Subject: Predators 1, Flyers 0: Nashville grounds Flyers
Rinne shuts the door as Flyers shutout for second time this season.
The Flyers have had success in the early season, but have also now been dealt a pair of shutout losses following their 1-0 loss to Nashville on Thursday night.
Pekka Rinne stopped all 28 Flyers shots he faced and Colton Sissons’ goal 3:49 into the third period held up as the game-winner to drop the Flyers to 4-3 through seven games. It ended the Flyers’ modest two-game winning streak to start their five-game home stand.
Michal Neuvirth was solid again between the pipes for the Flyers, stopping 23 of 24 shots in a tough loss. It’s the second time the Flyers have been shutout in starts of his this season.
Thankfully, the season series has wrapped up with the Predators, and the next time the Flyers would face the team that has downed them twice already would be in the Stanley Cup Final in the spring.
Travis Sanheim got a nice early chance on a feed from Valtteri Filppula off a Flyers breakout started by Wayne Simmonds. Rinne made the save, but left a juicy rebound next to him that the Flyers couldn’t get to before being cleared.
Some dandy passing from the Flyers’ top line resulted in a good scoring chance for Sean Couturier, who ended up deflecting a pass from Jake Voracek on Rinne in close. The veteran goalie made the stop but it was another great buildup from the trio that has shown incredible chemistry early on this season.
Nashville began to respond to the Flyers’ early push with eight minutes left in the period, creating a chance in front of Michal Neuvirth’s crease on an aerial pass but the puck fell wide of the net and was quickly cleared. The play started when the referee called off an icing call at the last second, surprising Radko Gudas.
Jake Voracek would draw the first penalty of the game with 2:48 left in the first as he was taken down along the boards by Colton Sissons. Neither unit was able to generate much of a threat at the net as the Predators penalty kill closed off shooting lanes and Frederick Gaudreau blocked the most promising attempt from Travis Sanehim late in the kill.
Though Nashville had the edge in shots in the first, the Flyers won seven of eight faceoffs and had the more dangerous of scoring chances.
Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton would hook up for the first scoring chance of the second, with Laughton hitting Raffl in the high slot for a shot on goal that was turned aside. The fourth line has been effective all season long and has really benefitted from Laughton’s growth.
On an ensuing power play with Anthony Bitetto off for tripping Valtteri Filppula, the Flyers set up shop in front of Rinne but managed just one shot on goal. The Predators’ penalty kill blocked a couple shots and cut down shooting lanes to stave off pressure and keep the Flyers scoreless six minutes into the period.
Nashville got a great chance off a four-on-two rush at the 9:40 mark, but the puck ended up on Matt Irwin’s stick and the defenseman found the outside of the post next to Neuvirth instead of the back of the net.
Not long after, Radko Gudas would send the Predators to their first power play of the game at the 10:10 mark of the period. Gudas got tangled up with former Flyers Scott Hartnell along the boards and got Hartnell up high with his stick.
The Flyers would kill it off thanks in part to a great individual effort from Travis Sanheim, who worked a puck free along the boards late in the penalty and cleared the zone himself. Sanheim showing the ability to be a reliable penalty killer will go a long way in helping the rookie get in the lineup on a regular basis.
With 5:10 left in the second Neuvirth would keep the visitors scoreless with a brilliant glove save to deny Craig Smith of what would have been his 100th career goal. Neuvirth was in perfect position atop his crease and made it look easy.
As they did in the first, the Predators really pushed play in the last five minutes of the period. A long shift for the Flyers’ fourth line ended up in a semi-breakaway for Calle Jarnkrok, who fired a shot high and wide without forcing Neuvirth to make a save.
Not helping matters late in the period was a loose stick along the boards catching Wayne Simmonds up high as he sat on the bench. The forward would head off the bench to get repairs but did return to the game.
The Flyers would steal back some momentum thanks to a penalty to Filip Forsberg for interference with 1:59 left. Despite good zone time for both power play units, the Flyers managed two shots on goal but nothing to pierce Rinne and break the scoreless tie after 40 minutes of play.
A couple early chances to start the third for the Flyers came courtesy of Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick, who worked a nice two-man game ending in a sharp angle shot for Dale Weise. The trio’s relentless work on the forecheck created the opportunity.
Colton Sissons would break the scoreless tie at the 3:49 mark of the third, giving the Predators a 1-0 lead. Wayne Simmonds pinched in from the neutral zone, but Kevin Fiala chipped the puck past him and created an odd man break that ended up on the stick of Sissons, who beat Neuvirth to the blocker side.
Pekka Rinne would come up huge with 5:40 left, stopping a dangerous wraparound chance from Claude Giroux with the teams at four-on-four. Giroux nearly stuffed the puck home but the lanky Rinne would slide across just in time to make the save and keep Nashville’s 1-0 lead intact.
So who thought Claude was declining? pic.twitter.com/96LGCNjSi2— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 20, 2017
The Finnish netminder would make another game-saver on Sean Couturier not long after, though the shot hit his left pad as he was sliding to the right to peek through a screen. Nevertheless, it was another close call for the Flyers, shut down by the Preds’ goalie.
With the net empty with just over a minute left, Claude Giroux was slashed by Viktor Arvidsson and the Flyers had one last chance to tie things up. As the Predators did in the game back in Nashville, the Flyers would leave the net open to gain an extra-man advantage.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the result wouldn’t end the same as they were unable to solve Rinne with the two-man advantage for the final minute. After a solid build up a Sean Couturier pass missed Shayne Gostisbehere at the point and time ran out.
In the end the Flyers simply didn’t get enough pucks to the net early when Rinne was vulnerable, and as the game grew on the Flyers’ shot started to come from further and further outside.
Credit the Predators, too, who have a great defensive core even without Ryan Ellis. Mattias Ekholm was a beast all night shutting down passing and shooting lanes in addition to blocking a pair of shots in 26:09 of ice-time.
Next up: Flyers host Oilers at 1pm on Saturday from the Wells Fargo Center on NBCSP and 97.5 The Fanatic.
Subject: BSH Radio reacts to the 1-0 loss to Nashville
spoiler: it sucks
The Flyers were dealt their first home loss of the season in another winnable game against the Predators. The script flipped from last week, where that game was a high scoring event, this one was 0-0 through the second intermission. Steph expresses disappointment but reiterates that it was a fairly evenly matched game against the reigning Western Conference Champion.
When it comes to comments, people are very upset about Matt Read — who did not play. Everyone loves Michal Neuvirth and Travis Sanheim, both had strong games. And then Steph admits that she was wrong...you’ll have to watch to see what about!
BSH Radio reacts to a 1-0 loss at home to the Nashville PredatorsPosted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Thursday, October 19, 2017
Subject: Chiefs lose: Eagles officially have the best record in the NFL
Flying high now!
Do you know what this means?
I think you do.
Your Philadelphia Eagles are now in sole possession of the best record in the NFL at 5-1.
They’re on top of the league.
Now, it’s not like this means a ton. The Chiefs are in a different conference. Their loss doesn’t really impact the Birds all that much. And the Eagles obviously haven’t played as many games as the Chiefs yet.
But that’ll change on Monday night when the Eagles host the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s already a big game as far as the NFC East is concerned. Leaving Week 7 with the NFL’s best record would certainly be a nice bonus for the Eagles.
Earlier this week, I wrote that there’s a case to be made the Eagles are the best team in the NFL. It’ll be really difficult to argue otherwise if they win on Monday night.
Subject: Eagles News: Redskins player told his family not to come to Philadelphia for the game
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/20/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Redskins' Chris Thompson: I've warned family about rowdy Eagles fans - ESPN
"I heard that's the one stadium you keep your family from going to," Thompson said. "My family will be here this week, and they were like, 'I want to come to the Philly game.' I said, 'Absolutely not, you're going to have to wait until Dallas comes around.' Because my stepdad, he's a big guy and if he starts fighting, it'll be real bad out there. I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away."
The Eagles Can Grab The NFC East By The Throat - BGN
The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #270). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Redskins game in Week 7, analyze key matchups, and much more.
A Word Of Caution To Eagles Fans - BGNRadio.com
James Seltzer discusses why he believes the Eagles are the best team in the NFC -- including Carson Wentz's awesomeness, domination in the trenches, and much more. James also tells you why he's bullish the success will continue, but offers a word of caution for Eagles fans as well.
Year 2 bumps, slumps: Carson Wentz up, Ezekiel Elliott down - NFL.com
If you were to draw up a picture of the ideal quarterback, it would look like Wentz coming out of North Dakota State: 6-foot-5 1/4, 237 pounds, 4.77-second 40-yard dash, 10-inch hands. A strong start to his rookie season was slowed by deficiencies in his supporting cast. In the first four games of 2016, Wentz posted a 67 percent completion rate, 7:1 TD-to-INT ratio and 103.5 passer rating. But then tackle Lane Johnson's 10-game suspension took effect, the pass-protection went south, and so did Wentz's numbers: He posted a 61 percent completion rate, 6:12 TD-to-INT ratio and 70.2 passer rating in the 10-game span for which Johnson was out. A lack of receiver depth didn't help. This year, with Johnson back and new weapons Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount and Mack Hollins in the fold, Wentz is playing great and getting better every game. His passer rating (99.6) through six games is 20 points higher than his final mark from 2016 (79.3), while he's nearly halved his interception rate (from 2.3 percent in 2016 to 1.4 percent in 2017). Wentz seems to have taken a huge step forward as an on-field leader. He's a gem, a rare commodity as a quarterback who's got it all: size, athleticism, skills and smarts. You can just see him playing with much more confidence and authority. He'll be a top-five quarterback in the next three years or so.
Mailbag: Should Doug Pederson get 'Coach of the Year' consideration? - PhillyVoice
The Coach of the Year Award almost always goes to the coach of a team that has greatly improved the team’s record from a season ago. Here’s a history of recent Coach of the Year Award winners, and their team's record that year compared with the team's record the previous year. As you know, the Eagles finished 7-9 last year (6-9 if you discount the Week 17 win over the Cowboys' second string). If the Eagles can win 12 games this season, I like Pederson's chances.
They Call Me Mr. Fipp - Iggles Blitz
How the heck does Fipp do this? He gets the team to sign Jake Elliott, a rookie kicker cut by the Bengals, and now Elliott looks like one of the best kickers we’ve ever seen. He hit a 61-yard FG to win a game. We would have all been very impressed if he hit a winning kick from 51 yards out. Heck no, he was 10 yards further back than that. The kid has an explosive leg. He has been an amazing find.
Carson Wentz feels 5-1 Eagles 'just wired different this year' - NBC Sports Philadelphia
“It’s something that we always strive for," Wentz said. "And really, in everything we do in life, you strive for greatness. "When we’re sitting where we’re at right now, we can just never let that slip. We can never let that slip from our preparation in the film room, the meeting room, the weight room, in practice, so that’s just something I feel like we have to always keep focusing on. "Never settle, never settle, and just keep striving for that greatness.”
Agholor and Ertz's strong starts show that Matthews trade was good move - Inquirer
But Ertz and Matthews, while different in ways, shared similarities as inside possession receivers who could act as quarterback Carson Wentz’s safety valve. Losing one made sense. And Agholor gives the Eagles an explosiveness they lacked with Matthews. With the speedy Smith on the outside, defenses are sometimes forced to pick their poison over the top. “It keeps them honest,” Agholor said. “You’re looking at two verticals — one coming right at the safety and if the corner needs help and the safety’s occupied with the slot receiver’s vertical route, then you win outside. If the safety wants to cheat, then the slot just gashes through the middle.” Agholor has done a lot gashing after the catch. In fact, he’s fourth in the NFL in yards after the catch among receivers. Matthews, surprisingly, is first (8.4), although he has only 10 catches and has played in only four games.
[BLG Note: Hm, interesting article from the Inquirer!]
Special Teams Absorbs Another Key Injury - PE.com
Just how many personnel losses can Dave Fipp’s special teams units sustain and continue to win every week? The latest is Chris Maragos, who was placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a knee injury last Thursday in the win over Carolina ...
'He looked decent': Eagles' Ronald Darby limited in practice, but his return energizes teammates - PennLive
Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby tracked a ball in the air during a routine drill at Thursday's practice, leapt to snag it and landed to an eruption of shouts from his fellow defensive backs. It was a simple act Darby pulled off. No other players were around him when he secured the catch. But during Darby's first practice since a gruesome ankle dislocation in Week 1, his teammates wanted to both support him and rib him a bit as he eased back into action. "He jumped up and high-pointed that ball," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "A lot of DBs, we got excited when we seen it, and we were cheering him on, so he's looking pretty good."
Washington Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles odds: Picks from expert on a Philly roll - CBS Sports
Before you make any bets on this must-see prime-time game, you'll want to see what SportsLine handicapper Josh Nagel has to say. He has covered the wagering industry for two decades and won numerous sports handicapping contests. For insightful analysis, Nagel is unmatched. Last week, in another prime-time spot, Nagel advised readers to fade the public and play Philly as a field-goal underdog at Carolina. The result: Eagles 28, Panthers 23, an outright upset. He's going for six winning Eagles picks in a row on "Monday Night Football." And he's sharing his pick over at SportsLine.
Ranking all 32 NFL defenses after Week 6 - PFF
11. Philadelphia Eagles - BEST-GRADED STARTER: Patrick Robinson, CB, 91.5. WORST-GRADED: Jalen Mills, CB, 46.5. The Eagles may have the best defensive front in football, but the back end is relying a little bit on smoke and mirrors, and the unsustainable play of Patrick Robinson, suddenly the team’s best cornerback due to injury. Robinson has six pass breakups and two interceptions, and has played phenomenally well, but the Eagles secondary is being relentlessly targeted, and may struggle to maintain parity over the season.
NFL Old School Game of the Week: Eagles Knock off Redskins in Wild Shootout
When most Eagles fans think of a shocking fumble in the final minutes that lead to an unbelievable win, they think of “Miracle at the Meadowlands” in 1978 when cornerback Herman Edwards recovered Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumble and ran it back 26 yards for the game-winning touchdown as the Giants chose to run one more play and instead of taking a knee to run out the clock. While maybe not as miraculous and not as memorable to some, 11 years later the Eagles got a mini-sequel to the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” when they traveled to RFK Stadium to face their division rival the Washington Redskins in the second week of the NFL season.
2017 NFL celebration rankings: Vikings take over with duck, duck, goose celebration - SB Nation
2. Eagles score a touchdown, then hit a home run. Torrey Smith scores to put the Eagles up 20-0, and then he knocks one out of the park. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Social Media Information:
BGN Facebook Page: Click here to like our page
BGN Twitter: Follow @BleedingGreen
BGN Radio Twitter: Follow @BGN_Radio
BGN Radio Facebook: Click here to like our page
BGN Radio Patreon: Support the show!
BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton
Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Put your pants back on, we spoke too soon
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Ed Snider was honored with a statue being erected outside of the Wells Fargo Center, precisely where he belongs. [BSH]
*One of the big improvements the Flyers have made that have lead to this hot start is in their play away from the puck. [Sons of Penn]
*Meat Read has found his way back onto the roster, which is good. Well, could be good. Depending who comes out. [Flyers]
*This is a really nice look at one of the Flyers’ newer prospects, Kirill Ustimenko. [The Athletic]
*What do NHL teams need to do differently to shut down the league’s most prolific scorers? [Puck Daddy]
*Are you playing fantasy hockey? Well then you need to read this. [ProHockeyTalk]
*The NHL seems to be making some kind of effort with regard to officiating; slashing calls in particular have gotten really tight. But so far, the inconsistency remains. [All About The Jersey]
*And finally, three early-season trends that aren’t likely to continue as the season goes on. [Sportsnet]
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Burgers and A Superstar
Subject: The best photos from the Flyers loss to the Predators
Subject: Peter Laviolette
Subject: Your Friday Morning Roundup
Subject: Redskins writer gives 3 reasons why the Eagles will beat Washington
Focusing on the enemy’s weaknesses.
This won’t be an easy game. Washington is fighting to stay alive in the NFC East. They’ve had the Eagles’ number in recent history so the pressure is on Philly to reverse the trend.
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 Hogs Haven in order to preview this week’s matchup. That Q&A will be posted today or tomorrow.
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 Washington could lose, as written by HH’s Bill-in-Bangkok. Stay tuned to Hogs Haven to see why I think the Eagles could lose.
Back before the start of the season, I agreed with the writers of Bleeding Green Nation to swap articles ahead of the opening day matchup between the two NFC East rivals at FedEx Field. Each of us agreed to write a list of three reasons why our own team (in my case, the Washington Redskins) wouldn’t win the Week 1 game. As it turned out, I was right (as I usually am) and Brandon Lee Gowton was wrong, which is pretty normal for a Philly fan.
Against my better judgment, I have agreed to tackle the subject again ahead of the Week 7 Monday Night Football game between the Redskins and the Eagles in Philadelphia. I’m hoping that – for perhaps the first time in my adult life – an Eagle fan will be right about something when Brandon writes his article explaining why the Eagles will lose to the Skins on Monday.
Here are my three reasons why the Redskins will fall to 3-3, and will effectively be eliminated from the race for NFC East division championship:
1. The Redskins’ wideouts aren’t catching the ball
Rather than do a lot of research or typing, I’m just gonna copy & paste some excellent analysis by James Dorsett from Hogs Haven following the win over the Niners:
Terrelle Pryor - Pryor disappointed again with a line of 5 targets, 3 receptions, 2 first downs and 23 yards.
Pryor has led all Redskins receivers in snaps in each game this season and has received an average of 8.4 more snaps per game than the receiver with the second most playing time in each game, but hasn’t led the team in receiving yards since Week 1 (66 yards) and he also hasn’t eclipsed 70 yards receiving in a game this season. That’s pretty sad considering that 88 players have combined for 147 games of 71 or more receiving yards in this season alone. Pryor’s PFF grade still ranks 102nd out of 109 qualifying receivers.
Crowder gained 11 yards and picked up a first down on a sweep rushing play, but he seemed to disappear after that. I mean, he was targeted 5 times, but the Crowder we all know and love wouldn’t turn those 5 targets into 3 receptions for just 15 yards and 1 first down, would he? Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened on Sunday.
Crowder is averaging a career-low 24 yards per and he has yet to score a touchdown after posting 9 TDs over the course of the last two seasons. Crowder led the entire team in touchdowns last year (7). He also ranked 3rd on the squad in yards from scrimmage in 2016; he currently ranks 7th on the team in that category. Oh, and on top of all that, he is averaging a career-low 5.0 yards per punt return.
Crowder was not on the injury report this week, so I’m really at a loss here. Where are you, Jamison?!?
Josh Doctson - Doctson only caught 1 of the 3 passes thrown in his direction on Sunday, but that catch went for an 11-yard red-zone touchdown on the first drive of the game. That was the second score of Doctson’s career and his second TD in his last three games.
Yet, somehow he only saw the field on a season-low 26% of the offensive snaps. It’s hard to understand why his playing time rose in each of his first five career games and then dropped in each game after he scored a 52-yard touchdown against the Raiders.
Brian Quick - This was the third time this year that Quick has been active. He played on 4 snaps and was not targeted. He has only taken 11 offensive snaps this season and caught his only target of 2017 for an 11-yard first down in Week 1.
Unless the Redskins can get more production and consistency from their wideouts, they will leave Philly with a .500 record after Monday night’s game.
2. The Redskins can’t run the ball against the Philadelphia defense
Rob Kelley is either out on Monday night, or less than 100%. He has only carried the ball 29 times this season.
Samaje Perine is averaging 3.0 yards per carry and hasn’t rushed for a TD yet in his NFL career.
Mack Brown has only 8 carries on the season.
Basically, the Redskins offense has been reduced to one player – Chris Thompson. Stop Thompson and you stop the Redskins. Again, I’m going to rely on James Dorsett’s analysis to explain what Chris Thompson means to the Redskins this season:
Against San Francisco, Chris Thompson caught 4 of his 5 passes for 4 first downs and a whopping 105 receiving yards. Three of his 4 catches and 92 of his 105 receiving yards came on screen plays. He had a total of 20 touches in the game, another new career high.
Thompson led the team in both rushing and receiving yards against the 49ers.
There are so many incredible Chris Thompson stats that I’m not going to even try to sensibly tie them together for you. I’m just going to spit out as many stats as I can before this section of the article takes on a life of its own.
- He is tied for the team lead in receptions (18) and leads the Redskins in first downs (14), receiving yards (340) touchdowns (4) and yards from scrimmage (515).
- Vernon Davis and Terrelle Pryor rank 2nd and 3rd on the team in yards from scrimmage; Thompson has gained 81 more yards than both of them combined.
- He has accounted for over 26% of the Redskin’s yards from scrimmage this season.
- Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson are tied for second on the team with 2 touchdowns each. Thompson has scored as many touchdowns as both of them have combined (4).
- Dick James is the only other Redskins running back with two 100-yard receiving games in a season (1962). Two 100-yard receiving games is also tied for the most career 100-yard days through the air by a Washington RB (James, Larry Brown and Craig McEwen).
- “Chris Army Knife” currently leads all NFL running backs in receiving yards (340), receiving yards per game (68) and yards per reception (18.9).
- He leads the NFL with 329 yards after the catch (YAC), which is 77 more yards of YAC than the second place player in that category. His 18.3 YAC average is also tops in the league.
- If Thompson continues at this pace, he will become the fourth player in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards receiving in the same season that they had 100 rushing attempts (Marshall Faulk, Roger Craig and Lionel James).
- Faulk was the last running back with over 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and he did it in 1999, the year Dan Synder bought the Redskins.
With wideouts not catching the ball, and the lead backs unable to run effectively against Philadelphia’s #1 ranked run defense, the entire offensive production lands on the shoulders of our 15-snap-per-game 3rd down change-of-pace back, Chris Thompson. If the Eagles can just stop CT, then they can shut down the Redskin offense and send Washington on a long quiet bus ride back to Virginia Monday night.
Don’t get me wrong; I realize that every team is facing injuries at this time of the season. There is literally no team in the NFL that is fully healthy.
But injuries can sometimes hit some teams harder than others. Looking around, I see Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook in Minnesota, Eric Berry and Spencer Ware in Kansas City, and I know that some teams face particularly difficult long-term injury challenges.
One thing I’ve learned as an NFL fan is that the teams with positional depth are the ones who are still playing and winning in January, because injuries are a part of the game. I’m fully bought in on the 2017 Redskins; I think this iteration of the team has more depth than any other Redskins team in this millennium.
But there’s a point where there are simply too many key players missing or playing at less than full speed – a point where there just isn’t enough talent on the field late in the game, and the healthier team wins.
As a Washington fan, I believe that a fully healthy Redskin team would win on Monday night, but I fear that too many key players are out or only partially effective, and that the Eagles will be able to exploit the fact that those players are missing.
The final injury report won’t be out until Saturday, but here’s a rundown of the injury situation as I understand it right now.
Josh Norman – Possibly the best player on the team, Norman is certainly the best cornerback on the team, and many knowledgeable fans argue that he is one of the NFL’s elite corners. Josh broke some ribs in the loss to Kansas City in Week 4. He’s had a bye week and the 49ers game to recover. There’s an outside chance that Norman plays, though I thinks it’s unlikely. If he does play, he probably won’t be 100%. The cornerback depth is good in Washington, but the next man up will still be a drop off from JoNo.
Adding to the pressure on CB depth is the fact that Bashaud Breeland, the team’s #2 corner, left the Niners game late in the second half with a knee injury. Reports are that he sprained it, and there’s a chance he plays on Monday night. If not, the Redskins will possibly be playing the Eagles without either of their top two CBs dressed for the game. That’ll create opportunities for Carson Wentz to exploit.
Dustin Hopkins – Our placekicker just went on injured reserve this week. He got hurt in the 49ers game. His replacement is a guy named Nick Rose whom Redskins fans had never heard of before Tuesday. Nick will be kicking in his first NFL game on Monday night in Philly. I’m sure the Philly fans will be kind to him. No pressure.
Jonathan Allen – Washington’s difficulties in keeping first round draft picks healthy continues. You may remember the guy we picked in the first round in 2012. The franchise had high hopes for him at QB, but a knee injury late in the season derailed his career. Last year’s first rounder, Josh Doctson, played only a handful of snaps due to some mysterious Achilles ailment. This year’s top pick, Jon Allen, suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Niners and is reported to be out for the year (and likely part of the 2018 season). Allen hadn’t been piling up individual statistics, but his strong play on the interior DL was helping the unit perform at the highest level Redskins fans have seen in years. I am a bit nervous to see what happens without him in the lineup.
Basically, Stacy McGee, who was signed in free agency, will probably increase his snaps, and Anthony Lanier will be activated from the practice squad. McGee has been playing well so far this season, and Lanier flashed at times last season. Allen’s injury could be a huge loss, but there’s a chance that the defense doesn’t miss a beat. Hard to know with a rookie who’d played in 4 ½ games.
The defensive front 7 had already been adversely affected by the loss of 4th year player, Trent Murphy, to a torn ACL during the pre-season.
Rob Kelley – Our starting running back had a rib injury early in the season, then an ankle injury suffered against the Chiefs. He didn’t play last week, and his status for this week is uncertain. The running game struggled against the Niners last week. Kelley’s backup is rookie Samaje Perine, and Mack Brown, who is usually inactive on game day, will be active if Kelley can’t go. Against the 49ers, Chris Thompson saw about 5 or 6 extra carries, but he didn’t do much with them, gaining just 33 yards on 16 rushes.
The offensive line depth is affected by Trent Williams, who has been fighting a sore knee since training camp. Redskin fans believe that TW is the best LT in the league – he is unquestionably an elite left tackle. He played against the 49ers, but was a bit hobbled and uncharacteristically gave up a sack. What makes his gimpiness more concerning is that the team’s backup swing tackle, Ty Nsekhe, had to have surgery following the Raiders game, so the OT position is a bit thin. Next man up if either Williams (LT) or Moses (RT) goes down would be TJ Clemmings, whom the Redskins grabbed off waivers after the final preseason game.
Jordan Reed – our outstanding pass catching tight end has missed one game entirely, and has looked a bit slow and out-of-sorts at times after injuring his sternum in Week 2. Vernon Davis is picking up the slack nicely, as he has 11 catches for 225 yards and a TD in relief of Reed.
With the Redskins potentially missing their starting Running Back, two starting Cornerbacks, first round draft pick DL, place kicker, along with a hobbled LT and TE, the roster has holes on Offense, Defense and Special Teams. Too many key players are missing to take on the 5-1 Eagles in Philly on MNF and come away with a win.
Congratulations, Philly fans! As you can see, the Redskins just don’t have a chance.
Subject: Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 7
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 Tyrod Taylor and sit Cam Newton, that doesn't mean I'd start Taylor over Newton, it just means I think Taylor will exceed his expectations while Cam will underperform his. Cool? Cool. Let's get it. -Seltz
The newest and best app to play weekly Fantasy Football is DRAFT! Sign up now with the promo code BGNR and play a real money game for FREE! You win 80% more on Draft than regular salary cap sites! Don't like it? No problem, they guarantee your money back up to $100 if you don't.
Carson Wentz (vs. WAS) – OK. Let's hit this right off the top. I recommended Kevin Hogan last week. Yup. Yupppppp. I know. I know! WTF was I thinking. I mean, yikes. I'm not even going to try and justify it by pointing out that I only liked him in relation to his consensus #22 ranking. I won't even mention that. Well, I won't mention it again. Regardless, I'll take it on the chin. I sucked and I'm sorry. However, I can promise not to make the same mistake again. That will be the last time I tell you to start a Browns QB (I still can't believe I said “start” and “Browns QB” period...ever). But I'll take it a step further, I'm going the complete opposite way – I'm recommending the anti-Browns QB, aka the quarterback the Browns didn't want. LOL Browns. Anyhoo, Wentz is going to have a field day Monday night against a severely depleted Washington secondary (more on that later), and he's a downright steal in daily formats. Granted, I used that exact same phrase when talking about Kevin Hogan last week, but there's no way I could look like an idiot two weeks in a row, right? Uhhhhhhh...let's move on. Quickly.
Tyrod Taylor (vs. TB) – Jeez louise am I long-winded. We're off to a bad start. I'll do my best to tighten it up. No promises though, I am who I am. Having said that, let's give it a whirl – this one is pretty simple. Tyrod is undervalued this week. Boom. Done. Just kidding. The Bucs have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing QB's. Ok, now I'm actually done.
Cam Newton (@ CHI) – To be honest, I'm not that down on Cam this week. He's got a high floor because of the rushing yards he'll accrue, but the Bears' defense has been surprisingly decent, and they've done a particularly good job limiting fantasy points to quarterbacks. So while I think Cam will be fine this week – as the disclaimer says, I'd certainly start him over Tyrod Taylor – I don't think he'll put up the numbers that his consensus #7 ranking should demand. How's that for a tepid, ice cold take? *Elvis voice* Thank you. Thank you very much.
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CIN) – I'll bet you Big Ben is an Elvis fan. He seems like an Elvis guy. Not sure why, but he totally does. In fact, I'm just going to assume he's an Elvis guy. Ben Roethlisberger is a huge Elvis Presley fan. #Fact. Speaking of facts, Ben is way (WAY) better at home than on the road. That's a fact. But here's another fact, *lowers voice to a whisper* Ben Roethlisberger isn't good at football anymore. Sorry, but it's true. As a result, the Steelers are going to hand the ball to Lev Bell...a lot. Ben is going to be more of a game manager than a gun slinger. Yeah, I said it. He's a game manager. Deal with it. Add in a matchup with a good Bengals pass defense, and Ben is a clear sit, even at home.
Adrian Pederson (@ LAR) – I have a confession to make – I thought Adrian Pederson was cooked. C-O-O-K-E-D. And I can't be the only one because, you know, he looked cooked. So, mea culpa I guess. And while I still don't think AP is going to be an every week fixture in your fantasy lineup, he should be this week against a Rams defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. However, despite the clear upside, Pederson is only the consensus #16 running back and is massively underpriced in daily formats. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, Adrian Pederson doesn't suck anymore and you should start him against a crappy defense.
Dion Lewis (vs. ATL) – I hate owning Patriots running backs in fantasy. It's infuriating. Just ask Mike Gillislee owners, they'll back me up. You never really know who's going to win the day. One week you're scoring 3 touchdowns and the next you're an afterthought. Ask Mike Gillislee himself, he'll back me up on that one. Either way, Lewis was the guy who won the day last week and looked good in doing it. Now why would that matter considering I just said that never matters with the Patriots, you may ask. And that'd be a great question. It doesn't really. What matters is that the Falcons are among the worst teams in the league at defending RB's in the passing game. Dion Lewis is good in the passing game. He's also the consensus #32 running back. That's too low. Don't forget to @ me after Gillislee scores 6 touchdowns and Lewis fails to get a touch. God I hate the Patriots.
Bonus Super Sleeper Start:
Marlon Mack (vs. JAX) – Marlon Mack is better than Frank Gore. That's obvious to anyone with two eyes. Or one eye for that matter. Honestly, I'll bet people with no eyes can tell. Even Chuck Pagano has to know Mack is better...right? Pagano, one of the 32 men on the planet who is an NFL head coach, can't possibly prefer Gore. He can't...can he? Yeah, you're right. He totally can. Pagano's the worst. Which is a shame because the Jags have allowed the highest YPC average in the league. If Mack gets some opportunities, he could have a huge day. But that would assume Chuck Pagano won't screw it up. Ugh. Pagano's going to screw it up. Let's move on.
Melvin Gordon (vs. Denver) – Somehow my long-windedness came back. My bad. Seltz, get it together. Ok, I'm ready. Let's do this. Gordon's had back-to-back monster weeks and is the consensus #7 RB heading into the weekend. However, Gordon is only averaging 3.6 YPC (not good) and is facing a Broncos defense that's yielding a minuscule 3.0 YPC on the way to allowing the least fantasy points to opposing running backs. And yes, I know Orleans Darkwa had a huge game last week, but I think that game was an aberration for the Broncos across the board. So, yeah.
DeMarco Murray (@ CLE) – How in the world is Murray the consensus #17 running back this week? How? HOW??? That's just...absurd. First and foremost, Murray is banged up. Second, he's not the best RB on his own team. Third, for as awful as they are, the Browns have actually been pretty good at defending the run (second-lowest YPC average in the NFL). Fourth...I don't have a fourth. The three should be enough. Sit Murray.
Alshon Jeffrey (vs. WAS) – Remember when I said “more on that later” when talking about the depleted Washington secondary? Wait, what do you mean “no”?! How can you not remember? It was only a few minutes ago. Whatever. I said it. You can scroll up if you don't believe me. Regardless, now is the “later” I was referring to. Washington's secondary is severely depleted. Josh Norman is expected to be out and Bashaud Breeland (their other starting CB) may be as well. They have no one who can cover Alshon. This is it, you guys. It's finally happening. This will be the Alshon Jeffrey break out week and I cannot freaking wait.
Pierre Garcon (vs. DAL) – Ok. Back to brevity. Here's why Garcon is an obvious start: he's received double-digit targets in back-to-back weeks and has at least 21 more targets than anyone else on the Niners. He's facing a Dallas pass defense that is bad. Really, really bad. Lastly, C.J. Beathard has to be better than Brian Hoyer...I think.
Jordy Nelson (vs. NO) – Aaron Rodgers is great. Brett Hundley is bad. One of those two guys will be playing quarterback on Sunday. Yup, it's the crappy one. Sadly, that also makes Jordy crappier. He certainly looked crappier with Hundley last week after Rodgers went down. Yet Nelson is still the consensus #12 wide receiver heading into the weekend. That's...crazy. Especially against a not terrible Saints pass defense...but more on that later (don't forget this time!).
T.Y. Hilton (vs. JAX) – This one is easy. The Jags have the best pass defense in the league. They have two of the best corners in the NFL, and maybe, probably (definitely) the #1 overall top dawg in Jalen Ramsey. Hilton has only had two good games this season, both coming against bad pass defenses (Browns and Niners), and is coming off a 1 catch, 4 yard performance against the Titans. In spite of all that, he's the consensus #19 wide receiver heading into the weekend. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
Hunter Henry (vs. DEN) – The Broncos defense is good at everything except defending tight ends. Weird, huh? No. I guess it's not that weird. My bad. Point is they suck at it. If you don't believe me, just ask Evan Engram. Speaking of which, has anyone heard back from Mike Gillislee yet? No? Ok. Keep me updated. Back to tight ends against the Broncos - aka Hunter Henry this week. After a rocky start to the season, Henry has finally found a role in the Chargers offense (15 targets over the last two weeks) and has subsequently produced fantasy points. Expect more of the same against the aforementioned tight end friendly Broncos defense.
Kyle Rudolph (vs. BAL) – As I said fairly aggressively, Denver is bad at defending tight ends. Well guess what, the Ravens are worse. Didn't see that coming, did ya? Rudolph has 9 targets in back-to-back weeks and seems to be developing a rapport with Case Keenum. As the consensus #11 tight end, Rudolph is very likely to exceed his expected value and *BOLD PREDICTION VOICE* will score a touchdown against the Ravens. Quick side note, who names their kid “Case”? I mean, really? That's the best you got...Case?!? *PREEMPTIVE APOLOGY VOICE* If your name is Case and you are reading this, sorry. That wasn't cool and I apologize...Case.
Cameron Brate (@ BUF) – Jameis Winston seems to trust Cameron Brate, especially in the red zone. As a result, Brate stands as the #4 scoring fantasy tight end on the season. And he has been valued as such. However, this week the role of Jameis Winston will be played by Ryan Fitzpatrick. That's not the best. Facing a tough Bills defense that's terrific at defending tight ends is also not the best.
Jordan Reed (@ PHI) – I will believe Jordan Reed is fully, legitimately healthy when...well...never I guess. He's never fully healthy. He certainly hasn't looked healthy this season and the results have borne that out (averaging 35.5 YPG over 4 games). The Eagles shut Reed down in Week 1, I expect them to do it again on Monday night.
New Orleans Saints (@ GB) – I told you there'd be more! I know you remember this time. And if you don't, that's on you. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the Saints' defense isn't awful. High praise, I know. New Orleans scored three defensive touchdowns last week, no reason to think they can't do it again. Lol. Kidding of course. Or am I? Yes. I am. But as I mentioned before, Brett Hundley is bad. He threw three interceptions last week. I think he throws more this week. And probably next week too, but that's beside the point. Point is, Hundley stinks and the Saints defense doesn't anymore.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. ARI) – There weren't any defenses that I really disliked this week. Well, none that anyone would own anyway. But I do think this Rams defense, coming off a 22-point outing, could be a slight disappointment. Arizona's offense looked good last week and Adrian Pederson should be able to run all over a bad Rams run defense. So, yeah. I guess I'd sit the Rams. Lol. Much like I thought of Adrian Pederson, I'm clearly cooked. Let's end this before it gets any worse. If that's even possible. #End
Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense. Like Jake Elliott.
Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”
The newest and best app to play weekly Fantasy Football is DRAFT! Sign up now with the promo code BGNR and play a real money game for FREE! You win 80% more on Draft than regular salary cap sites! Don't like it? No problem, they guarantee your money back up to $100 if you don't.
Subject: Predators 1, Flyers 0: What we learned in a shutdown night
Some observations for your morning...
1. Shoring up first period troubles
We talked a bit on Wednesday about how, through the Flyers past two games against Washington and Florida, they started off slow. They faced issues in pass control and turnovers, which left them spending a lot of time scrambling and just trying to recover. But the Flyers seem to have worked to clean up these areas. They weren’t perfect last night, but they did show a greater sharpness early on, holding an edge in possession and working to get things moving faster.
Now, let’s be clear, last night still featured another slow start, with no goals scored and the Flyers held to just six shots on goal, but it also looked much smoother than the early parts of their previous two first periods did. So, not perfect and not ideal, but it’s a step in the right direction.
2. A power play switch-up
With Jordan Weal out for the game, this left a vacancy on the second power play unit, and the Flyers with the question of how to fill it. And they did something a little unexpected. Rather than sliding another forward in to take this spot and maintain the model they had been using, they moved in Travis Sanheim to fill out the line. And while this served as an interesting choice, and one that makes a good deal of sense, it was still a little rough. They showed some flashes and were able to bring some pressure, but they also faced some miscues and trouble in connecting. So the line showed potential, but it just wasn’t all there yet.
Of course, despite the potential this unit brought, we hope that Weal will be back soon, and we won’t have to see much more of it. Miss you already, Jordan.
3. A home debut for Travis Sanheim
Tuesday's place as a night of first spilled over into last night's game, with Travis Sanheim's first appearance in a regular season game at home. He had been scratched for the past two home games, and fans were itching to see him finally play. And he had a big night.
In his regular fashion, he performed solidly in the defensive zone, and registered two shots on goal during the first forty minutes of the game. But he also saw his role upped during this game, as he was the one chosen to fill in on PP2, and even take some minutes on the penalty kill. And while he didn't have any big moments in either of these settings— and to be fair, few did last night— he was steady in the new roles he was given.
Above all, this seems a testament to his play with the team in the past, as the organization was confident enough in him to give him time to play in all situations on his first return from being scratched. And, of course, this leaves the question of why scratch him in the first place, if you're so high on him, but that's a question for another day.
4. The honey bees were buzzing
We’re all almost certainly feeling grumbly about the Flyers failing to get much going in terms of tangible offense, giving away too much to the Predators. There are a lot of things that were performing just below expectations. The honey bees were not one of them.
We saw some solid individual efforts, with Leier putting up a shot early in the first period, and with Laughton and Raffl bringing some nice checking throughout. Bringing pressure pretty evenly through the game, their combined performance was just as strong as their individual efforts. The line had the highest adjusted CF% on the team, averaging out at 60.86 percent. And while this proved not as dominant as some earlier performances, once again the honey bees earned a bump up in minutes-- about even with those given to the Patrick third line-- and proved one of the most productive lines on the night.
5. Penalty kill a high point
Another impressive element at work in last night’s game was the penalty kill. A bit of a mixed bag of a night with special teams, with the power play held wholly ineffective, and the penalty kill picking up the slack. The Flyers were able to kill off both penalties taken, keeping the puck either carefully tied up or cleared out of the zone. In their first PK attempt, the Flyers held the Predators without a single shot on goal, frustrating each of their efforts.
We also saw Sanheim given a chance to play on the PK-- he was given 1:04 in total-- and he seemed to hold up. Paired with Hagg, the two appeared to click, and showed some potential to be an effective pairing not just on the penalty kill, but wherever they’re deployed. Two rookies held their own and worked to keep a strong penalty kill strong. And that’s not nothing.
6. Lehtera watch 2k17 continues
Per tradition in the preseason, a lot of emphasis fell on looking at the young prospects and the new players in the lineup. As such, the preseason saw us begin Lehtera Watch 2k17. And the regular season saw Lehtera watching from the press box.
But last night that changed. With Jordan Weal out with an unspecified upper body injury, that left room for Lehtera to slip in on the line with Filppula. Most striking about this movement was how high the coaches were on his performance. In post game interviews, Hakstol noted that Lehtera has put in the work, and they weren’t concerned about his conditioning in the least. He went on to note that he felt that Lehtera had a rock-solid night. But the numbers beg to differ.
On the whole, the Filppula line wasn't able to get much done-- they were unproductive and spent much of their time trying to break out of their zone. The line’s adjusted CF% averaged out at 17.9 percent, and Lehtera’s individual sat at 14.38 percent-- the lowest on the team. So, on the surface, Lehtera largely avoided any costly mistakes, and even brought some nice physicality to the line, but also failed to contribute much to a line that was already lagging.
7. Slow starts and slow... middles...?
As we reached about the halfway point of the second period, one of the questions sitting in my notes was "what's a girl got to do to get some goals in here?" Obviously it remained that Flyers goals would have been preferred, but a part of me, and I'm sure many others, was just itching for something to happen.
Nashville's forechecking caused a lot of trouble for the Flyers, as they spent a lot of time hemmed into their own zone, unable to make many breaks out. They were left reduced and largely unable to use the speed that they had flexed in earlier games, the speed that had served as such an asset to them. And this virtual shutdown seems more of a strength of the Predators' than a weakness of the Flyers', but you have to think that this won't be the last time an opponent finds a way to slow them down, and you have to think that they need to find a way to not be slowed down so easily, or to find a way to still be as effective at reduced speed.
8. Can conditioning save them?
The Flyers have, to date, overwhelmingly outplayed their opponents in the third period of their games. So, when we entered the third period of last night’s game still scoreless, the question lingered: can conditioning and third period momentum save them?
The short answer, we would find out, is no. The Flyers brought an uptick in shots generated-- 12 on the period, the most of the game-- but possession numbers still held in the Predators’ favor. Hakstol, after the game, explained that he felt that the Flyers got the most chances, looked the most dynamic in the third period, but just couldn’t make anything of this. The shutdown game that the Predators were bringing continued all through the third, and kept the Flyers quieted down, unable to make the full push that they needed.
9. A note on expected goals
So, the Flyers probably should have won this one. Everyone’s saying it, but it’s not just disappointed fans spouting off about moral victories and coulda-woulda-shouldas. They really probably should have won this one.
The Flyers held the edge in terms of possession, early in the game, but couldn’t get much going in terms of shots. They also held the edge through the entirety of the game in expected goals, averaging 2.18 expected goals over Nashville’s .93. So as the game went on, they were able to generate not just generate more shots, but also consistently higher quality shots. The effort was there, but they just couldn’t seem to capitalize.
It’s a narrative that feels beaten to death at this point, that the Flyers just can’t close. But here, that narrative seems more than appropriate.
10. The only damn thing I know
So if you made it through all of the nine observations before this one, and if you watch the game, or were on Twitter during the game, or were just existing in the universe at the same time as last night’s game you know by now that it wasn't a good one. But in the process of all the mediocrity, I stumbled upon something. A conspiracy. So buckle up and put on your tinfoil hats on, folks, it’s about to get weird.
Starting this season, they’ve brought in a DJ-- DJ Reed Streets-- to play music between periods and during stoppages of play. He’s playing alternative rock, which is excellent, but it’s neither super popular music nor what even the players mostly listen to.
If you’re keeping tabs, hockey players like mostly country and rap, and haven’t been too vocal about liking alternative. So why play this type of music during the games?
I suspect that it’s something of a trial by fire, a full immersion into the realm of superior music, a way to get the players to like bands like Fall Out Boy, Walk The Moon, and Coin. And this immersion is bound to work eventually. So welcome to the best taste in music, guys. It’s a wild wild world out here.
Subject: The Sixers Win By 10 Tonight
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles announce jersey selection for Monday Night Football game
There was thought they’d break out the all-black alternates for this prime-time game. Apparently that won’t be the case.
The Eagles are going with their typical home uniform instead: midnight green jersey coupled with white tights.
Though it’s a little surprising the Eagles aren’t going with their all-black attire, the Birds still have five home games left after Monday night. They can wear their alternate uniforms for a maximum of two games.
Here’s a look at the Eagles’ upcoming home schedule. With no all-blacks on Monday night, when do you think they’ll bust them out?
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 12 - vs. Chicago Bears (Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
Week 16 - vs. Oakland Raiders (Dec. 25, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN)
Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)
It seems safe to rule out the 49ers and Bears games. The weird thing about saving them for the Broncos/Raiders is that those are AFC opponents. And the weird thing about saving them for Week 17 is that game could be meaningless for Philly if they continue to win and Dallas continues to struggle.
Wearing the alternates made a lot of sense this week. Big division game. National spotlight.
Oh well. It’ll be midnight green on Monday night.
Subject: Win FREE tickets to Eagles vs. Redskins on Monday Night Football
Big opportunity to see the big game!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21
BGN Radio, our site’s podcast, is giving away FREE EAGLES TICKETS at the “Beat Washington” pep rally at Buffalo Wild Wings (501 STANTON CHRISTIANA RD, NEWARK, DE) this Saturday, October 21 from 1:00 to 6:00 PM ET.
Plenty of reasons to come hang out with us this Saturday. Meet the BGN Radio crew. We'll be broadcasting live on SportsRadio 94WIP. Meet some former Eagles players. Win free Eagles tickets, prizes, and giveaways. Beer specials. What more could you ask for?
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22
If you can’t make it out on Saturday, join the BGN Radio crew on Sunday as we broadcast LIVE from the Casino at Delaware Park! Another opportunity to win FREE Eagles tickets! This time to the Eagles vs. 49ers game in Week 8. More information below:
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23
Eagles vs. Redskins game day at the Linc!
If you're going to the game on Monday, October 23 stop by the Jetro parking lot to take part in our live BGN Radio tailgate pregame show from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET! If you can't go to the game, watch live on the official BGN Facebook page. ALSO stay tuned to the BGN Facebook page for the live postgame show immediately after the final whistle.
Subject: Is Bryce Love Already Better than Christian McCaffrey?
The Stanford back has the speed and he is overtaking his predecessor as an NFL prospect.
For two years, Christian McCaffrey electrified college football. He rushed for over 3,600 yards in a two year span while also putting up video game numbers as a receiver and returner. McCaffrey’s versatility and athletic ability got him drafted top ten in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. McCaffrey is still adjusting to the speed of the pro game and has flashed, but his slow start has people looking ahead to his successor at Stanford; Bryce Love.
A former high recruit, Bryce Love made a ton of big plays filling in for Christian McCaffrey in 2016, rushing for almost 800 yards on only 112 carries. When McCaffrey left for the NFL, a lot of folks had reason to get excited about Love being the new bell cow in Palo Alto. There was optimism he’d succeed, but who could have predicted the monster season Bryce Love would turn in?
The numbers are stupid. In seven games, he has rushed 135 times for 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s right, he is averaging over 10 yards a carry. Let me reiterate: He is wavering a first down on every hand off. In six of seven games so far, Bryce Love has a rush of 60 yards or more. In the one game he didn’t, he had a 53 yard rush. Game breaker does not even begin to describe what kind of player Bryce Love is. He is lightning incarnate. If speed kills, Bryce Love should be locked up Hannibal Lecter-style because he is a danger to defenses everywhere.
You cannot teach a player to move like this:
The agility, balance and acceleration are beyond rare. Good on the defender for getting a hand on to trip him up or this would have been a house call no problem. If a defense gives Love even a crease he will embarrass them on live television.
That cut right at the line of scrimmage to evade the defender and the ability to accelerate, only to cut again and keep making progress upfield, is beyond ridiculous. Love’s movement skills are effortless and it looks like he's ice skating while the defenders are wading through cement.
This play is one of my favorites. He sees daylight on the inside of the toss and cuts to it in a blink, only to jet upfield and evade a few more defenders in the process.
While this play shows off Love’s vision and agility; it is also a good example that even though he is a lighter, shorter back, he is no means a “small” runner. Love stands at 5’9”, but he is a well built 190 pounds and he runs low to the ground and hard. His speed and agility make him hard to square up on and he is rarely phases by measly arm tackles.
This is such a small play, but I love this ability to get low to fight through contact and keep his balance to pick up extra yards. There are backs 20 pounds heavier who don’t take contact this well. Worrying about Love’s size and strength is definitely something I wouldn’t get caught up in.
What I do get caught up in, however, is Love’s mesmerizing top gear.
One crease and it’s six. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. Bryce Love will make defenses pay for the slightest misstep and that comic book athleticism is what makes him so special and so much different than his predecessor.
Christian McCaffrey was far from a bad athlete, quite the opposite actually. However, his draft prospect was more predicated on versatility than purely about his running skills. I had him as the fifth ranked running back and a top 40 grade, but he was seen as an offensive weapon that could be moved around the formation and was overdrafted.
There is a concern that people have with Stanford backs that they are a product of their offense. It is true that Stanford has one of the most disciplined run blocking offensive lines I have ever seen. While the unit isn’t “talented”, they are incredibly well coached and execute the many power concepts with absolute perfection. While blocking is a big part of running back success, the other part is how the back actually maximizes the blocking. Bryce Love is hitting holes at full speed and he is outrunning angles at the second level of the defense that literally only he could out run in that offense. While the blocking helps, it does not negate the numbers and plays he is posting.
What the blocking may do, from a projection standpoint, is affect his adjustment to the league. Creases close faster in the NFL and similar to how spread quarterbacks have to adjust to windows tightening in the NFL, Bryce Love will have to let the game slow down for him. Not a dissimilar adjustment that Christian McCaffrey is working through.
So the million dollar question is if Love is actually a better prospect than his Heisman candidate and record breaking predecessor. Well, while McCaffrey definitely had the edge of versatility as a pass catcher and returner; Bryce Love is a better pure running back. He is overall a better athlete and is better shrugging off contact. Will that translate to him being a high draft pick? Well that’s something to find out.
NFL Comparison: This is not a one to one comparison, but Bryce Love is a similar runner to Washington’s Chris Thompson. Thompson is a shorter back at 5’7”, but he is well built and is a dynamic, game breaking runner who should probably see more carries. love is going to get knocked similarly for his lack of size, but it won’t matter once he is breaking off 60 yard touchdown runs.
People will debate back and forth about whether or not Love is a NFL featured back because of his size, but he has shown little evidence to suggest he can’t handle a big workload. However, even as a change-up back; Love has the type of running style that does not need rhythm to get going. Rather he can come in for two carries in relief of a lead back and take one for 40 yards. No matter what his role is in the NFL, he will be a weapon.
For the Eagles, Love could be an amazing replacement for Darren Sproles. While Love does not have a ton of experience catching the football, he will offer a similar dynamic as a home run threat who can get 10-15 carries a game. While he should not be one of the first three running backs taken; he would be an amazing pick up in the second round to add another game breaker to this or any offense.
Subject: The Heisman Race Is Saquon Barkley vs. One Other Guy
Subject: Redskins coach is
That’s too bad.
Every week during the season, NFL head coaches have a conference call with reporters who cover the opposing team. This week, for example, Jay Gruden spoke with a number of Philadelphia Eagles media people. And boy was he effusive in his praise for Carson Wentz. Via ESPN:
"He's progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I've seen, really. I think he's already proven this short in his career that he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly, and he's going to be for a long time. I don't know how he got to Philadelphia, and I'm very upset about that."
Now, it’s not unusual for coaches to be complimentary of opposing players. It’s not like they’re gonna say “Oh, that guy sucks.”
But there’s a difference between generic praise (“he’s a great player”) and gushing about a player like this. Besides, Gruden is usually a pretty candid guy.
Gruden’s comments are just another reminder of how Wentz, the current favorite to win NFL MVP, has been really impressive this season. If he continues to play well, yes, the other NFC East coaches are going to be really annoyed with Howie Roseman’s maneuvering to trade up for Wentz.
A big game from Wentz on Monday night would certainly make Gruden even more upset.
I mean, how could you not want this guy on your team?
Carson Wentz urging the team "to not settle for anything less than greatness." pic.twitter.com/mbDj4rmrhn— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) October 19, 2017
Gruden was also very complimentary of the Eagles’ defensive line. Philly’s pass rush absolutely wrecked Washington’s protection in Week 1. They sacked Cousins four times and hit him an additional eight times.
Jay Gruden says Eagles DL was more physical than Redskins OL in opener -- something that surprised him and hasn't happened since then.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 19, 2017
Here’s one thing Eagles fans will NOT appreciate Gruden bringing up.
Jay Gruden, on conference call, was at brother Jon’s last game at the Vet, which he hated. “Joe Jurevicius took a jerk route and went 80.”— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) October 19, 2017
In addition to the head coach conference call, the Philly media usually gets to talk to a high profile player from the opposing team. This week it was ...
Phone rings in Eagles media room. Gets answered on speakerphone: "Hey, this is Kirk Cousins! I'm ready for my interview!"— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) October 19, 2017
... one of the dorkiest players in the league. God.
And he could’ve been an Eagle.
Kirk Cousins on how he thought there was a chance he'd go to Philly in 2012 draft: pic.twitter.com/T12uGiWwGy— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) October 19, 2017
Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Three players limited in practice
The Eagles are getting healthier.
Darby and Hicks were also limited on Thursday. I’d be surprised if Darby suits up on Monday but it seems like Hicks should be able to play. I still think it’s either a Week 8 or Week 9 return for Darby, but we’ll see.
Kendricks is a new addition to the injury report. He’s dealing with a hamstring issue. Popping up on the injury report during the week typically isn’t a great sign. We’ll see how much he practices on Saturday.
The good news for the Eagles is that Tim Jernigan and Beau Allen were upgraded to full participants in practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday. The Eagles have a lot of depth at defensive tackle now with Destiny Vaeao also getting healthy.
Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Friday)
CB Ronald Darby (ankle)
LB Jordan Hicks (calf)
LB Mychal Kendricks (hamstring)
DT Tim Jernigan (ankle)
DT Beau Allen (foot)
DT Fletcher Cox (calf)
OT Lane Johnson (concussion)
DE Brandon Graham (shoulder)
RB Wendell Smallwood (knee)
DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)
Washington Redskins Injury Report (Friday)
Jay Gruden said he expects Washington running back Rob Kelley to start against the Eagles.
Starting left tackle Trent Williams missed practice again on Friday after not practicing at all on Thursday. He’ll likely play at less than 100%.
Did Not Participate
OT Trent Williams (knee)
OT Ty Nsekhe (core muscle)
OG Tyler Catalina (concussion)
LB Mason Foster (shoulder)
CB Bashaud Breeland (knee)
CB Josh Norman (rib)
RB Rob Kelley (ankle)
S Stefan McClure (knee)
S Deshazor Everett (hamstring)
LB Ryan Anderson (back)
CB Fabian Moreau (shoulder/hamstring)
S Montae Nicholson (shoulder)
Subject: Eagles vs. Redskins Week 7: Five Friday
1) The Philadelphia Eagles will begin the game with the best record in the NFL.
Oh, sorry. I know I usually do a little opening blurb, but I figured we just needed to get this one out of the way from the jump.
After Kansas City lost in the last, last, last, last, last second to Oakland on Thursday Night Football, the Philadelphia Eagles became the only 1-loss team left in the NFL, and have the best winning percentage (.833).
A quick note on the Kansas City v. Oakland game: I received some significant flak last week, for this quote from my Week 6 FFFS post:
Well, suckers, teams in all-white jerseys are on a four-game winning streak on Thursday Night Football. So you can miss me with your foolishness, or hop on the train.
While there isn’t any news on jerseys yet for the Washington game, the all-blacks are a significant possibility: Monday Night, division rival, at home. All-blacks are just a step-down from all-white, and are significantly sharper than any color-combo situation.
Essentially, I want the entire NFL to be in some form of Color Rush at all times.
2) Some buffoon picks the Redskins to win
I’ll be honest: I do absolutely everything I can to avoid pregame shows. In the past, there was a caveat here—I used to really enjoy the CBS pregame show. I really enjoyed the Marino-Cowher-Sharpe-Esiason (didn’t care much for Marino, though), and I thought they didn’t lose much ground when Bart Scott and Tony Gonzalez joined the crew.
But then they added Phil Simms. That should be an arrestable offense.
I’m not sure that’s a worthy price to pay for Tony Romo—even twice a week. Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason in the same room? No bueno.
As such, I’ve got no idea, frankly, who works the pregame show for ESPN and Monday Night Football. I don’t intend on finding out, either. But I will tell you this—I know they make pregame picks, and I know someone is going to fall into the trap:
“Listen, the Redskins understand that their chances at the NFC East dramatically fall off without a win here tonight. They remember the loss at home, they want to get revenge, they’re a much better team than they were Week 1. I like the Redskins—Yes! The Redskins!—to win this—”
This is Lincoln Financial, in primetime, with the best record of the NFL on the line, with the division to all but put away seven weeks into the season, with more momentum than any team in the NFL, against the dysfunctional, injury-riddled, starting quarterback-less, we-have-momentum-because-we-just-beat-the-49ers-by-3 REDSKINS.
The Redskins will play Philly tough; I have no doubt about that. But this team has seen more than its fair share of four quarter football games this season, and they’ve come out all the stronger for it. Coach Pederson and Carson Wentz are leading a focused, hungry, and fired-up squad. This isn’t as much of a trap game as y’all think it is.
[BLG Note: I’m one of the buffoons that picked the Redskins to win.]
[BLG Note: This isn’t actually BLG. It’s me, Ben. Don’t tell BLG.]
[Real BLG Note: You’re on thin ice, Solak.]
3) Alshon Jeffery has his breakout game
I dunno for how many weeks we’re going to bite on the same storylines. “Alshon finally has a favorable matchup” or “game script could really benefit him” or “the ______ defense is built to eliminate Zach Ertz, so Wentz will have to turn to Alshon.” I was wary coming into the season, and now, I’m sold.
This offense is not constructed to feature a WR1. It wasn’t in KC, and it isn’t in Philly either.
That’s why Jeffery could very well go for 100 yards on Monday (it would be his first 100 yard game in 17 games, going back to Week 1 in 2016, by the way). It still wouldn’t be a “Breakout Game.” It would be an aberration, a blip, a surprisingly good game, back from which he will come to Earth eventually.
Removing Jeffery’s rookie season from the equation, he’s currently at career lows for yards/game, receptions/game, yards/reception, and catch percentage. In his two most productive seasons at Chicago, he saw just over 9 targets/game; this year with Philly, he’s seen 8 targets/game. The volume drop-off isn’t massive—the production drop-off is.
Sure, Jeffery could feast against the injured corners of Washington; he could even pull in the long touchdown down the sideline that’s been teased a couple of times. Smart money says he won’t, but regardless of the outcome, there is no ‘breakout’ coming for Alshon Jeffery. We’ve already seen the steady production he’ll provide Philadelphia this year.
4) Zach Ertz finally actually really catches a touchdown against the Washington Redskins
Absurd stats time? Absurd stats time.
In his last 6 games against Washington (has played 9 in his career), Ertz has averaged over 10 targets, over 8 receptions, almost 80 yards, aaand 0 touchdowns. He’s insanely productive against Washington—and, get this: when it’s the second game of the year against Washington, here are Ertz’s last three performances:
2014: 18 targets, 15 receptions, 115 yards, 0 touchdowns
2015: 17 targets, 13 receptions, 122 yards, 0 touchdowns
2016: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 112 yards, 0 touchdowns
Those are three of the top-5 most productive games of Ertz’s career. Ertz is the second-game-of-the-year-only-Redskins-killer.
But still, Ertz has never scored a touchdown against Washington.
Of course, Ertz has never scored more than 4 touchdowns in a season, and we already have 4 this season, so we are in uncharted Ertz waters here. Who knows what to believe? I like Ertz for, say, 17 targets, 14 catches, 132 yards, and yes: 1 whole touchdown. Let’s get crazy.
5) The Philadelphia Eagles will end the game with the best record in the NFL.
Yeah, in case you didn’t grasp it from #2: I’m picking Philadelphia.
There’s no reason to pick against the Eagles right now. Off of a long rest and a huge win, as healthy as they’ve been all season (Darby probably won’t play, but he could dress as a reserve?), with an opportunity to slide into the driver’s seat of the NFL? I’ll take that.
In all seriousness, I can understand why people view a desperate, winning-streak Redskins team as a danger to Philadelphia. But this Philly team—young, and still with a ton to prove in the way of validity—isn’t lacking for hunger itself. They know what’s to gain and what’s to prove—and they remember the strong start and eventual tumble of last season. I feel confident in their mettle moving forward.
Rasul Douglas finally gets his first pick-six of the season in this one, as he knows his days of significant playing time are numbered. Philly rides a running game that didn’t exist in Week 1 (24 carries for 58), to the tune of 110 yards for LeGarrette Blount. Washington gets some solid pressure on Wentz (they always do), and he throws another pick, but gets his third 3 TD game in a row (Ertz, Celek, Hollins).
The Redskins haven’t scored more than 27 points in a football game since Week 4 of the 2016 NFL season. As long as Philly can clear that mark, they’re golden.
31-17, Philadelphia. Fly Eagles Fly, baby.