did in the later parts of the season.

Now, back to the defensive situation. Will Chip Kelly get defense? Well, does he have a choice? Anything but defense will aggravate all of Eagles Nation. There is no need to be arrogant, Chip. We need a secondary!! In free agency and the draft, defense is the number one priority. Anything else, and this offseason will be a waste like last year. Anything else but defense, next years season will have the same outcome as this past season.

Cox not rocking their Sox?

url

EagleSpeed

Hey guys another EagleSpeed article and I hope you guys have enjoyed these articles as much as I have had fun writing them.
The Pro Bowl Rosters were released this year and I want to first congratulate LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, Connor Barwin, and lastly Jason Kelce for making the Pro Bowl this year! I hope our Eagles make some noise this year. It is truly an honor to be voted to play with some of the best players in the NFL.

However, many Eagle fans are asking how much of a snub is Fletcher Cox? I honestly believe that Fletcher Cox is one of the biggest snubs this year. This man had a breakout year the 6’4” 300 pound defensive end finished in the top 3 for most quarterback hurries for 3-4 defensive ends this year. Also not including the Giants game coming this Sunday Fletcher Coc currently has 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 54 tackles and assists and top 3 in quarterback hurries. I will post a link of his stats to show you guys as well.

http://www.nfl.com/player/fletchercox/2533051/gamelogs
Also, nothing to take away from Connor Barwin as he had an outstanding year but a HUGE part of that was Fletcher Cox as he drew a lot of attention to block the big force he is. Please watch with the next link below on the progress report of Connor Barwin as you notice #91 always has multiple guys trying to block him and to show how Connor Barwin is a great Pro Bowl canidate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpiV6Mlh4yo

Overall: The Pro Bowl is a popularity contest and a big name can get you votes from biased fans. My Pro Bowl votes were guys that are good that get no media attention. My first vote for Tight Ends for example was Travis Kelce because he is a great Tight End but doesn’t get the recognition. Hopefully this motivates Fletcher Cox to perform even better and to work harder because the fact he wasn’t in the Pro Bowl is a joke. Troy Aikman even said he should go to the Pro Bowl during the Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys

Thoughts?

Cherish Championships

The big 3

Addison Hunsicker

Winning a championship is the one goal every major sports franchise strives to achieve year in and year out. For some historically, such as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Montreal Canadians; and as of recently in the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Kings, and San Francisco Giants, those championships have come in bunches. Plenty of success has been had by numerous franchises, but as with every team, your star players age or like LeBron James in Miami, they move on elsewhere because they never had a connection to the city besides the championship. Winning just does not happen every year like fans want it to, and even for the historically winning franchises, there are years where the championships are not won.

The problem is, championships are not cherished like they should be. Once that first championship is won by any specific group of players, many are expected to follow, and rightfully so. Fans see that success and soak in the championship feeling when it happens and during the parade, and crave more – it is human nature. When those athletes fail to replicate the success they once had, or fail to come through in the championship game or series to bring home another title, the positive feeling the fans have towards slowly starts to crack, and crack, and crack some more. Simply put, at times fans forget what athletes have done for them while they are still here, and it takes that athlete or group of athletes leaving for them to remember what was done for them. The athlete’s career in that city is not cherished while it still exists, it only continues to boil from the lack of continued success until the career is no more.

There is a difference between living in the past of championship success, and cherishing one championship or championships. Living in past success means the fan is using the championships won by the franchise a decade or decades ago as a means to make up for the current downhill state of their team. Cherishing a championship is always remembering that moment of victory, but not using it to define the current team that may be stinking it up on the field on the daily. Imagine living in a city where a championship is almost as rare as Halley’s Comet. Out of the four sports franchises that make up the city of Philadelphia, and have existed for a combined 310 years, only five, five championships have been won (eight if you count the Eagles’ three NFL championships pre-Super Bowl era, but for the sake of this, those are not going to be counted).

Winning in Philadelphia is not a thing, it does not happen. To make matters worse, out of the franchises in the four major sports, 21 of them have five or more championships. Translation: 21 sports franchises have the same or more championships than the entire city of Philadelphia. You could call us “Loserdelphia”, because we never win, ever. We sit here today with the Eagles fresh off of a collapse from 9-3 to 9-6 and out of playoff contention, the Flyers once again in the middle of a mediocre/disappointing season, the Phillies making it publicly known that they are rebuilding, and the Sixers purposely putting their fans through horrendous losses in hopes to win in the future. What is “winning?”

Outsiders of Philadelphia have a negative connotation about who Philadelphia fans are – which is partly true. We are too harsh to opposing fans, especially those of our rivals, and we are an angry fan base. But look at the success of our teams and ask yourself: Would I be like that if my teams stunk every single year? The anger is a passion, a passion for championships. Just give us a championship, one, that is all we ask. The most recent ones to deliver the City of Brotherly Love a championship: the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.

AP Photo

Now, that 2008 world championship team, is being depleted. Jimmy Rollins is gone to the Dodgers, and Phillies’ general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed his interest in moving Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels too. Our only championship team since Dr. J’s 1983 76ers will soon be of no more, and the one thing that did not take place in this city while the years of having Rollins, Utley, and Howard came to an end, was the cherishing of the 2008 championship. When Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske on October 29, 2008, the city erupted. The streets of Philadelphia were flooded with people, light posts were climbed, and cars were flipped: it was a mayhem of happiness. On Halloween two days later, Phillies’ fans filed in to celebrate the victory with their team. There were so many fans who attended, Mayor Michael Nutter even considered shutting down the city for the day. That was cherishing the championship in the moment, which is what any fan base normally does. Since then, Ryan Howard has managed to become one of the most disliked athletes in Philadelphia, and before Rollins was traded, he was on the downwards path with the fans just like Howard was. What for? Father time played his cards, the two are clearly on the decline, and it is time for both of them to go, but why boo them while they are still here? Cherish what they did for us from 2007-2011, bringing us the only championship that generation of Philadelphia fans will ever see in their youth. As a fan, it is tough to see your favorite players, especially players from a championship team, struggle to succeed after they just gave you the five best years in your team’s entire 131 year history, but that does not mean you cannot always keep in the back of your head what they have done. Cherish them while they still play for your team.

Tim Shaffer/Reuters

Since then, Ryan Howard has managed to become one of the most disliked athletes in Philadelphia, and before Rollins was traded, he was on the downwards path with the fans just like Howard was. What for? Father time played his cards, the two are clearly on the decline, and it is time for both of them to go, but why boo them while they are still here? Cherish what they did for us from 2007-2011, bringing us the only championship that generation of Philadelphia fans will ever see in their youth. As a fan, it is tough to see your favorite players, especially players from a championship team, struggle to succeed after they just gave you the five best years in your team’s entire 131 year history, but that does not mean you cannot always keep in the back of your head what they have done. Cherish them while they still play for your team.

Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and even Carlos Ruiz were the best. Hamels is only the one with the chance to play on a winning ball club again, but the other four are at the end of their careers. Rollins, Utley, and Howard started more games together at their respective positions than any other trio in history, and Carlos “Chooooch” Ruiz was right behind the dish to catch most of those games. The years 2007-2011 will never be forgotten by the youth of fans who got to grow with this Phillies team, and the day October 29, 2008 will go down in Philadelphia sports history. Cherish your championships while your favorite players from those winning teams are still there, because you never know when the next group of guys will come into your city and win another one.

Featured Image Source: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Huff and Puff? Or Huff Enough?

Untitled

EagleSpeed

The rookie wide receiver that the Eagles drafted in the 3rd round of the draft Josh Huff from Oregon has had an up and down year, and some would say that he has lost the Eagles games this year. I would frankly agree to that but should we let him go? I think Josh Huff can be gold to the Eagles in a couple years with time you see that the upside is there with his speed, short-area bursts not to mention an electric returner with great VISION like you will see on his returns finding the smallest holes. The links below will remind you of the explosive returns he has had this season and he is only a rookie. Josh Huff does hold the record for the longest return in franchise history on a kickoff

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdQDbD5fzvU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhSqRpA3nhc

The flip side of the coin says that his ball handling is atrocious like on the opening kickoff to Dallas, and how he fumbled in the red zone in the heartbreaking loss against the Arizona Cardinals this season. He also failed to produce not getting off press man coverage against the 49ers. That was the concern for him coming out of college that since he was wide open so much in the Oregon Offense that you didn’t see him get pressed. He clearly struggled especially against the 49ers only having one catch on a screen pass. He has also showing signs of being injury prone as well.

Overall: The Eagles need to give this man a break his first year as he was injured as well, and I do believe he can be like a Dwayne Harris at least. His ball handling is atrocious and I believe that he did cost the Eagles games against the Cowboys and the Cardinals. But you cannot deny the upside with his Speed and Vision. However, if these fumbling problems persist…we all know the sound Philadelphia is famous for as he will be gone in no time.

Thoughts?

Thank You Jimmy

JROLL-600x320

Addison Hunsicker

All great things eventually come to an end, and unfortunately for Jimmy Rollins, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Phillies’ fans that grew up with Rollins as their idol, their 15-year relationship has done just that. While Jimmy Rollins may not be in a Phillies uniform in 2015, and while he may not make his daily trot out to shortstop in Citizens Bank Park, he will forever be the man who led the Phillies through the best five-year stretch in franchise history from 2007-2011 that included a World Series in 2008. The Phillies’ all-time leader in hits will now be playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the inevitable rebuiliding is now in full effect, and it started with an emotional sting to a fan base that saw the change coming but never knew the true feeling of change until now.

Not too many athletes talk the talk and then walk the walk, and this is especially the case in Philadelphia, a city that has only seen five combined championships from their four professional teams. However, Jimmy Rollins was different. Jimmy Rollins was the first star athlete to win a championship in Philadelphia (along with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels) since Dr. J did it in 1983 with the Sixers. Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies as “the team to beat” in the N.L. East before the 2007 season, and he followed through with that promise. From his Major League debut in 2000, all the way up to 2014, Rollins always played with an attitude and charisma. Phillies’ fans would often get frustrated when Rollins did not fully run out a ground ball hit to second base, or popped up on the first-pitch, yet Rollins kept doing his thing. Rollins only cared about winning once he stepped on the field, and at times, he cared about winning too much that he let personal frustration get in the way after rolling a ball over to second, and that frustration trickled down to the fan base. Jimmy Rollins had a “swagger” he carried with him on a daily basis as he was always out to prove those who doubted him wrong.

When Rollins was drafted, many MLB scouts said he was too small and that his swing was not methodic enough to allow his consistent success at the big level. Could those scouts have been anymore wrong? Rollins debuted as a Phillie in 2000, and ended his 15 years with 2,306 hits, 887 RBIs, 479 doubles, 453 stolen bases, 111 triples, 216 home runs, four Gold Gloves, and one MVP award. But if you asked Jimmy, he would say he most important accomplishments were the five straight N.L. East division titles, two N.L. pennants, and of course, the 2008 World Series championship.

Traveling to Citizens Bank Park felt like an obligation from 2007-2011, and that was due in part to the contributions of Jimmy Rollins. He always brought the leather and came up clutch when the Phillies needed him to. What he meant to the Phillies organization will be felt when the Los Angeles Dodgers come to Philadelphia on August 4th, and on the day when he is inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day in 2015 will have a different vibe then it did in years past. Not hearing Phillies’ Public Address announcer Dan Baker boom through the ballpark’s loud speakers: “Leading off, number 11, shortstop, Jimmy Rollins” anymore brings to life just how much Jimmy Rollins meant to the city of Philadelphia. Thank you Jimmy, you will be missed.

Image Source: David Maialetti/Philly.com

LOB or LOL: Can the Eagles dethrone the reining Super Bowl Champs?

Pat

After coming off a huge Thanksgiving Day win over Dallas, the 9-3 Eagles look to continue where they left off last Thursday. The Seattle Seahawks are coming into Lincoln Financial allowing only three points in each of their last two games.

There is no question that Seattle’s defensive unit ranks first in the NFL. However, the Eagles offense has been clicking in the last few outings as well. With the exception of the Green Bay game, Mark Sanchez has been playing very well in the absence of Nick Foles. He threw for over 200 yards in the first half alone against Dallas. However, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas may be his biggest test yet. Actually, they are the biggest test for Chip Kelly’s offense. Sherman, as much as a loud-mouth he is, deserves to trash talk. He is good, and there is no denying that fact. However, it’s time for him to prove if he really is “the best corner in the game.” He never faced an offense like Philadelphia’s. The Eagles are averaging three plays a minute in the past few weeks. Remember, the Eagles leave opposing defense huffing and puffing by game end. The Eagles made J.J Watt need oxygen, and that’s saying a lot because he’s a great athlete. I don’t know LOB, it may be a test for our offense… but it’ll be a learning experience for your defense too.

LeSean McCoy has rushed 130 yards or more in the last two games. He only needs 48 more yards to be the Eagles all-time leading rusher. Wouldn’t that be nice to see? McCoy will be forever remembered with names like Wilbert Montgomery, Steve Van Buren, and Brian Westbrook. The only thing stopping Shady from breaking this record is the Seattle defense. They are averaging 3.5 yards against the rush, so it’s a guarantee that they will be trying to shut McCoy down. However, McCoy is on a roll right now. I wouldn’t worry about him not showing up to play.

The Eagles defense has to step up big as well. They need to get to Seattle’s QB, Russell Wilson. He is quick. He can throw. He makes great decisions, and rarely makes mistakes. How will Philadelphia perform against the read-option? It’s hard to tell, but Wilson could be in for a long day as long as Connor Barwin continues to do what he did in November.

Also, Marshawn Lynch can’t be forgotten. Talk about a beast! Why do you think he gets the nickname “Beast Mode” from? He is one of the NFL’s best. He is a dangerous threat to any opposing defense. The thing about Lynch is that he is so consistent. Overall, he rarely faces any adversity. However, the Eagles defensive front has stopped Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, DeMarco Murray, and Andre Ellington from having big games. The only big-name rusher that got the best of the Eagles was Eddy Lacey of Green Bay, but who didn’t get the best of Eagles that day.

Offensively, I believe Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will have nice games against Philadelphia. The Eagles have been good against run, but with the read-options, screen and quick passes Seattle runs, I don’t think the Eagles will be able to completely stop these two weapons.

On the Eagles side, I expect a big day from Zach Ertz, and LeSean McCoy. Yes, Ertz’s name hasn’t been heard in awhile, but I believe this is the game he gets a good amount of looks from Sanchez. Seattle also plays a Cover-3 defense, so Ertz could be in for a nice day if he’s left open down the field.

Defensively, the Eagles (Sanchez) must watch out for Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

Defensively, Seattle (Wilson) must watch out for Connor Barwin.

Keys for the Eagles? Score in the RedZone, because that’s been a problem all year. Also, don’t turn the ball over. That, too, has been a huge issue with this team.

My Prediction:

Eagles 27 – Seahawks 26