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[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 10:30:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Predators 6, Flyers 5: What we learned from a rollercoaster affair

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MacDonald scores, Weise assists, and Hakstol challenges.

The Flyers rallied back from a 3-0 defecit with five unanswered goals but were unable to make the lead stick in a 6-5 loss to the Predators on Tuesday night. Here are five takeaways from the game.

1. Dave Hakstol cost his team a point, and maybe more

Hakstol’s offside challenge of Scott Hartnell’s game-tying goal at 5-5 was a bad one. The penalty for losing the challenge put his team down two men for a second time with less than two minutes left. Fillip Forsberg went on to score the game winnerwith 36 seconds left and the Flyers’ penalty kill looked absolutely gassed.

Though the replay looked close as to whether or not Hartnell was offsides, it’s too close to challenge given what the penalty would be if they were wrong. Without the challenge, the Flyers were down just a man with a little over a minute left. Sure it’s no guarantee to get to overtime, but it’s way better than going back down two men with the penalty kill already tired.

It was a high-risk gamble by Hakstol and his staff, and they got burned bad. The Flyers carried play most of the game and should have been rewarded with at least one point out of their effort, but their coach essentially took that away from them.

2. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to roll all four lines in any situation

Down 3-0, most teams need to shorten the bench, but the Flyers have gotten effective play from all four lines to start the season and could continue to roll lines normally. Scott Laughton and the fourth line started the comeback with a good shift ending with an Andrew MacDonald goal to make it 3-1.

The so-called third line of Nolan Patrick, Dale Weise and Travis Koencny would get in on the second goal with Weise hitting Patrick in front from behind the cage for Patrick’s first NHL goal to make it 2-1.

It’s been no secret that Dave Hakstol has gotten a more consistent effort across all four of his forward lines—at least to start the season—and it shows with a pair of goals from what you might call the bottom six to get the Flyers back into the hockey game.

Last year chances and goals from the fourth line were unthinkable, but this group is making a big difference early on in the season and it gives coach Hakstol more flexibility with how he deploys his lines that a year ago.

3. The rookies continue to make progress

All the focus will be on Nolan Patrick, who notched his first goal, but fellow rookie Travis Sanheim was very solid once again on defense.

It looks like the rough first game in Los Angeles is firmly behind the 21-year-old, who made a few nice subtle plays in limited action. In the first period, he absorbed a big hit by Cody McLoed in order to make a pass in the neutral zone. In the NHL you hear the term “take a hit to make a play,” and that’s just what the rookie did, staring down one of the tougher customers in the league. Sanheim didn’t shy away from the contact and made the play instead of trying to be too cute and create a giveaway in a dangerous area.

Patrick’s line was all over the Predators in this one, with each of his line mates posting at least a 50% Corsi For. Patrick drove the net on more than one occasion, showing the desire to go to the so-called dirty areas to score. Some veterans don’t go to those areas, so it’s great to see a rookie not afraid to make the net drive and potentially pay the price.

4. The Konecny - Patrick - Weise line was very good

Konecny got his well-deserved first goal of the season with a perfect shot on a breakaway to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead. It was a good chip off the boards by Shayne Gostisbehere, but it was Konecny’s burst and speed that got the second-year forward in alone on Pekka Rinne.

I touched on Patrick earlier, but he really has looked great playing with Konecny and—yes—Dale Weise. Weise made a great feed to Patrick on the goal and the line possessed the puck well all night.

5. Filppula gets comfortable on the first power play unit

The veteran joined the first unit effectively taking the place of Brayden Schenn, and the early results weren’t promising but the Fin found the back of the net twice on the man-advantage against Nashville. In retrospect, fitting Filppula in on the first unit was going to take time considering how different he and Schenn are at this point.

Schenn spent most of his time as a basically stationary shooter from the circle, and that’s where Filppula spent some time through the first three games but against the Predators he moved off that spot and got rewarded.

On the second of the two goals, it was Claude Giroux dropping below the goal line and created an avenue for Filppula to get open. We almost never saw Giroux—or any Flyer for that matter—dip below the goal line last season on the power play with any regularity so that could be a new wrinkle.

Here’s Bill Matz of BSH Radio with his postgame reaction:

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 09:42:16 EDT from rss

Subject: What The Hak? Seven Takeaways from Predators 6, Flyers 5

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One thing is for certain – no team in the history of sports has ever lost a game in this fashion before. And no team should ever have to lose this way again. But it happened. The Flyers lost to the Nashville Predators 6-5 in such an inexplicable manner that it will forever be remembered…

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 11:25:25 EDT from rss

Subject: Nolan Carroll released by Dallas Cowboys, report says

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Former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll has been released by the Dallas Cowboys, according to a report from NFL insider Mike Garafolo.

Shocking, I know.

Carroll signed with the Cowboys for $10 million over three years ($3 million signing bonus) in free agency this offseason after the Eagles didn’t show much interest in bringing the 30-year-old defender back to Philly. He was arrested for DWI earlier this year and made two starts for Dallas before suffering a concussion in Week 2.

Now Carroll is out of a job.

So ... since he’s available, should the Eagles have interest in re-signing him? Haha. Just kidding. Philly is clearly moving forward with their group of young cornerbacks: Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones. Thankfully, they don’t need Carroll anymore.

It’s just too bad that he didn’t stick in Dallas long enough for the Eagles’ wide receivers to be able to beat him in coverage over and over.

You can’t say we didn’t warn you, Cowboys fans.

And while we’re at it, it’s time to look at some old tweets that certainly look funny now.


[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 11:39:45 EDT from rss

Subject: Crunching The Numbers: Carolina Panthers

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After a big win over the Cardinals, can the Eagles keep rolling against the 4-1 Panthers?

Welcome to the Week 6 edition of Crunching The Numbers! This is a series of weekly game previews where I use a set of selected statistics to make some suggestions about how the Eagles should handle their upcoming opponent. Some background on my methodology (and an archive of previous posts) can be found in this hub.

We’ll get to the Panthers in a minute, but first I want to review how some of my game plan “suggestions” held up during the Eagles’ thrashing of the Cardinals. This is something I’ll do every week as a self-assessment of my posts. My two main points were:

  1. The Eagles should be aggressive when they have the ball, as Arizona is more likely to give up touchdowns than hold teams to field goals.
  2. The Eagles should avoid blitzing “like the plague” because their lack of speed in the secondary will haunt them if they bring too much heat, especially in a Bruce Arians vertical offense.

As far as the first point goes, I was specifically talking about fourth downs, but the Eagles were so damn good at converting third downs on their first three scoring drives that the need to go for it on fourth all but vanished. That being said, they were still fairly aggressive, especially when dialing up that deep bomb to Agholor on third-and-nineteen when most teams would have called a draw play. Still, the game got out of hand so quickly that being aggressive wasn’t really all that necessary, so I’ll call that a wash.

In the comment section, my suggestion that they back off the blitz was somewhat controversial, as community members used the lack of speed in the secondary as rationale that they should blitz more, not less. Interestingly enough, members over at Revenge of the Birds were terrified of us being able to generate pressure with three or four down linemen. In any case, from what I found the Eagles sent five or more rushers on 13 out of 44 passing plays, for a blitz rate of 29.5%. For what it’s worth, that’s about in line with the league-wide average this season. That is certainly not “avoiding the blitz like the plague,” but it’s not going all-out either, so I stand by my original claim.

But enough about the Cardinals. That game is in the books. Let’s talk about the Panthers. Below is a table of five statistics I use to judge each team. The number in parenthesis is the league rank. Bold-face numbers indicate which team has the advantage for that particular statistic.

Matt Takes

On the whole, these teams are pretty evenly matched. Each club has a significant advantage in one statistic - OY/CMP for Carolina and OY/PT for Philadelphia - and are either very close or just middle-of-the-pack in other categories.

As far as the Eagles go, I won’t touch up on them too much since we’ll see their statistics every week. If there is a significant week-to-week spike or decline in a certain area I’ll discuss it, but for now the most important thing to note is that they are top-ten in every category except for OY/CMP, where they are not very good at all. This is encouraging considering how much the injury bug has bit them this season. And their weakest area can at least be partially explained by the injury to Darby. Once he’s back to full health this team has the potential to kick it into another gear.

Of course, they won’t have Darby when they face the Panthers. Will that be the difference when they make the trip down to Charlotte on Thursday?

When The Eagles Have The Ball

Both of these teams are going to be hell-bent on playing “keep-away” from the opposing offense. Through five games, they have both been the best in the league at this. While I am a big fan of deferring the opening kick to the second half - and Doug is too, as this is what he normally does - there is a part of me that wants to see the Eagles take the ball to start the game and grind out a seven-minute touchdown drive to set the tone early. I won’t be upset if they win the toss and defer, but the defense better be ready to play physical football right out of the gate if that happens.

This is the second straight week where the Eagles will face a team that is in the bottom 12 of OY/PT. Because of this, I will stick to my same assertion that they need to stay aggressive. The Panthers, like the Cardinals, are more likely to give up the touchdown if you can move the ball on them. Staying aggressive on fourth downs will also have the added benefit of keeping the ball out of Newton’s hands, which should be a top priority of the offensive gameplan. Possessions will not come as often as they had in previous games and it’s important that Wentz and Company does everything they can to make each one count.

I also want to see the Eagles go deep on one of their first two possessions. Even make it the opening play (this was a popular move by Pederson’s mentor, Andy Reid). The Panthers are second in the league in OY/CMP. They do an excellent job of keeping everything in front of them. If the Eagles can show early that they aren’t afraid to test the back end of the secondary, they won’t be given much at all to work with by the defense. Those clock-churning, methodical drives are easier to achieve if they are able to cultivate the intermediate passing game over the middle. The best way to accomplish this is by forcing the defense to respect the deep ball.

When The Panthers Have The Ball

The Eagles are twenty-fourth in OY/CMP but seventh in OY/PT. This is a great indicator that Schwartz is deploying a “bend but don’t break” defense. This matches up very well with the Panthers... if the offense is able to score. This will be a demanding game on Schwartz as his style of play will depend on the performance of the offense. If Wentz is having difficulty putting together scoring drives, the defense will need to force more punts early to give him more opportunities to get things going. On the other hand, if the offense is clicking, Schwartz can play a more relaxed style of defense and tighten up in the red zone.

Again, in this game I wouldn’t blitz more than average. Until they get Darby’s (and later Jones’) speed back, there is too much opportunity for Newton to burn them. Cam is sixth in the league in YPA so having both safeties available to cover deep and intermediate routes will be key to limiting the damage he can cause. Additionally, Christian McCaffery is evolving into a nice weapon in the passing game. I have no doubt he’ll serve as a safety valve should Cam find himself under pressure (if he doesn’t take off with it himself). The Eagles are better off playing contain, dropping seven into coverage, and forcing the Panthers to take what they give them instead of taking what they want.

Closing Thoughts

This game will serve as a great litmus test for the Eagles. It’s played on the road, on a short week, against a formidable opponent. The Panthers will be the best team they’ve played since benching Seumalo, so now is as good an opportunity than ever to show that they’ve improved since falling to the Chiefs back in Week 2.

Statistically, these teams are pretty even. However, Carolina has the benefit of playing for the home crowd. If the Eagles want to walk out of that stadium with a win heading into a long break before the Redskins game, they’ll have to bring some extra fire with them onto the field.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 11:30:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Prospect report: Danick Martel on the road to relevancy

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The Phantoms and NCAA kick off their respective seasons

Phantoms off to strong start behind Alex Lyon, Danick Martel

10/7 - 7-2 WIN
10/8 - 2-1 SOL (Highlights)

Phantoms hockey is back! Things got off to an explosive start on Saturday with Danick Martel finding the back of the net 3 times. Also delivering were Greg Carey (1), Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1), Phil Varone (1) and Reece Willcox (1). Alex Lyon stopped 29 saves en route to the victory against the hated rival Hershey Bears.

Danick Martel wasn’t finished as on Sunday he deposited his 4th goal to open the season. Sadly, that was all the offense LHV could muster up. Lyon made 35 saves and another 2 in the shootout before allowing the winning SO goal to Adam Tambellini.

Philippe Myers (D): 2 GP, 1 assist, 3 shots, 2 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent

I know some were disappointed that Myers didn’t battle for a spot with the Flyers, but sadly the numbers (and his play) dictated that. Even on Saturday, he demonstrated he still has some ways to go in improving his defensive play. The potential is tantalizing and any way he can work out the kinks before joining the big club should be looked at as a positive.

Mark Friedman (D): 2 GP, 3 shots
2014 3rd Round Pick, 86th overall

Friedman excited a lot of folks in preseason with his aggressive play and with a strong 1st year in LHV it could go a long way in helping prove he belongs at the professional level.

Reece Willcox (D): 2 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 shots, 2 PIM
2012 5th Round Pick, 141st overall

Sort of the forgotten man of defensive prospects, though he has continued to get ice time at the AHL level. The pride of Cornell University will need to remain steady.

Mike Vecchione (C): 2 GP, 2 assists, 4 shots
Undrafted Free Agent

Through attrition at the NHL level and his own improved play, Vecchione will be back in the NHL at some point this season.

Nicolas Aubé-Kubel (RW): 2 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 shots, 2 PIM
2014 2nd Round Pick, 48th overall

NAK needs to kick it into gear if he has any hopes of making the Flyers or the NHL. While he was strongly encouraged to work on his defensive game last season, his creativity offensively waned (18 points in 71 games) in the process. With linemates like Vecchione and Martel, there will be no excuses this year.

Danick Martel (RW): 2 GP, 4 goals, 9 shots, 5 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent

Martel can score goals folks. Yes, he is tiny (5’8), but he has proved at every level that he can produce offensively. If he keeps a strong PPG pace this season, Martel has an excellent shot as an injury replacement.

Oskar Lindblom (LW): 2 GP, 5 shots
2014 5th Round Pick, 138th overall

Not the kind of start Lindblom was hoping for, but as he becomes more familiar with the North American rink and style he should start producing.

Mikhail Vorobyov (C): 2 GP, 1 assist, 5 shots
2015 4th Round Pick, 104th overall

Fresh out of the KHL, the 20 year old faces an exceptional challenge to see how he measures up against North American competition.

Alex Lyon (G): 2 GP, 3 GA, 64 saves
Undrafted Free Agent

Without the ever-looming shadow of Anthony Stolarz, Lyon should settle in as the #1 back-up to the back-up role in the Flyers organization. His .955 SV% is the 2nd highest among AHL goaltender who have played at least 2 games.

Notable Canadian junior performers this week:

Connor Bunnaman (C/LW), Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
2016 4th Round Pick, 109th overall

  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 4 shots, 10 for 13 FOW
  • 10/7 - 1 shot, 5 for 10 FOW

It’s been a slow start for Bunnaman entering his 4th OHL season. He has yet to score a goal in his first 5 games after scoring 37 in 64 last year.

Anthony Salinitri (C), Sarnia Sting (OHL)
2016 6th Round Pick, 172nd overall

  • 10/4 - 0 shots, 2 for 4 FOW
  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 2 PIM, 2 for 6 FOW

A quiet week for Salinitri, though he has compiled 7 points (1 G, 6 A) in his first 6 games.

Morgan Frost (C), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
2017 1st Round Pick, 27th overall

  • 10/5 - 0 shots, 3 for 16 FOW
  • 10/6 - 2 shots, 7 for 18 FOW

Feeling the pressure of being a first round draft pick? The 18 year old has been held pointless in 4 of his 7 games this season.

Isaac Ratcliffe (LW), Guelph Storm (OHL)
2017 2nd Round Pick, 35th overall

  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 8 shots, 2 PIM, 0 for 2 FOW
  • 10/7 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 1 for 1 FOW

The expectations for Ratcliffe this season are almost as big as the kid himself (6’6). So far though, he has collected 5 points (2 G, 3 A) in his first 6 games.

Maksim Sushko (RW), Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
2017 4th Round Pick, 107th overall

  • 10/4 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 shot, 4 PIM
  • 10/7 - DNP

Make that back-to-back games with goals for Sushko, who also scored his first of the season back on 9/30. Sadly, he sat out of Saturday’s match with an injury.

Carsen Twarynski (LW), Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
2016 3rd Round Pick, 82nd overall

  • 10/4 - 1 assist, 4 shots, 1 for 1 FOW
  • 10/6 - 2 assists, 3 shots, 2 PIM
  • 10/7 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 2 shots, 3 for 9 FOW

Not a terrible start to the season for Twarynski? He spent some extra time in Phantoms camp prior to joining Kelowna. Twarynski was actually eligible for both juniors and AHL because of his late November birthday. His 3 games last week were his first official action of the season.

Pascal Laberge (C), Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
2016 2nd Round Pick, 36th overall

  • 10/6 - DNP
  • 10/8 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 shots, 6 for 18 FOW

Laberge missed Friday’s game with a lower-body injury. Thankfully, he was able to come back Sunday and score his 3rd goal of the season on this breakaway. The talented center has 5 points (3 G, 2 A) in 5 games this season.

German Rubtsov (C), Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
2016 1st Round Pick, 22nd overall

  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 1 for 6 FOW
  • 10/8 - 2 assists, 3 shots, 8 for 18 FOW

Finally, Rubtsov makes his 2017-18 season debut after missing Chicoutimi’s first 4 games because of paperwork issues. The Flyers organization made the decision to send Rubtsov back to juniors even though he was still eligible to play for the Phantoms. This was probably a smart choice given his limited time spent in juniors last season. Look for Rubtsov to dominate this season.

CHL Notes: Carter Hart (G) and fans received the news that he has been diagnosed with mono. The Everett Silvertips (WHL) will be without the top goalie prospect for the foreseeable future.

Notable European performers this week

Linus Högberg (D), Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
2016 5th Round Pick, 139th overall

  • 10/5 - 1 shot, 15:21 TOI
  • 10/8 - DNP

While it’s unclear why he wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday, I think we can all be happy to see Högberg getting extended minutes that he wasn’t getting last season. Cross your fingers he is back in the lineup for their next game on Friday.

David Bernhardt (D), Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
2016 7th Round Pick, 199th overall

  • 10/5 - DNP
  • 10/8 - no shots, 8:41 TOI

Bernhardt was out of the lineup with an illness for Thursday’s match. He re-joined Djurgårdens on Sunday, but was only able to get 3rd pairing minutes.

David Kaše (C/W), Mora IK (SHL)
2015 5th Round Pick, 128th overall

  • 10/5 - 1 assist, 16:30 TOI
  • 10/7 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 14:59 TOI

Kaše has adjusted well to the SHL so far with 6 points (2 G, 4 A) in 7 games.

Olle Lycksell (RW/C), Linköping HC J20 (SuperElit)
2017 6th Round Pick, 168th overall

  • 10/4 - no shots, 47% FOW
  • 10/7 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 9 for 12 FOW

Kudos to Flyers Prospects for the Lycksell updates. He scored this pretty goal on Saturday, his 2nd of the season.

Felix Sandström (G), Brynäs IF (SHL)
2015 3rd Round Pick, 70th overall

  • 10/5 - 1 GA, 14 saves
  • 10/7 - DNP

Sandström’s .927 SV% is tied for 9th best in the SHL. This kid has all the makings for a breakout season.

Ivan Fedotov (G), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
2015 7th Round Pick, 188th overall

  • 10/2 - DND
  • 10/4 - 2 GA, 22 saves
  • 10/6 - DNP
  • 10/8 - DND

Ivan Fedotov got the call-up to the big club in the KHL this past week and saw a bit of game action. It’s likely he’ll get sent back down to the VHL shortly. In the two games he dressed, he shared the spotlight with former NHL goalie Ben Scrivens.

Kirill Ustimenko (G), MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
2017 3rd Round Pick, 80th overall

  • 10/5 - 0 GA, 18 shots
  • 10/6 - 2 GA, 22 shots

Once again, thanks to Alex Appleyard for these more obscure league updates (give him a follow on Twitter please). Ustimenko’s season-line now stands at .910 SV% with a 1.91 GAA in 9 games.

Notable NCAA and USHL performers this week:

Wade Allison (RW), Western Michigan University
2016 2nd Round Pick, 52nd overall

  • 10/6 - 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots
  • 10/7 - 2 shots, 7 PIM, 1 for 2 FOW

2nd year Wade Allison getting 2nd line minutes for WMU. Check out this easy PP goal he scored on Friday. Wade Allison is that sniper that fans have been clamoring for years for.

Cooper Marody (C), University of Michigan
2015 6th Round Pick, 158th overall

  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 0 shots, 6 for 16 FOW
  • 10/7 - 2 shots, 8 for 15 FOW

Cooper Marody’s last season was a bit of a mixed bag, as he missed a great portion of it sitting out the first half of the season due to academic ineligibility. This is Marody’s third year with U of Michigan.

Brendan Warren (LW), University of Michigan
2015 3rd Round Pick, 81st overall

  • 10/6 - 3 shots, 2 PIM
  • 10/7 - 1 shot

Brendan Warren might not look familiar, but he came over in the Nick Cousins trade along with a 2018 5th round pick. Flyers may very well have liked Warren after seeing him play alongside Marody. Warren’s numbers have been less than stellar his previous two season’s with Michigan.

Tanner Laczynski (RW/C), Ohio State University
2016 6th Round Pick, 169th overall

  • 10/6 - 3 shots
  • 10/7 - 1 shot

A quiet season-debut for one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects. Laczynski performed well for Team USA in the World Juniors last season and compiled 32 points (10 G, 22 A) in 34 games in his first season with OSU.

David Drake (D), University of Connecticut
2013 7th Round Pick, 192nd overall

  • 10/6 - 2 shots, 2 PIM
  • 10/7 - 0 shots

Is he a prospect at this point? The lanky stay-at-home defenseman is entering his 4th year with UConn and has just 17 points in 88 games in his NCAA career.

Wyatt Kalynuk (D), University of Wisconsin
2017 7th Round Pick, 196th overall

  • 10/6 - 1 shot, 4 PIM
  • 10/7 - 1 shot

Kalynuk squared off against OSU and Tanner Laczynski in both games this weekend, splitting the series with a pair of 3-2 finals. This is Kalynuk’s first season with Wisconsin after a 31 point season (60 GP) with Bloomington Thunder of the USHL last year.

Terrance Amorosa (D), Clarkson University
2013 5th Round Pick, 132nd overall

  • 10/6 - 2 assists, 2 shots, 2 PIM
  • 10/7 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 shot, 6 PIM

Is this the year that Amorosa breaks out? Amorosa finished with 16 points (3 G, 13 A) in 30 games with Clarkson last season.

Noah Cates (LW), Omaha Lancers (USHL)
2017 5th Round Pick, 137th overall

  • 10/6 - 1 assist, 2 shots

Noah Cates has gained some buzz post-draft and has quite a bit of offensive upside. He’ll play out the year with Omaha, but is committed to playing for University of Minnesota-Duluth for the 2018-19 season.

Matej Tomek (G), Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
2015 3rd Round Pick, 90th overall

  • 10/7 - 2 GA, 22 saves

Matej Tomek is finally playing hockey folks! A brief history on Tomek, he received no playing time at University of North Dakota in 2015-16, played only two games in 2016-17 and had only 2 official games in the World Juniors last year. He officially left UND and signed in the USHL in hopes of landing in the CHL next season.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 11:18:29 EDT from rss

Subject: Sifting Through Bad Takes to Explain Why U.S. Soccer Failed

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There’s a lot to parse after Tuesday night’s embarrassment but I’ll start with this: That team was not prepared to play and looked like it didn’t even give a shit. I’ve never seen a more appalling display of effort in 27 years of watching United States soccer, and that was a constant theme throughout this debacle…

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 13:40:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Panthers Final Injury Report: Updates on Johnson, Cox, and Smallwood

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Final update.

Philadelphia Eagles released their third and final official injury report in advance of their Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers.

Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson is OUT, as expected. Johnson suffered a concussion on Sunday and still hasn’t passed through the mandatory concussion protocol. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will take over in his place.

Now, this is obviously a big loss for Philly. The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 games when Johnson has played. They are 2-8 in the last 10 games he’s missed.

In my opinion, Johnson’s injury is exactly why Thursday Night Football sucks, by the way. There’s a decent chance he’d be able to play if this game was on a Sunday. But I digress.

Starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is questionable to play tomorrow evening. He was a full participant in practice on Tuesday, so that’s an encouraging sign, but it still seems like there’s uncertainty if he’ll play. Doug Pederson said he’ll be a game-time decision.

Running back Wendell Smallwood is also questionable. He didn’t practice at all this week, however, so I’d have to think he’ll be out again. Expect to see a lot of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement with Kenjon Barner also being mixed in to the rotation.

In other injury news, Ronald Darby is out again. Defensive tackles Beau Allen, who is Cox’s top replacement, and Destiny Vaeao are questionable. It would be a huge concern if none of those three tackles (Cox, Allen, Vaeao) can play. Veteran defensive end Chris Long is questionable. If he can’t go, that’ll mean more playing time for Derek Barnett and Steven Means. Safety Jaylen Watkins is questionable for the second week in a row. He didn’t suit up last Sunday despite being a full participant in practice all week. We’ll see if that’s the same case this week.

Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Wednesday)


CB Ronald Darby (ankle)

OT Lane Johnson (concussion)


DT Fletcher Cox (calf)

DT Beau Allen (foot)

DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)

RB Wendell Smallwood (knee)

DE Chris Long (foot)

S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)


Injured Reserve

RB Darren Sproles

RB Donnel Pumphrey

K Caleb Sturgis

CB Randall Goforth

DT Aziz Shittu

WR Dom Williams

Non-Football Injury List

CB Sidney Jones

Carolina Panthers Injury Report (Wednesday)

To be announced - check back later for updates.


Injured Reserve

TE Greg Olsen

WR Damiere Byrd

CB Corn Elder

OT Dan France

DE Daeshon Hall

DT Drew Iddings

WR Charles Johnson

CB Cole Luke

WR Fred Ross

TE Scott Simonson

CB Teddy Williams

G David Yankey

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 14:15:06 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Maurice Hurst

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Last weekend featured a handful of incredibly impressive numbers by NFL draft prospects across various positions. However, despite a lot of the flash, no player was more dominant than Michigan defensive lineman, Maurice Hurst.

Hurst, a senior defensive lineman for the Wolverines, played one of the most dominant games by a defender of the entire season. Despite Michigan’s loss to rival Michigan State, Hurst turned in an incredible performance wracking up 10 tackles, six of them solo and an incredible 3.5 tackles for a loss. This type of production from a defensive tackle is unheard of, yet Hurst came in and made it look routine.

The amazing thing about Hurst is that he has been productive his whole career at Michigan but only this year did he get recognized as a starter. Last year, as a rotational guy, Hurst picked up four and a half sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. That is incredibly impressive production on limited snaps and this season he is showing his potential in an expanded role.

At 6’2” and weighing just over 280 pounds, Hurst is a bit undersized for an NFL tackle. In order to quiet concerns about being a tweener at the next level; Hurst will need to continue dominating opponents the way he did on Saturday. Yet, if his hot start to the season is any indicator, it is going to be hard to overlook him come NFL draft time.

Other Performances of Note:

  • Bradley Chubb, Edge Defender, NC State: After showing up as the featured player a few week ago, it is no surprise that Bradley Chubb keeps dominating college football. The senior edge defender was a one man wrecking team against Louisville; posting seven total pressures including a sack, had two tackles for a loss and blocked an extra point. As a college player, there is no defender in the country who is producing the way Bradley Chubb is and he is creating a lot of hype for himself in the process.
  • Philip Lindsay, Running Back, Colorado: It is rare that a 280 rushing yard performance goes overshadowed but that is exactly what happened to Philip Lindsay. His productive day was outmatched by Arizona’s quarterback rushing for over 300 yards in the same game. Anyway, Lindsay was asked to carry the ball a whopping 41 times and delivered by averaging 6.9 yards per carry (nice) and scoring three touchdowns. He even chipped in three catches for 39 yards to bring his total yardage number over 300. The 5’8”, 190 pound senior is going to get knocked for his size in the draft process, but he is a tough runner with passing game savvy and he is having his best season yet.
  • Anthony Miller, Wide Receiver, Memphis: Memphis is on a roll this season and in large part due to their star receiver, Anthony Miller. Last weekend, Miller caught 15 passes for 224 yards and an incredible four touchdowns in a blowout of Connecticut. Miller was too hard to cover and even when the defenders kept close, he was able to make tough grabs over them. Miller is another smaller guy from a small school, but his proclivity this year is going to get him noticed at some point.
  • Harold Landry, Edge Defender, Boston College: Despite losing to Virginia Tech, no one is going to look to blame Boston College’s pass rush for their loss. Harold Landry sacked Josh Jackson three times to keep Boston College in the game. His best game of the season so far, the senior pass rusher is hoping to continue that sort of dominance so he can remain one of the top defensive prospects in the country.
  • Kerryon Johnson, Running Back, Auburn: With Bo Jackson watching, Kerryon Johnson ran for over 200 yards and three touchdowns against Ole Miss at a rate of 7.3 yards per carry. The 6’0”, 215 pound back’s speed was just to much for the Rebels as he ran past them all day. Johnson is emerging as the lead back in a crowded backfield this season and the junior could finish the year as a legitimate NFL draft prospect given his size and speed.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 14:39:37 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Power Rankings Roundup Week 6: Eagles listed as high as the top 2

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A look at what the experts are saying about the Birds.

Today we continue our weekly roundup of how various media outlets have ranked the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL power rankings. It’s always interesting to see how the Birds stack up from an outside perspective. But first, let's start by revisiting mine.

Bleeding Green Nation

3) The Eagles are 4-1 and their only loss has come against the NFL’s sole remaining undefeated team. And that game was in Kansas City and the Chiefs had the benefit of extra rest. Philadelphia owns the best point differential in the NFC. Carson Wentz is playing well. The defensive line is preventing the secondary from being as bad as it could be. Dave Fipp’s special teams unit is still great. The Eagles are a legitimately good team. It’s just a matter of how good. Big test this week in Carolina. (LW: 8)

SB Nation

2) No explanation (LW: 7)


4) 86.0 percent chance. The Eagles have the best playoff chances in the NFC by a nose (one-tenth of a percent). What has the Eagles soaring? Ball control. They've converted a league-best 53 percent of third downs, and they've averaged a league-best 35 minutes, 32 seconds of possession this season. (LW: 8)

2) Even Eagles fans are a bit skeptical of Philly being this high. At least that's the feedback I received from last week's Power Rankings. After grounding the birds -- the other birds -- Carson Wentz and Co. remain alone atop the NFC East. About the only thing that didn't come to fruition in the Eagles' most impressive win of the season was the huge outing predicted by fantasy types for Corey Clement, who was mostly a non-factor. While Wentz's four touchdown passes led the highlights, the ground game very quietly racked up 122 yards. (LW: 3)

CBS Sports

3) They've won three straight heading to a big NFC battle with the hot Panthers in Carolina Thursday night. They still need more consistency from Carson Wentz, despite his good start. (LW: 3)

Yahoo! Sports

4) I’m very impressed with this team. The Cardinals might be a shell of what they were a couple seasons ago, but the Eagles demolished them. They’re even getting big contributions from players like Nelson Agholor, who looked like a sure bust before this season. This is the best team in the NFC East. (LW: 6)

Washington Post

3) The toughest part of the Eagles’ schedule is still to come. That is undeniable, and it begins with Thursday night’s game at Carolina. But win or lose against the Panthers, the Eagles have shown enough to prove they should have staying power. Carson Wentz is legitimate, making the Eagles a factor in the division chase all season. (LW: 5)

Bleacher Report

6) We need to start putting Carson Wentz in the conversation of the top five or six quarterbacks in the NFL. His ability to improvise, make plays on the run and break arm tackles are all phenomenal. His ability to throw the ball and strike the big play are even better. The Eagles' running game has been much improved in recent weeks, and that's making Wentz and the Philadelphia offense even more dangerous. LeGarrette Blount is punishing defenses and opening space in the passing game. Defensively, the Eagles are best up front. Even without Fletcher Cox, the defensive line whipped the crap out of the Cardinals offense all four quarters—and I'd argue that Cox is one of the five best defensive players in the game. When the front four plays like it did Sunday, the Eagles can mask their deficiencies in the secondary. Philadelphia might not run away with the NFC East, but the Eagles are setting themselves up as playoff contenders. (LW: 8)

USA Today

5) Carson Wentz deserves accolades coming his way. But credit offense that holds ball nearly 36 minutes per game, 2 minutes more than any other team. (LW: 8)


4) Interesting statistic of the week: on third down Sunday, Carson Wentz went 11/12 for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns with a perfect passer rating. Bonus statistic. (LW: 7)

Sporting News

4) Carson Wentz is fearless, tough, athletic and strong. Those are really not enough adjectives to describe the second-year QB's breakout play. Philadelphia is here also because it's so strong on both fronts, making up for its back-end defensive weaknesses. (LW: 10)

Pro Football Talk

5) Get used to the Eagles getting off to great starts to the season. (LW: 9)

Pro Football Focus

6) As we predicted, the Eagles handled business convincingly against the Cardinals on Sunday at home. Carson Wentz utilized play action to the tune of 7-for-7 passing, for 56 yards and a touchdown against Arizona’s defense. Clearly they leveraged a running game that is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has gone over 100 yards in five consecutive games. They’ll be hurt if Lane Johnson (86.2) can’t go on Thursday because of a concussion, but it looks like they’ll be getting Fletcher Cox (calf) back in time to face a Carolina offensive line that’s middle-of-the-road in terms of pass-blocking efficiency and run-blocking grades so far this season. (LW: 8)

Sports Illustrated

5) No explanation (LW: 8)

Football Outsiders

5) No explanation (LW: 12)


6) No explanation (LW: 10)


The rankings range from as high as 2 to as low as 6. The most common rankings are 4 and 5. The average ranking is 4.2, which is up more than three spots from last week’s average of 7.5.

This week’s game is a big one for the Eagles. A road win over the Panthers would have everyone admitting Philly is legit.

Beating Carolina won’t be easy. And losing to them would hardly mean the Eagles are some kind of fraud team. The Birds will be without Lane Johnson for Thursday’s matchup. Fletcher Cox is questionable to play as well.

I can’t stress enough how great an Eagles win would be in this spot. 5-1 with 10 days to prepare for a home game against a Washington team missing Josh Norman ... that’d be great.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 15:02:20 EDT from rss

Subject: New York Giants are a complete dumpster fire

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The New York Giants are a dumpster fire.

The team is off to an 0-5 start and things are getting ugly in North Jersey.

The latest news is that veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is being suspended by the Giants because he left the team on Wednesday morning.

Could this team be any more of a disaster?

The Giants lost four starting wide receivers in Week 5. Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris are all out of the season while Sterling Shepard is set to miss a few weeks.

New York can’t run the ball and their offensive line sucks.

And now their head coach, Ben McAdoo, is totally losing control of his team. (The Eagles totally dodged a bullet by not hiring that guy.)

The Giants have a real shot of going 0-16 this year.

It’s funny now to think some had them winning the NFC East this season. Instead, they’ll likely be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick. They’ve reached Cleveland Browns level of futility.

It’s a glorious sight for Eagles.

Now, it’d be ideal if the Giants start to win some games so it makes it harder for them to get a new quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. But the G-Men are probably just so bad that it’s pointless.

Just enjoy the fact that they’re going to majorly suck this year.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 15:03:08 EDT from rss

Subject: Samuel Morin headed to Allentown

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Just because we knew it was coming doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Well folks, the Flyers have made it official. From the official site:

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today they have loaned defenseman Samuel Morinto their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Morin saw zero minutes of ice time during the team’s first four games of the season, so this is a move we all saw coming. This doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Morin had one goal and one assist in three preseason games before heading to the pressbox.

The Phantoms play this Friday in Wilkes-Barre against the Baby Penguins and we’d expect to see Morin on the ice.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 15:49:49 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-Panthers Preview: This Could Be The Alshon Jeffery Game

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The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #268). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Panthers game in Week 6, talk about how Alshon Jeffery is a key player to watch, analyze key matchups, and much more.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 17:01:45 EDT from rss

Subject: The Eagles are flying high while the rest of the NFC East is ... not

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The SB Nation NFL team sites will be doing theme weeks all throughout the 2017 NFL season. This week’s theme is: “Who is the best and who is the worst team in your division?

The answer to this question is fairly obviously when you take a look at the NFC East standings.

1) Philadelphia Eagles: 4-1
2) Washington Redskins: 2-2
3) Dallas Cowboys: 2-3
4) New York Giants: 0-5

Best team = Eagles.

Worst team = The New York Giant Dumpster Fire.

Now, there’s still a lot of football left this season and things can always change. But for now, it’s hard not to feel good about the Eagles’ chances of winning the division this season. Take a look at the updated playoff odds.

Football Outsiders gives the Eagles a 66.9% chance of winning the division. They also give the Eagles a 22.4% chance of being the No. 1 seed in the conference — the best odds of any NFC team right now.

And are you ready for this? Guess which NFL team currently has the second best odds to win the Super Bowl?

That’s right, it’s your Philadelphia Eagles — at 9.3%.

Now, the Eagles still have a lot to prove before we start seriously thinking about a Super Bowl trip for this team. But at the very least, the playoffs seem within reach.

The Eagles’ biggest threats to the division crown the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. I’d say Dallas is less intimidating at this point. Washington is the better team, which shows in the No. 2 overall DVOA ranking.

Speaking of that ranking, by the way, I don’t want to hear how “the Eagles haven’t beaten anybody good” this year. The Eagles beat Washington, who likely would’ve beaten the Chiefs if Josh Doctson doesn’t drop a game-winning touchdown in the final minutes, by 13 points on the road in Week 1.

Washington’s had the Eagles’ number in recent years. But that fortune might be starting to turn around. The Eagles will face them again in Week 7. The Birds will have 10 days to prepare for that matchup after playing on Thursday Night Football this week. Washington will be without starting corner Josh Norman in that game, which is a big loss for them.

Washington sure had to deal with a lot of off-season drama, but it’s been a relatively quiet week for them since they’ve been on the bye. The same can’t be said for the Cowboys and Giants.

Check out what’s going down in Dallas as the team has lost three out of their last four games.

And then there’s New York.

So far, the Eagles have been able to avoid dysfunction on their way to 4-1. Winning typically cures all of that, so they’re in a good spot right now.

The Birds are off to such a strong start that I can’t help but get ahead of myself and look at their upcoming schedule. Here’s their remaining slate for the season.

Week 6 - at Carolina Panthers (Oct. 12, 8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFLN) Thursday Night Football

Week 7 - vs. Washington Redskins (Oct. 23, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football

Week 8 - vs. San Francisco 49ers (Oct. 29, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 9 - vs. Denver Broncos (Nov. 5, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Week 10 - BYE

Week 11 - at Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 19, 8:30 PM ET, NBC) Sunday Night Football

Week 12 - vs. Chicago Bears (Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 13 - at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 3, 8:30 PM ET, NCB) Sunday Night Football

Week 14 - at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 10, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Week 15 - at New York Giants (Dec. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 16 - vs. Oakland Raiders (Dec. 25, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football on Christmas

Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Let’s go through a quick win-loss prediction.

The Panthers game will be tough. I’ll say that’s a loss for now. Then the Eagles come back to play Washington with extra rest. Win. 49ers at home. Win. Broncos at home. Tough game, yet winnable, but I’ll say loss. That would put the Eagles at 6-3 at the bye.

From there, I say they beat the Cowboys after having an extra week of rest to prepare for Dallas. Bears at home is a win. I’ll say they lose both the Seahawks and Rams games out west only to come back to the East Coast to beat the Giants. Then they beat the Raiders at home on Christmas. So that would be 10-5 heading into Week 17, which may or may not be a meaningless game for the Birds.

My point here is that the Eagles could go 6-5 the rest of the way (one game above .500) and still probably be in decent shape. Now, the hope is they’ll exceed these expectations and be in position for home field advantage in the playoffs.

“Relax, BLG. One week at a time.”

I know. You’re right. Again, there’s still 11 games left to be played. Can’t just assume everything is going to be as good as it’s going right now.

But it’s OK to feel good about where the team stands right now. Carson Wentz is playing good football. The offense is clicking under Doug Pederson’s command. Jim Schwartz has the defense being competitive. Dave Fipp’s special teams unit is the best in the NFL.

Let’s hope the good times keep rolling. An Eagles win over the Panthers on Thursday night would be a great way to do just that.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 15:53:34 EDT from rss

Subject: NBC Sports Philly Will Air The Sixers Game Tonight

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ALERT: We will televise tonight’s Sixers – Nets game at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia. — NBC Sports Philly (@NBCSPhilly) October 11, 2017 This game wasn’t supposed to be televised. I spent an hour writing a post on how to watch it. This should make it easy! Good job by NBA Sports Don’t…

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 16:11:56 EDT from rss

Subject: Appreciating America

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Last Saturday, a 125-pound man pulled off a mid-air suplex and armbar combination to break the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses. The ridiculous submission was one of the best finishes in MMA history, cementing Demetrious Johnson’s status as the promotion’s best pound-for-pound fighter: .@MightyMouseUFC is the single greatest fighter we have ever seen.…

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 18:00:30 EDT from rss

Subject: Panthers writer gives 3 reasons why the Eagles could beat Carolina

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Focusing on the enemy’s weaknesses.

The Eagles are underdogs heading into their Week 6 matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Most odds-makers have the Panthers favored by 3 points.

This game will be a tough test for the Eagles. The Panthers have been hitting their stride lately and Cam Newton is looking good.

If you’re feeling worried about this game, today’s post might have you feeling a little better about the Eagles’ chances.

Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Cat Scratch Reader on Tuesday in order to preview this week’s matchup.

Today, we're back with three reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each team's weaknesses, rather than just think of why each team is awesome.

So here are three reasons why the Panthers could lose, as written by CSR’s Bradley Smith. Check out Cat Scratch Reader to see why I think the Eagles could lose.


The Panthers struggled running the football last week against the Lions, gaining a paltry 28 yards on 28 carries. If not for Cam Newton’s 28/33, 355 yards, 3 touchdowns performance the Panthers would most likely be 3-2 instead of 4-1 right now. How does this come into play for Thursday night? Well, Newton is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and this game is on a short week, so Newton may not be fully rested and have the same ability in his shoulder that he had against Detroit.

Wide receiver Devin Funchess - who has scored three touchdowns in his last two games - tweaked his knee on Sunday and has missed practice this week leading up to Thursday night’s clash. Newton will need Funchess in the lineup as a secondary option to Kelvin Benjamin, who has been dealing with a sore knee of his own for the last few weeks. Without Greg Olsen in the lineup, Newton doesn’t have his favorite security blanket on the field and has had to rely on Ed Dickson to fill that void.

With a group of receivers nursing sore knees and a tight end who had more receiving yards last week than he has in any season since signing with Carolina as the primary receiving options, the Panthers will have to find a way to generate offense on the ground. If the Eagles can shut down the Panthers running game and force them to be one-dimensional through the air, they have a much higher chance of leaving Charlotte with a win.


The Panthers secondary is banged up and is missing their best player (S Kurt Coleman), so if Carson Wentz can find enough time to get the ball down the field, the Eagles could pose a problem for the Panthers on defense.

Both starting cornerbacks - James Bradberry and Daryl Worley - missed practice on Tuesday, and while it could be precautionary it’s something to worry about if you’re a Panthers fan. The Panthers have a severe lack of depth in the secondary and if Bradberry or Worley is unable to go on Thursday night it could be a huge problem.

The front seven is one of the best in the league so if the pass rush is able to get to Wentz, the issues in the secondary can be mitigated somewhat, but if the Eagles’ offensive line is able to give Wentz adequate time to throw the ball deep, the Panthers could be in for a long night.


The Panthers have a tendency to let teams come back on them late in the game after building up a substantial lead. Over the last two weeks, the Panthers have allowed 28 points in the 4th quarter (14 to NE and 14 to DET) while only scoring 10 points themselves (10 at NE).

Panthers fans have grown accustomed to the game never being over regardless of the score. The bend but don’t break philosophy will catch up to the Panthers eventually, so if they do happen to jump out to a decent lead in the first three quarters of the game it’s possible that their luck will finally run out.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 20:11:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles announce jersey selection for Thursday Night Football game

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Exciting! (Not)

The Philadelphia Eagles have announced their uniform selection for their Thursday Night Football game against the Carolina Panthers this week. Who’s excited for some Color Rush jerseys!?

Huh. That’s ... that’s not a Color Rush jersey.

It’s just the Eagles’ boring all-white uniform that we already get to see plenty of in the preseason and September games because they don’t want to wear midnight green/black when it’s hot out.

The Panthers, meanwhile, will be wearing their all-blue uniforms.

I know the Eagles probably want to save their all-black uniforms for two home games this season, which is fine. And it’s not like this is a major issue ... but the all-white just feels so boring to me. It lacks creativity and it’s annoying when we get to see other teams wear cool stuff.

Back in September, I posed a question on Twitter about the Eagles’ all-whites that generated a lot of response.

The feedback was mixed, so I want to wanted to make a poll here on BGN: What do you think of the Eagles’ all-white jerseys? Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it) and share your take in the comments.

[#] Wed Oct 11 2017 20:47:40 EDT from rss

Subject: Carson Wentz nominated for weekly award you can vote on

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Vote for Carson.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been nominated for one of the NFL’s weekly awards for his performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.

Wentz is one of three players eligible to win the “Fedex Air Player of the Week” award. The other two quarterbacks he’s going up against: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. You can [click here] to vote for Wentz.

Here’s a look at how they all performed stat-wise.

Carson Wentz: 21/30 (70%), 304 yards (10.1 average), 4 TD, 1 INT, 128.3 passer rating

Cam Newton: 26/33 (78.8%), 355 yards (10.8 average), 3 TD, 0 INT, 141.8 passer rating

Alex Smith: 29/37 (78.4%), 325 yards (8.8 average), 3 TD, 0 INT, 130.2 passer rating

Based on statistics alone, Wentz doesn’t have the strongest case of the three. That would go to the quarterback of the Eagles’ Week 6 opponent: Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.

Both Wentz and Newton have been playing really well in recent weeks. Thursday night has the potential to be a great battle between the two quarterbacks.

[#] Thu Oct 12 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: In which we complain about the coaching staff

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

*So before we get on to the news from yesterday, let’s look back at what we learned from a very frustrating loss in Nashville on Tuesday night. [BSH]

*Everyone is doing observations these days, so we might as well read them. [NBC Sports Philly]

*Let’s see what the Predators fans thought of their team’s comeback win. They do agree with us on one thing: Dave Hakstol did it. [On The Forecheck]

*So about Dave Hakstol...that challenge wasn’t a good idea. And someone has crunched the numbers to back that up. [Hockey Graphs]

*Anyhoo....on to the news. The Flyers sent Samuel Morin to Allentown. We knew it was going to happen, and it still isn’t great. [BSH]

*Speaking of the Phantoms, Danick Martel has gotten off to a really hot start up there. More on him and the rest of the kiddos in our latest prospect report. [BSH]

*Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts; on hockey arenas and opening night ceremonies and maximizing lineups and Nolan Patrick. [Sportsnet]

*Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, who is awesome and super fun to watch, on the five toughest players he’s played against. [The Players’ Tribune]

*And finally, DGB on the ten things we’ve learned after one full week of spicy NHL action. [Sportsnet]

[#] Thu Oct 12 2017 07:37:50 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia named most watchable team in the NFL

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/12/17.

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

The Debrief, Week 5: Fresh faces top Watchability Rankings -
My two favorite plays of the season were authored by Carson Wentz and Nelson Agholor, which is a very 2017 thing to write. Facing a third-and-19 against the Cardinals on Sunday, Wentz saw a blitz coming, stepped up in the pocket and tossed the ball high enough into the Philly sky to bring rain. Agholor did the rest, complete with a splash into the end zone. Wentz will miss a routine throw or four each week, and he'll make some head-scratching decisions, like on his red-zone interception against Arizona. But he's so much fun to watch, like a cross between the young versions of Daunte Culpepper, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton. His other possible Play of the Year, a wild Week 1 scramble before finding Agholor deep, was typical of this season, in which defenses have been unable to get Wentz to the ground.

Eagles-Panthers Preview: This Could Be The Alshon Jeffery Game - BGN
THIS IS THE ALSHON JEFFERY GAME - Eagles wide receivers match up really well versus Carolina’s secondary - these are the least tough cornerbacks Alshon has had to face all season. Plus the Panthers could challenge Zach Ertz this week.

Counterpoint Ep. 10: Draft Twitter Jumps On The Wentz Wagon -
Jack Fritz goes over how the beatdown of the Cardinals got draft twitter to jump on board the Wentz Wagon, he checks the Doug Pederson confidence meter and brings a brand new guest to the #100 take of the week.

Brandon Brooks: Lane Johnson a huge loss, but we have the utmost confidence in Big V - PhillyVoice
Repetition, doing the same things over and over, the exact same way. Stout [Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] prides himself in that. We pride ourselves in that. No matter who goes in, who’s down and who has to step up, it’s done exactly the same way. We understand that –especially the backup position – guys are one play from having to step in and play. It’s just the same thing over and over. You never get bored with doing the right thing. We do the same thing so many times. One quote that Stout says as an O-line we live by, a Bruce Lee quote where he says, ‘Fear not the man who that has 10,000 kicks and practices it one time, fear the man that has one kick and practices it 10,000 times.’ With Stout, we the same thing over and over and never get bored with it.

Game Review – PHI 34, ARZ 7 - Iggles Blitz
Carson Wentz played his best game of the season, going 21-30-304. He threw a career high 4 TDs. The only real negative was an INT he threw before halftime. Wentz was impressive because he was good in so many ways. He made terrific throws. He avoided pressure in the pocket and ran when he needed to. He used hard counts to get Arizona to show pre-snap blitz looks. Then he adjusted plays. They also jumped offside a couple of times.

No Excuses For Prime-Time Eagles -
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan doesn’t want to hear about all the pitfalls of playing on the road Thursday night. All he sees is an opportunity for the Eagles to play in a prime-time game and show the country what kind of team the Eagles have in 2017 ...

Eagles 'cram' for Cam Newton, dangerous Panthers attack - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was antsy as he took the podium Tuesday for his weekly session with the media. "OK," he said, trying to set the tone, "short week, short press conference." The feeling across the NovaCare practice facility, particularly in the defensive wing, was that time was of the essence. That is not uncommon when a team is slated to play a Thursday night game, especially one that is on the road. But this matchup with the 4-1 Carolina Panthers kicked the Eagles' studies into overdrive, similar to a student pulling an all-nighter in front of a final exam.

Q&A with Joe Banner: On Wentz, Pederson and drafting Donovan McNabb - The Athletic
As you and I have discussed, I've been a big fan of [Carson] Wentz's from before they drafted him, and I think everything he's doing indicates that he's as good as everybody had hoped, and he may be getting there faster than it was realistic to expect. So I think that's what elevated my expectations going into the season. I think that's the main reason they're 4-1. Not that they're going to win four out of every five games the rest of the year, but I'm not sitting here like, ‘Wow, this is going to turn around. The schedule gets tougher.' They'll lose some games, but I think they're a very solid, well-constructed team. I still don't think they're getting great play out of the wide receivers. Yet they're playing very well on offense most of the time — and against certain defenses that will have an impact. But by dominating the line of scrimmage and getting such good play out of the quarterback position, they're competing with any team in the league and will continue to be able to do that, in my opinion.

Panthers vs. Eagles: Defensive Preview - Cat Scratch Reader
On to this week. The Panthers defense gets no break as next up on the docket is a 4-1 Eagles team that boasts one of the league’s most prolific offenses. Coming into Thursday’s tilt, Doug Pederson’s boys rank 3rd in the NFL in total yardage and T-6th in scoring. They are led by second year quarterback Carson Wentz and his stupid arm sleeve. A quick glance at his passing charts reveals a quarterback that mixes in the occasional 35+ yard heave with a bunch of passes thrown within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. That leads us to our keys for the victory on this color rush Thursday.

The Eagles are out to another hot start, but beating Panthers will make it feel real - CBS Sports
The 2016 Eagles started 3-0 before struggling, and this year's version is 4-1 and looking even better.

Former Eagles WR Ben Hawkins Dies At 73 - CBS Philly
Former Eagles wide receiver Ben Hawkins died on Monday, the team said. He was 73. A third-round pick of the Eagles in 1966, Hawkins spent eight of his nine NFL seasons in Philadelphia, where he played 102 games (67 starts) from 1966-73. He is tied for ninth in team history in receiving TDs (32), 10th in receiving yards (4,764) and 19th in receptions (261).

Source: Cowboys defensive tackle Stephen Paea is retiring - Blogging The Boys
Paea’s retirement comes on the same day that word surfaced about the Cowboys releasing Nolan Carroll. They were two of the team’s bigger free agency signings this past offseason (the Cowboys didn’t make any huge signings) and they are both now gone permanently. They both began the season as starters.

NFL QB Overview from Week 5 - PFF
Wentz was efficient throughout the game operating the Eagles quick passing attack with a number of RPO’s, quick game and hitting big time throws down the field. Wentz found the void in the defense hitting Torrey Smith on a post for a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but by far his most impressive play came in the third quarter on a third and 19 against an all out cover-0 blitz where he felt the rush, pushed up in the pocket, and delivered a strike on a deep cross to Nelson Agholor, who danced around the defender for a touchdown. His lone big mistake of the game was an out and up attempt to Zach Ertz where he lead S Antoine Bethea with his eyes resulting in an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half.

NFL Panic Index 2017, Week 6: Which of last year's division winners will miss the playoffs? - SB Nation
Philadelphia got off to a 3-1 start in 2016 before grinding to a 7-9 finish as teams gradually adjusted to the play of then-rookie QB Carson Wentz. On Sunday, Wentz showed off his development by setting career highs in passing touchdowns (four) and passer rating (128.3) against a middling Cardinals defense. That’s great news for the 4-1 Eagles — and troublesome for the rest of the NFC East. The Cowboys look vulnerable after losing to the Rams and Packers in their 2-2 start, albeit in close games that featured correctable mistakes — namely giving Aaron Rodgers the ball with 73 seconds left on the clock. Dallas is one loss away from matching 2016’s total, and tailback Ezekiel Elliott is averaging nearly 1.5 fewer yards per carry than he did as a rookie


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