Subject: Shipping Update: Devastation
Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Two players were limited, one sat out
Update on the Eagles-Seahawks injury situation.
For the second day in a row, only one player did not practice: linebacker Joe Walker. It seems like he won’t be able to play this week. If that’s the case, it could be Dannell Ellerbe making his first start with Philly. Or maybe the Eagles split playing time between Ellerbe and Najee Goode. With both Walker and Jordan Hicks hurt, Philly is now down to their third string linebacker option(s).
Two players were limited during Thursday’s session: starting center Jason Kelce and rookie defensive end Derek Barnett. Kelce was also limited on Wednesday. The veteran blocker is pretty good about playing through injury so I doubt his status is in jeopardy. As for Barnett, he was a full participant on Wednesday, so it’s interesting to see he got moved down to limited. If he can’t play, that would mean more playing time for Steven Means.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and slot cornerback Patrick Robinson were upgraded to full participants on Thursday after being limited yesterday. Both players are on pace to suit up on Sunday. The same goes for Trey Burton and Beau Allen, who missed the Eagles-Bears game but returned to practice as full participants on Wednesday.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (THURSDAY)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Joe Walker (neck)
C Jason Kelce (ankle)
DE Derek Barnett (groin)
WR Alshon Jeffery (foot)
CB Patrick Robinson (knee)
DT Beau Allen (knee)
TE Trey Burton (back)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT (THURSDAY)
Official Seahawks injury report to be announced - check back for updates.
Subject: Malcolm Jenkins explains why he plans to stop demonstrating during national anthem
Hear from the Eagles safety.
Here's Malcolm Jenkins explaining why he will not demonstrate during the national anthem on Sunday: pic.twitter.com/HcxHAzYAvv— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 30, 2017
Jenkins insisted this is not about the money the league's investing. "I personally wouldn’t just accept a check a move on. What I wanted to make sure happened is we replace the platform that we’ve been using." Thinks there's a plan to "amplify these issues."— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 30, 2017
Jenkins: "There’s a lot still to be done. I’m not popping champagne bottles just yet. But I am looking forward to continuing to work and providing an area for other players to amplify their efforts as well.”— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 30, 2017
Jenkins has been demonstrating since the start of the 2016 season, shortly after Colin Kaepernick began kneeling on the sideline. So why the change now? Here’s a lot of good information from a recent ESPN report:
In an unprecedented move for a major professional sports league, the NFL has proposed partnering with its players to effect social justice change, though not all players are in agreement on the proposal.
On Monday, the league submitted to players the final draft of a proposal that, according to documents reviewed by ESPN, would contribute nearly $100 million to causes considered important to African-American communities. The NFL hopes this effort will effectively end the peaceful-yet-controversial movement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started when he refused to stand for the national anthem last season.
Under the proposal, money at both the national and local level would provide grants for nonprofit organizations focused on law enforcement and community relations, criminal justice reform and education reform.
As a leader of the Players Coalition, Jenkins has been one of the main people involved in negotiations with the NFL.
Not everyone is on board, though. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid — Kaepernick’s former teammate — and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas withdrew from the Players Coalition on Wednesday. They both issued the following statement:
"The Players Coalition was supposed to be formed as a group that represents NFL Athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism. However, Malcolm and Anquan [Boldin] can no longer speak on our behalf as we don't believe the coalition's beliefs are in our best interests as a whole."
Jenkins disputed their claims and called their decisions to withdraw “disappointing.”
Jenkins’ decision not to protest anymore indicates a level of satisfaction with the NFL’s response to demonstrations. Some players clearly feel differently.
Subject: Cowboys vs. Redskins: How to watch Thursday Night Football
Everything you need to know.
Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season officially kicks off tonight. Only five more weeks remain in the regular season.
As you should know by now, this is a game big game for the Philadelphia Eagles. A Cowboys loss (or tie) means the Eagles will officially clinch the NFC East. Doing so would mark the Eagles’ first division crown since 2013 and ensure Philadelphia a spot in the 2018 NFL Playoffs.
Even if the Cowboys do win tonight, Philly can still officially clinch if they beat the Seahawks in Seattle this Sunday.
But screw that. Let’s have a celebration tonight. Get it done, Washington.
Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Game time: 8:25 PM EST
Channel: NFL Network, CBS, Amazon Prime Video
Date: Thursday, November 30
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
Location: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, Texas
Amazon Prime members can stream this game online.
Washington Redskins -2 (-115)
Dallas Cowboys +2 (-105)
Over/under: 47 points
SB Nation Blogs
Washington - www.HogsHaven.com
Cowboys - www.BloggingTheBoys.com
Open thread: discuss Thursday's game in the comments below.
Subject: Flyers Rot Goes Straight to the Top
Subject: NFC Playoff Picture: Eagles get no help from the majorly choking Redskins
The Philadelphia Eagles will have to wait to officially clinch the NFC East title.
The Eagles needed Washington to win in order to officially clinch the division.
But Washington just couldn’t help but beat themselves.
They made a number of dumb turnovers and mistakes, especially early on in the game. It was a total choke job performance. They just played incredibly dumb football and handed the game to the Cowboys. It didn’t help that Washington suffered approximately a billion injuries in the game as well. Especially on the offensive line.
The good news for the Eagles is that they can still officially clinch the division by beating the Seahawks in Seattle this weekend. The Cowboys only managed to delay the inevitable on Thursday night.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
Top six seeds
1 - Philadelphia Eagles: 10-1 overall, 8-0 conference
2 - Minnesota Vikings: 9-2 overall, 7-1 conference
3 - Los Angeles Rams: 8-3 overall, 5-3 conference (direct tie-breaker over NO)
4 - New Orleans Saints: 8-3 overall, 6-2 conference (direct tie-breaker over CAR)
5 - Carolina Panthers: 8-3 overall, 4-3 conference
6 - Atlanta Falcons: 7-4 overall, 6-1 conference (direct tie-breaker over SEA)
In the hunt
7 - Seattle Seahawks: 7-4 overall, 5-3 conference
8 - Detroit Lions: 6-5 overall, 5-4 conference
9 - Dallas Cowboys: 6-6 overall, 5-4 conference
10 - Green Bay Packers: 5-6 overall, 4-4 conference
11 - Arizona Cardinals: 5-6 overall, 3-5 conference
Rest in peace
12 - Washington Redskins: 5-7 overall, 4-6 conference
Subject: Eagles News: LeGarrette Blount says the Seahawks
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/1/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
LeGarrette Blount on Seahawks defense: 'They're not anything special' - PhillyVoice
Over their last four games, two of which came on the road, the Seahawks have allowed an average of 273 yards and 20 points, with a 34-point outburst by the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11 slightly skewing the latter. And in all but three of their games this season, they've held opponents under 20 points. It's not quite The Legion of Boom we've been accustomed to over the past several years, but it's still a formidable defense. Just don't tell Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount that. "We'll play them just like we play everybody else," he said when asked how the Birds offense is preparing for Seattle's D. "They're not anything special or anything different from any other team."
The Eagles face their toughest test in what feels like a long time - BGN
Previewing this week’s Eagles vs. Seahawks game!
Gotta Earn It - Iggles Blitz
Dallas loss or an Eagles win and the Eagles will be NFC East champs. The Skins had a chance to give the Eagles a nice gift by beating Dallas on Thursday Night Football, but the Skins proved to be just as gutless as we all feared. No title tonight. That’s probably a good thing, as crazy as that sounds. It would be hard to believe the Eagles would keep their edge for Sunday if they had the title wrapped up tonight. And that’s not a team you want to play without complete focus. Seattle is already upset that they are underdogs.
Eagle Eye: First Look At Seattle's Offense - PE.com
On offense, the Seahawks obviously have some flaws, but they have the ability to put up huge chunks of yardage and a ton of points on anyone due to their style of play. This is a team that loves to plunge daggers into the hearts of defenses with back-breaking plays. Russell Wilson is usually the one holding the dagger when it’s all said and done, and his dynamic playmaking style certainly helps fuel the entire operation.
Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz - NBC Sports Philadelphia
It’s time to stop comparing Carson Wentz to other “young quarterbacks.” It’s time to stop comparing him to Dak Prescott or other current rivals. It’s time to stop comparing him to Donovan McNabb or any other Eagles quarterback from the distant past. Because with Wentz, it’s no longer about how he stacks up to other Eagles QBs or other young QBs. It’s about how he stacks up with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen enough after 27 career games and 11 games this year to safely conclude that Wentz, provided of course he stays healthy, will go down as an all-time great.
What are the keys to the Eagles-Seahawks game for the Eagles? - Inquirer
DEFENDING WILSON: There’s been a lot of attention paid to Russell Wilson this week, and for good reason. The Seahawks have 27 offensive touchdowns this season, and 26 have come from either the arm or legs of Wilson. He is almost their entire offense — it’s not as if they have the balanced attack of some other teams, or the run-heavy offense of past Seahawks teams. If the Eagles can neutralize Wilson, they’ll win. But that’s easier said than done. Wilson is so elusive and so dangerous on off-schedule plays that he creates problems even if the Eagles get past a leaky Seahawks offensive line. And like Carson Wentz, he raises his play in the red zone. Wilson has 16 touchdowns and one interception in the red zone with a 94.2 quarterback rating. The Seahawks need a big game from Wilson to win, and a red-hot Eagles defense could be challenged unlike any other point this season.
32 NFL observations, Week 12 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive end Brandon Graham makes a stop in run defense on 14.6 percent of his snaps in run defense – the highest percent of any 4-3 defensive end with at least 70 snaps in run defense.
Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins won't protest Sunday after NFL's pledge - ESPN
According to ESPN's Jim Trotter and Jason Reid, commissioner Roger Goodell was furious over the players leaving the coalition. But during an afternoon call, Jenkins asked that Goodell and the owners continue to stand with the players and allow them to do important work in the community. "It's been a trying process for the last year and a half," Jenkins said, "and I'm sure even moving forward there's going to be some growing pains and things we need to move through. But at the end of the day, I'm focused on solutions and outcomes. I really want to make an impact in my community. I want to make sure we do it in the right manner and that we accomplish what we set out to do when we first started to protest as players."
All-22: The silent count, Vaitai's struggles and trying to ‘wham’ the Seahawks - The Athletic
Sunday was not Vaitai's best game. He was called for two holding penalties and allowed two QB hits. On Sunday, look for the Seahawks to attack the left side of the Eagles' offensive line with Clark, Bennett and Sheldon Richardson. They'll use stunts and games up front and occasionally blitz middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Against the Bears, on Wentz's touchdown pass to Zach Ertz, Vaitai got beaten.
Seahawks-Eagles: Seattle looking to avoid unthinkable third consecutive home defeat - Field Gulls
If there’s anything that no one could’ve predicted about the 2017 NFL season, it’s the distinct possibility that the Seattle Seahawks could miss the playoffs because of their uninspiring W-L record at home. Seattle comes into Sunday night’s pivotal matchup vs. the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles having lost their last two at CenturyLink Field, including a 34-31 defeat on Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons. It marked just the sixth time Seattle had lost a home primetime matchup at the stadium since it opened in 2002.
Carson Wentz tops fan Pro Bowl voting - PFT
Millions of fans have cast Pro Bowl votes at NFL.com, and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is their favorite. Wentz leads all players with 422,491 Pro Bowl votes. That puts him ahead of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the Top 5.
Sean McVay’s Rapid Rise With Rams Offers NFL Coaching Search Lessons - Sports Illustrated
With firing and hiring season drawing near, revisiting how Los Angeles found its coach and the steps other teams should follow to find similar success. Other sections include: Peyton Manning's next job; Eli Manning’s future team; Pittsburgh’s growing optimism; the NFL players’ social justice situation; and more.
Chart Party: Let’s talk about Colin Kaepernick - SB Nation
A common argument we hear these days is that Colin Kaepernick isn't good enough to play in the NFL. This is absolutely not true.
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Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: No way we hit ten, right?
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*The Flyers are back tomorrow! And after several days to reflect, here’s hoping they’ve pulled some semblance of their shit together and pull out a win. In the meantime, who do you think has been the worst during this skid? [NBC Sports Philly]
*A lot has been made of Ron Hextall’s “patient approach” to putting together this team, and would appear that the biggest benefactor of this approach is going to be Dave Hakstol. [Philly.com]
*It’s been a bit of a tough road for the Phantoms lately too, mostly due to injury and call-ups. [BSH]
*Do you think the NHL tries too hard to force rivalries to happen? Rather than just letting them naturally develop over time? [Sporting News]
*The KHL is wild. [ProHockeyTalk]
*And finally, Lou Nolan and Sam Carchidi discuss their book, which is actually a really fun read. And it just so happens that we’re giving away a copy and today is your last day to enter to win! Just follow BSH Radio on twitter and retweet the tweet linked here and we’ll be choosing a winner this afternoon. [CBS Philly]
Subject: Eagles vs. Seahawks Game Preview: 6 questions and answers with the enemy
Previewing the Eagles’ Week 13 matchup.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks are set to play each other this Sunday at CenturyLink Field. In order to preview the Eagles’ Week 13 game against Seattle, I reached out to our friends over at Field Gulls. The great Kenneth Arthur (@KennethArthuRS) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let's take a look at the answers. (Also don't forget to check out my Q&A exchange over at FG.)
1) To what extent do you see similarities to the 2013 Seahawks Super Bowl team in the 2017 Eagles? Both started 10-1 with second-year quarterbacks, strong defenses …
The first difference that jumps out to me is the defenses, not just in how dominant they were, but in which ways they were dominant. The 2013 Seattle Seahawks had an elite free safety in Earl Thomas going into his fourth NFL season, an elite strong safety in Kam Chancellor going into his fourth NFL season, and an elite cornerback in Richard Sherman going into his third NFL season. The Eagles defense has its strength, but I wouldn't say that it emanates from having three elite secondary players. That's not trash talk, it's just a reality that Malcolm Jenkins, Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod don't compare favorably to Thomas-Chancellor-Sherman, all in the early prime of their careers in 2013. I'm sure with Ronald Darby, Philly's secondary gets even better, and I'm not saying it's not good, it's just not what Seattle was boasting from 2012-2015. That resulted in the Seahawks finishing first against the pass with a DVOA against of -34.2%, which is an insanely good number. (The Jags this season have a pass defense DVOA of -36.6%, while the Eagles are at -12.8%, which is still good for fourth. Seattle is at -0.6% this season and that was mostly with Sherman and Chancellor, both now on IR.)
The Seahawks overall defensive DVOA in 2013 was -25.9% and they had a weighted defensive DVOA (more emphasis on the last 10 games of the year) of -30%. The Eagles are currently at -18.7% and their weighted DVOA is -19.4%. So I'd say that Philadelphia has a great defense, but the 2013 Seattle Seahawks had a greater defense, going down in history as one of the top five units ever, in my admittedly biased opinion. The numbers and their dominance over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl help support that argument however. If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, will history classify their team as a "defense-first, all-time defense" type of champion? I don't think it would. The focus is probably more on how balanced they are and that their second-year quarterback is leading the NFL in touchdown passes.
The other thing about the 2013 Seahawks is that Marshawn Lynch was so integral to what they were doing on offense. He led the NFL in touchdown rushes in 2013 and 2014 and was the ultimate broken-tackle runner. LeGarrette Blount has drawn Lynch comparisons over small moments in his career, but we all know that he's miles and miles behind what Lynch was doing in the prime of his career. Again, I'm not saying this as a dig on Philly overall; I think it's fair to say that the Eagles offense is better than the 2013 Seahawks offense, it's also just different. Wentz has 28 touchdown passes and he'll probably finish the season with 35+. Russell Wilson had 26 touchdown passes in all of 2013 and the use of the zone read option was a major part of what they wanted to do on offense. They had reliable receivers but they didn't lean heavily on a tight end like Zach Ertz (because Zach Miller was a bit of a free agent bust) and they didn't have a single player with more than five touchdown receptions; the Eagles already have three players with at least six touchdown receptions.
So I would not say that the two teams are very much alike outside of the commonalities that you mention. The Eagles offense is better than what the Seahawks had in 2013, and they're scoring points in a much different fashion. The Seahawks defense in 2013 is better than what Philadelphia has now, and also seemed to start from the back to the front rather than going from the front (Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, etc) to the back. I would have to say that the 2013 Seahawks are a better team, but only because this season isn't even close to being over yet. With five regular season games and the playoffs yet to go, the Eagles could surpass the 2013 Seahawks as a football team; but only if they win the Super Bowl, in my opinion. And they could.
2) The Seahawks are usually really good at home, but they’ve lost their last two games there. The Seattle-Houston game came down to the last minute as well. Why are the Seahawks suddenly vulnerable at home? Is it just the injuries or is it more than that?
It's pretty hard to encapsulate why something might be different, if that "something" is sort of intangible and unexplainable, while the sample size is all of two games. They lost to Washington at home by three points while missing three field goals, two of which inside 50 yards. So if Blair Walsh makes his field goals and the Seahawks win by 3-6 points (let's say that is true, though we won't ever know for sure) then suddenly they aren't having as many "problems" at home. And if Blair Walsh makes a 52-yard field goal against the Falcons and sends the game to OT, as most NFL kickers would be able to do, then maybe they beat Atlanta and suddenly they're undefeated at home. As it stands, the Seahawks could still go 6-2 at home. They needed fourth quarter comebacks to beat the 49ers and Texans at home too, so I'm not saying they're as dominant as usual there either. I do think it's all based on a ton of perspective and lack of context though to say that they're now vulnerable at home though given that we have nothing to base the struggle on outside of things we can't measure or even acknowledge without actually being a part of the team.
If that doesn't make sense (and I'm sure that I've done a horrible job of conveying my point but I'm fighting to get the right words together), I guess I'm just saying that homefield advantage itself is still a bit of a mystery. When the lines on the field are the same at all 32 stadiums, what makes teams so much better when those lines are drawn in the cities or states in which they reside? The home crowd? Sure. The advantage of not having to travel? Absolutely. The familiarity with all the intricacies and nuances of your field? Yeah, why not. But then what about when there is a change in your performance at home? None of those advantages are now un-true, right? The Seahawks still don't have to travel this weekend. They still have the home crowd. They're still familiar with CenturyLink. So why would they be playing worse at home? Locker room tensions? Complacency? Maybe the Rams have secretly been moving CenturyLink by one foot per day every day for years and then one day you look up and the stadium is in Sacramento and it's like "How did we miss this?" I don't know and that's the hard part of answering this question: Are the Seahawks less dominant at home this season? Seems so. What is the cause? Impossible to know, if there is even something causing anything. Could they be just as dominant at home from now until indefinite? Yeah, they could. It probably does just have to do with the fact that the Seahawks are not as good this year as they were from 2012-2015.
3) If you were game-planning for the Seahawks, what’s your strategy to beat the Eagles? And vice versa?
I don't know about game planning so much, but here's what I'm sort of seeing as advantages/disadvantages and how Seattle can take advantage of those things:
The Eagles are eighth in rushing by DVOA, which is good, not great. It's borderline great. I know they're 2nd in rushing yards and 3rd in yards per carry, but they carry some advantages there because they're a good team that gets out to early leads and then can continue to run it with Blount, Corey Clement, Jay Ajayi, etc. Seattle used to operate that way but they can't build early leads and then they abandon the run and before you know it Russell leads the NFL in pass attempts. How quickly the world changes. But it should be interesting to see what happens if the Eagles can't put the game away by running it, because I think the Seahawks could be featuring an elite run defense right now at this moment -- they're only 11th in run defense DVOA, but right now when they're putting Jarran Reed and Sheldon Richardson on the field at the same time, they're almost impossible to get through. And even outside runs are often stopped by Bobby Wagner, the best linebacker in the NFL (again, my opinion, but defensible), or K.J. Wright. I have utmost confidence in Seattle's run defense and they've been as good as ever since Week 5, the lone exception being how Deshaun Watson ran on them in Week 8; I don't think Wentz is going to do what Watson did, even if he is a better passer. He's just not going to personally get Philly's run game going, I don't think. So I expect the Seahawks to actually win the ground game on that side of the ball, and "force" Wentz to beat them (force in quotes because I don't think Doug Pederson has a problem relying on his soon-to-be Pro Bowl QB, tight end, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor) in the air. The Seahawks are now running a defense without Sherman or Chancellor though, so it could be a struggle for them against an offense that's fifth in passing DVOA. I think in watching Seattle every week that I'm comfortable in saying that I think their defense is still great, even without Sherman and Kam, but they have one or two extra "lapses" per game; something they rarely had in the prime of their franchise. Against an offense like Philly's that could turn into 3-4 extra lapses though, so that's something that could be a problem for them. Overall, I think the Seahawks will shut down the Eagles on like 70% of their drives. It's just a matter of two things: Can Wilson avoid turnovers and giving the ball to the Eagles with great field position? And two, can Wilson score 30 points against the Philly defense?
I say "Can Wilson" because he's 80% of the offense, the team's leading rusher, and I don't know if the Seahawks should ever hand the ball off to a running back even once all game. The Eagles should only rush three though because they have an elite defensive line and even with Duane Brown and Luke Joeckel finally playing together (the Seahawks just had their best pass protection game of the season, by far, and it was the first game with Brown and Joeckel together) I think they'll have a difficult time slowing down Cox and Graham. Put pressure on Wilson early and then drop 7-8 and get as many coverage sacks/coverage force Wilson into a short gain on the ground, and maybe spy Wilson and give yourself a shot to not get beat by him on the ground. We already know that Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls almost certainly won't be factors, so if you can take Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin out of the offense, there's not as many other areas to go to. Paul Richardson is another player to watch for, a rising star that could get a $40-$50 million deal next year (really) but drive-in, drive-out, take Baldwin out of the middle-field offense and Jimmy out of the red zone offense, and the Eagles could end up winning by 20. Let Wilson run all around you, pick up first downs through his legs/scramble passes, lose track of Baldwin in the middle of the field, and I think we've got a close shootout. Wilson is typically at his best at home in primetime too, so I'm giving myself a little hope in that regard as well.
4) Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said one of the biggest challenges of playing Seattle is facing Russell Wilson’s ability to run backwards and extend plays in that matter. Based on the times you’ve seen his worst games, what’s the best way to limit him?
Basically more of what I was just talking about, but in the times I've been frustrated with Wilson I've yelled at him (through the TV) for not giving up on plays that he should have given up on. He holds onto the ball for 2.5 seconds in a pocket that's bound to collapse in 2.4. And we all know that the pocket can't usually withstand a pass rush for longer than a couple of seconds in this offense. That's different now with Duane Brown, but it's still a common theme that Wilson holds onto the ball too long, or misses wide open receivers and tight ends because he couldn't see them, either physically or because he was just locked onto the wrong target. There's a version of Russell Wilson that is the best player in the NFL. Any position. Any person. There's a version of Wilson (see: the end of 2015) that's the best football player in the world. And it's when he sees the entire field. Then there's the version that leaves points on the field, runs into sacks, misses open targets, overthrows his receivers, and doesn't quit when he should quit so that he can live to play on the next drive.
However, that same Wilson player who won't give up on a play has also made some of the most incredible plays in NFL history based on the fact that he held onto the ball for too long. The guy who scrambles and picks up a first down. The guys who avoids a sack or three within the pocket to throw a pass that seemed impossible for a first down or a touchdown. The guy who nobody has ever seen before on a football field. Pressuring Wilson is the best way to stop him, but it is also how we somehow manage to get the best out of Wilson. It's when he shines in doing what makes him unique. Because beyond just being a tough guy to tackle, he also has one of the best deep balls in the NFL. He leads the league in total yards per game. He could finish the season as 2017's leading passer while also rushing for 600+ yards. He'll go three quarters with an ugly stat line but almost always seems to add two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and he's almost impossible to put away. Only two times in the last six years have the Seahawks not been within a touchdown of their opponent in the fourth quarter. That's wild stuff. And it's almost all because of Wilson.
5) Which one Eagles player would you steal if you could have them on the Seahawks? If you were FORCED to help Philly, which best Seahawks player would you put on the Eagles?
Part of me wants to say Jake Elliott. The Seahawks are really struggling at the kicking position over the last two years and honestly last season one missed field goal cost them a top-two seed and hosting the Falcons in the divisional round instead of the other way around, while this season they could be 9-2 if they had a decent kicker. The other reason to choose Elliott is that he's a cheap, young kicker and it seems like Philly can forget worrying about the kicking position, at least for a couple more years; of course, the nature of any kicker is that they could implode at any shank, and Elliott has missed three PATs and two kicks under 40, but he's clearly got a special leg. Blair Walsh really doesn't. He missed three kicks in a three-point loss to Washington and couldn't get the ball past 50 yards in a three-point loss to the Falcons. So I'd really like to snag some team's star kicker to put that concern behind the Seahawks for a little while, but ... anyone who could steal any player from a team and chooses a kicker is a damn fool.
If it's for one game or just the rest this season, I'm taking Brandon Graham. Defensive end isn't a huge weakness for Seattle, but depth is an issue there and I don't think that Frank Clark has played up to expectations as a starter since losing Cliff Avril in Week 4. The Seahawks need to do a much better job of pressuring and getting to the quarterback and I think if you line up Graham next to Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, and Michael Bennett, they'll be unblockable and you'd never gain a rushing yard against them. Clark moving back to the depth would maybe be good for him again and it would take a ton of pressure off of the depleted secondary.
If we're talking about taking on any player, long-term, current contract and everything, my very literal answer is Carson Wentz. And no, I wouldn't start him over Russell Wilson, but you'd be stupid to not see the advantages of having Wentz on his rookie deal for the next 2-3 years. But my answer in the interest of the spirit of the question could be Lane Johnson, for obvious reasons. You put Johnson at right tackle over Germain Ifedi, their biggest weakness on the line, and Seattle suddenly has a top-five pass blocking offensive line. Since acquiring Duane Brown, the Seahawks rank eighth in pass blocking efficiency. So if you added Lane to the right side, you'd be taking them that much further towards having an elite line, and much like in the Jason Peters' situation, he could take over at left tackle when Duane Brown leaves.
I think the Seattle player you'd want for the Eagles is the same answer as it's been for the last 6-7 years: Earl Thomas. He's still young, elite, and really not an injury concern. He broke his leg, that healed, and he has had some hamstring troubles in the last year, but that's it. However, you may want Bobby Wagner because he's the best middle linebacker in the NFL and I know Philly lost their inside linebacker. So that's a fit too. I also think Doug Baldwin is a sensible steal for most offenses. A reliable receiving weapon who likely has a lot more good seasons left in him.
Bonus: Who wins this game and why? Score prediction?
I know everyone's picking the Eagles and that my prediction will be dismissed as a homer pick, and maybe it is, but the Seahawks are at home on Sunday Night Football with Russell Wilson. I'm just not going to pick against Wilson at home on primetime, and yes, I realize that they recently lost to the Falcons on Monday Night Football at home. That's my pick, 26-25. (Probably scorigami too!)
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Too Big To Fall and Tough Night Games
Subject: Your Friday Morning Roundup
Subject: The Flyers sucked in November; was it bad luck, or regression?
Hey it’s not all bad....
Last month, I went over how the Flyers performed analytically in their first month of the 2017-2018 season. Heading into November, the main conclusion that I had made was the Flyers more or less are what they are. Has that story line changed over the past 13 games? Or do the analytics explain the torturous month of November for the orange and black?
5v5 goal scoring is not the problem
It just figures that as soon as the Flyers finally learn how to score - and at an efficient rate! - at 5v5, everything else takes a nose dive. Last month, Philadelphia ranked 10th in the league in 5v5 goals-for percentage, now they sit fourth in the NHL behind only St. Louis, Columbus, and the scorching hot Tampa Bay Lightning. What’s been the main cause of this rise? They’ve allowed the fewest 5v5 goals in the NHL at a mark of 36.
Obviously, this is extremely encouraging for the Flyers regardless of what the record is. Having dependable 5v5 goal scoring is key for a good hockey team. The problem, however, is where that goal scoring is coming from. Or in this case, where it is not coming from.
Lack of scoring depth is huge concern
The top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek has been the most impressive part of this rendition of the Philadelphia Flyers. The trio hold the top three spots in 5v5 goal scoring, with Giroux and Couturier on the ice for 25, and Voracek only one goal behind in 24. The next highest Flyers forward has been on the ice for twelve 5v5 goals, Travis Konecny.
We know the middle six is a problem, hell at this rate every line but the top line has been a problem. But that puts it into perspective just how ineffective the other three lines have been this season.
Flyers remain average in raw CF totals
At the end of October, the Flyers ranked 18th in raw CF% in the NHL with 49.20%. They saw an extremely small increase in November — going up to an even 50% at 1,082 corsi-for and -against — which ranks for 16th and 17th in the NHL respectively. The high point for the month came against the Vancouver Canucks in that brutal 5-2 loss on home ice. The low point, as expected, came in their last game of the month against the San Jose Sharks.
With 5v5 goal scoring thriving, was shot selection a factor in the nightmare that was November?
Shot selection not bad, but not great either
At the end of October I talked about how the Flyers were generating more chances from the home plate area and getting away from firing point shots mostly without a screen. This month, however, those old tendencies reared their ugly head a few times, primarily in the back-to-back shutout losses vs. Minnesota.
A seemingly constant theme this year has been: “take higher percentage shots, but do nothing about continually allowing high percentage shots”. Way too often the Flyers are allowing teams to be in the red right in front of the net or in the slot. Take a page out of Minnesota’s book and tighten up play in that area, force teams to the outside, and make them take point shots without screens. That has been a main issue of mine with the point shots the Flyers do take.
How many times are we going to see Brandon Manning take a weak wrist shot from the point with absolutely no forward in front of the net? Point shots are obviously not of the highest quality, but they can be effective if done properly and that is where the Flyers fail. A staple with previous teams has been get bodies to the front of the net and hope for a deflection. Well, Hakstol has the second part down but somehow not the first. There are minor tweaks that his system needs for it to be better, and this is one of them.
CF% leaders in October compared to November
There were just five Flyers who’s raw CF% decreased from the end of October to the end of November, and despite Voracek being a part of those five, this is a good sign. Most of the Flyers roster has improved in driving play over the past month despite the obvious struggles to win games. Sean Couturier taking the team lead in CF% should come as a surprise to no one, as he’s finally putting together a Selke trophy winning season.
- Nolan Patrick drove play at a higher rate
- Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim improved by over one percent
- Jordan Weal saw a significant increase, moving up four spots from his ranking at the end of October
- The Honey Bees line all saw decreases
- Provorov saw little gain
- MacDonald’s drop off
- The Flyers are not as bad as the losing streak suggests
- Metrics still suggest they’re an average team
- Hakstol’s system needs changing (or just fire the coach I don’t know anymore)
Obviously, the Flyers are not as bad as this losing streak makes them look. It’s rare when any team is as bad as a losing streak like this suggests and, thankfully, this isn’t one of those times. I don’t know how to explain what is going on with this team, but I think it’s something analytics aren’t going to explain. Whether it’s the attitude of the players or simply the way the coach is leading his team, something beyond the numbers is happening with the Flyers.
The good news is, the numbers typically don’t lie and most of them are saying the Flyers are still a middle of the pack team with some obvious upside. Their rankings have essentially stayed exactly the same from where we last left off and that is neither a good or bad thing. It’s just...average.
I do believe Dave Hakstol’s system can work in the NHL with the right personnel. The problem, however, is that Hakstol gets in his own way. Playing Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera in the guts of a game because of “veteran leadership” or just because he think they’re good hockey players is inexcusable.
Benching Weise, Lehtera, and MacDonald does not all of a sudden deprive your team of leadership. Claude Giroux has been the captain of this team since 2013. Voracek, Simmonds, and Couturier have been here since 2012, these are your leaders. It is not as if Hak would be benching Chris Pronger in his prime here; these are below average hockey players who do not belong on an NHL roster, or at the very least do not belong in the role they currently have.
Subject: This Story About Fletcher Cox Texting a Woman and Telling Her He Wanted to Get Her Pregnant Is My Spirit Animal
Subject: No Lack of Effort
Subject: Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 13
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 Brett Hundley and sit Matthew Stafford, that doesn't mean I'd start Hundley over Stafford, it just means I think Hundley will exceed his expectations while Stafford will underperform his. Cool? Cool. Let's get it. -Seltz
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“Delanie Walker (@ IND) – Delanie has been really good, he just hasn't scored a touchdown. Well guess what, I'm calling my shot: Delanie Walker will score his first touchdown this week! Book it.”
I bring this up not to gloat, but absolutely to GLOAT! I can't believe I called it. Like, holy shit. I effing called it. This may be the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. And by “may be” I mean “definitely is.” It's the greatest thing I've done in my life. Sad! Alright, let's get to it. (By the way, check out the newest episode of This Week In Fantasy right here.)
Philip Rivers (vs. CLE) – Hello friends. That was my Jim Nantz impression. Yes, I know how great it is – but I still appreciate you acknowledging it. You should have. Acknowledged it's greatness, I mean. But still, thanks, I guess. I feel like we're starting off on the wrong foot, and considering my well-documented penchant for long-windedness, this could to get ugly. Speaking of ugly, Rivers is facing the Cleveland Browns! See what I did there? That's why they pay me the big bucks. And by big bucks, I mean no bucks. WTF BLG? Who else can write a sentence made up only of acronyms?!? I just did that, Brandon. Funny thing is, I'm still making more (again, nothing) than what Hue Jackson deserves. That guy redefines the term asshat. I guarantee I could do a better job than him. Hire me, Browns. I'll work for way less. Plus, I'm as outside-the-box a hire as the league will ever have seen. You guys love that shit. Sashi, slide in my DM's buddy – we can make some magic happen. Sadly, until I take over, Hue will continue to asshat away and Rivers will be the beneficiary of it. Rivers has quietly been terrific, with 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his last eight games. The Browns have been much better defending the run than the pass, which sets up nicely for One L Philip to have another nice day. That's right, it sets up nicely for a nice day. #69
Brett Hundley (vs. TB) – Gross. Just...gross. I honestly thought the world would implode before I'd ever recommend Brett Hundley. Brett freaking Hundley. But alas, the world has not imploded, I don't think, and here I am saying to start Hundley. And let me tell you, I feel great about it. False. I don't feel great about it. But I feel...good about it. I think. It just feels so icky, but here's my rationale – Tampa Bay sucks. They suck so hard. Furthermore, Hundley actually looked like an NFL player last week – #8 QB in fantasy – but is only the consensus ranked #20 quarterback heading into a matchup with, again, a sucky Buccaneers defense. So, while it feels weird to say, start Brett Hundley.
Bonus Loooooooong shot Start:
Jimmy Garoppolo (@ CHI) – He's so handsome. I mean, right? If there were a fantasy league based on handsomeness, he'd be a top pick. What does this have to do with actual fantasy football? Nothing. Literally nothing at all. This is awkward. Let's forget it ever happened. Jimmy G is not only handsome, he's also good at football. At least, I think he is – and I think he's going to have a good career. Having said that, he doesn't have many weapons to work with now. As a result, he's a long shot play this week based purely on his talent and his matchup against a bad Bears defense.
Matthew Stafford (@ BAL) – Alright, let's tighten this ish up. Less of me, more of not me. In that vein, Stafford is so lame (RHYME ALERT). He's the lamest. That's it. That's the whole reason he's a sit. I kid, I kid. Stafford is a sit because the Jaguars are the only team that's allowed less fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Ravens. But also the lame thing.
Marcus Mariota (vs. HOU) – Speaking of lame, remember when we wanted the Eagles to get Mariota? That was lame (Carson Wentz – so not lame). Mariota's been...lame (I swear, I'm done) from a fantasy perspective this season (#22 QB), and has thrown six interceptions and only two touchdowns over the last two weeks. Yet for some unexplainable reason, he's the consensus #10 QB heading into the weekend. That's effing stupid and I will no longer dignify it with discussion.
Bonus Lololololololololololol Sit:
Geno Smith (@ OAK) – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *pauses for breath* Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *falls off couch from laughing so hard* Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
Bonus Real Life Literal Sit:
Eli Manning (@ OAK) – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *drops dead from excessive fits of laughter*
Christian McCaffery (@ NO) – Annnnnnd I'm back from the dead! It was weird, but kinda cool too. I'm not allowed to laugh for a little while – too dangerous for my health. Luckily, McCaffery won't be making your opponents laugh, he'll be making them cry. Nailed it. McCaffery is the most targeted running back in the league, by a lot, and has become the focal point of Carolina's offense. New Orleans has struggled covering running backs in the passing game and that is literally what it says on McCaffery's business card, “Running back in the passing game.” Weird, right? Yeah, I thought so too.
Alex Collins (vs. DET) – I'm doing too much yammering. I need to get my brevity on. Let's start now. Detroit's been atrocious against the run – Collins has been low-key good this season (4.9 YPC) and has scored touchdowns in back to back weeks.
Bonus Double Start:
Rex Burkhead/Dion Lewis (@ BUF) – Double start alert! Double Patriots running backs, no less. In fact, this may be the first time in the history of ever that someone has said to start two Patriots running backs. That's some wild stuff. But both Lewis and Burkhead have been getting work and producing. More importantly, since trading Marcell Dareus, the Bills have had the worst run defense in the league. Easily. It's an affront to football, to be honest. In a game where the Pats should be up (a lot), both Lewis and Burkhead should be viable fantasy options this weekend.
Jamaal Williams (vs. TB) – This one's simple. Williams is the consensus #11 – NUMBER ELEVEN!!! – running back heading into the weekend. I think he's fine based on volume and a decent matchup, but don't overrate him like “the consensus” seems to do.
Lamar Miller (@ TEN) – Tennessee has actually been pretty good against the run (top six in both yards per game allowed and fantasy points allowed to RB's). Miller hasn't rushed for more than 61 yards in the four games since Savage replaced Watson. That's enough for me.
Bonus Double Sit:
Tevin Coleman/Devonta Freeman (vs. MIN) – I have no idea what to do with these two. I would guess Coleman gets more work, but who knows. What I do know is that the Vikings have allowed the least fantasy points to running backs. So, yeah.
Adam Thielen (@ ATL) – I've said it before, I'll say it again – Adam Thielen is a top five wide receiver every week until the end of the season. He's the surest bet in the league not named Antonio Brown. For some reason he's the consensus #8 WR this week. Again, top five every week no matter the matchup. Hopefully we won't have to deal with this issue again next week, consensus.
Davante Adams (vs. TB) – Hundley loves his some Davante Adams. You could even say, he only has eyes for Adams. Boom. Nailed it again. Seriously though, Adams is averaging nine targets per game over his last four outings and faces a Bucs defense that has allowed the most points to wide receivers.
Bonus Rams Start:
Cooper Kupp (@ ARI) – No Robert Woods. Last week, with no Robert Woods, Kupp had his best game of the season with 8 catches for 116 yards. Arizona has allowed the eighth-most points to wide receivers and Patrick Peterson will be shadowing someone who is not Cooper Kupp.
Doug Baldwin (vs. PHI) – Look, if you own Baldwin in seasonal leagues you probably have to play him. And I don't think he'll be terrible, I just think he's too highly ranked (#11 WR). Patrick Robinson has been a stud in the slot this season and the Eagles' defense is firing on all cylinders. Speaking of firing on all cylinders, I'm kind of killing it with the brevity thing. Crap, I hope I didn't just jinx myself. Let's move on...quickly.
T.Y. Hilton (@ JAX) – T.Y. Hilton is in the running for biggest fantasy disappointment of the season. To put it more bluntly, I hate him. The Jags have the best pass defense in the league and have allowed the least fantasy points to wide receivers. I would consider sitting a good wide receiver against them, so obviously I'm going to sit T.Y. Hilton. #Burn
Bonus Rams Sit:
Sammy Watkins (@ ARI) – Aka the guy who is getting shadowed by Patrick Peterson.
Evan Engram (@ OAK) – Ok, so hear me out. Geno Smith sucks. Obviously. But Evan Engram doesn't. And flipping it back the other way, the Raiders suck at defending tight ends. Anecdotally, I feel like backup QB's tend to lean on their tight ends (safety valve and all that), but I have no evidence to support that. I do, however, know that over a third of Geno's 28 career touchdowns passes have gone to tight ends, and none of them were close to as talented as Engram.
Jack Doyle (@ JAX) – I feel like Doyle is under-ranked every week. Every. Single. Week. What's that about? Why does everyone hate Doyle? Did he do something awful that I don't know about? Is he total D or something? Regardless, I can only go with what I know, and that is that Doyle will get a bunch of targets against a Jags defense that, despite shutting down wide receivers, hasn't been nearly as effective against tight ends.
Kyle Rudolph (@ ATL) – Conversely, Atlanta has been surprisingly effective against tight ends. Rudolph is overvalued after scoring a pair of tuddies last week. Don't buy in. Buy out.
Philadelphia Eagles (@ SEA) – The Eagles are the consensus ranked #9 defense. Excuse my french, but that's bullshit. Seattle has no running game and no offensive line. The Eagles defense is firing on all cylinders. Don't stand for this gross injustice, start the Eagles D.
Chicago Bears (vs. SF) – Somehow the Bears are ranked ahead of the Eagles! I kid you not. That's outrageous. Not only are the Bears trash, but they're facing handsome Jimmy G! Again, and more importantly, THE BEARS ARE TRASH.
Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.
Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”
***For more fantasy football advice, CLICK HERE to check out BGN Radio’s This Week In Fantasy podcast!***
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Subject: The Flyers
Personnel and tactics have changed, but we keep seeing the same results.
Throughout this nine-game losing streak, a few of the Philadelphia Flyers’ biggest flaws have been put on display. The team’s lack of secondary scoring was illustrated by the team’s 297:25 streak without a goal from a forward not named Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, or Jakub Voracek at the beginning of this losing streak. The team’s inability to take control of a game once they’ve gained a lead has been demonstrated, as they have led in seven of these nine losses, blowing a total of 11 leads (four of which were two-goal leads with a pair of those two-goal leads heading into the third period). Another issue during the losing streak has been the penalty kill. With at least one power-play goal against in seven straight games (11 power-play goals against in that span), the Flyers’ penalty kill is at 70.3 percent (26 of 37 kills) during the losing streak. Unfortunately, the problems with the penalty kill have been going on for a little longer than this losing streak.
Since Philadelphia posted an 84.8 percent penalty kill to finish seventh in the league during the 2013-14 campaign, the Flyers have struggled to limit power-play goals against. They haven’t finished better than 20th since 2014-15 and currently sit 29th in the league. It isn’t just the overall percentage that’s ugly, as the squad has posted the following numbers from the start of the 2014-15 season through Tuesday night’s action:
- 141 games with at least one power-play goal against (third most behind Arizona’s 148 and Winnipeg’s 142)
- 37 games with two power-play goals against or more (third most behind Arizona’s 47 and Winnipeg’s 45)
- Seven games with three power-play goals against or more (tied for seventh most)
- 55 games where penalty kill finished under 50 percent (third most behind Edmonton’s 61 and Arizona’s 60)
For a team that is hemorrhaging power-play goals against this season, the PK units are actually doing okay in terms of the number of shots getting through and the quality of those shots. Philadelphia is eighth in the league in terms of unblocked shot attempts allowed per-60 at 4-on-5 with 71.38 and drop to 15th in the league with a 7.1 expected goals against per-60 rate. Dating back to 2014-15, Philly’s 68.4 unblocked shot attempts per-60 rate places them sixth in the league, while their 6.14 expected goals against per-60 is tenth best in the league.
If the four skaters out there killing penalties are providing league average (if not better) killing capabilities, what are the possible reasons as to why the team continues to allow power-play goals against at an alarming rate?
One possible reason that the PK unit might be struggling could be the team’s lack of discipline, which is an issue that really can’t be blamed on the penalty killers. Although the Flyers have the fifth-highest total number of times being shorthanded this season with 93, discipline has been an issue for the Orange and Black for a...uh...while. Their 868 times shorthanded since the start of the 2014-15 campaign is the tenth-highest total in the league during that time.
On top of taking penalties at 5-on-5, the Flyers have had a knack for finding their way to the penalty box in the midst of killing penalties. Philly has taken seven penalties while 4-on-5 this season, which is tied with the Nashville Predators for the second most in the league. This has led to the Flyers being one of four teams this season with two goals against or more while 3-on-5. In fact, the Orange and Black are tied with the Detroit Red Wings for most 3-on-5 goals against since the start of the 2014-15 season. Killing two-man advantages is still an important aspect of the penalty kill and can’t just be chalked up to bad luck, but obviously a 5-on-3 power play is a pretty high-leverage situation for the offense.
Another reason why the penalty kill isn’t all that great this season - or over the last few years - has been goaltending. So far this season, both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth have seen 39 power-play shots-against or more. As two of the 42 goalies who have seen at least this many power-play shots-against in 2017-18, Neuvirth is ranked 39th with an .821 save percentage and Elliott is 40th with an .809 save percentage.
Neither of the goalies have looked great in terms actual goals-against versus expected goals-against, as well as Goals Saved Above Average (which are goals a goalie has prevented given his save percentage and shots faced compared to league average save percentage on same number of shots. Above zero is positive, below zero is negative). Elliott has allowed 14 power-play goals-against at 4-on-5 while seeing 9.5 expected goals-against and has a -4.5 GSAA. Neuvirth is about where he should be in both of these statistics, but is still on the wrong side of each. He has allowed 6 goals while being in net for 5.38 expected goals against and has a -0.62 GSAA at 4-on-5.
Regardless of who has been in net, since the start of 2014-15 through last night the Flyers have the lowest 4-on-5 save percentage in the league with .847. Looking at each of the 10 goaltending seasons among the six different goaltenders to see the crease for Philadelphia since 2014-15, nobody has been that great. No goalie has been able to finish a season with a save percentage of .900 or better at 4-on-5, and Neuvirth’s .898 in 2015-16 has been the closest . It’s also not great that only three goalies have been able to post an .850 save percentage or higher for a single season in that time frame with two being Anthony Stolarz’s .867 in seven games during 2016-17 and Rob Zepp’s .857 in 10 games during 2014-15.
In terms of actual goals against versus expected goals against and GSAA, Neuvirth’s 2015-16 season and Zepp’s 2014-15 season are the only two times a Flyers’ goalie has had a lower goals against total than expected goals against total and provided a positive GSAA at 4-on-5 for the entirety of a single season.
Ian Laperriere has been the man in charge of running the penalty kill since 2013-14. After that seventh-place finish in his first season, Laperriere has struggled to make the Flyers’ PK at least league average, but it isn’t for a lack of attempting to correct the situation. After the poor result of the 2014-15 season, Laperriere did change up the penalty kill’s approach heading into the 2015-16 campaign. During the current losing streak, Laperriere has shown a willingness to change up the PK by shuffling Giroux, Michael Raffl, and Valtteri Filppula into the mix while removing Taylor Leier completely.
A case can be made that Laperriere wasn’t really given the most skilled players to work with over the last few years. For instance, last year’s most utilized four-man unit was Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde up front with Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald on the back end. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, Nick Schultz led d-men in shorthanded ice time per game. Ideally, four of the five players listed above aren’t even on your team.
This season, however, Laperriere has been using more skilled players both up front and on the blue line (Provorov and Robert Hagg lead d-men who have played over 10 games with shorthanded TOI per game) and yet it seems as though the same problems are occurring.
When it comes to team discipline (which, again, isn’t the penalty kill’s fault but could put them in an unfavorable position by consistently being on the ice), the Flyers take a lot of penalties, but not enough that it should be considered a huge disadvantage to Laperriere and his killers. Nine teams have been shorthanded more times than the Flyers dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season. There aren’t a ton of teams ahead of them here, but it’s not as if the Flyers lead the league in times shorthanded and have put the penalty kill on the ice 30 more times than the second closest team.
In fact, before Laperriere took over the Flyers’ penalty kill units had to deal with a large volume of penalties to kill. In both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, the Flyers led the league in times shorthanded. After a 17th-place finish in 2011-12, the team’s penalty kill finished fifth in 2012-13. From 2006-07 to 2010-11, the Flyers were always in the top eight in times being shorthanded, but never finished below 15th in terms of penalty kill percentage, with three appearances in the top ten.
As for the goalies, it’s pretty unfair to pin weak goaltending on a particular coach, especially for a single game or season. However, if it’s a continued trend that a certain coach always receives the same level of goaltending from a variety of different goalies or the goalies that struggle with one team perform noticeably better with another team, is it fair to question the coaching?
The main goaltender Laperriere has had in his time as a PK coach is Steve Mason, which is rough considering he isn’t at his best when his team is shorthanded. In his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets (start of the 2008-09 season to late March of 2013), Mason had an .862 penalty kill save percentage, which was the lowest for any goalie who appeared in 150 games or more in that time span. Those numbers came with Blue Jackets teams that made the postseason once (and got swept), but were mainly at the bottom of the league standings. With Philadelphia, Mason had an .860 shorthanded save percentage to finish 20th among the 22 goalies who appeared in 150 contests during that time frame. So there was a slight drop in save percentage, but nothing too drastic. However there wasn’t an improvement and he really couldn’t have gone much lower.
The goalie with the second most time in net for Laperriere has been Neuvirth. In his three seasons with the Flyers, Neuvirth has gotten worse each year at 4-on-5. After he posted a .911 save percentage in this scenario during a career year in 2015-16, Neuvirth dropped to .829 in 20 games last season and is currently at .824 this season. Before his time in Philly, the worst 4-on-5 save percentage Neuvirth posted was .849 during 2014-15, where 27 of his 32 games came with The Completely Trying To Win Buffalo Sabres. He also had a pair of seasons with 4-on-5 save percentages above .900 and another two seasons above .895.
Ray Emery is third in terms of games played for Laperriere, who was slowing down and had hip injuries impacting him before he bowed out after the 2014-15 season.
That brings us to Elliott. It’s a small sample size of 18 games, but at the moment he has a .797 4-on-5 save percentage this season, which would be the lowest of his career for a single season. Again, it’s only 18 games, and his two lowest 4-on-5 save percentages for a single season came in years where he didn’t play a ton of games (.822 in 17 games with the Ottawa Senators in 2008-09 and .825 in 24 games with the St. Louis Blues in 2012-13), but it doesn’t look like a promising season for the netminder on the penalty kill.
Could the 32-year-old Elliott, much like Emery did in his final two seasons with the Flyers, be losing a step? Possibly, but it wouldn’t make sense that he’d still be posting a .939 save percentage at 5-on-5 this season if that were the case, the third-highest average among the 31 goalies who have played at least 500 5-on-5 minutes this season.
There are several factors that go into why this penalty kill has been so poor over the last few seasons. The question is whether or not the PK hasn’t been successful due to approach or luck. With a rotation in skaters and in net but a common outcome overall, it seems to be the former more than the latter.
Subject: Shohei Otani Wants to See the Rocky Statue, But Doesn
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles sign an interesting center to the practice squad
Interesting move for the future.
Just kidding. They only made a change to the practice squad.
The Eagles placed safety Harold Jones-Quartey, who signed with Philadelphia on November 14, on the “practice squad injured list,” which is apparently a thing. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of clarity how this list works.
In any event, placing HJQ on the injured list freed up a practice squad spot for free agent center Jon Toth.
It might not seem like it, but Toth is actually an interesting addition for the Eagles.
Toth measures in at 6-5, 310 pounds. He didn’t miss a single game in four years at Kentucky. Sports Illustrated ranked him as the fourth overall center prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. ESPN had him fourth as well. He was their No. 169 prospect overall. Nice.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projected Toth to be a late Day 3 pick.
Toth is a tough, four-year starter. Will appeal to teams looking for centers who can operate in a power-based rushing scheme. While he's better in a phone booth than on the move, he understands his limitations and does a good job of staying within himself. He's not the best athlete at the position but his size, arm length, strength and consistency should outweigh that on the next level. Toth has the traits and ability to be an eventual starter in the NFL.
He went undrafted, however.
Toth had some teams interested in signing him as an undrafted free agent, but a sudden back injury prevented that from happening. Toth had surgery on a disc in his lower back over the summer. It would seem he’s healthy now.
The addition of Toth gives the Eagles more long-term competition at center. Jason Kelce, who turned 30 last month, is currently having a fantastic season after suffering two down years. Stefen Wisniewski and Isaac Seumalo are his backups. Practice squad blocker Josh Andrews also has center experience.
Toth might not amount to anything but he’s worth a no-risk flyer.
UPDATED LOOK AT THE 2017 EAGLES PRACTICE SQUAD
C John Toth
CB DeVante Bausby
C/G Josh Andrews
TE Billy Brown
PRACTICE SQUAD INJURED LIST
Subject: So you say you want to fire Dave Hakstol...
The gang always has a finger on the pulse of the fanbase, so an extra-long show with a lot of Dave Hakstol talk was in order
It's the Fire Hakstol show, boys and girls! The gang discusses if the head coach deserves to be fired, Ron Hextall's comments about the coach's job security and the organization's direction, as well as who Bill and Kelly and Steph and Charlie believe should replace Hak. Whether Claude Giroux or Wayne Simmonds is on the more surprising scoring pace through 25 games and why Danick Martel was sent back to the AHL are also topics on a long edition of BSH Radio.
Subject: Anecdotes on Ben Simmons, LeBron James, and Eastern State Penitentiary