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[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 17:08:21 EDT from rss

Subject: A winless Matt Rhule is still the right coach for Baylor

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Baylor football may very well go 0-12 this year, depending what happens on November 4th in Lawrence, Kansas. Circle that one on your calendar. It’s Bears vs. Jayhawks for ninth place in the Big 12 Conference, a matchup between the movable object and the stoppable force. It’s sad to think about because I really like…

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 18:44:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Game Preview: New York Giants are directionless and crumbling

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The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #262). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Giants game in Week 3, talk about how New York is a mess, analyze key matchups to watch, and much more.

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 17:20:32 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Injury Report: Key starters for Eagles and Giants sit out of practice

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Both sides are banged up.

The Philadelphia Eagles released their second official injury report on Thursday ahead of their Week 3 game against the New York Giants.

The Eagles’ injury report is exactly the same as the one from yesterday. That’s bad news for Philadelphia because starting safety Rodney McLeod is still not practicing. And neither is McLeod’s backup, Corey Graham. And neither is Graham’s backup, Jaylen Watkins.

And so the Eagles are down to their fourth string option at safety next to Malcolm Jenkins. It seems like Chris Maragos might get the start at that spot. Maybe the Eagles will try to give a few snaps to the newly claimed Trae Elston. Elston, wearing the No. 35 jersey, practiced with Philadelphia for the first time on Thursday afternoon.

At cornerback, with Watkins out, rookie Rasul Douglas is slated to start opposite of Jalen Mills on the outside. Philly will also keep Dexter McDougle on the active game day roster.

The Eagles aren’t the only team in this week’s matchup dealing with significant injuries, however. Three Giants starters were did not practice for the second day in a three: cornerback Janoris Jenkins, right tackle Bobby Hart, and middle linebacker B.J. Goodson.

Jenkins is an especially big loss for New York as one of the team’s better defenders. 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple, Jenkins’ replacement, didn’t play great against the Lions’ receivers on Monday night.

Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is still limited in practice. After only playing 60% of the Giants’ offensive snaps in Week 2, OBJ said he expects to play “a lot more this week.” It’s been five weeks since he suffered an ankle injury that was expected to involve a six-to-eight week recovery, so it remains to be seen how effective he’ll be.

Rookie tight end Evan Engram is still in the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol. He must be cleared by an independent doctor before being able to play.

The final Eagles-Giants injury report will be revealed tomorrow on Friday afternoon.

Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Thursday)

Did Not Participate

CB Ronald Darby (ankle)
S Rodney McLeod (hamstring)
S Corey Graham (hamstring)
S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)
DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)

Full Participation

DE Brandon Graham (triceps)
CB Jalen Mills (thumb)
LB Najee Goode (forearm)

New York Giants Injury Report (Thursday)

Did Not Participate

LB B.J. Goodson (shin)
RT Bobby Hart (ankle)
CB Janoris Jenkins (ankle)
LB J.T. Thomas (groin)

Limited Participation

WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle)
TE Evan Engram (concussion)

Full Participation

LB Keenan Robinson (concussion)

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 14:27:32 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Trade Rumors: Reporter suggests Eagles swap Mychal Kendricks for Malcolm Butler

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The Eagles still need CB help, but Butler isn’t exactly a bargain-bin asset.

A little over a month after the Philadelphia Eagles said “enough’s enough” and finalized a trade for Ronald Darby to upgrade the cornerback position, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer suggests another swap could be in the works, or at least should be.

Sharing 10 thoughts for the MMQB column this week, Breer says he expects NFL teams “will call on the availability of (New England) Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler” after the once-disgruntled defensive back didn’t start for Bill Belichick’s unit on Sunday. And with the in-season trade deadline fast approaching on Oct. 31, Breer identified one potential trade partner: The Eagles.

Who would be the trade partner? The Eagles make sense. And they have a versatile front seven piece that would fill a major need for the Patriots and has been tied to trade talks in the past: linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

This, to be clear, is only speculation from Breer. This isn’t a report claiming the Eagles and Patriots are having talks, going to have talks or ever will have talks regarding Butler’s availability as a trade chip. But how logical is the speculation, you ask?

Firstly, as to whether or not Belichick and Co. might actually deal Butler, who is playing under a first-round restricted free agent tender in 2017, Breer is as justified as anyone to suggest the corner could still be moved. Not only because the veteran Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl hero was a perpetual topic of trade rumors in the offseason and literally paid a visit to the New Orleans Saints during contract negotiations but because, as Breer points out in his column, Belichick “showed last year with (linebacker Jamie) Collins that he won’t hesitate to move on.”

Now, as to the Eagles being linked to Butler, the idea makes sense on the surface. Even after dealing for Darby, Philadelphia is needy in the secondary. Safety Malcolm Jenkins went on record himself to call the defensive backfield “paper thin,” according to’s Zach Berman, in advance of the Eagles’ Week Three game. Darby will be sidelined for weeks to come with an injury. Behind youngsters Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas, the team has only veteran slot man Patrick Robinson and recent New York Jets castoff Dexter McDougle. It’s not like the safety spot is any less banged up to assist, either.

As BGN’s Brandon Lee Gowton pointed out to me, landing Butler, no matter the cost, might also benefit the Eagles when it comes to getting compensation for jettisoned corner Eric Rowe. Since Philly will receive a future third-round draft pick — instead of a fourth-rounder — from the Pats if Rowe plays at least 50 percent of New England’s defensive snaps, purging Butler from Belichick’s roster seems like a surefire way to elicit some better draft capital.

In reality, though, there are probably more reasons to assume this is nothing more than, well, what it is — speculation. Sure, the Eagles could use corner help, and Butler sounds like a big name to bring in, especially if you’re pairing him with Darby down the road. But the Eagles aren’t exactly in the position to be throwing around more draft picks after giving up a third-rounder (in addition to Jordan Matthews, remember) for Darby, especially if those draft picks are going toward a guy who seems bent on angling for a lucrative contract extension in 2018, when, if all goes according to plan in Philadelphia, recent second-round pick Sidney Jones should be ready to play anyway.

As far as Kendricks goes, he makes the most sense as a potential trade chip considering the circumstances and, you know, the fact that he admitted to requesting a trade in the offseason. But unless the Eagles are on a warpath for corners like Butler, they might just be content with keeping No. 95, who’s had quite the start to 2017 even in limited snaps at linebacker.

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 13:09:42 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Picks Week 3 2017: Predictions by Football Writers

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Predicting the winners of this week's NFL games.

The Bleeding Green Nation writers picks are in for Week 3 of the 2017 regular season schedule! Each week we'll predict the winners of each and every NFL game. We'll tally the results along the way and see who comes out on top at the end of the season.

After Week 2, Tyler Jackson and the collective BGN Community are tied for first place. I always knew our readers were the smartest. That’s why you choose to read us! ;)

The Philadelphia Eagles have their home opener this week against New York. To no surprise, the Eagles are unanimously favored over the 0-2 Giants.

Feel free to post your own predictions or discuss the writer predictions in the comments. You can also vote for who you think will win the games. I’ll tally those results in a “BGN Community” column. Vote in the polls beneath the table. (Click here if you can’t see the polls.)

Let's get to this week's picks!


Vote for YOUR picks below. (Once again, click here if you can’t see the polls.)

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 12:50:25 EDT from rss

Subject: On Zeke, Lurie, racism and human beings (or, how to deal with non-sports sports debate)

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If we aren’t willing to listen, how are we to move forward?

What do Jeffrey Lurie, Shaun King, Ezekiel Elliott, Roger Goodell, you, me and your 748 friends on Twitter have in common?

We all have a voice.

What each person does with his or her voice is up to them. But everyone’s got one.

Collectively, we give society something of an incessant voice, especially if we’re talking about the harbinger of expeditiously delivered and fervently defended ideologies that is social media. Together, we form narratives. Sometimes — many times — the narratives clash. Sometimes they dissipate. Or, if we’ve all stumbled, either knowingly or haphazardly, onto the rare unanimous opinion, those narratives can serve as a building block for a unified step forward.

Alright, you’ve doused us with your prose. Now what’s the point?

Welcome to 2017, where you will not find sports commentary without also finding — and then engaging, observing or having to embrace ignorance of — social activism and political debate. Where you will be summoned to judge another human being’s character over the Internet. Where, ultimately and inevitably, your own voice can be used against you.

Case in point: I am writing all this on a website about the Philadelphia Eagles.

And, truthfully, I wish I wasn’t. (Cue the pitch-fork comments: “Then you shouldn’t have wasted your time in the first place!”). Generally speaking, I think most would agree with me when I say one of the appeals of sports, of pouring into a football team turned family, is the escape it provides and the tight community it can foster. It might be different as a kid idolizing the giants of the gridiron, but as you mature, isn’t watching, waiting for and talking about football — or any sport or hobby, for that matter — just a slice of our Heaven; a way to find joy amid the ups and downs of life? It’s why, after I’ve shared these thoughts and perhaps conversed with some of you as a result, I’m anxiously anticipating those times when all we’re talking is Birds.

When the messiness of all those voices — those conflicting narratives — seeps into the daily headlines of the very Birds to whom I refer, however, it seems more appropriate than ever to explore just how we, as football fans but also, more importantly, as free citizens and human beings, might proceed.

And, boy, has that messiness seeped.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I could see it seeping into the debate about Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL suspension he is fighting for alleged domestic violence. The debate has seemingly become about pushing certain agendas instead of having concern for the short- and long-term well-being of both a 22-year-old man and the 21-year-old woman he allegedly harmed.

I could see it seeping when the Eagles’ own Malcolm Jenkins received support for his raised-fist demonstration during the National Anthem from teammate Chris Long in the preseason. It was a sign of unity for some but an undoubted, albeit oft-inexplicable, mark of disdain for others who have been turned off by what they deem “anti-American” protests. Some have criticized No. 27 for his “disrespect” despite Jenkins, in between endeavors with government, law enforcement and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the community, explicitly making clear he has family in the military and wants “reform,” not opposition to the flag. (A flag, by the way, that symbolizes his freedom to say or do what he chooses.)

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

And I could sure see it seeping when, just recently, the Eagles took it upon themselves to refute “unfair” and “inaccurate” insinuations by New York Daily News columnist and Twitter celeb Shaun King that Lurie had nixed any possibility of Colin Kaepernick joining the team simply because of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s anthem protests in 2016. Out came King, hollering online, out-of-context quotes from a local column as his support and targeting Lurie for what King perceived and conveyed as racism. On top of that, out came tens of thousands of unnerved spectators on both sides of the tussle, some further embittered as they bantered behind the character limits of Twitter and other long-winded thoughts in the comments section of my summary for CBS Sports, which, in only a few hours’ time garnered the most traffic of anything I’ve ever written.

It’s exhausting stuff after a while, and that’s just a graze of the surface. It’s also very real stuff. Very important stuff. Even if, on most Sundays, our focus can stay on the field, we can be content yapping about just that.

But how do we navigate all of the messiness? How can we possibly avoid the burnout of partaking in these not-so-sporty sports discussions, let alone reverse the course of an increasingly divisive society, and yet still engage in or at least fruitfully observe the madness?

It starts with remembering that we all have a voice. That our voice matters. And that everyone who has a voice and chooses to use it, for better or worse, is imperfect and human like the rest of us.

We often forget, especially when matters as life-altering as these are reduced to reality-TV sideshows of a game we all love to watch, to even begin to put ourselves in others' shoes.

The courts will have their say when it comes to ordeals of a legal matter. But even then, and just as much when alleged crimes aren’t involved, what we often need is dialogue. Or, even simpler, a willingness to have a dialogue.

We don’t need shouting matches with no intention to listen to alternative viewpoints. We don’t need put-downs published merely for “likes,” at the tragic expense of progressive conversation. Where does any of that get us except backed further into our own comfortable corners, maybe a little fired up for our beliefs, but ultimately no closer to understanding nor showing an ounce of compassion for those who disagree with us?

Dialogue, in the case of the recent off-field Eagles headlines, might have done wonders. In the case of the Shaun King spat, we got a glimpse of that after the fact when, after speaking with Jenkins, King admitted he had misrepresented Lurie.

Maybe everyone could benefit from putting themselves into the shoes of others before making judgements and finding faults in opposing viewpoints.

In the age of social media, of course, it’s increasingly hard to imagine that happening, at least online. As Leon H. Wolf once wrote, per “America’s Original Sin” by Jim Wallis:

“Everyone feels tremendous pressure to form an opinion quickly and state it loudly with certainty. Once this has been done, people are highly resistant to changing their minds and they become impervious to new evidence, often dismissing out of hand outright facts just because they are reported by a given source ...”

We see this all the time in sports commentary. Everyone likes to get brash with their quarterback assessments or game predictions and then stand by them for far too long. That’s part of the fun.

But when that carries over to bigger issues, like responding to another person’s accounts of social inequality or another person’s long-held respect for servicemen, it’s dangerous to clamp our ears shut while we’re busy spewing our own voice into the world and into others’ lives. I don’t think I need to tell you this can be applied to a lot more than conversations about the NFL’s dirty laundry. At its core, this prioritization of everyone’s voice, this sometimes-painstaking but oft-rewarding challenge to view other imperfect people as people.

I leave you with this, a few words from a troubled time, centered on some familiar passions and from the mouth of someone more profound than me ... a speech, as transcribed in Philip Yancey’s “Soul Survivor,” from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

A big danger for us is the temptation to follow the people we are opposing. They call us names, so we call them names. Our names may not be “redneck” or “cracker”; they may be names that have a sociological or psychological veneer to them, a gloss; but they are names, nonetheless -- “ignorant,” or “brainwashed,” or “duped” or “hysterical” or “poor-white” or “consumed by hate.” I know you will all give me plenty of evidence in support of these categories. But I urge you to think of them as that -- as categories; and I remind you that in many people, in many people called segregationists, there are other things going on in their lives: this person or that person, standing here or there may also be other things -- kind to neighbors and family, helpful and good-spirited at work.

You all know, I think, what I’m trying to say -- that we must try not to end up with stereotypes of those we oppose, even as they slip all of us into their stereotypes. And who are we? Let us not do to ourselves as others (as our opponents) do to us: try to put ourselves into one all-inclusive category -- the virtuous ones as against the evil ones, or the decent ones as against the malicious, prejudiced ones, or the well-educated as against the ignorant. You can see that I can go on and on -- and there is the danger: the “us” or “them” mentality takes hold …

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 11:00:14 EDT from rss

Subject: The not so highs and mile lows of the NFC East

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#SacksAreComing for you

Week 2 is in the books and thank god Week 3 begins because that was some awful football on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys 1-1

Last Week: Lost to the Broncos 42-17

This Week: Visit the Cardinals on Monday Night

Ya’ll see that Cowboys game? Of course you did. Yeah the Broncos defense is one of the best in the league and has some of the best players at their positions. Blah blah blah. The Cowboys offense is supposed to be their equal, and on Sunday they got bullied. The Chargers put up more yards per play last week than the Cowboys did, and they didn’t have garbage time to rack up yardage and they’re mostly crappy anyway. Ezekiel Elliott had a marginally better game than if he was suspended. Dak Prescott looked lost, La’el Collins looked like a backup playing out of position, and Dez Bryant was barely a factor. “It’s the Broncos defense” isn’t an excuse when you’re supposed to wallop teams because “it’s the Cowboys offense.” Muhammed Ali didn’t go “well, it was Joe Frazier.” But this looked like Conor McGregor trying to box. And there’s no excuse for giving up four touchdowns to Trevor Siemian. Cowboys defense: still sucks.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Last Week: Lost to the Chiefs 27-20

This Week: Host the Giants, good luck Carson!

Watching Jake Elliott miss a field goal in his first NFL game on Sunday, I thought to myself “why don’t they just have Carson Wentz kick?” He already does everything else for this offense. A year after being 5th in the NFL in pass attempts, Wentz is 4th. He wouldn’t have to throw so much if the team could run the ball. If they could, he wouldn’t be the team’s leading rusher, but they can’t, so he is. And since no one is doing any blocking, he’s 2nd in the league in times sacked. He’s entirely the Eagles offense. Might as well have him kick the points too.

Washington Redskins (1-1)

Last Week: Beat the Rams 27-20

This Week: Host the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

If there are “moral victories” then there must be “moral defeats” right? The Redskins win over the Rams sure felt like one. They gave up a 28 yard pass play to Los Angeles’ punter. They needed a Jared Goff interception to put the game away, which is even worse than saying “they needed an Eli Manning interception to put the game away.” Their wide receivers combined for 78 yards. They scored 7 points in the second half. Have fun against the Raiders!

New York Giants (0-2)

Last Week: Lost to the Lions 24-10

This Week: Visit the Eagles, good luck Eli!

Why did we ever consider this team to be a threat for the post-season? Once again they can not block anybody. Once again they can not run the ball at all. Once again they have nothing on offense beyond Odell Beckham, Jr. Once again they have no coaching advantage. After Sunday you’ll stop hearing about how only 12% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. Of course only 12% of them do, a vast majority of teams that start 0-2 are crap. The Jets, Browns, Bears, 49ers, Colts, Saints and Bengals are all 0-2 and crap. The Giants are too.

Tweet of the Week

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 09:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Carson Wentz Report: Week 2

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How did the Eagles signal-caller respond to a heavy workload?

There are a lot of narratives that have divided the NFL community when it comes to the opinion of Carson Wentz. This will be a weekly installment that focuses solely on the Eagles’ young signal caller, with analysis, evidence and statistics along with context to provide a deep dive on Wentz’s play.

Welcome to Week 2 of the Wentz report. As mentioned above, this is a weekly film room piece that will be used to evaluate Carson Wentz on a week-to-week and cumulative basis. You can find last week’s Wentz report here.

Interceptable Passes (IP)

Each week I present passes that could be deemed interceptable — called IPs for short. These are subjective and each person can view them differently. Some may view them as catchable passes on the wide receiver, but the objective here is to look at the play, the context of the play design and what was supposed to happen. Just because I show a play here does not mean I believe it is an IP, but each one will be noted accordingly. Again, this is completely subjective, and it’s why I show each pass I chart as an IP.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Wentz is just trying to move the ball down the field with only a few seconds left in the half, still this is a wild overthrow that lands in the arms of the defensive back, and ultimately pops into the air into Zach Ertz’s hands. I feel like I’ve seen something similar to this before, where a deflected pass that should've been intercepted goes the other wa....

There we go, even Tom Brady, the greatest to ever play benefits from these plays. Even if the ball is intercepted, it isn't likely at all that this ends up hurting the team, which is what this boils down to.

I believe it would've taken an insane catch for this to be intercepted, so I am not going to chart this as an IP. It’s a tough play to judge because there was contact and a flag probably could've been been thrown for offensive pass interference, but it wasn't. Had it been, I likely would've charted it as an IP, but again this a subjective statistic is a lot of cases and I can see an argument for it being an IP.

I didn't chart this as an IP either. Typically when balls are tipped like this, it’s anyone’s guess as to where they're going. I believe there could've been a better throw here, but just like the Ertz catch, I don't necessarily think that the result is indicative of the play. If we want to criticize a process despite the result, we can also criticize a result despite the process.

This one does go up as an IP, but again, down 14, less than two minutes left, the Eagles had already lost the game and were going to take risky shots downfield. With the pressure collapsing on Wentz he took a deep shot downfield that the safety had a chance to intercept, but it went through his arms. Again, situation and context are important.

Managing the pocket

Isaac Seumalo destroyed this play from the start. The Chiefs only rushed three, and Jason Kelce didn't provide much help. I believe Wentz could've used his athleticism and spun out to his left, but I’m not going to fault him. Jonny Page mentioned in his offensive breakdown, but Kelce and Seumalo are both particularly small for their positions. Compare the size of Brandon Brooks at right guard to Seumalo at left and there’s a noticeable difference. What I will say is Wentz has to be more careful with the ball. All quarterbacks are susceptible to fumbles in the pocket, but the moment he see that red jersey flash to his right, he has to hold onto the ball.

This was another sack that was unavoidable. Seumalo loses again off the snap and as soon as Wentz hits the top of the drop he’s having to elude a man right in his face. There is no where to go with the ball and Dee Ford gets a grown man sack on Wentz.

I thought this was beautiful footwork and subtle movement. The way Wentz moves in the pocket on this play neutralizes the pass rush. This is one of the most encouraging things to see. With how the offensive line has struggled thus far, an assist from the quarterback is always going to help.

It looked like Wentz was getting ready to throw the ball to Ertz crossing the middle, but the ball came out when Brandon Brooks was pushed back into Wentz. It would've been tough, but I feel like if Wentz would slid to the left behind Peters, he could've extended the play and bought himself more time. That still would've been hard because Brooks wasn't in Wentz’s line of vision to see that he was getting pushed like that.

Somebody had mentioned that in addition to sacks that Wentz could have avoided, they wanted to see those that he actually did avoid. In the play above Jason Peters gets beat pretty badly inside and it compromises the whole pocket. Wentz uses his athleticism to avoid the sack, and while doing so, he’s keeping his eyes downfield, still looking to make a play in the passing game.

Slides right, neutralizes the rush and clears a running lane to the right when nothing develops downfield.

Reads, Progression and footwork

I can't take credit for what I’m about to point out, as Fran Duffy made this point on Twitter, but the Eagles are running the Dagger concept, which is a staple of their offense. A slot receiver will run straight up the seam and the outside receiver will run a deep dig route or square in. Last year against Seattle — the second play — Wentz threw an interception on this concept the Cam Chancellor, this year he diagnoses what the Chiefs are doing with the cornerback, Marcus Peters, dropping from the right to the left to undercut the dig if Wentz goes there. Wentz sees that and elects to pull it down and rush for a few yards. That’s a huge step forward, and kudos to Fran.

With the pocket being pushed, Wentz makes the easy throw to move the chains, but I want to focus on his eyes here. You can see him look off the safety Ron Parker by looking to his left, then the middle before moving over to Ertz. This prevents Parker from drifting and potentially disrupting a throwing lane. The Chiefs are playing tight coverage to the other side of the field, but not towards Ertz.

Wentz works through his progression, keeps his feet moving and even hitches up in the pocket as he steps into the throw. These are basic fundamentals you expect from your quarterback but often we’d hear that Wentz locked onto his first target, would stop and think if his first read wasn't there and his feet would get stuck in the mud. If those were your criticisms, Wentz has improved on them through two games to the point that they're looking like irregularities, but time will tell if that holds up.

This is an important play that needs context, otherwise it can be used to drive the narrative Wentz is missing receivers. The running back motions out wide to start and the linebacker kicks out to show Wentz that pre-snap, it’s man coverage. Wentz knows at this point that he’s going to have 1-on-1 matchups across the field. It looks like the objective is to lead the receivers on the left across the field, but the Chiefs drop eight into coverage, taking away the middle of the field. Alshon was open deep but he wasn't in the design of that play to be anything more than the fourth option or to clear out space if the play extended that far. As far as the pocket goes, Wentz could've been more subtle and slid to his right, but either way, he was going to have to scramble to the other side. I thought the throw to Ertz could've been better, but this play was important to point out because the broadcast showed Alshon and Smith open after the play, which is false. By the time Wentz would've been able to realistically throw the ball in the design of the play, neither of those players would've been open and the ball would've likely been put in harms way. Still shots of this play may be used to pile on the narrative that Wentz misses open receivers, but that would be false.

Again, the footwork is much improved so far from year 1 to year 2, but there are still times like this when the feet will stop moving, or lose fluidity. Speaking with Mark Schofield on this matter, he said that there is an improvement, but you want to stay fluid so that you can slide if you need to escape pressure or scramble.

Throwing with anticipation and accuracy

I mentioned this last week, but there were numerous occasions last year in which Wentz was late on a slant throw and it would take away the opportunity for YAC or result in a tough catch that the wide receivers would drop. So far this year, we’re seeing better, consistent throws from Wentz in these intermediate areas. In the play above the Eagles run a simple slant/flat concept. What this does is clear out a defender and open a throwing lane for Wentz. The pass is right on Alshon Jeffery and he doesn't have to reach behind him to grab it.

This is a bit of a nitpick, but Wentz has room to lead Torrey Smith further across the field on this play. Smith did himself no favors trying to spin back around after the catch, but there is a lot of green grass for Smith to keep running into if Wentz hits him in stride and leads him across the field a little more. I think Wentz is still feeling Smith out a little and I’ll elaborate on that. I’m not entirely sure he’s quite acclimated to Smith’s speed and what he brings to the deep passing game. Last week he overthrew him and this week there were a few other plays that appear throughout this article that make you think they're still working on their chemistry. I do want to credit Wentz for keeping the feet moving well through his progressions on this play.

Again, this one nitpicks, but Wentz doesn't lead Ertz into space upfield. The pass is on him, and accurate, not behind him, but theres opportunity for YAC here that is squashed. I thought originally he was trying to eliminate the underneath defenders from getting a hand on it, but from the broadcast angle he gets it pretty well over the linebacker Justin Houston. Again, the result of the play was good, and it’s being picky, but leading receivers into more space can take a quarterback to the next tier. Putting the ball right on the receiver is still an improvement upon throwing it too high and behind him.

Initially, I thought this was an IP, but a closer look shows that it hit Agholor square in the hands, he just drops it. It was a perfect pass, and tough to make with a defender draped on you, but it was a pretty catchable ball. Wentz throws it pretty accurately and based on the broadcast angle it looked like only Agholor would come away with that ball.

Another knock on Wentz was his tendency to sail passes, or for them to be a little high, and that happen here. I can’t tell for sure if Alshon, who is coming on the first slant, is where he wanted to go with this or not, but he freezes and then throws it high for Smith. I’m assuming he wanted Alshon, but middle linebacker Derrick Johnson doesn't bite on the play fake quite as hard and drops into the throwing lane. Wentz then quickly moves to Smith and puts the pass high. The edge defender also jumps to bat the ball down while Wentz is in mid-motion, which may also contribute to him putting that ball high. Another possible explanation is that his stance is too wide and he doesn't get set correctly. I believe that’s the explanation on the high throw.

Here it is again, move though the progressions from left to right, lead Ertz into space for a gain of six yards after the catch, rinse, repeat.

Final touchdown of the game is a nice anticipation throw to Nelson Agholor in the back of the end zone. Wentz works through his progressions on the left, back to the middle of the field where he starts his throwing motion before Agholor gets into his break. The ball is delivered perfectly for a touchdown.


The pause on this play was a bit weird, but I’m assuming he waiting for Smith to get further downfield. Based on the position of the corner and receiver, Wentz puts the ball where only his guy can get it. Is it a little high? Yes, but by the nature of the play. That’s still a catchable ball that Smith should have hauled in.

Torrey Smith is on the bad end of another play here. Wentz does an excellent job to pump fake the defender and clear him then he moves to his left and launches downfield. I believe there was an opportunity to lead Smith further down the field into open space and still avoid the safety, but Wentz never fully resets after eluding the rusher. He had time to reset and make this an easier throw, but he didn't know how far behind him that rusher was. Deep in your own territory, that rusher could've knocked the ball loose from behind, and that would be a disaster. A moment was there, but I can't fault Wentz for this. Regardless of how far down the field Wentz leads Smith, that’s easily a catchable ball that Smith should haul in.

1-on-1 situation here, it looks like the Eagles are trying to run a rub route and Wentz hits Alshon on the back shoulder where only his guy is going to make a play. It’s a little under thrown, but the key is only your receiver is going to make a play on the ball and Wentz keeps it out of harms way and capitalizes on the weapon at his disposal.

Watching the broadcast, I thought maybe Bennie Logan had Wentz’s foot, but no, Wentz just threw a really, really bad pass. All aboard the #CarsonCoaster.

After rewatching the tape, I genuinely thought Wentz played a good game. He threw the ball 46 times and I had him down for only two IPs. To drop back and pass 46 times and keep the ball out of harms way like that is remarkable. Wentz does need to work on the fumbles, that appears to be an issue for him that could lead to more trouble down the road.

To go on the road in this environment and play as well as he did with no help from a run game, speaks volumes to who he is as a player and what he can be for the Eagles. There are some breakdowns in nuances, but Wentz is starting to show that they're more of an anomaly instead of the norm. The biggest takeaway is that he’s getting better and showing improvements in areas of weakness, now he needs to sustain them.

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 07:30:46 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Tim Jernigan is a beast

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/21/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

The Carson Wentz Disconnect - BGN
The statistics without context, the film analysis without perspective, the rigid personal bias without room for admitting mistake — it’s all what “they” get wrong about the Eagles, and more specifically, the team’s franchise quarterback.

Seumalo Out, Warmack In -
John Barchard chats about Warmack getting reps with the 1s, the impact of the change at LG and the communication from Doug's mouth to his actions on the field. Plus he gets into BLG's article about the poloazing takes on Carson Wentz.

Eagles vs. Giants: Five matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
Conversely, the Eagles' defensive line has very clearly been the biggest strength of the team so far. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox are off to career years, Timmy Jernigan has created a lot of disruption next to Cox in the middle of the defense, and even Vinny Curry, Chris Long, and Derek Barnett have shown promise. The Eagles have battered both of the opposing quarterbacks they have faced. The Eagles are fourth in the NFL with eight sacks, while the Giants are fourth-worst in the NFL with eight sacks allowed. Still, I don't even think that adequately tells the story of how good the Eagles' defensive line has been, and how bad the Giants' offensive line has been.

Eagles Mailbag: Pumphrey pick mind-boggling - The Athletic
The Donnel Pumphrey pick itself, though, defies explanation. Maybe the Eagles were counting on Dalvin Cook falling to them in the second round, or maybe they were sniped on another running back in the third round. Those are the breaks of the draft. But to trade up in the fourth round for what amounts to a gimmick player looks just as silly now as it did at the time. As Sheil pointed out earlier this week, the most rushing yards in a season by a player Pumphrey's size over the last 10 years is Garrett Wolfe's 120. Pumphrey checked in at the Combine at 5-8, 176. This is cherry picking a bit, but if we're generous with the parameters to 5-10, 185, here's the list of running backs who played in the NFL at that size in the 15 years prior to last spring's NFL Draft. Four of those players are mislabeled as runnings backs, one of them is a complete historical anomaly and the rest are gimmick players primarily used on special teams. If the Eagles watched Darren Sproles up close for the last four years and came to the conclusion that they could find another player just like him, they learned entirely the wrong lesson.

Eagles rookie Corey Clement might get his shot against Giants - Daily News
Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley is a big fan of Clement. “He does it all well,” Staley said a few weeks ago. “He reminds me of one of those old-school Honda Accords. You can put a lot of miles on them and they’re going to be consistent. And that’s what he’s been I’m pleased with where he is. He’s one of those guys who comes to work, puts on the hard hat, grabs his lunch pail, goes out on the field and wants to know more and more and more.’’

Like I Said - Iggles Blitz
Seumalo struggled mightily in pass protection, but he also wasn’t doing much on run plays. Warmack will have his own issues in pass protection, but he will get some movement in the run game and that can be valuable. The Eagles must run the ball better. Having a LG who can move his guy off the ball can make a difference, especially with a runner like LeGarrette Blount. There are a couple of possible reasons for making the switch now. There are 14 games left in the season. If you put Warmack in now, you give him and the rest of the O-line a chance to get into a rhythm. When an OL really gets it going as a group, they can have a huge impact on a season.

Goodell, Lurie join players to understand protests - ESPN
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Philadelphia Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie joined several players to learn more about the issues players are protesting by taking a closer look at the inner-workings of Philadelphia's criminal justice system. Goodell and Lurie accepted a request from safety Malcolm Jenkins, receiver Torrey Smith and retired wideout Anquan Boldin and were joined by Eagles teammates Chris Long and Rodney McLeod. The group met with police commissioner Richard Ross, former inmates and community advocates of criminal justice reform, and observed several bail hearings at the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Big Question: How Do Eagles Ignite Run Game? -
The Eagles can be a functional running team. I don’t know if they’re going to be a dynamic running attack this season. They need better play all around. Maybe give Corey Clement a shot. Certainly get Wendell Smallwood involved. Use LeGarrette Blount when the situation is right. The interesting part of this is that the Eagles have converted more than 55 percent of their third downs and rank second in the NFL in that category. The Eagles are moving the football. They’re scoring some points. In Kansas City, the red zone was again a bugaboo, as it was last season. Fix that, run the football more effectively, and the Eagles have something going on offense.

Malcolm Jenkins not concerned about status of Eagles' banged-up secondary - CSN Philly
It was Oct. 31, 2010 -- Halloween evening in New Orleans. Steelers vs. Saints at the Superdome in a Sunday night national TV game. It was nearly seven years ago, but Malcolm Jenkins remembers it clearly. Because this week reminds him of that week. Because that night the Saints played with six defensive backs. And on Wednesday, the Eagles practiced with six defensive backs.

Week 2 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
If the Week 2 DVOA ratings look strange to your eye, it's probably just because we don't yet include opponent adjustments. Otherwise, our early ratings match what the naked eye has seen on the field. None of the undefeated teams are ranked lower than 12th, with one exception. None of the winless teams are ranked higher than 24th, with one exception. All of the 1-1 teams are ranked between eighth (Tennessee) and 23rd (Houston).

Giants At Eagles, Week 3 Odds: Giants Are Heavy Underdogs - Big Blue View
The New York Giants have no time to wallow in self pity after their 0-2 start. They travel to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday to face the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles (1-1), and the Giants are a 6-point underdog entering the game. That, of course, means oddsmakers think the Giants will leave Philly 0-3 and with their playoff aspirations pretty much shattered before the season reaches the quarter-pole. Voters in our Fan Confidence Poll to this point overwhelmingly believe the Giants won’t be a playoff team.

Memo: NFL players ask Roger Goodell for support in racial equality campaign - Yahoo
Current and former NFL players campaigning for racial equality and criminal justice reform wrote a lengthy memo to league commissioner Roger Goodell officially seeking overt league support in their effort, including an endorsement for an activism awareness month, Yahoo Sports has learned. The 10-page memo, obtained by Yahoo Sports, was sent to Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent in August, requesting wide-ranging involvement in their movement from the NFL. The memo seeks an investment of time and education, political involvement, finances and other commitments from the league. It also sought to have the NFL endorse the month of November as an activism awareness month, similar to the periods of league calendar dedicated to breast cancer awareness and military recognition.

AFC Player of the Week: Cody Parkey wins Special Teams honor - The Phinsider
The Miami Dolphins made s surprising roster move prior to Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season when they claimed kicker Cody Parkey off waivers, replacing Andrew Franks, who did not appear to have any competition throughout training camp or the preseason. The move paid off on Sunday, when Parkey connected on four field goals, including the last minute game winner. Now, Parkey has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.

The Giants’ failures belong to Ben McAdoo - SB Nation
McAdoo was hired to give the Giants an offense that could score 30 points a game. Now in his second season, they’re nowhere close to being that team.


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[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 23:00:14 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Bruins recap: Pay the electric bill, Ron

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You get a slashing call! And you get a slashing call!

The Flyers can look to one thing that cost them in their 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Thursday and it couldn’t be more obvious: their power play.

Philadelphia went 0-for-9 on the man-advantage against the Bruins and could have easily walked away from TD Garden with a win if it weren’t for their flat-out failures with the man advantage.

Travis Sanheim provided the only offense for the Flyers with a third period tally that was quickly answered by the Bruins within a few minutes. In overtime it was a Kenny Agostino breakaway that would seal the 2-1 win for the Bruins 3:20 into the period.

First period

The Flyers’ first power play unit got some early time thanks to an interference call on Jesse Gabrielle, but Claude Giroux and crew looked out of sorts and managed just one shot on the man-advantage. The man who took the hit was Travis Konecny, who missed a few shifts but returned later in the period.

Jake Voracek drew a penalty by using his speed to pounce on a loose puck near the Bruins blue line and get in on Tuukka Rask, but he was hooked and didn’t generate much of a scoring chance. On the ensuing faceoff Wayne Simmonds got called for slashing to end the Flyers’ second power play before it really began. The officials are really on point with the slashing calls in the preseason, that’s been pretty clear.

Brian Elliott made a nice glove save on Anders Bjork off a quick rush up ice from the Bruins’ rookie at the 11:13 mark. The veteran made another nice save off Bjork in close on the following possession, moving well laterally to get in position with bodies in front of his crease.

With Wayne Simmons off for yet another slashing call, the Bruins power play got setup in the Flyers zone but couldn’t capitalize thanks to a few good blocked shots from the Flyers defense to hold Boston scoreless. Radko Gudas, in particular, had a good shift on that kill, registering a clear and a shot on goal just after the penalty expired.

The Flyers’ best chances came late in the first period with Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl being stopped in front of the crease by Rask. Raffl got a nice feed from Travis Konecny from near the goal line but couldn’t elevate the puck in tight on the Bruins’ netminder.

Thanks to five penalties in the frame, the first period was largely disjointed for both clubs and none of the 19 combined shots on goal were particularly dangerous. The Flyers did a nice job in the faceoff dot though, winning seven-of-ten draws.

Second period

Konecny was at it again to start the second period, setting up Sean Couturier for a scoring chance in front but Rask was up to the task just after intermission. Couturier’s redirection found the belly of the Bruins’ goalie, but it was nice hookup by the two Flyers forwards.

With Radko Gudas off for tripping the Bruins setup their top power play unit and peppered Elliott only to be turned away by the Flyers’ new goalie. In particular Elliott was strong in denying Patrice Bergeron on a jam play in close at the tail end of the penalty.

The Flyers were yet again unable to generate anything on the man-advantage after Claude Giroux was hauled down by Paul Postma, failing to generate a single shot on goal during their fourth power play of the night. But if zero shots on a power play is bad, the Bruins turned a three-on-one from center ice into a straight turnover with no shot or chance a few minutes after that Flyers power play. On replay it was a great back check by Michael Raffl to make it a three-on-two essentially.

In the second half of the period the Flyers really started to gain their legs, creating some extended zone time and forcing Boston into a couple of back-to-back penalties. The Flyers ended a six-minute power play shot drought with shots from Valtteri Filppula and Wayne Simmonds and established good zone time only to be turned aside by Rask with Bjork in the box.

The Flyers were 0-for-6 on the power play through two periods, though the last of the which turned up a few nice chances only to be denied by Rask, who was very sharp in making 12 stops in the frame. Elliott wasn’t tested as much as his counterpart, doing the bulk of his work early in the period but turning aside all eight shots he faced.

Third period

Alex Lyon took over in net for Elliott, who stopped all 18 of the shots he faced in his debut with the Flyers. Lyon is, of course, in the mix for a potential NHL call up from Lehigh Valley should the Flyers need one this season.

Playing at 4-on-4 Travis Sanheim finally opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the left circle that fooled Rask to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at the 4:57 mark. It looked like an innocent shot from the Flyers’ prized prospect, but it found the back of the net behind Rask and that’s all that matters really.

The bad news was that the Flyers’ 1-0 lead didn’t last long, just 1:42 in fact.

Paul Postma answered with a seeing-eye point shot that found it’s way past Lyon to tie the game at 1-1 with 13:15 left in the third. Lyon was screened and likely never saw the shot. Riley Nash and Kenny Agostino assisted on the tying goal.

Lyon came up with perhaps his best save on a Bruins two-on-one at the 11:14 mark, standing tall at the top of his crease to stop Jesse Gabrielle and keep the Flyers even. Gabrielle then got a interference call and 10-minute misconduct for grabbing the stick of a Flyer from the Bruins bench during play.

Despite a late flurry from the Bruins, extra time was needed to decide this one.


Claude Giroux nearly ended it just under a minute into the extra frame, but the captain’s shot from the right circle rung of the post to the left of Rask, who was beat on the play. Moments later it was Filppula’s turn to hit the post after being sprung on a breakaway.

The Flyers wish they buried either of those chances because Kenny Agostino skated in all alone on Lyon, beating the goaltending with a great deke to score and give the Bruins the 2-1 win. It was a bad pinch by Andrew MacDonald and bad coverage by Giroux that allowed Agostino the open ice.

Looking ahead

The Flyers will be back in action on Monday, starting back-to-back games against the Rangers starting with a visit to New York and then hosting the Rangers on Tuesday.

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 21:13:17 EDT from rss

Subject: 49ers vs. Rams: How to watch Thursday Night Football

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Everything you need to know.

Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season officially kicks off tonight. Goes by quick, doesn’t it?

Tonight’s game features ... [looks at schedule] ... another lousy set of football teams. Of course. Peak Thursday Night Football.

As I was saying, tonight’s game features the Los Angeles Rams (1-1) and San Francisco 49ers (0-2). It’s an NFC West matchup.

Both teams are coming off close losses. The Rams were edged out by the Washington Redskins last Sunday. The 49ers only managed to lose by three points despite facing the Seahawks in Seattle.

The Eagles will play both of these teams this season. Philadelphia is set to host the 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 8. The Birds will play the Rams in L.A. in Week 14.

Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

TV Schedule

Game time: 8:25 PM EST

Channel: NFL Network

Date: Thursday, September 21

Announcers: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline reporter).

Location: Levi’s Stadium | Santa Clara, California

Online Streaming

Watch the live stream on the NFL's mobile app. International viewers can use NFL Game Pass. Replay on NFL Game Rewind.


Rams -3 (-120)

49ers +3 (+100)

Over/under: 39 points


Open thread: discuss Thursday's game in the comments below.

[#] Thu Sep 21 2017 20:34:49 EDT from rss

Subject: Know Thine Eagles Enemy: Giants Film Review

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Watching the Giants offense was painful, but I did it. Just for you.

The Giants are 0-2.

Honestly, everything I type from here on out will likely make this post less popular. Really should just cut it there and let it sit as is.

As I said (horn-tootin’ time) multiple times on Twitter and the Locked On Eagles podcast, preseason predictions for the Giants to win the NFC East baffled me. Having delved into two weeks of tape in preparation for the Sunday battle incoming, it’s worse than I even thought. Nobody on that offensive line looks like a good football player; injuries have made LB go from thin to thinner; Eli has never Eli-ed as hard as Eli is Eli-ing this season.

I’ve got GIFs for this film review, but maybe I’ll just randomly sprinkle in another Manning face or two. They make me chortle.

Giants Offense

Then Ben McAdoo offense, somehow, has gotten less complex and cutting-edge over the years. Originally the kid brother of Mike McCarthy’s system in Green Bay (which works because of the most talented quarterback of our generation, for what it’s worth), it has regressed into one-read spacing concepts that a half-decent Madden QB could run. As Eli has aged, his velocity has declined—and, subjugated to constant physical and psychological torture behind that embarrassment of an offensive line, his decisiveness and poise have fallen off the cliff as well.

Let’s look at a 3rd and 4 against Dallas. This is a play the Ben McAdoo offense should convert with ease--this passing game is built to pick up 5 yards with ease. The Cowboys D, however, identified the rub concept given the 2 WR stack to which Sterling Shepard motions. LB Sean Lee and DB Anthony Brown switch when Shepard breaks.

Ideally, Eli sees this and moves to a second read, or a checkdown. But the pressure allowed by the offensive line gives him very little time to make a decision, or an easy alley through which to escape. He puts a bad ball on Shepard, who has no YAC opportunity. 4th down.

That should be routine, but it isn’t. If the Eagles’ secondary, admittedly depleted, can still communicate well enough with one another to avoid these pick concepts, their pass rush should make it impossible for the beleaguered Eli to create anything outside of structure.

Communication will be key for Philadelphia’s defense—duh, it is every week in the NFL. But the Giants offense employs a lot of pre-snap motion, capitalizing on their versatile personnel to gain alignment and matchup advantages. Evan Engram, rookie TE out of Ole Miss, is the poster child for this strategic deployment—but starting TE Rhett Ellison also fits the mold.

By using slot WR Brandon Marshall to block the closing safety, the Giants run as simple of a Lead Iso as you’ll ever see. RB Orleans Darkwa does well to sniff out the cutback lane and pick up a free 11 yards.

This play seems pedestrian—there’s really very little to break down—but it encapsulates the spirit of Ben McAdoo’s offense. It wants to win pre-snap, to get you set up with disadvantageous numbers, alignment, match-ups—something. Execution then becomes simple and mistake-resistant (supposedly). Versatile defenders such as MLB Jordan Hicks and S Malcolm Jenkins must put their multiple natures on full display come Sunday. Their ability to defend the run one play, drop in coverage the next, and blitz a third, while help Philadelphia disguise and mutate their defensive looks.

The Giants will likely look to attack the Philadelphia corners, Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas, the latter of which will make his first career start in the Linc. Last week, in the face of a potent passing attack spearheaded by dynamo WR Tyreek Hill, Jim Schwartz dialed up a ton of safe zone coverages (Cover 3 and Cover 4) on the back end. I expect zone coverage again in Week 3, to protect Mills and Douglas from potential man-on-man matchups with Giant WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

Given Mills’ and Douglas’ lack of deep speed, hiding them in Cover 2 shells can be expected. In Cover 2, the safeties cover the deep halves of the field, while the corners stay closer to the line of scrimmage and to the boundary, covering the ‘flats.’

On this long 3rd down, New York catches Dallas in a Cover 2 look. A mirrored “Flat-7” concept is dialed up. On both sides of the field, one receiver leaks into that flat area in front of the Cover 2 CB, while another receiver runs the 7 route, or corner route, to the space behind the CB. Eli hits WR Roger Lewis for a first down.

When watching the game, check out the Eagles safeties. If there are two in the back, both on one half of the field, chances are Philly’s playing a Cover 2 concept. Eli and Ben McAdoo will look to attack the gaps in this coverage to find success in the passing game.

Giants Defense

The better, but still lackluster unit for New York, the performance of Big Blue’s D on Sunday likely comes down to one thing: health. LB Keenan Robinson seems to be back from a concussion, but both LB B.J. Goodson and stud CB Janoris Jenkins were held out of Thursday practice with a shin and ankle, respectively. While both exclusions may simply be precautionary, these statuses—especially Jenkins—should be monitored moving forward.

Jenkins is an especially important omission, not only because he’s likely their best defensive player, but because his backup—second-year pro Eli Apple—has had a very rough opening to 2017. The Giants like to use pattern matching concepts when they’re spread out by multiple WRs. Pattern-matching, essentially a hybrid between man and zone coverage, allows defenders to change their coverage responsibilities relative to the routes run by the receivers in their area.

On this play, the Giants are pattern matching. Apple, the corner nearest the sideline, is reading the action of the slot WR. Should that WR break toward the sideline, Apple will leave his current WR to close on that slot WR—but, the slot WR doesn’t break outside, so Apple is responsible for the sideline WR, wherever he goes.

The linebacker and safety identified are also making reads: because the slot WR breaks inside, the LB knows he is responsible for him; because that slot WR attacks the deep area of the field (post route), the safety knows he has to climb over top of the post, leaving Apple one on one with the go route and Marvin Jones.

All this goes to say something simple: the Lions got Marvin Jones one-on-one with Eli Apple. Advantage Detroit. Don’t let Matt Stafford’s poor throw distract you from the fact that Jones handily beats Apple. A better ball is a touchdown. Whether or not Wentz can hit that throw remains to be seen.

A throw we know Wentz can hit is the Dagger concept, a staple of offenses such as Reid and Pederson’s. If you missed Fran Duffy’s awesome breakdown of Carson’s development throwing the dagger, you suck. Check it out to stop sucking (bottom of page).

Either way, the Eagles love their Hi-Lo read concepts, and this play run by the Lions definitely shows up in the Philly playbook as well.

The go route from the slot receiver removes the deep safety, and the dig route from the boundary receiver enters that recently-vacated space. On this long third down, Stafford is pressured, and does well to scramble for a first. It will be imperative for Philadelphia’s premier tackles, Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, to handle NYG edge rushers Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, giving Wentz enough time in the pocket to hit these long-developing route concepts.

The legend goes that Giants are a tough team against which to run the football—they’re not. DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison is a bastion in the middle, but one defender does not a defense make. The injuries that have maligned the LB corps attribute to this slow start defending the run. In short: the Eagles have an opportunity to gain some traction on the ground in Week 3.

Darren Sproles has been the most successful running back on Philadelphia’s roster, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Sproles finds a lot of his success on zone runs, where his explosiveness and vision serve him well—as does his diminutive frame. The Lions found success running Theo Riddick, a Sproles-esque back, on outside zone concepts, away from Damon Harrison.

Having been killed by the quick screen game (another way to attack pattern matching) the Giants used a 3-3-5 look to crowd the line of scrimmage and take away the bubble screen. Undrafted rookie LB Calvin Munson is the only box defender not head up on the line. He takes a good angle, but Riddick gets skinny and finds a nice little alley for a pick up of 8 yards. Check out the spot-on impersonation of a washing machine there at the end, too.

I don’t care if the primary back for Philadelphia is Beau Allen—for the sake of Carson Wentz’s longevity, they need to attempt less passes. Getting Sproles going as a runner will not only help them create a balanced attack in-game, but ensure Wentz still has an operable shoulder come 2022.

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Douze jours, mes amis

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*The Flyers made a big round of cuts yesterday afternoon and The Germ and Phil Myers were among the casualties. [BSH]

*The Flyers had a very nice little OT preseason win Wednesday night; let's look back at what we learned. [BSH]

*New poppa Michal Neuvirth is ready to get back to his "normal self" in net for the Flyers. Which um...I guess that means hurt a lot? [Courier-Post]

*Nicholas Aube-Kubel had a pretty rough season last year, but hopes to use that experience to get better this year. [Inquirer]

*Dale Weise also had a rough year last year. Should we expect something more this season? [BSH]

*Friedman has 31 Thoughts this week and quite a number of them are about our hockey team. You'll want to read this one. [Sportsnet]

*Well, NHL hockey in China has happened and the Kings are the victors. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Mark your calendars, Jaromir Jagr is going to announce were he is playing on October 5. [SB Nation]

*So, who do we think will bounce back next season? [TSN]

*Making resolutions for the new season seems fun. I, for one, resolve to wait until Dave Hakstol does something stupid before screaming into the void about him. Here are DGB's New Season Resolutions; what are yours? [Sportsnet]

*And finally, slide on into the weekend by watching this highlight of Nolan Patrick's greasy pass to Ghost in overtime over and over again. [CSN Philly]

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 07:43:52 EDT from rss

Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Embiid

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Kyle, Adam and Russ discuss Joel Embiid’s injury, Eagles-Giants and the lines.   We recommend subscribing in Overcast, the best iOS podcast player, and using the Voice Boost and Smart Speed functions, which improve sound quality (for all shows) and speed up small gaps in the conversation. Download Overcast and just search “Crossing Broadcast” to…

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 10:15:02 EDT from rss

Subject: What we learned: Flyers vs. Bruins

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A collection of notes from last night’s game against Boston. Things seen and observed...

1. Lindblom takes a step up

One of the biggest questions coming into this season looks like it may have been answered last night. With Brayden Schenn’s departure, the question of who would take his place on the first power play unit was pressing. Last night saw Oskar Lindblom added to this unit, and given the opportunity to take a step up, he held his own. He didn’t have the most scoring chances, but we saw him creating opportunities and putting up pressure, holding up against a penalty kill that was first in the league last season.

It’s still too early to say if Lindblom will be a permanent fixture on the top power play unit— or either of the power play units— but he certainly showed that he belongs there. And it was nice to see the coaching staff filling the Schenn void based on skillset, not veteran status.

2. Travis Sanheim finds his rhythm

Coming off a strong performance Wednesday in Allentown, Sanheim kept that momentum rolling into last night’s game, putting up an impressive performance against Boston. After showing an eagerness to jump in on the rush and create shots, he

was finally rewarded, posting the only goal of the game for the Flyers. He seemed— after earlier looking like he was overthinking, trying to do too much— to simplify his approach, keeping everything crisp and simple. He also looked particularly sharp and effective one-on-one against Marchand on a rush in the second period, staying with him all the way, preventing him from even registering a shot on net.

Sanheim still remains a bit of a long shot to make the team out of camp, at this point in time and especially after the solid performances put up by Morin and Hagg, but he has certainly worked hard to prove that he is not so far away as we may have believed, just a few short games ago.

3. Giroux looking sharp, more tenacious

One of the most noticeable figures on the ice, during the first half of the game especially, was Claude Giroux. With fans hoping for this to be a bounce back season for Giroux, attentions were fixed on him, trying to gauge how his movement and performance compare to both last season and two seasons ago, prior to his surgery. Anyone nervous can begin to rest assured, for now at least. Giroux appeared confident, showing greater mobility and physicality than we've seen in a while. He kept up his momentum through just over 22 minutes spent on the ice. He won 20 out of 25 face offs. He wasn't flashy, but he certainly showed a glimmer of his former self.

And, of course, that final overtime shift was a doozy. Giroux was out of position and that contributed to the Agostino breakaway, but let's not also forget that Andrew McDonald failed to check if was in position, before dumping the puck. So there's blame to go around, and let's not let that color what was otherwise a nice showing by Giroux.

4. Big yikes on the power play

Our first look at a lineup comprised overwhelmingly of veterans, comparatively, it provided a move closer to seeing what may be the more permanent regular season lines, as well as, specifically, the power play structuring and systems. The results so far have been, in short, underwhelming. The new four forwards-one defenseman model seems promising. The units have been able to create pressure. They just can’t close.

I keep telling myself it’s still early, too early to get very worked up about much of anything, but failing to capitalize on eight power play opportunities is less than ideal. We can talk about the strength of opposing goaltending, and the promise in the fact that offense is still being created, but there eventually comes a point when you begin to wonder when you’ll start to see some return. And I suspect we’ll soon be creeping up on it.

5. Simmonds- Weal chemistry

One of the more impressive carryovers from last season into last night’s game was the chemistry between Wayne Simmonds and Jordan Weal. After Weal’s late season call-up, and once he and Simmonds were placed on a line together, the two really seemed to click. We saw them getting some reps in together at training camp, with positive results, and this continued over into last night’s game.

Their whole line, centered by Nolan Patrick, looked sharp, was the most productive and electric on the ice. They kept pressure up in the offensive zone through much of their time on the ice. Their production was striking, but Simmonds and Weal still begged attention, just as they did last season. And with all of the shifting about that’s happened between the end of last season and now, it was nice to see a bit of continuity.

6. Let’s evaluate Brian Elliott!

Last night was also our first extended look at new goaltender Brian Elliott. Another polarizing figure, in the face of a pretty dramatically variant performance history, he brought in with him a number of questions about what type and level of play he would bring to the Flyers. And he’s shown some early promise.

In the two periods he played, Elliott faced some high danger shots, some heavy pressure, without always receiving the most or best help, but even when backed up in his net, he was able to stop every shot thrown at him. He did not fluster, or break from formation. It still remains to be seen how the coaching staff will decide to utilize him, but he has, in however brief a time, made a strong case for himself.

7. “How do you say his name? Lyon?”

Alex Lyon, too, looked impressive last night, even in the relatively brief time he played. With the questions surrounding him, as he moved to step in for the injured Anthony Stolarz, he has made his case for both readiness to start in the AHL, as well as for the potential to succeed, given the opportunity and an NHL call-up, sometime in the regular season future.

Lyon held strong in the third period, and into overtime. He controlled the shots he faced, with the goal he allowed in regulation coming after he was heavily screened, and the overtime winner when he was left one-on-one with Agostino on a breakaway. He wasn’t perfect, but he also can’t be expected to do it all on his own. And when he had the support in front of him, Lyon looked strong, and held his own.

8. Defensive pairing weirdness

The preseason is the time, above all, for the coaching staff to do a bit of experimenting with regards to line constructions and defensive pairings. It’s certainly a necessary task, with the influx of new personnel who still need evaluating, but it can lead to some mixed results.

Sometimes you get a pairing like Wednesday’s, with Ghost and Hagg linking up. You get some real chemistry going, a nice balance is found, and things seem to be working.

And then you get, as we did last night, a McDonald-Morin pairing. And I’ll be honest, I’m a little stumped on this one. The two don’t offer each other much in terms of balance in playing styles, and their performances certainly didn’t leap off the page, either. So, obviously, sometimes the pairing experiments pay off, while other times they fall a little flat. Here’s hoping that the flatness of this combination serves as a lesson learned.

9. Branching out

In another instance of experimentation of play, we saw the Flyers doing something that they tended to shy away from, last season. They showed an uptick of generating shots close to the net, specifically those starting from behind the net, then passed up to the crease. This method didn’t lead directly to any points on the board, not last night at least, but it created concentrated, high volumes of shots, which left a lot of potential to open things up.

This shift comes pretty directly in response to some frustrations that, last season, most shot attempts were coming directly from the point, or as rebound on shots from the point. It’s a model that pretty quickly revealed itself as unsustainable, so it’s nice to see the Flyers, even in just the preseason setting, working to diversify their shot generation locations.

10. The only damn thing I know

The preseason can be a little overwhelming, at times, what with the number of new names and faces appearing on the ice. It can be hard to keep up. But worry not, as your guide, I’m here to bring you the most comprehensive information on your Flyers’ prospects. That given, I want to take a moment to introduce you to a new face who may have slipped under your radar.

I’d like to introduce Michael Raffle. A new name to even my ears, Raffle put up a strong show last night, earning distinct and high praise from the Boston commentators. Raffle has been a true sleeper, so far this preseason, so much so that he seemed to come out of nowhere for last night’s meeting against the Bruins. Stats are few on the this guy, but I don’t know, he’s shown some flashes, and I just have a good feeling about him.

So look out, everybody. I suspect we might be seeing big things out of Raffle this season.

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 09:00:16 EDT from rss

Subject: Your Friday Morning Roundup

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The Phillies lost to the Dodgers 5-4. If you’ve been someone that hasn’t followed the Phillies since June, this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The Phils lost to the best team in baseball, not a shock. But dig deeper into that 61-92 record and you see the Phillies have actually been good since the…

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 10:53:10 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Giants Game Preview: Six questions and answers with the enemy

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Scouting the Eagles’ Week 3 matchup.

After playing their first two games on the road, the Philadelphia Eagles are back home to face the crumbling New York Giants in Week 3. The G-Men are off to an ugly 0-2 start.

In order to preview the Eagles’ matchup against the Giants, I reached out to our enemies over at Big Blue View. The great Kunal Shah (@KSIXI) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let's take a look at the answers.

1 - The Giants are off to an 0-2 start after winning 11 games last season. What happened? What’s wrong with this team?

The simple answer to what happened is basically assigning blame to the offensive line. From left tackle to right tackle, the unit has struggled mightily in keeping Eli Manning upright long enough to get the ball to his weapons on the outside. Looking a bit deeper, and you see a little bit more. While the offensive line has been atrocious, Eli Manning doesn't seem to have the same feel in the pocket that he's had in the past. As a result, some of the sacks/negative plays have been on him. The coaching hasn't helped either. The Giants, for some reason, have refused to help Ereck Flowers on the left side, and it's been an issue that has been highlighted prominently in his nightmarish performance against Ezekiel Ansah. There's been no creativity in the offense and time management has been awful. Finally, the Giants offense "works" by getting the ball quickly to their playmakers. Their biggest playmaker hasn't really been available. And no, I wouldn't call Odell Beckham available against the Detroit Lions, he was clearly on a snap count and did not perform the full route tree. So it's been a bunch of things that have plagued the Giants this year.

2 - To what extent does the matchup of the Eagles’ defensive line versus the Giants’ offensive line concern you?

It scares the crap out of me. The Eagles not only have talent, but they have the type of pass rusher that Ereck Flowers really struggles against. He struggles against speed/leverage rushers and that's exactly how Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Derek Barnett operate. It will be a blood bath unless Eli Manning let's go of the ball quickly and they put Rhett Ellison or one of their TEs in the backfield to help.

3 - I saw you mention on Twitter you think Eli Manning is close to being done. Do you think this is his last year with the team? Should the Giants bench him at any point this year in favor of Geno Smith or Davis Webb?

Let me start by saying there's no way in hell he gets benched for Geno Smith or Davis Webb. Not happening. Do I think he's steeply in decline and/or close to being done? Yes. I know many see this guy as "same old Eli" but a closer look shows that it's not. There's one big reason why, and that's Eli Manning's biggest gift was his ability to move in the pocket. He's not Russell Wilson but he would avoid sacks by moving around. He seems to have lost that. He also doesn't seem to have the arm strength that he once had. He still has one or two gorgeous throws a game, but that might not get it done. Realistically, his last year will probably be next year. Cutting him after this year will incur almost $12.5 million in dead money. That number drops to $6 million in 2019. Not out of the question that the Giants could look at QBs this upcoming year.

4 - The Giants have scored 17 points or less in 10 out of 19 games in the Ben McAdoo era. What’s your level of confidence in McAdoo as NYG’s head coach?

My level of confidence in Ben McAdoo is not one of panic, per se. He did lead the team to an 11-5 record in his first year. It is one of concern. The offense has been an issue since 2016. If he doesn't make changes and turn this team around, he could find himself on the hotseat. But as of right now, he's earned an opportunity to try and right this ship.

5 - Odell Beckham Jr. only played about 60% of the Giants’ snaps in Week 2 against the Lions. Do you expect him to be limited again this Sunday?

I do think Odell Beckham will be limited. This is a multi-week issue and ankles can linger, especially for wide receivers that make a living running ultra-precise routes. The best news that we could have hoped for is that Odell did not have a setback in the Detroit game. He'll get more work and will have an expanded route tree against the Eagles but I don't think he'll be at full strength.

6 - What’s the Giants’ recipe for victory? What do they realistically need to do in order to beat the Eagles?

There are several things the Giants need to do. Almost all of it is keeping Eli Manning upright. To do that, they need to:

A) Establish a rhythm with the short passing game. Throw up balls high to Brandon Marshall. Throw slants to Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham, and Evan Engram. Get the ball out under 3 seconds. Shane Vereen needs to be involved in the passing game. The Eagles are not the team to try and establish your running game against. Short 4 and 5 yard completions, smartly executed screens and maybe some trickery should be the plan.

B) Have an HB like Rhett Ellison or an RB like Vereen or Orleans Darkwa on Manning's hip pocket on every play. Mix and match with them chipping the Eagle DEs or just staying in to block. Max protect like the Minnesota Vikings have done should help.

C) Keep doing what you're doing on defense. The Giants defense has picked up right where it left off, and last week, was without their best cover corner Janoris Jenkins and their up-and-coming middle linebacker B.J. Goodson. Don't allow Carson Wentz to move up in the pocket, stay aggressive, and try and mix up blitzes.

I think this will be a tough game for the Giants but by no means do I think the Eagles are an insurmountable force if the Giants can get it together.

Bonus: Score prediction? Who wins this game and why?

Eagles win this one, 17-13. Division games are close, but the Eagles have a clear matchup advantage here. The Giants defense has allowed 19 points and 17 points (7 came off a punt return against Detroit) and I think that's been a continuation of how many points they've allowed on average in 2016. They are a better defense than they were a year ago due to upgrades at MLB and at FS. The Giants offense has some work to do, but ultimately don't think they figure it out in time to get a win here.

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 09:36:18 EDT from rss

Subject: Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 3

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Helping you pick your lineups.

Disclaimer: Starts and Sits are relative to where a player is ranked on the aggregate. In other words, a "Start" is someone I like more than most, and a "Sit" is the opposite. So if I say to start Carson Wentz and sit Aaron Rodgers, that doesn't mean I'd start Wentz over Rodgers, it just means I think Wentz will exceed his expectations while Rodgers will underperform his. Cool? Cool. Let's get it. -Seltz



Philip Rivers (vs. KC) – Man, it must be tough to be a Chargers fan. Well, that's assuming there are any fans left after the team abandoned their city to not sell out a 30,000 seat soccer stadium. And if any fans did stay on, they've gotten to watch their team continue to find ways to blow games in dramatic, horrific fashion. But that's neither here nor there, let's talk fantasy. Despite the team's woes, Rivers has quietly played well this season, and he has his best set of weapons since LaDainian Tomlinson suited up (maybe). Most importantly, he's insanely undervalued this week as the consensus ranked #11 QB, despite facing a Chiefs defense that has been friendly to opposing QB's so far this season. Get Philip in your lineups. Quick sidebar before we move on, why are there both Philip's and Phillip's? Can't we just decide on one and roll with it? Anyhoo, these are the weird things I think about. Let's move on before it gets any weirder.

Trevor Siemian (@ BUF) – I love Trevor Siemian. Crap, I made it weirder. Let me rephrase, I love Trevor Siemian as a fantasy play this week. That's better. Siemian has been a beast through two weeks (#2 fantasy QB) and has looked good in doing it. I think he might just be legit. And what I mean by that is, he might be good enough to take advantage of terrific weapons, a solid-to-good offensive line, and a great defense. This week he faces a Buffalo defense that has yet to be tested – they've faced the worst version of Cam Newton I've ever seen and the worst team in the league – and may not be as good as their numbers suggest. And by "may not" I mean "definitely isn't." As the consensus #19 QB, Siemian is criminally underrated this week.

Eli Manning (@ PHI) – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *pauses for breath* Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I'm kidding. Obviously. Eli is going to be terrible. The only way I'd start Eli this week is if it were a "which player is most likely to retire at halftime" league.


Russell Wilson (@ TEN) – I said to sit Russell last week and that ended up being the right call based on his surprisingly high consensus ranking *my own horn toots lamely in the background.* This week Wilson's ranking is slightly more appropriate (#10 QB), but it's still too high given that his o-line is really, really, really, realllllllly bad. It's bad enough to submarine the entire offense. And it's certainly bad enough that I'm not starting Russell Wilson, on the road in a tough matchup, behind them.

Dak Prescott (@ ARI) – Can we be real for a second? Dak has looked like crap through two games. Sorry, it's the truth. Come @ me Cowboys fans. He's been bad. And somehow, he's the consensus #13 QB this week. I have no idea how or why. None. Zero. Less than zero. Arizona's defense is aight. And Dallas is definitely going to try and use Zeke more after last week's fiasco. Why wouldn't you reward the guy who gave up on two separate plays because he was frustrated? That's the Cowboys way. Did I mention that Dak has been terrible this season?

Running Back


Christian McCaffery (vs. NO) – McCaffery has yet to make the same kind of splash as fellow rookies Kareem "Da Gawd" Hunt, Leonard Fournette (more on him later), and Dalvin "True Eaglea" Cook, but I think this is the week C-Mac busts out. Is C-Mac a thing btw? I'm guessing it is. Either way, I'm going with it. C-Mac faces a Saints defense that is awful. Truly, epicly awful. They are especially bad at defending running backs in the passing game (only the Falcons have been worse since the start of 2016), and that's kinda McCaffery's thing, in case you didn't know. As Biggie once said, if you don't know, now you know. Start McCaffery.

Ameer Abdullah/Theo Riddick (vs. ATL) – Remember what I said about the Falcons a few sentences ago? Well, it's true. I wasn't lying to you. Wild, I know. But not only have the Falcons been the worst at defending RB's in the passing game, they've been the worst BY A MILE. They are so bad at it. As a result, both Abdullah and Riddick have value this week. I like Abdullah more because he'll get the bulk of the workload in what should be a high-scoring game. But I also like Riddick a lot, especially in PPR leagues where his ceiling is even higher than Abdullah's.


LeSean McCoy (vs. DEN) – Poor Shady. Buffalo's offense is sadder than a Greek tragedy. Shady is Homer and this Bills offense is his Odyssey, except way more sad cause this is actually real. McCoy will certainly have some good games this season based on high volume and talent alone, but this week won't be one of them. Denver's defense may be the best in the league and just SHUT DOWN Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys running game. That's enough for me to back off Shady in daily formats for sure, and wherever else possible as well.

Leonard Fournette (vs. BAL) – Fournette will get his first taste of his future home, as the (future London) Jaguars "host" the Ravens in the first of this season's games across the pond. While I love Fournette's talent, he's running behind an atrocious offensive line and is facing a Baltimore's D that's stout against the run. And you better believe the Ravens are going to stack the box and force Blake Bortles to try and beat them. Honestly, can you blame them?

Wide Receiver


Keenan Allen (vs. KC) – Keenen Allen might be my favorite play of the week. He's been targeted 10 times in each game this season and is clearly Rivers' most trusted target. Plus, his matchup with Chiefs slot corner Phillip Gaines is the stuff Allen dreams about at night ... probably ... maybe? Regardless, the point is Philip Gaines stinks. Not to mention, you'd have to think Philip Rivers will have a natural personal dislike for Phillips Gaines because of the aforementioned Philip/Phillip thing, making him want to roast the corner that much more.

Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Dallas) – Fitz's consensus ranking (#23 WR in standard, #20 in PPR) is the one that baffles me the most this week. I'm legit confused by it. Sure, I'll acknowledge Larry – we're close enough that I feel OK calling him that, you shouldn't though, only I can – LARRY had a bad game last week in what seemed like a good matchup, but I think that was the exception more than the rule. Furthermore, J.J. Nelson's emergence can only help open things up for Larry. Also, Dallas' pass defense sucks. It sucks hard. Much like Dallas itself, indeed, sucks.


Dez Bryant (@ ARI) – Speaking of Dallas sucking, lol. Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself. In all seriousness, you already know my feelings on Dak and the Cowboys' likely game plan – add in a good amount of Patrick Peterson coverage and I'm easily out on Dez this week. Taking it a step further, when you consider his consensus ranking (#11 WR), he may be the most overvalued fantasy player in the league heading into Week 3.

Odell Beckham Jr. (@ PHI) – I don't think OBJ is fully healthy yet. He's playing with potentially the worst QB in the league *inserts fire emoji* behind potentially the worst offensive line in the league against potentially one of the best defensive lines in the league. Tbh, I wouldn't start anyone in the Giants offense. This has blood bath written all over it. And that's not me the Eagles fan saying that, it's me the guy with two eyes who uses them to watch football saying that. So, yeah.

Tight End


Jack Doyle (vs. CLE) – One thing I know for sure, Jacoby Brissett is better than Scott Tolzien. Which isn't saying a lot, but it's true nonetheless. Another thing I know for sure, Brissett seems to like throwing to Jack Doyle, who caught all eight of his targets (79 yards) last week against the Cardinals. One last thing I know, since the start of 2016 no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Browns. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, Doyle Rules!

Ben Watson (@ JAX) – God that last joke was lame. Sorry guys. I'll try to do better. Not gonna lie, I'm a little shook from it. Let's talk Ben Watson to help get my mind off it. The 36-year-old Watson is among the more surprising names to see rising to fantasy prominence this season, but here we are. The reasoning is pretty simple: Joe Flacco likes to throw to his tight end and Ben Watson is his tight end. Boom. Watson caught 8 of 9 targets last week for 91 yards. Expect more of the same this week against a Jags D that struggles against tight ends. Plus, Ben Watson is probably the most British sounding name playing in this game, which means he has to do well. I think it's a British law or something.


Martellus Bennett (vs. CIN) – Bennett stunk in Week 1 and barely didn't stink in Week 2. But since the Packers receiving core is a mash unit and Bennett got 11 targets last week (caught 5 for 47 yards), everyone is high on him this week. Everyone except me, I guess. While it's the smallest of sample sizes, the Bengals have allowed the least fantasy points to tight ends this season (easily). Don't get me wrong, I think Rodgers torches this Bengals defense, I just don't think he'll use Bennett that much to do so.

Kyle Rudolph (vs. TB) – Who knows if Sam Bradford is playing. Obviously I like Rudolph even less if Sleeves is out. But I'm down on Rudolph this week regardless of who is under center. With Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander at the helm, Tampa Bay's defense has had a lot of success defending tight ends. I think that trend continues this week as the touchdown-dependent Rudolph fails to find the end zone.



Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG) – I've made my thoughts on this matchup pretty clear, so I'll just say this: The Eagles' defensive line is going to EAT.


Kansas City Chiefs (@ SD) – I think this game ends up being a shootout. The Chargers will put up points. As a result, Kansas City's defense is overvalued, especially considering their poor performance (as a fantasy defense) so far this season.



Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.


Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for "Start."

[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 09:08:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia currently has the league

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/22/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

With a stable of young CBs, are Eagles grooming long-term starters? - Inquirer
Barring the speedy recovery of Jaylen Watkins or some unforeseen personnel switch, the Eagles’ Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills will be the youngest starting outside cornerback tandem in the NFL this weekend. Douglas (22 years old and 24 days) and Mills (23 and 169 days) are a combined 45 days younger than the Saints’ projected starting duo of P.J. Williams (24 and 113 days) and Marshon Lattimore (21 and 125 days). Injuries to Ronald Darby and Watkins catapulted Douglas, who was inactive for the opener, into the starting lineup. But the rookie responded in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs and gave up very little — whether he was targeted or not.

Eagles Game Preview: New York Giants are directionless and crumbling - BGN
The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #262). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Giants game in Week 3, talk about how New York is a mess, analyze key matchups to watch, and much more.

Brandon Brooks: Obviously, we want to run the ball more - PhillyVoice
We did throw the ball a lot and there were a couple of times here and there where we held up as an offensive line. You mention the run game, there were a couple of runs that could have worked out better and that’s a reflection of the offensive line and what you could have done differently. It was something small, like the four of us hitting our landmarks and one guy didn’t, something small like that where you can get one little thing corrected, the whole play will be that much better. I think we’re definitely close to putting this together.

Game Review – KC 27, PHI 20 - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles took a 10-6 lead in the mid-3rd quarter and life seemed pretty good. The defense was dominating the Chiefs. The offense was making just enough plays to move the ball had just scored a TD. Things went sideways and KC had a 21-3 spurt to put them up 27-13. When it came to crunch time, the Chiefs made plays and the Eagles made mistakes. The biggest lesson for the Eagles should be that football is an endurance sport. Games are 60 minutes long. Seasons are 16 games long. It isn’t how you start. It isn’t where you are at the midpoint. You must keep grinding the whole way through. If you do that, you have a chance to be where you want to be at the end.

Tim Jernigan Brings 'Nastiness' To D-Line -
Tim Jernigan hoped it would be a great fit, the one matching his skill set and what Jim Schwartz asks the Eagles’ defensive linemen to do. Attack mode, Jernigan thought, is for me. And through two games, Jernigan is right at home in the scheme, adding his tenacity and a whole lot more to the mix ...

Why the Eagles have had the Giants' number - ESPN
Four Eagles defensive linemen have recorded sacks already this season. Graham (2.5), Cox (2.0), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (1.5) and Chris Long (1.0) will present quite the challenge for an embattled Giants offensive line which has already allowed eight sacks this season, tied for third most in the NFL. Left tackle Ereck Flowers has already allowed four and been flagged for a holding penalty. The Eagles will send Long, Vinny Curry and possibly Graham at Flowers on Sunday. It could be another long afternoon for the young left tackle.

Blount, Warmack have money at stake with playing time decisions - The Athletic
Aside from the on-field implications, both Warmack and Blount have money on the line that is directly tied to the coaches' decisions to play them or not play them. Warmack received a one-year extension through 2018 earlier this month that pays him $4 million. But according to a league source, in 2017, Warmack can make an additional $1.25 million if he plays 80 percent or more of the Eagles' offensive snaps. He'll make $916,666 if he plays 70 percent or more; $583,333 for 60 percent or more; $250,000 if he's between 55 percent and 59.9 percent; or $125,000 if he's between 50 percent and 54.9 percent.

LeGarrette Blount 'on the same page' with Doug Pederson about his role - CSN Philly
Make no mistake, LeGarrette Blount wants the football. At the same time, Blount isn’t stewing over the fact that he didn’t record a single carry in the Eagles’ loss to the Chiefs this past week. “I’m not frustrated,” Blount said Wednesday after practice. “It’s Week 3. We have 14 games left. That’s a lot of time in this league.” It’s only natural to assume Blount would be displeased on some level. The eighth-year veteran was only on the field for six snaps in Kansas City, finishing with one catch for no gain, and his only carry negated by a penalty. Last season, Blount racked up 299 rushing attempts for 1,161 yards and an NFL-best 18 touchdowns with the Patriots, so he’s used to getting the ball.

Players who drafted memo think NFL can help create positive change - PFT
The players who sent the memo to NFL comissioner Roger Goodell earlier this year said they haven’t gotten a response from the league per se, but that conversations have been productive. Four players sent a memo to the league asking for the NFL’s support for an activism awareness month, in which players could continue their protests in support of racial equality and criminal justice reform.

32 Observations, Week 2 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are one of just three teams with eight or more sacks and eight or more hits on the season. They are led by Brandon Graham with three sacks and five hurries on the season.

Rams vs. 49ers 2017 recap: 4 things we learned from LA’s wild 41-39 thriller - SB Nation
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers got together Thursday night and delivered one of the most exciting games of 2017, with the Rams coming out on top in a 41-39 thriller. Todd Gurley scored three total touchdowns and Jared Goff threw for three (one to Gurley) as the Rams improved to 2-1 on the year.


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[#] Fri Sep 22 2017 13:21:24 EDT from rss

Subject: Will We Ever Escape The Sixers

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January 2017: Joel Embiid “feels great” after injury to knee, will only miss a few games. Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb… February 2017: Joel Embiid has a torn meniscus, but he won’t need surgery. Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no…

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