Subject: The Eagles have more wins than the Flyers, and history suggests somebody is getting fired
This has only happened three other times, and the Flyers fired somebody every other time.
So, the Philadelphia Eagles have more wins than the Flyers.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 28, 2017
The Eagles are really good this year. 10-1 is the best record in the NFL, and our football team is absolutely in the Super Bowl conversation. That’s pretty cool. The Flyers ... uh, not so much. As of this writing they are 8-9-7, losers of eight straight and holders of the fourth-worst point total in the NHL.
In thinking about this last night over an entire bottle of wine, I quickly realized just how hard it is even for a really good football team to have a better record than an NHL team this late in the season. Just the total number of games played makes it extremely difficult, and if it happens, it’s a sure sign that your hockey team is playing like utter shit.
It also means* they are probably going to miss the playoffs and fire somebody.
I clearly have nothing better to do, so I went back and looked at just how many times this has happened in the collective histories of the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Eagles. I used Thanksgiving as a nice festive break point, looking at both teams’ records on that date, going back to the Flyers’ first season in 1967.
The results? Aside from 2017, the Eagles have had a better record than the Flyers on Thanksgiving just five times in 51 years -- and three of those (1994, 2004 and 2012) were because the NHL was in a work stoppage. The other two were 2014 and 1969. In 2006, the teams had the same number of wins at Thanksgiving.
Either during or after all three of those seasons, the Flyers underwent some major change in the front office or behind the bench. They also missed the playoffs in all three of those seasons.
The Eagles were 9-3 at Thanksgiving and the Flyers were 8-13-3. The Eagles beat the Cowboys on the holiday that year, 33-10 ... and then lost their next three games, ultimately finishing 10-6 and missing the playoffs.
The Flyers, in their first season with Ron Hextall as general manager and in the first year of six on Andrew MacDonald’s contract, were in the midst of a six-game losing streak at Thanksgiving. By season’s end, their 33-31-18 record earned them a sixth-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.
They fired head coach Craig Berube after the season.
The Flyers and Eagles both sat with five wins at Thanksgiving, the Eagles at 5-5 and the Flyers at ... woof, 5-17-3.
The Eagles fell to 5-6 in their Week 12 game a few days after Thanksgiving, but they rallied to win their final five games to finish 10-6. That gave them the NFC East title, and they beat the Giants in the wild card round before falling on the road to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round.
Meanwhile, across the parking lot, this was the worst season in the history of Philadelphia’s hockey team — the only time they’ve ever finished a season as the worst team in the NHL.
There was a midseason coaching change, with John Stevens taking over for Ken Hitchcock, and midseason general manager change, with Paul Holmgren taking over for Bob Clarke.
(Also, a “fun” fact: if you count the playoff win against the New York Giants on January 7, 2007, the Flyers and Eagles actually had the same number of wins on that date as well — the Eagles at 11-6 and the Flyers at 11-31-4.)
At Thanksgiving 1969, the Eagles, in their 37th season, were 4-5-1. The Flyers, in their third-ever season as a franchise, were 3-8-7.
The Birds went 0-4 after the holiday, finishing 4-9-1 and in last place — behind Dallas, Washington and New Orleans — in the NFL’s Capitol Division.
The Flyers finished their season with just 17 wins, and at 17-35-24, ranked fifth of six teams in the NHL’s West Division. On the bright side, it was Bobby Clarke’s rookie season and it was the first year the team ever played Kate Smith’s God Bless America before a game.
They fired general manager Bud Poile in December.
Subject: The Eagles
Subject: Eli Manning benched by New York Giants
The New York Giants have BENCHED long-time starter Eli Manning, according to an official announcement from the team. Geno Smith is set to start in the Giants’ game against the Oakland Raiders this weekend.
I mean, it’s not like Manning is playing all that well for a 2-9 Giants team. He has 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 84.1 passer rating this season. It’s not totally crazy that the Giants would want to get a look at someone else now that they’ve been officially eliminated from the playoffs.
But ... Manning has started literally every game for the G-Men since Week 10 of his rookie season in 2004. They’re ending his start streak — SECOND LONGEST BY A QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY — in favor of Geno Smith. They’re not even immediately going to 2017 third-round rookie Davis Webb, who at least theoretically has some upside.
We’ll see what happens this offseason, but this seems like a sign that Manning won’t be back with the G-Men in 2017. Crazy.
The Philadelphia Eagles will play the Giants for the second time this season in a few weeks on December 17. Looks like Smith or Webb will be starting at that point.
Subject: Flyers vs. Sharks lineups, start time, TV, radio, live stream and discussion
Let’s do this, I guess.
Tonight’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET and can be:
- Seen locally via NBC Sports Philadelphia (or via stream on the NBC Sports App)
- Heard via radio locally on 97.5 The Fanatic
- Seen in California via NBC Sports California
- Seen or heard elsewhere via NHL.tv (it’s their Free Game Of The Day today), NHL Center Ice, or Sirius XM
In the absence of a morning skate today, our guess regarding today’s lines is the same as yesterday’s, with the exception of a likely change in net on the back-to-back.
Projected Flyers lineup:
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Martel - Patrick - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Konecny
Lehtera - Laughton - Weise
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Manning
Projected Sharks lineup (via):
Meier - Thornton - Pavelski
Hertl - Couture - Donskoi
Boedker - Tierney - Hansen
Karlsson - O’Regan - Ward
Vlasic - Braun
Dillon - Burns
DeMelo - Heed
Subject: Is Greg Schiano a Good Coach?
Subject: Sharks 3, Flyers 1: Early lead proves deadly once again
Claude Giroux gave the Flyers a lead 48 seconds in, but three unanswered goals gave the Sharks a win.
That new low? A pathetic third period effort that saw just one shot on goal through 15 minutes to start the third period facing just a two-goal deficit. Having blown two-goal leads in multiple recent losses, the Flyers had an idea how plausible a comeback would be, and they spent the third period looking largely like they could care less.
Aaron Dell needed to make just 22 saves in net for the Sharks, and faced just five shots in the third when you would have expected the Flyers to be pressing to avoid yet another loss. In reality, the Flyers’ quick start would evaporate almost as quickly as it began.
The Flyers looked to get the early jump they needed after a tough loss in Pittsburgh just 48 seconds in as Claude Giroux opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Jake Voracek and Andrew MacDonald picked up assists on Giroux’s 11th of the season.
Giroux also extended his point streak to five goals with the goal and rewarded the Flyers for a couple early scoring chances on Sharks goalie Aaron Dell.
Never leave Claude Giroux wide open, you'll pay for it. pic.twitter.com/s4lhIpslkH— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 29, 2017
That, however, would be the high point of the night for the Flyers as they tied the franchise record for consecutive losses with nine.
Tempers flared when Robert Hagg finished his check on Tomas Hertl behind Michal Neuvirth’s net, creating a four-on-four as the cross-conference clubs finished off their season series. Shayne Gostisbehere jumped to Hagg’s aid, helping out the rookie as a crowd gathered.
Just after the 10-minute mark Chris Tierney tied things up at 1-1 with a wrist shot past the glove side of Neuvirth. Tierney’s shot appeared to hit Travis Sanheim’s stick on the way to Neuvirth.
A night after hitting five posts against the Penguins, the Flyers would find the iron a pair of times on back-to-back shifts with four minutes left in the first. First it was Valterri Filppula, then a big blast from Shayne Gostisbehere.
Already on the game’s first penalty kill for the Flyers’ 28th-ranked unit, Michael Raffl would put his team down by two men for 1:18 with a delay of game call late in the first period.
Joe Thornton would make it count, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead with 1:18 left. Thornton caught Neuvirth looking for the next pass and slipped a low shot through the five-hole of the goaltender.
The Flyers’ struggling penalty kill would still be on the hook for time left on the Raffl penalty to start the second, but were able to get a much-needed kill to stop some of the Sharks’ momentum.
To sum up how things have gone for the Flyers in their last eight games, their first power play of the game lasted for just nine seconds as Jake Voracek negated the man-advantage that Dale Weise somehow earned.
Though the next Flyers power play would last longer than nine seconds, it was again cut short by 19 seconds as Wayne Simmonds ended this one prematurely with a tripping call. Though the Sharks wouldn’t score, it was more of the Flyers shooting themselves in the foot as they’ve done so much of lately.
More bad news was on the way for the Flyers as Marc-Edouard Vlasic extended the Sharks lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the year with 3:56 left in the second. Vlasic’s point shot found its way past Neuvirth with a mess of bodies in front.
Through two periods it was hard to believe that the Flyers actually held a lead at some point in this one, as the Sharks just imposed their will in the second stanza. They pelted Neuvrith with 17 shots and kept the Flyers’ scoring chances to the outside and not much of danger towards Aaron Dell.
Michal Neuvirth came up with a nice save on a Joe Thornton breakaway early in the third to keep the Flyers within two, staying with the veteran center as he went to the backhand. It was a night in which Neuvirth wasn’t his best, but didn’t get much help in front of him either. He finished with 31 saves on 34 shots on the night, making his first start since 11/21 in a loss to Vancouver.
Down two goals and trying to fend off their ninth-straight loss, the Flyers managed just one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes of the third period. Past that, they rarely gained time or space int he Sharks’ zone, a staple of Pete DeBoer’s teams so far in his NHL coaching career.
The Flyers spend the rest of the third running into the Sharks’ defense and didn’t seem to come to life until their net was empty with two minutes left. No more goals or a miraculous comeback would be on tap, though, and the Flyers would be booed off the ice as they were sent to their ninth-straight loss by a 3-1 final.
Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: This is bad. Everything is bad.
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*This is uh...this is getting rough. Recap.
*So yeah here’s what we learned from Monday night’s game. A lot of it will sound familiar. But there’s some good stuff here. [BSH]
*Jay’s latest prospect report is here, and it’s mostly good! Mostly good is good! [BSH]
*But anyhoo, enough already with Dave Hakstol and his bullshit. [NBC Sports Philly]
*Here’s a fun stat: the Eagles have more wins than the Flyers. [BSH]
*Taking a look at which defensive pairs are helping their teams and which are hurting. You’ll be shocked to learn where the Flyers’ first pairing falls on the scale. [The Athletic]
*You may have noticed that goal scoring is up league-wide this season. What’s that about? [ESPN]
*And finally, I think you’ll find this piece very relevant to your current situation: DGB’s 20 stages of realizing your team is hot garbage. [Sportsnet]
Subject: Eagles News: Russell Wilson provides unique challenge to Philadelphia
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/29/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
As Philadelphia Eagles move forward, they're wary of Russell Wilson running backward - PennLive
As the Eagles (10-1) prepare for Sunday night's showdown in Seattle, that's one of primary dangers the defense is wary of: Wilson's ability to not only scramble to his right or left, but also his knack for sprinting backward to cause headaches for a defense. Typically, coaches wouldn't mind seeing an opposing quarterback turn and run away from the line of scrimmage. But Wilson has the creativity, athleticism and arm strength to extend plays by doing just that, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, which makes him different than other mobile quarterbacks across the league.
Why Eagles match up so well vs. mobile Russell Wilson - NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles are best-suited to play against a mobile quarterback. Let me explain why. It is very seldom that teams in the NFL have two stud defensive tackles who can collapse the pocket. The Eagles have the ideal situation with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. Both linemen are explosive and very good pass rushers. They are one-gap players — their only responsibility is to occupy one gap. Both of these players go about this explosively and aggressively. Defensive coordinator Jim Schartz encourages the D-line to get up the field and reestablish a new line of scrimmage, to push the opposition's offensive line back, which presses the pocket. With this push up the middle of the interior of the O-line, it presses the gap in which QBs have to react and step into throws. The Eagles also have very good rush ends in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Chris Long. The defensive ends apply constant pressure on most QBs by running the arc.
Afternoon QB With BLG: What if the Eagles never lose again? - BGNRadio.com
BLG says the Eagles are so good that it’s boring, in a good way! Gets into the Eagles clinching the division on Thursday with Cowboys loss (Saints losing to the Rams is good, still need Vikings to lose at least one of the next two). Plus the Eagles have some sloppy things they need to clean up, what to make of the Ajayi stuff and more!
Could the Eagles use a little late-game adversity for a change? - PhillyVoice
You know that things are going really, really, really well when one of the concerns about a football team is that they are blowing out everyone they play. However, in a city where we are used to inevitable failure, many have wondered whether the Eagles would be better served having a late-game scare or two heading into the playoffs. Doug Pederson was asked about that theory, and he apparently buys it. Or maybe he's just bored during the fourth quarter of all these blowout wins.
Take a Seat, Eli - Iggles Blitz
There’s a lot to think about here. This is the end of an incredible streak, with Eli having started 210 straight games. That’s an amazing accomplishment. This also is the beginning of the end of an era. Eli has been the starting QB for the Giants since the middle of 2004 and led them to a pair of Super Bowls. Some call him a Hall of Famer. I disagree. Still, he provided stability and ability for a long time and helped that team win a lot of games. Eli might be overrated by some, but he’s been a good QB for a long time.
Wentz Takes New Game, New Team Back To Seattle - PE.com
This is Carson Wentz Time on center stage, in a hostile environment, playing against a physical and very good Seattle defense in prime time ...
Crowd noise, Russell Wilson in focus as Eagles prepare for Seahawks - Inquirer
Every time the Eagles visit Seattle, there are questions about how the Eagles will deal with the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field. The stadium was built with noise in mind, and the Seahawks have loyal fans. Plus, their teams are usually good. Many of the Eagles, including Wentz, experienced the venue last year. They also played in Kansas City this season. That’s why offensive coordinator Frank Reich didn’t want to overstate the challenge while acknowledging that the environment in Seattle is among the most difficult in the NFL. “Loud is loud, and once you’re using the silent count, you’re using a silent count,” Reich said. “I think at this time of year, you never take anything for granted. I think we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. I think we feel comfortable. The real key is on the quarterback and the O-line to be able to continue to mix up; it’s sometimes easier to mix a count when you’re using your voice, but you have to be just as committed to mixing up the count when you’re using silent count.” The Eagles will practice with crowd noise blaring over the speakers to prepare. They might also practice indoors, where it’s even louder.
Upon Further Review: Eagles fans — What, you worry? - The Athletic
It's easy to joke about subjective nonsense like “interceptable passes” when Carson Wentz throws for three touchdowns and a 109.4 quarterback rating while dazzling with plays like his spin away from pressure on a busted screen. But Wentz wasn't fully at his sharpest against Chicago. In the first quarter, he threw an ill-advised out to Torrey Smith that was broken up by Prince Amukamara and could have been a pick-six. And his throw on the 4th and 6 late in the third quarter was an odd one that went right through the defenders' hands. Wentz almost missed a couple opportunities for big plays, like when he overthrew Mack Hollins in the end zone. And there were some much less consequential misses like the back-to-back misses to Zach Ertz in the fourth quarter.
Alshon Jeffery: NFL Digital Diaries - CBS Philly
In this episode, Alshon will take us through his off day as he explores historic Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love.” Alshon is playing his first season in Philadelphia and is looking forward to site-seeing in his new home-away-from-home.
It’s time for the Seahawks to end the Eddie Lacy experiment - Field Gulls
Eddie Lacy got to touch the football a lot in the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. To the surprise of no one other than presumably the Seahawks coaching staff, he was mostly ineffective. Lacy earned a season-high 17 carries, but only gained 46 yards. He also picked up an additional 15 yards on a season-best 3 catches. That’s 20 touches for 61 yards, or just slightly over 3 yards per touch, and coming into the 49ers game he’d averaged exactly... 3 yards per touch. Lacy got extended playing time and performed in song with his already brutal stat-line, as well as failing to get into the end zone on a goal-line situation yet again.
Reactions to Eli Manning’s benching - Big Blue View
Reaction to the decision that Eli Manning would, for the first time since 2004, not be the New York Giants starting quarterback this Sunday when the Giants face the Oakland Raiders has come thundering in from all quarters. Former players, current players, media members, and fans have all voiced their displeasure with the decision. We’ll start with the Giants’ all-time touchdown leader and one of their most out-spoken players, Brandon Jacobs.
Week 12 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
The fourth of the dominant NFC teams is Philadelphia, of course, which currently owns the league's best record at 10-1. The Rams may be back in the top spot this week but it's just barely over the Eagles, by one-tenth of a percentage point, and the Eagles are still No. 1 in Weighted DVOA which drops the strength of September games. The Eagles have not yet clinched a postseason berth but they only miss the playoffs in ONE of our 50,000 playoff odds simulations this week.
NFL 2017 Week 12 - Team of the Week - PFF
The Eagles once again rolled over their opposition, and this time Zach Ertz was by far the biggest receiving threat on the team. He led the team with 12 targets, ten receptions and 103 receiving yards, getting himself on the score board in the process. He beat seven different Chicago defenders for receptions, and saw targets against another two over the course of the game.
The 2017 Eagles are fun like the 2016 Cowboys — but better - SB Nation
The parallels between the year-separated division rivals are clear. There’s a young, emerging quarterback behind center directing traffic and earning MVP consideration. There’s a lengthy winning streak propelling them to the top of the NFC East. A high-powered offense and an above-average defense have been the engine between each franchise’s sudden rise. But the Eagles are doing what last year’s Cowboys did, but better — at least through 11 games.
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: Crossing Broadcast: Flyers Stink and Media Devastation
Subject: Why does 2017 feel like more fun than 2004? No pressure.
Why this Eagles team feels like more fun than the last one that went to the Super Bowl.
The 2017 Eagles are 10-1. The 2004 Eagles were 10-1.
Man, that 2004 team was fun. They went to 13-1, clinched home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, then lost the last two regular season games while everyone rested. They would’ve gone 15-1, otherwise. They swept their division. They clinched by Week 13. It was awesome.
This year’s team could finish with as good, if not a better record, than the 2004 squad. Yeah, they have a tough two-game west coast trip ahead of them, but are favored to beat the Seattle Seahawks by six on Sunday (as of this writing) and will likely be favored to beat the Rams in Los Angeles the week after. They hold a two-game lead for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and people are freely and openly talking about Super Bowls around here as if the city and its sports teams haven’t had their souls repeatedly put through a blender and pureed on a semi-regular basis over the last 100 years.
The team has been routing fools, dancing on the field, performing choreographed celebrations and lapping up every drop of their success. It’s been wild. The fanbase, although still somewhat understandably gunshy about such things, is enjoying this team and its success perhaps more than the 2004 team that ended up playing in the city’s first Super Bowl since 1981.
The 2017 season feels more fun than that 2004 team, and the reason is simple.
No pressure. Or at least, not nearly as much pressure as Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid and the gang were under 13 years ago.
Let’s remember what that 2004 team was facing. The Eagles went into that season having lost three straight NFC Championship Games, two of them at home. I was at the 2002 NFC title game against Tampa, the final game ever at Veterans Stadium. I remember Brian Mitchell almost taking the opening kickoff to the house and Duce Staley finishing things off two plays later.
It felt as though the stadium was going to come down right then and there. Victory was assured.
Of course, they didn’t win. Brad Johnson dinked and dunked the Birds’ defense to death that day, Joe Jurevicius ran through a patchwork of linebackers all afternoon, and Ronde Barber smothered the team with a pillow in a loss so crushing that no one even had the heart to boo afterwards. That wound was opened even more the following year when Carolina came to town and Ricky Manning Jr. became public enemy No. 1 in one of the more infuriating afternoons in Eagles history.
The 2004 team was under immense pressure from Week 1, and getting off to a 13-1 start didn’t lessen the pressure, either. Eagles fans were basketcases. The pressure for that team to advance to the Super Bowl was immense. It’s hard to overstate how crucial it was for the ‘04 Birds to get past that damned NFC Championship Game. And that pressure certainly stripped some of the pure enjoyment from that season. Had the Eagles not gotten to the Super Bowl, the whole year would have all been a waste.
Fast forward to this season. Carson Wentz is in his second season and is the odds-on MVP favorite. The offense and defense have playmakers all over the field. The team is populated by great players who appear to be really good people, all of whom genuinely like each other.
They’re also winning a crap-ton of games.
It’s an infectious mix of youth, talent, and chemistry that few NFL teams experience, and rarely does it happen in a season like this. Many thought the Eagles were still at least a year away from reaching the postseason, so there were no Super Bowl expectations. In fact, the postseason felt like a bit of a longshot when training camp opened.
But that’s what makes this season more fun than 2004. This is found money, there is really no pressure, here. Sure, running out to a 10-1 record and securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs raises expectations. Anything other than a spot in the NFC Championship Game would, at this point, be a bit disappointing. But it’s nothing like the crushing weight of expectations the team and the city felt in 2004, where another loss in the NFC Championship Game would have created a city-wide psychosis. The 2017 Eagles season feels carefree by comparison.
So, enjoy this run and don’t ask too many questions. Wallow in the fun, because seasons like this almost never, ever happen. Especially in Philadelphia.
Subject: Your Wednesday Morning Roundup
Subject: The best photos from the Flyers loss to the Sharks
Corey Clement is JAG.
Just A Guy.
He’s not exceptionally skilled at any particular thing.
Proving people wrong.
Through the first 11 games of his rookie career, the undrafted rookie free agent running back out of Wisconsin has certainly exceeded expectations. Clement has logged 58 rushing attempts for 249 yards (4.5 average) and four touchdowns. As a pass-catcher, he’s contributed with four receptions for 58 yards and two more scores.
That kind of impact is certainly a lot more than I would have expected heading into this season. Sorry for doubting you, Corey.
Someone who didn’t doubt Clement all along is his high school guidance counselor. She actually made a deal with him that she’d give him her BMW if Clement made it to the NFL. And guess what? She followed through.
I won't be covering the Eagles and I'm not even in Philly yet, but just heard a cool story about Eagles RB Corey Clement. When he was at Glassboro HS (in NJ), his guidance counselor told him that if he ever made the NFL, she'd give him her BMW. So she did. (CC @EliotShorrParks) pic.twitter.com/cRjuqDyGaW— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) November 28, 2017
Now that’s a nice motivation technique. Pretty cool stuff.
As for another person who never doubted Corey Clement?
Check the timestamp on that tweet: May 16, 2012.
He knew all along.
Subject: They Got Lauer!
The Eagles continue their stroll to the NFC division title as the rest of the division implodes around them. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Let’s make some excuses for NFC East. Some of the NFC East. Half the NFC East. The Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
Last Week: Had as many highlight-worthy celebrations as points given up, beating the Bears 31-3.
There are no excuses to be made for this team, as they are the best in the league. The Eagles are really freaking good. But you knew that already, so just enjoy this clip of Swoop nearly breaking his ankles.
So I just found video from Swoop's debut in 1996 at The Vet.— Jeff McDev (@JeffMcDev) November 26, 2017
His parachute entrance went complete awry and he barreled into the bench on the sideline. It's so funny. pic.twitter.com/pjFVcAcy6O
Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
Last Week: Lost 28-6 to the Chargers in a must win game on national television.
This Week: Host the Redskins to clinch the NFC East for the Eagles.
The Cowboys are all kinds of bad right now. Over their past three games, all without Ezekiel Elliott, they are playing like the worst team in the league. They have scored 22 and given up 92, which would be the 9th worst point differential for the season. There are reasons why they are in such a hole, the losses of Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith being the main ones. And then there are excuses, none bigger than people who cover and/or root for the Cowboys bemoaning the lack of penalties called on Cowboys’ opponents.
Dallas has had the fewest penalties called on the opposition this season. But they’ve also had the fourth fewest called against them, giving them the 11th worst differential with a difference of less than half a penalty a game. The worst differential belongs to the Seahawks, who are on track to make the playoffs despite getting more than 3 more penalties a game called on them than their opposition. The Chiefs, Rams, and Eagles have a worse differential than the Cowboys. Last season, when the Cowboys were rolling to the top seed in the NFC, their penalty differential was….
5th. It was worse than this year.
There are reasons, and there are excuses.
Washington Redskins (5-6)
Last Week: Scored more points than the Giants, giving Keith Cousins his first week day win.
This Week: Visit the Cowboys on Thursday Night.
This season was one ripe with excuses for the Redskins. They lost a lot of talent in free agency, their brilliant play caller Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, and they’ve had a lot of players go IR. And though they’re lousy, it’s hard to make a lot of excuses for Kurt Cousins. Kent should be having a terrible year: his best pass catcher, Jordan Reed, has predictably missed half the season; his outside receivers have predictably failed to fill the void left by DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon; the Redskins still can’t settle the running back position; and the Redskins have actually faced a pretty tough schedule. And yet, Cousins is having a pretty damn good year. His passer rating of 101.1 is just 0.5 off his career high, and is 7th best in the league. His 8.1 yards per attempt is 4th best. He’s sporting the best interception rate of his career and has a pretty good touchdown rate. There’s a lot going on in Cousin’s season that should lead to it being lousy. Instead, he’s been pretty damn good. Well done Kirk. Get that pay day in Denver.
New York Giants (2-9)
Last Week: Played so poorly that Eli Manning finally got his ass benched.
This Week: Visit the Raiders, so Eli can spend the whole game working on his tan, if they let him make the trip.
Ben McAdoo, who as our sharp readers pointed out has both a “Full Blooded Italian” a and a “Female Body Inspector” t-shirt (he wears the latter under the former), has either decided that or is taking the blame for deciding that willfully starting Geno Smith would be a good decision.
It would be easy to blame the Giants many failures this season on anything but Eli, and everything around Eli does stink to high heaven. But let’s not forget that Eli Manning Is Profoundly Mediocre. The Giants offense rested on the shoulder of a 36 year old QB who, at his best, was just “pretty good.” Spare me the pity party for a guy who pouted his way to a draft day trade.
Tweet of the Week
Do NOT let Chris Myers babysit your kids if this is how he burps a baby pic.twitter.com/0DjVbTbrPP— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 26, 2017
Subject: Sharks 3, Flyers 1: The same old song and dance
Some observations for your morning...
I know you know by now, but the Flyers have now dropped their ninth game in a row. It’s a familiar tune, at this point, with some shifts in key and a bit of movement here and there, but it always seems to get us to the same place. So let’s get into it.
1. A strong start
So, things looked like they were going well for a hot second. The Flyers came out swinging and Giroux notched one heck of a goal, just 48 seconds into the first period, coming from just the spot he was practicing shooting from during warmups (nice how that works out, huh?). The Flyers grabbed onto momentum after that, holding the edge in possession for the first half of the period. Perhaps expecting some signs of fatigue, in facing the tail end of back to back games, they looked sharp and controlled, early in the period. Though not perfect, they were controlling and defending the puck well enough, and looked like they might be able to bring a bit of edge and energy, despite being on the second half of a back to back.
And, I mean, it was nice while it lasted.
2. Passing was rough early
But what else is new? And while the Flyers were able to overcome their passing troubles briefly to pick up the first goal of the game, it hindered them clearly through the bulk of the period.
The Sharks were, admittedly, strong on the forecheck throughout, not giving the Flyers a lot of space to work with in trying to maneuver, but even so, they just couldn’t seem to connect. Their passes were inaccurate, their plays broken up. And, in many cases, plays were broken before they could even get started, with Flyers whiffing on passes left and right, and then being left to scramble and figure out a new play, as the situation changed and defenders caught up. It slowed them down and hindered their efforts to keep the momentum up, and even extend their early lead. And it’s an issue that, as soon as you think they’ve made moves to rectify it, creeps back up again.
3. Near excellent 5 on 3 PK work all for naught
One of the areas that looked in some ways improved last night was the penalty kill. And it needed to, as they gave up a two man advantage to the Sharks late in the first period, giving them 1:19 to work with on five on three.
Through most of that time, they were able to effectively keep the puck tied up. MacDonald was doing what he does best and throwing the body around and blocking shots. They were limiting the Sharks’ chances and frustrating their efforts. Things looked like they were going well there until, in retrospect, the near inevitable happened.
That’s right, with under ten seconds to go on the first penalty, Thornton lined up for a shot and Neuvirth just sort of froze, giving him a clear lane to score.
So with the penalty kill looking like it’s finally figured something out, finally found a way to be more effective, their goaltending falls flat, can’t come up with the necessary save.
But, with this great PK performance at 3 on 5 considered, that brings me to my next point...
4. Discipline, discipline, discipline
Plain and simple, the Flyers need to stop taking so many penalties. This differential between penalties drawn and given is growing, and keeps hurting them in a big way.
Late in the first period, after looking like they had some energy, the Flyers took three penalties in just under three minutes, effectively killing any momentum that they were trying to hold onto. From there the game swung distinctly in San Jose’s favor, and the Flyers were left floundering.
But it’s not just the fact that the penalties are coming en masse that’s so troubling, it’s how they’re coming at the most inopportune times. Take the Raffl ‘delay of game, puck over the glass’ penalty taken while they attempted to kill off the initial Simmonds penalty. It was a panic move—the second in two games—and dug the Flyers into an even deeper hole, as they had to kill off a 5 on 3.
And then two Flyers power play opportunities were negated after nine seconds and 1:41, respectively, when a penalty was taken as they tried to capitalize on their own man advantage, again breaking down any momentum they were hoping to pick up. And you can call it fatigue, or you can call it lack of discipline, but the fact remains that it just has to change. And soon.
5. Line shuffling
With play sagged during the second period, and the Flyers trying to scramble back from a two goal deficit, Hakstol did some shuffling of the forward groupings, in hopes of sparking something.
It was Patrick on the fourth line.
It was Raffl with Giroux and Couturier.
It was Patrick back up with Voracek and Simmonds.
And yeah, maybe on paper at least one of those groupings looked like it might be able to do something. But nothing really worked, nothing jumped out as being distinctly more effective, and it wasn’t long before Hakstol went back to the original lines from the start of the game.
And as for us, what did we learn? Maybe the chemistry wasn’t there, maybe it just wasn’t any special, but maybe the team, the game were just too far gone at that point, and they were past the point where shuffled lines would be able to save them.
6. Flyers lost the possession battle in a big way
After a first period with some early promise, the Flyers just as quickly let the game get away from them. Why don’t we take a step back and look at the numbers (spoiler alert: they’re not great).
The Flyers held a small edge in possession for just about the first half of the period, until the Tierney goal, and things steadily declined from there. The Flyers put up 23 shots over 60 minutes, and averaged an adjusted CF% of 30.16 percent at five on five. Their expected goals were just 2.29, suggesting they had some chance to work to push for a tie early, but not giving them much hope of stealing a late tie or lead.
It would be easy to say that the third period really killed them, but it was a fairly controlled downward spiral that did that work. They sacrificed a lot, and all in all, they were lucky that San Jose wasn’t 100 percent on last night, or else they really may have risked being blown out of the water.
7. The Wednesday morning number
That’s how many shots the Flyers had through the first seventeen minutes or so of the third period, until they were able to pull Neuvirth to bring out the extra attacker. Just take a moment with that one.
And sure, there’s something to be said about how San Jose, on average, allows the fewest shots per game from their opponents, but one shot in seventeen minutes can’t all be credited to the Sharks’ efforts.
After looking a bit sluggish in the second, they really fell off in the third. We saw aggression of play slipping. We saw them backing off of 50/50 pucks. They had chances to push for some bigger plays, but instead they sat back, did only a bit of work, and hoped that nothing went catastrophically wrong.
8. The team just didn’t show up
Looking at the third period specifically, but also broadening to the scope of the whole game, what this team looked like, above all, was not a team at all. Discontinuity reigned, and energy slipped dramatically as the game went on, so much so that by the time we reached the third period, it didn’t look like the Flyers had much of anything left in the tank.
And you can call this fatigue--certainly the fact that they played back to back games didn’t help matters--but above all what we saw was a team looking deflated by the weight of putting in the work over the previous eight games, with little to show for it.
Because we can talk all we want about how the underlying numbers and play are solid, and how the wins will soon follow, if they just keep at it, but there comes a time when a team wearies from those results continuing to not arrive, despite their best efforts. And that’s what we’re starting to see, here.
9. But leadership is optimistic???
Despite the player’s obvious frustration with their play and the results of these last nine games, unshaken seems the leadership of the team, in Hakstol and Hextall. In talks after the game, the two both seemed remarkably calm, praising the overall efforts of the team over this losing stretch. Yes, they conceded, the results aren’t what they want, the team’s shooting itself in the foot at times, and the energy drop off in last night’s game was not a highlight, but on the whole, they seemed relatively nonplussed.
And you do start to wonder about this. If the players are frustrated but leadership isn’t, where is the disconnect coming from? Are Hakstol and Hextall just giving lip service to this facade of calm? And when are we going to start seeing the changes, the buttons needed to be pressed, in order to get this team going again?
As for me, I wish I had the answers, but the mood in the room right now reads like one of ‘stay the course,’ and hope the team can play its way out of this.
10. The only damn thing I know
So, things are bad right now. Nine straight losses and no end in sight.
But things were good, once. Just over a month ago, there was light in our lives, and I think we need reminding of it.
That’s right. The dogs. We once had better hockey and adorable dogs. I don’t have much else to say about this, honestly. Hockey may be bad, but dogs are still good. And that’s good enough for me.
Subject: Deconstructing Hextall: Is the GM Delusional after Sharks 3, Flyers 1?
Subject: ESPN Is Laying Off 150 People
Subject: NFL Draft Prospect of the Week: Tremaine Edmunds
A lot of college football players turned in great performances for Rivalry Week. Few things bring out someone’s “A” game like a match up with some history. Few players, however, turned it on the way Tremaine Edmunds did in Virginia Tech’s rivalry game against Virginia.
Edmunds picked up two sacks, a tackle for a loss and several more stops against the run. He was too much to handle for the Virginia line in the passing and running game and was all over the field for four quarters. Virginia did not score a single point.
The junior linebacker finishes the season with five and a half sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, two pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Edmunds was a movable chess piece on the Hokie defense who could rush the passer, defend the run, blitz from off the ball and looked surprisingly natural in coverage for a 250 pound linebacker.
His evaluation will be fun given how multiple his skill set is and what a great athlete he looks like. While it is not definite that Edmunds could come out after a strong junior season, he will likely be highly regarded given his athletic profile, tape and production over the last two years. Also, his skill set means that every team could find a role for him on their defense.
Other Performances of Note
- Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia: Matching up with Georgia Tech’s offense is never easy for a defender, but Roquan Smith answered the call by living in the Yellow Jacket’s backfield for four quarters. His three tackles for a loss played a big part in Georgia’s stifling of Paul Johnson’s offense and the big win over their in state rival.
- Rashaad Penny, Running Back, SDSU: Rashaad Penny finished his regular season off with a masterful 203 yard, two touchdown performance against New Mexico. The senior running back finished the season with four straight two hundred yard performances where he also scored nine touchdowns. Penny currently leads the country in rushing with 2027 yards on only 275 carries (7.37 YPC) and 19 touchdowns. To make things even more impressive, Penny has scored two more touchdowns as a receiver, one as a punt returner and two as a kickoff returner. Penny’s insane production in his senior season is bound to get him some serious draft recognition considering he is a 5’11”, 220 pound back with power and breakaway speed.
- Harrison Phillips, Defensive Lineman, Stanford: Stanford pulled away in their rivalry game against Notre Dame because of their offense, but some strong defensive performances helped keep an explosive Fighting Irish offense at bay. Harrison Phillips has been an impact defender for the Cardinal this year and he continued to contribute with two sacks against Notre Dame. The 6’4”, 295 defensive tackle moves all over the Stanford line to maximize his athletic ability and that helped against Notre Dame’s strong running game. Phillips is a well rounded defender with impressive athletic ability on the field. With 13 sacks and 25.5 TFLs in the last two seasons, it is hard to not see him get some draft hype soon.
- Orlando Brown, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s offense has been humming all season and it was no different in their Big 12 match up with West Virginia. The Sooners rolled for over 300 yards on the ground and over 300 more through the air and that would not have been possible if not for Orlando Brown’s stellar performance. The 6’4”, 345 pound junior mauled in the run game and was a wall as a pass blocker. Brown is immensely talented and has been a big part of the Sooners’ success this year. Will the junior enter the draft? He would be highly regarded if he decided to.