Subject: Caleb Sturgis injured: Eagles kicker will miss several weeks
Here’s some not so good news. Philadelphia Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis suffered a quad strain in his plant leg (though Les Bowen reports it’s hip flexor) and is expected to be out for “several” weeks, per NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Rapoport notes that the Eagles will try out free agent kickers this week.
The injury occurred during the Eagles’ Week 1 game against the Washington Redskins. Doug Pederson opted to go for a two-point conversion late in the game because he didn’t feel comfortable with Sturgis trying to attempt the kick.
During his press conference on Monday, Pederson confirmed the Eagles will be working out some kickers this week. Rapoport said to keep an eye on Bengals practice squad kicker Jake Elliott. Mike Garafolo speculated Mike Nugent could be one of the players the Eagles look at. Nick Novak is another notable name on the market.. Former Philadelphia fan favorite Cody Parkey is NOT a free agent; he’s with the Dolphins.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles handle this situation when it comes to freeing up a roster spot. Philadelphia’s roster is currently at the 53-man limit. The Eagles will either have to cut someone or place someone on injured reserve in order to free up a spot for the new kicker. The problem with placing someone on injured reserve means they’re out for at least eight weeks. Note that NFL teams can only bring two players back from IR in the same season.
Though he hasn’t been perfect, Sturgis has been pretty solid overall since joining Philadelphia in 2015. 2016 was a career best for him. It’s not great that the Eagles will be without Power Sturge moving forward.
Subject: NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Courtland Sutton
With week two of college football in the books, there is a lot to look back on in terms of individual performances. Week two definitely gave viewers a lot more exciting games and thus, great performances by individual players. While lots of prospects showed out on the big stage, one of the week's most dominant performances was happening in Dallas, Texas.
Courtland Sutton has been the go to guy at SMU for a while and the redshirt junior is off to a strong start to his season. Sutton eviscerated the North Texas defense, catching high passes for over 160 yards and a whopping four touchdowns. This brings his early season total to 10 catches for 185 yards and five touchdowns. Obviously it's a small sample size but scoring on 50% of your touches is pretty incredible.
North Texas had no answer for Sutton as he scored in a variety of ways. His first touchdown came on a short pass where he immediately broke a tackle and sprinted away from the entire defense. As a 6'4", 220 pound receiver; speed is not the thing you are expecting from Sutton. However, he has more than enough athletic ability to make defenses pay deep down the field. His next touchdown also showed off that speed as he was able to get behind the entire defense for a deep touchdown in the end zone. The quarterback actually under threw Sutton, but he was still able to come back and adjust to secure the catch. His next score was a contested grab where pulled one down over coverage at the edge of the end zone. So, in a night he showed off deep speed, yards after catch creativity and the ability to go over defenders to make a catch.
A lot of folks will point to the opponent being North Texas, but understand that Sutton is carrying this Southern Methodist team and his dominance will be directly correlated to their success for the rest of the season. Also, great prospects are supposed to truly dominate their competition, regardless of level, instead of just eking by with okay performances.
At this point in the season, there is still no clear cut top wide receiver in terms of consensus. This class is a little bit more of a question mark in that regard in relation to the last few classes. However, Courtland Sutton has the frame, athleticism and diverse skill set to make NFL teams drool over his potential as a number one wide receiver in the league.
Other Performances of Note:
- Royce Freeman, Running Back, Oregon: Royce Freeman carried the ball 29 times for over 150 yards and two scores for the Ducks in their win against Nebraska. After spending all of last year nursing injuries, Freeman looks close to his regular self. He showed off his power and impressive athletic ability for his size all game and while he did not break any huge runs, he consistently chipped away at Nebraska's defense to give Oregon a win.
- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge Defender, Oklahoma: Oklahoma pulled off a huge upset on Saturday; beating Ohio State in Columbus. While Baker Mayfield deserves credit for the win, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led a great defense effort to frustrate JT Barrett and limit the Buckeyes offense tremendously. Okoronkwo is somewhat of a hybrid player for the Sooners, playing a bit in coverage while also using the passer and stopping the run. On Saturday, Okoronko accounted for two sacks, one hurry and five total defensive stops (Per Pro Football Focus) to neuter the Buckeye offense. Okoronkwo is an intriguing player at 6'1", 240 pounds and it is yet to be scene if he is a edge defender or an off ball linebacker in the NFL, but his continued strong play with the Sooners is certainly fun to watch.
- Darius Phillips, Cornerback, Western Michigan: Western Michigan has had a tough schedule to start the season, playing USC and Michigan State back-to-back, losing both match ups. What they can take solace in is that their senior cornerback, Darius Philips continues to be their major playmaker. Philips is a good cornerback but he turns into a different player when he touches the ball. In 2016, Phillips returned three of his four interceptions for touchdowns and returned a kick and punt for a touchdown. In his first three years with Western Michigan, Philips has 10 combined return touchdowns between defense and special teams. This year is no different. On Saturday, Philips returned his second kick return touchdown of the season and had a 67 yard fumble return for a touchdown. If that isn't impressive enough accounting for both of his team's scores; Philips picked off a pass, his second interception of the season, forced a fumble, broke up three passes and had a tackle for a loss. Philips' ability to fill up the box score with video game numbers is insane and even as a smaller cornerback at 5'10" and 190 pounds, Philips should be getting some serious attention from NFL teams.
Subject: Enjoy this video of Josh Norman being a sore loser in Washington
One of my favorite things that flew under the radar from the Eagles’ win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday was how Josh Norman acted like a sore loser following Philadelphia’s game-clinching touchdown.
After Fletcher Cox scooped and scored on a (controversial) strip-sack by Brandon Graham, the Eagles went for a two-point conversion. Doug Pederson explained they did this because Caleb Sturgis was hurt and couldn’t kick.
Here’s that Josh Norman thing I was talking about. pic.twitter.com/oUbJeHOmYu— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 11, 2017
Earlier this offseason, Norman said he was looking forward to playing against Jeffery. I’m not so sure he feels the same way after losing.
I asked Josh Norman about how it went covering Alshon. Didn't wanna talk about it. "You tell me" #Eagles— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) September 10, 2017
It’s not like Jeffery totally dominated him, though, since the receiver only had three receptions for 38 yards. The conversion was nice (though not important), but the Eagles need more out of Alshon moving forward.
Jeffery and Norman will go at it again in Week 7.
Subject: Ronald Darby Injury: Eagles cornerback only out 4 to 6 weeks, report says
This is great news for the Eagles. Relatively speaking, at least. Ideally Darby wouldn’t be hurt at all, but it looked like his season might have been over when he was carted off the field during Philadelphia’s win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon.
Now we know Darby will only miss four to six games. Note that the Eagles don’t have their bye until November 12, so he should be back before their rest week. Here’s a look at the Eagles’ next six games.
Week 2 - at Kansas City Chiefs (Sept. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 3 - vs. New York Giants (Sept. 24, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 4 - at Los Angeles Chargers (Oct. 1, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)
Week 5 - vs. Arizona Cardinals (Oct. 8, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 6 - at Carolina Panthers (Oct. 12, 8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFLN) Thursday Night Football
Week 7 - vs. Washington Redskins (Oct. 23, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football
At the latest, Darby should be able to return in time for the Eagles’ Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Darby missing time still isn’t great. The Eagles were weak at cornerback to begin with and his absence only magnifies that concern. To their credit, Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson played well in Week 1. A strong pass rush certainly made life easier on them as well.
We’ll see how things hold up. The key takeaway, though, is that this Darby injury could have been a lot worse and the Eagles are lucky he’ll be back in a month or so.
Subject: Eagles vs. Redskins snap count analysis: Figuring out the rotations
Here's a look at how often each player saw the field in the Eagles' Week 1 game
The following player(s) were active but did not play: Nick Foles.
The running back rotation is shaping up. Sproles is still playing the most of anyone at his position. Blount is second with Smallwood behind him. When it came to carries, Blount led the team with 14. Smallwood had four and Sproles only had two. Corey Clement only played on special teams. Pumphrey was inactive and likely will be all season.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai saw snaps at left tackle when Jason Peters went out. The Eagles also used him as a sixth offensive lineman in certain situations.
Nelson Agholor was the Eagles’ most productive receiver despite playing the fewest snaps out of the three starters.
Brent Celek played about 39% of the team’s offensive snaps last year. Seems like he’s on pace for a similar role again this season.
Trey Burton played 29% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps last year. He only played 21% on Sunday, so it looks like his role isn’t expanding.
Patrick Robinson wouldn’t have played as many snaps if Ronald Darby didn’t get hurt. He stepped up nicely in the starting corner’s absence.
The linebacker situation is similar to last year. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham are the main two guys. Mychal Kendricks only played 37% of the snaps. He played 27% last year, so maybe the Eagles plan to give him a slight increase?
The Eagles have a heavy defensive line rotation. Brandon Graham played 75% of the snaps last season. Philly might prefer to bring that number down a little in order to keep him fresh. The presence of Derek Barnett and Chris Long should allow them to do that. Same story for Fletcher Cox, who played 76% in 2016.
Curry wasn’t super productive in the 59% of the defensive snaps he played. He only had one tackle and it was assisted. He did get two hits on Kirk Cousins, though, so at least that’s something.
Curry has the fourth biggest cap number on the roster. 19 players (nine defenders) played more snaps than him on Sunday. Kendricks’ cap number ranks ninth. 25 players (13 defenders) played more snaps than him. Just not good value.
No real surprises here.
Subject: Eagles at Redskins winners and losers
You win some, you win some more
The Eagles won, which automatically makes them winners, but more importantly they ended their five game losing streak against the Redskins. It wasn’t always pretty, and the Redskins are probably a pretty bad team, but a win against a division rival is a win against a division rival. There’s still 15 games to go, but this is a sign of progress.
The defensive line
Four sacks was just what was needed for a defensive line that wasn’t able to find that extra gear last year. And just as important, they gave up only 58 yards rushing on 2.4 yards per carry against a running game that embarrassed them last year. The tables got turned.
He lined up all over the field and caught 8 passes for 93 yards, and didn’t rack it up in garbage time. Five of his catches came in the first half, and four of them moved the sticks. Just a real nice, evenly productive game for Ertz, who hasn’t had a lot of them before December.
Another game against a division rival, another turnover. Hicks is the most underrated player on the Eagles, but that shouldn’t last.
The 5th 300+ yard game and 6th multi-touchdown game of his young career, once again getting his season off to a good start. Again he had to carry the offense, with 43 called passes to 20 rushing attempts, and he again kept his team in it. And let’s watch this one some more:
*Wentz is going to need to play better moving forward though. The first pass of the game was a poor throw, the swing pass to Agholor was a great play call that should have been a TD but the throw wasn’t good enough, and later in the game he tried to force feed Jeffrey when others were open. Against a good defense that performance isn’t going to cut it. But he outdueled Kirk Cousins, a QB that quite a few people were saying is a better QB. That’s another sign of progress.
Despite the Eagles playing 0 games prior to Sunday, Pederson came under quite a bit of backlash. And while he didn’t have the greatest game (Doug, burn those screen passes), his team got a small monkey off their back (a guenon? let’s go with that), and the Eagles just looked like a better team. The offense converted on 57% of their third downs, spread the ball around as 8 players caught a pass, and opened up the playbook by moving Ertz all over the field (which he should have done last year). For the first time in three years, the Eagles outcoached the Redskins.
Kirk Cousins looked bad. The receivers looked bad. The running game looked bad. Jamison Crowder was supposed to be a difference maker in the game, he had 3 catches for 14 yards. The defense looked bad. And half the stadium was Eagles fans. It’s going to be a long season in Washington. You like that?
The running game
20 called runs for 52 yards. The longest run was 7 yards, by LeGarrette Blount, who had 3.3 yards per carry. The Redskins had a bad run defense last year, so there’s no curve to be graded on. The Eagles are going to struggle to run the ball again this year.
The 2017 draft
The Eagles made eight draft picks this year, and half of them were healthy scratches for this game. On one hand, you don’t want to rely on rookies. On the other, just two of six active rookies is very low, and it wasn’t like these guys were buried on the depth chart. Two players with 0 career games were dressed over draft picks at the same position (Corey Clement and Marcus Johnson played while Donnel Pumphrey and Shelton Gibson sat), and the team dressed just three cornerbacks and left two inactive, including 3rd rounder Rasul Douglas.
Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: All rookies all the time
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Day one of rookie camp is in the books! Here are five things to watch for as the train rolls on this week. [Flyers]
*Who are you most excited to see on the ice this week? [CSN Philly]
*Hopefully Patrick and the rest of our highly-touted prospects perform well enough in camp to pressure Hextall into giving up on this "patience" thing. If they're ready let's go! [Courier-Post]
*I personally find "life after hockey" stories to be pretty interesting, and this one on former Maple Leaf Rich Clune's turn as an actor is no different. [ESPN]
Subject: Your Tuesday Morning Roundup
Subject: The Eagles and The
Subject: Training camp is here so let
The gang is back after a week-long hiatus to ponder our favorite subject: Dave Hasktol
The long Flyers-less summer is over. With rookie camp now in full swing, BSH Radio is back from its one-week hiatus to get you back into hockey mode. Training camp brings the obvious question of expectations for the season, and the gang starts by evaluating how head coach Dave Hakstol fits in with those expectations. Steph and Kelly express their concern regarding the coach and the overall decision making process in the organization, while Bill holds to his "wait-and-see" approach, with some reservations. Then, it's on to the goalies, as Anthony Stolarz's recent surgery is discussed, along with reasonable hopes for Brian Elliott. After a brief detour in projecting the captain's 2017-18, it's time to rant about Cole Bardreau, and question yet again just what the Flyers actually have in Jordan Weal.
Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and let us know what you think!
Subject: Comcast Spectacor Acquires New Box Lacrosse Team
Subject: Because I Can
Subject: Jim Schwartz Denies That He
Subject: The North Dakota perspective on Dave Hakstol
BSH Radio companion piece: an interview with UND beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman
Recently, while reading an article by BSH Radio analyst Charlie O’Connor on The Athletic about the Flyers struggling to create offense at even-strength, I decided to read the comments (huge mistake, typically). I came across a question from a reader asking about the tactics Dave Hakstol implemented at the University of North Dakota.
It has long been a debate on BSH Radio whether Hakstol developed and adapted his conservative approach out of need, deciding point shots on low-to-high plays were the safest way to create offense and not risk odd-man rushes because of the horrendous goaltending to begin the 2016-17 season, or if the lack of high-danger scoring chances was a choice made out of desire instead of necessity. The same goes for the coach’s lineup decisions, choosing “safer,” lower-ceiling players over options with more dangerous skill sets.
Hakstol coached UND for 11 seasons, making seven trips to the Frozen Four, including a national championship appearance in 2004-05, before moving on to the NHL to man the bench in Philadelphia in 2015. Hakstol’s Flyers made a playoff appearance in his first year behind the bench, but the eight-time finalist for NCAA coach of the year roused the ire of fans on Broad Street in his sophomore season.
Questionable lineup decisions, a seeming aversion to offensive creativity and goaltender management that left the fanbase scratching its collective head on a weekly basis lead Philadelphia to a sixth place finish in the Metropolitan division, seven points out of the second wildcard spot.
With more questions than explanations about Hakstol’s coaching style, I turned to Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald for a look into Hakstol’s coaching style and the way he is perceived in North Dakota since his departure.
Schlossman (via his GF Herald bio) has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald for over a decade, has served as a member of Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees and has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007. In 2016 Schlossman was named top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Below is the exchange cited on the September 11 edition of Broad Street Hockey Radio while discussing Hakstol’s coaching style, the low-to-high offensive system and the head coach’s decision making.
Hakstol spent a decade as the head coach at UND and had quite a bit of success despite falling short of a national championship, which UND won his first year away from the program. How is Hakstol thought of now that he’s been gone for a few years?
Schlossman: Hakstol is still very popular here. Although they didn't win a national title, they never had even an average year. They were very good every year. He was a terrific recruiter and developer of teams (essentially all of his teams were better at the end of the year than the start). They did win the national title with a dominant team the first year after he left, and I think the fans recognized all the work he did to help put that team together.
Last season Hakstol came under fire from fans and some members of the media for his perceived inability to optimize his lineup, oftentimes choosing “safer” and “grittier” players like Chris VandeVelde and P-E Bellemare over higher-upside skilled players. Was this the case at UND?
You have to be a reliable player to play for Hakstol. He does take potential into equation, but he also places importance on performance as well. During the 2010-11 season, Hakstol dressed an undrafted, unheralded kid named Carter Rowney instead of a drafted, highly touted kid named Mike Cichy several times. There was some talk among fans at that time about playing Rowney over Cichy, but as we watched Rowney win the Stanley Cup this summer, we now know Hakstol was making the right call.
There were other drafted players, perceived as higher skill guys, who were unreliable and they often found themselves out of the lineup by the end of the year. Most of those guys left school and went elsewhere, though none of them took off at their new stops, either. That's not to say he didn't let players make mistakes. But as the year rolled on, he expected players to learn from it and fix their game and be reliable. If he couldn't trust them to win board battles and play smart, they wouldn't be in the lineup.
Former L.A. Kings alternate captain Matt Greene once told me that one of his favorite parts about playing for Hakstol is that he didn't care where you were drafted. He cared about what you did on a daily basis or you could risk getting scratched. I believe that's part of his culture building.
If you have top guys who feel they don't have to play hard or they can get by with doing less, that permeates through the rest of the team. If you have top players skating with the energy and tenacity of fourth-liners, that forces everyone else on the team to match that level. That's something he was able to do at UND.
Upon his hiring, it was believed that part of the reason Hak was brought into Philly was because of his experience with young players, spending 11 seasons with college-aged players at UND. However, last year many questioned his treatment of young, high skilled players like dynamic defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who had restrictions put on his playing style and was a healthy scratch for a handful of games. Was “sitting and learning” part of his development strategy in college?
One thing that I think a lot of Flyers fans lost sight of was that last year's team was never going to win the Stanley Cup. Now, a few years down the road, they may be in contention. And that's the end goal for Ron Hextall and Hakstol. They are developing this team for the future and for the longterm. If they have to sacrifice a random Wednesday game in November to build a better team for the longterm, I think they'll do it.
If Hakstol can sit a guy for a game here or there to get a better player down the line, I think he'll do it. Fans have to look at the big picture. I remember when Hakstol scratched a very skilled player named Evan Trupp one game in the middle of the 2008-09 season. I don't think that any UND fan can tell you today whether they won or lost that game, but everyone remembers how Trupp developed into a dynamite, consistent player by the end of his time at UND. Was that one scratch the reason for it? No. But did that help Trupp understand the level he has to reach every night? Probably. It wasn't common for Hakstol to scratch skilled players, but he's a very thoughtful person and isn't doing anything on a whim.
If Gostisbehere turns into a dynamite defenseman for powerful Flyers teams in a couple years, nobody is going to remember that random Wednesday in November 2016 that he didn't play.
The Flyers took far more shots from 50-feet away than the average team last season, oftentimes relying on point shots to generate offense, utilizing a low-to-high strategy rather than taking advantage of high-danger scoring areas with their top offensive talent, like Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. The members of BSH Radio have different theories why the offensive zone play was so risk-averse. I believe part of the reason was because the goaltending was putrid to begin 2016-17, so Hakstol adapted to not committing as many players deep in the zone. Others believe, due in part to reining in players like Travis Konecny and Gostisbehere, that he is simply a conservative coach. How would you classify his coaching style and system at UND?
I would guess it's a little bit of both. At UND, he had a lot of different styles of teams and was able to win with all of them. UND had some very talented defensive corps during Hakstol's last few years, and he definitely wanted them to be involved in a five-man cycle. There is a structure in which they play, but Hakstol liked his defensemen being involved offensively... and not just with point shots.
We’ve seen in Philadelphia a growing contingent of Eagles supporters in ND since they drafted Carson Wentz out of NDSU. Is there a similar interest in the Flyers among UND supporters/North Dakotans (is that what natives of North Dakota are called?)?
Yes, we are called North Dakotans. People here do follow the Flyers, but there are a ton of other former UND players in the pros, too, and they like following those guys as well. A lot of people here are fans of Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie and cheer for them. Although not a lot of people here seem to be real fond of the Penguins, a lot of people were cheering them on because of Carter Rowney this year. If the Flyers make the playoffs, you'll see everyone here cheering them on because of Hakstol.
Subject: What They
Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: It's a game day!
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Folks there will be actual Flyers on actual ice playing actual hockey against an actual other team tonight. THIS IS EXCITING! And guess what?? We'll be looking at a 100% better Nolan Patrick. Oh baby. [Flyers]
*People are, in fact, excited to watch these rookies take the ice tonight. [Inquirer]
*Meltzer has some notes about the kids from yesterday's rookie camp sesh. [Hockeybuzz]
*Our own Bill Matz had a conversation with a reporter from North Dakota to get another perspective on the coaching style of Dave Hakstol. [BSH]
*Should the Flyers do away with the morning skate? [Sports Talk Philly]
*This NHL player poll yielded some interesting results. [ProHockeyTalk]
*And it would appear that there is absolutely no chance that the NHL will be going to the Olympics. [Yahoo Sports]
*Friedman's Thoughts are back! I have heart eyes in case you couldn't tell. [Sportsnet]
*A hockey team in Seattle is starting to seem like a foregone conclusion, which is probably bad for Quebec. [NHL Numbers]
*And finally, need to kill some time before the game? New BSH Radio!!! [BSH]
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Announcers and Phones
Subject: Rhys Hoskins Is More Of A Man Than Me, You, All Of Us
Subject: Video: Nelson Agholor Calls Carson Wentz a
Subject: Your Wednesday Morning Roundup