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
Subject: Former Eagles player says Seahawks fans have more impact on the game than Philadelphia fans do
You may have forgotten that the Eagles traded backup offensive tackle Matt Tobin this summer. I don’t know how you could, since the Eagles actually received a 2018 fifth-round pick in exchange for him, plus the Eagles’ 2018 seventh-round selection.
In case you did forget, here’s your reminder that the Eagles sent him to the team they play this week: the Seattle Seahawks.
Tobin shared some thoughts on his former team heading up to this week’s game.
He expressed confidence in his Seattle’s ability to run against the NFL’s top run defense.
“I still feel like we can run the ball on them.”
It’s not like he’s gonna say “Nah, we can’t run the ball on them. They’re too good.” But that’s not going to stop me from having a little laugh. Seattle ranks 19th in rush yards per game and 23rd in rush yards per attempt. Philadelphia’s defense is allowing a mere 65.1 rush yards per game in 2017. That’s over 10 yards fewer than the next closest team (Minnesota Vikings at 75.5).
But I digress.
Perhaps the most interesting thing from Tobin’s interview is what he had to say when comparing Eagles and Seahawks fans.
“They’re hard-core fans who love football.”
OK, that’s a nice thing to say.
What’s the catch?
But if you don’t do good things, they’re not the nicest.
Ah, there it is. Speaking as an expert on this subject, too, since he didn’t do good things in Philly.
“The 12’s are a little more rowdy. Well, maybe not more rowdy, but it’s like this: You see a lot of fights in the stands in Philly – that happens all the time – whereas here they’re really cheering for the team they care about. They know they can be part of the game and affect it. It doesn’t get near as loud there as it does here.”
That kinda comes off like: “Eagles fans merely fight in the stands. Seahawks fans are perfectly well-behaved and cheer all the time!”
Gimme a break.
The Eagles are 12-2 at home in the Carson Wentz / Doug Pederson era. Maybe it would’ve been 13-1 if Tobin didn’t allow Ryan Kerrigan to have a game-ending strip sack against Washington last season. (OK, that’s probably too harsh since Tobin was apparently injured during the play.)
Funny enough, however, Seattle actually has more home losses than Philadelphia since the beginning of the 2016 season. So ... who has the real home field advantage?!
Look, I get that Tobin wants to say nice things about his new team. That’s perfectly fine. Just don’t see the need to do it at the expense of Philly fans.
Subject: Is the Eli Manning Situation Really that Complicated?
Subject: Eagles-Seahawks Final Injury Report: Five Seattle players ruled questionable
Final Eagles injury update.
Only one player was listed on the Eagles’ final injury report: linebacker Joe Walker. He’s officially questionable for this week’s game.
Walker didn’t practice at all this week, so it’s very unlikely he plays on Sunday.
Doug Pederson said Ellerbe is still working to pick up the defense.
Right now at this time, he's still learning, Dannell. Ellerbe is still kind of getting the pieces of the defense together. When you look at Joe's productivity, he's about 12 to 15 snaps a game in our base defense right now, so it's not a lot, and we don't do a ton schematically in our base. He's still picking up some of the nuances of that, and we'll see where he's at again on game day.
Everyone else on the 53-man roster is healthy enough to play. That includes the following players who appeared on the injury report this week: Alshon Jeffery, Jason Kelce, Derek Barnett, Patrick Robinson, Trey Burton, and Beau Allen.
Burton and Allen both missed last week’s Eagles-Bears game.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)
LB Joe Walker (neck)
CB Sidney Jones
OT Jason Peters
LB Jordan Hicks
DT Aziz Shittu
WR Dom Williams
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)
Seattle’s defense will be without a couple key starters. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are both out for the season. Each of them picked off Carson Wentz once in last year’s Eagles-Seahawks game. Chancellor hasn’t been placed on IR but that could come soon.
Chancellor is one of three Seahawks players ruled out for this week’s game. The other two include starting guard Oday Aboushi and reserve linebacker Josh Forrest. Former first round pick Luke Joeckel will start at left guard in place of Aboushi.
Two Seahawks players have been ruled doubtful: backup defensive end Dion Jordan and backup defensive tackle Nazair Jones. Jordan has been used as a rotational player. Jones is Seattle’s top backup DT. He’s played the fifth most snaps among Seahawks defensive linemen (38.2%).
Five Seahawks players have been ruled questionable: starting left tackle Duane Brown, starting tight end Jimmy Graham, starting linebacker Bobby Wagner, starting safety Earl Thomas, and special teams contributor/linebacker D.J. Alexander. Only 10 of the 40 players listed “questionable” by the Seahawks haven’t played this year, so it doesn’t seem like these players are in major jeopardy of being out on Sunday.
S Kam Chancellor (neck)
OL Oday Aboushi (shoulder)
LB Josh Forrest (foot)
DE Dion Jordan (neck)
DT Nazair Jones (ankle)
OT Duane Brown (ankle)
TE Jimmy Graham (ankle)
LB Bobby Wagner (hamstring)
S Earl Thomas (heel)
LB D.J. Alexander (shoulder)
RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
CB DeShawn Shead
DT Malik McDowell
DE Cliff Avril
RB Chris Carson
OT George Fant
FB Tre Madden
LB Dewey McDonald
OL Rees Odhiambo
RB C.J. Prosise
OT Justin Senior
CB Richard Sherman
Subject: Eagles News: Joe Banner would bet on Carson Wentz becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/2/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Joe Banner ‘Would Bet’ Carson Wentz Becomes A Hall Of Famer - CBS Philly
Former Eagles president Joe Banner is not tepid when it comes to praising Carson Wentz. In fact, on Howard Eskin’s podcast this week, Banner said he would bet Wentz becomes a Hall Of Fame quarterback. “I think Wentz is going to be amongst the top quarterbacks we’ve ever seen in a long, long time — if not ever,” said Banner. “If there was a bet you could place on somebody in the future being a Hall Of Fame player, I would bet him. I really think he’s that good. Because he has got the key things at A-plus levels and I don’t see anything — other than healthy — that should keep him from being in that group.”
Eagles vs. Seahawks Game Preview: 6 questions and answers with the enemy - BGN
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.
Mailbag: Vikings would win most tiebreaker scenarios with the Eagles for the No. 1 seed - PhillyVoice
Currently, the Eagles have an 8-0 conference record, while the Vikings' conference record is 7-1. Of the Eagles' remaining five games, there is only one left against an AFC opponent, the Oakland Raiders. If the Eagles lost only that game but won the rest of their games, they would be the No. 1 seed. But in scenaraios in which the Eagles dropped an NFC game or two down the stretch, the Vikings would be in prime position to capitalize on an Eagles' slip-up.
'It's been working': Philadelphia Eagles' Jay Ajayi says he's not upset with role in rotation - PennLive
"Obviously, you want to be able to get in the rhythm of the game and feel how the game is going, but what we've been doing, it's been working," said Ajayi, a Pro Bowler last season with the Dolphins.
Jim Schwartz's style -- in more ways than one -- has sparked Eagles' D - ESPN
The softer side of Schwartz comes out in spots during the week. He weaves light-hearted moments and contests into his meetings to break the monotony. Big on fashion, he has what is called the "Superfly Award," given on Tuesdays to the defense's best-dressed player that Sunday. The winner gets put up on the projector screen for the room to admire. A player might also find himself on the screen as the star of Schwartz's new "Back in time" feature, where he finds some of the oldest and most hilarious throwback pictures from a player's college, high school or childhood days for the amusement of their teammates. "Nobody thinks that he's going to find those pictures. He finds them, somehow," Watkins said. "It's like 20-minute laughter. Someone is going to get picked on the entire time."
LB Ellerbe Could Be In Line For Playing Time - PE.com
Let’s understand what linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has on his plate: He signed with the Eagles on November 13, so he’s in his third week in a new city, a different locker room, and a defense that is written in a foreign language. Oh, and with Joe Walker listed as questionable for Sunday’s game after not practicing all week, it’s very likely that Ellerbe will be active and on the field for the first time in Seattle, in some capacity. Ellerbe and Najee Goode are considerations in the event that Walker does not play. There’s no such thing as baby steps in the NFL. Not for players with nine years of experience in the league on a team that faces such a stiff challenge in a prime-time spot.
NFL Week 13 Preview: Eagles at Seahawks - PFF
C Jason Kelce vs. DI Sheldon Richardson – The Eagles center is in the middle of his best season since entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2011. His 96.8 run-blocking grade leads all players at his position this year. Kelce is a key part of an Eagles run game that ranks second league-wide in rushing yards, third in yards per carry and first in runs gaining 20 or more yards. The veteran’s key matchup along the defensive line will come against first-year Seahawk Sheldon Richardson. Richardson has accumulated 17 stops against the run in 2017, while earning an 82.8 run-defense grade. His 10.8 run-stop percentage currently ranks ninth at his position. If Kelce can best Richardson in this matchup, Philadelphia’s rushing attack could continue its dominance in Seattle.
Eagles-Seahawks scouting report - Inquirer
26.75 — That was the Eagles’ average margin of victory in the last four games. It’s the first time since 2004 that the Eagles have won by at least 20 points in four consecutive games. The Eagles’ last three wins have been by 28 points for the first time in franchise history. The Eagles have had only four games this year decided by single digits. That’s a major difference from the Seahawks, who have had eight games decided by single digits and whose four losses this season have been by a combined 20 points.
LeGarrette Blount the 'Santa Claus' of Eagles' RB room - NBC Sports Philadelphia
"You would have thought LeGarrette was just Santa Claus out there," Clement said. "He’s very giving. He wants everyone else to do great as well, and as a teammate that’s what we want. "He just comes in with that energy and that swag. He knows how to win games, he knows how to win championships. So why not follow a guy like him, go in his footsteps, and just keep learning."
Seahawks-Eagles preview: 5 Qs, 5 As with Bleeding Green Nation - Field Gulls
If I’m being totally honest about the big Seahawks-Eagles Sunday night matchup, my first gut instinct is that Seattle should win. The reason for this stems, I believe, from the fact that the Seahawks have won five of their last six games against Philadelphia, including going 3-0 under Pete Carroll, all three victories coming by double-digits. The last win came barely more than a year ago, with much of the same personnel on both teams, and yet the Eagles are a heavy favorite to beat Carroll and Russell Wilson at home.
The Film Room: I Miss Brandon Brooks - Battle Red Blog
The former third round pick of the Houston Texans is an all-time favorite of mine. In my first year writing at BRB, I delayed the inevitable of working a miserable job by watching All-22, writing, laying on the couch, and looking up at the popcorn ceiling, thinking about what to write. I learned quickly that everyone else here was very wrong, that Brooks was/is/will forever be really good and is a joy to watch. Sadly, I am not the general manager of the Houston Texans, and sadly, on a lesser note, Rick Smith didn’t call to get my opinion or care about my feelings in the 2016 offseason. He let Brooks walk, and instead signed Jeff Allen to save one year of contract length and one million dollars of yearly salary. My heart, and the right side of the Texans’ offensive line, has never been the same.
Q&A with Joe Banner: On extending Graham and potentially trading Curry - The Athletic
I thought last year [Curry] played pretty well but not quite up to the contract. This year, he's more than earning his money. He's an important part of their ability to be able to dominate the defensive line. I personally wouldn't move him, and I wouldn't view his contract as an obstacle. I'd view it as a good investment — at least for one more year. That would be my opinion. I do think there'd be a decent market. I don't think they'd be blown away, but I think there'd be a decent market if it turned out they were willing to move him. I'd say mid-round, probably third- or fourth-round pick. One that could maybe move up a little bit based on production. So I think there would be a trade market. I don't think it'd be a massive trade market, but it'd be a solid trade market. My opinion is keep those five guys that are really good and then another couple of guys that are solid in the rotation and continue to dominate that aspect of the game.
Cowboys playoff picture and rooting guide after the win over Washington - Blogging The Boys
Seattle (home) vs. Philadelphia (8:30 PM ET NBC): Suck it up Cowboys fans and root for the... hard... to... say... Eagles.
NFL gives teams “more flexibility” to bail on Color Rush uniforms - PFT
The Color Rush program is, as a practical matter, dead. If a team wants it to be dead. Although the league did not embrace an official rule change that would have allowed teams to ditch the Color Rush uniforms, the NFL says that it has provided “more flexibility” for teams to choose some other color from its broader scheme. This is a fancy way of saying that, basically, that Color Rush it’s now optional.
Eli Manning’s benching is the beginning of the end for the all-star 2004 QB class - SB Nation
Four teams selected quarterbacks with their first-round picks in the 2004 NFL draft. Three found players destined for a Hall of Fame, whether for their franchise or the league as a whole. The fourth was the Bills, which tells you everything you need to know right there. Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger all came into the league on the same day. From the start of 2006 to Week 13 of the 2017 season, each was the unquestioned starter for his team when healthy. That streak ends Sunday after Giants head coach Ben McAdoo announced Geno Smith would start over Manning in a lost season in New York, much to the chagrin of, well, just about anyone who’s ever followed football.
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Subject: Championship Week NFL Draft Preview: Six prospects for Eagles fans to watch
What to watch for.
In the last week of college football before Bowl Season, some of the top teams in college football will face off for the honors of being a conference champion. In such big games, you know teams’ top prospects will be ready to show off on such a large national state.
- Anthony Miller, Wide Receiver, Memphis (No. 3): Miller might not be the biggest or the fastest receiver, but the senior pass catcher is one of the more polished players in the country right now. He is an excellent route runner with strong hands and toughness to make grabs in traffic. Today’s match up with UCF (12 PM ET on ABC) will more than like become a shoot out and Miller will constantly be called on to help Memphis respond to UCF’s high octane offense.
- Nick Orr, Safety, TCU (No. 18) : The Horned Frogs’ stingy defense (for the Big 12) has played a massive role in their success this season and Nick Orr is part of the glue that holds the unit together. The 5’10”, 187 pound senior is instinctual, rangy and physical for his size; he does a good job stopping the run for a guy who does his best work far off the ball. Today’s match up with Oklahoma (12:30 PM ET on Fox) will give TCU another chance at toppling one of the country’s top teams after they lost to the Sooners a few weeks ago in a 38-20 bout. Orr will need to play great football and potentially cause some turnovers, or the Sooner offense will roll the Frogs once again.
- Roquan Smith, Linebacker, Georgia (No. 3): Quickly becoming one of my favorite prospects in the country; Roquan Smith has been an X-Factor on Georgia’s outstanding season. He is a human missile who can cover, blitz and stop the run. His skill set will be integral to the Bulldogs staving off a resurgent Auburn team in the SEC Title game (4PM on CBS). Auburn loves to run the ball and they have the ability to pass it as well. Smith will need to be his normal, dominant self and Georgia should be able to limit an explosive Tigers offense enough for them to win.
- Cedrick Wilson, Wide Receiver, Boise State (No. 1): Cedrick Wilson is one of the more underrated players in the country right now. The 6’3”, 190 pound senior has a large, lanky frame with long arms and he does a great job using them to dominate defensive backs in the Mountain West Conference. Over the last two years; Wilson has averaged over 18 yards per catch, scored 17 touchdowns through the air and put up over 2,200 yards. He is the X-factor on Boise State’s offense. Today’s match up against Fresno State (7:45 PM ET on ESPN) will make Wilson face a stingy pas defense. Wilson will have a big stage to show off, finally, and hopefully his performance helps upset the #25 ranked Bulldogs.
- Christian Wilkins, Defensive Lineman, Clemson (No. 42): Christian Wilkins is one of many talented players on Clemson’s defensive line. The 6’4”, 300 pound junior has athletic ability to play anywhere on the line but he does his best work at defensive tackle. The ACC Championship against Miami (8 PM ET on ABC) will feature a Hurricane team looking to amend for their let down performance against Pitt last week. The Hurricanes will be back on their A-Game and Wilkins & Co. will need to knock them off of it.
- Jerome Baker, Linebacker, Ohio State (No. 17): Ohio State has a chance to get themselves back into the College Football Playoff Conversation today if they can knock off the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers (8 PM ET on FOX). Wisconsin is going to try to run the ball down the Buckeyes throat and Ohio State will need stellar play from their linebackers to prevent that from happening. Baker, a 225 pound linebacker, is a speedy defender who is third on Ohio State in tackles. His speed makes him an excellent blitzer and cover defender; but obviously can pose some issues defending against heavy running teams. Baker is not a bad run defender, just inconsistent and he will need a strong game today to stop Jonathan Taylor, but also to show he has three-down ability for the NFL.
Subject: Eagles announce jersey selection for Seahawks game
The Eagles are 2-1 in the three games they’ve worn their all-white uniforms this season. Here’s a complete week-by-week jersey breakdown.
Week 1 at Washington Redskins: All white (W)
Week 2 at Kansas City Chiefs: All white (L)
Week 3 vs. New York Giants: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 4 at Los Angeles Chargers: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 5 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 6 at Carolina Panthers: All white (W)
Week 7 vs. Washington Redskins: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 8 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 9 vs. Denver Broncos: All black (W)
Week 10: Bye
Week 11 at Dallas Cowboys: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears: Midnight green top, white pants (W)
Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks: All white (?)
The Eagles wore white tops with midnight green pants in their loss to Seattle last season. They’re changing it up this time around.
Philly hasn’t used their midnight green pants at all this season. With only two road games remaining after this week, it’s possible they won’t wear them at all.
Subject: Flyers vs Bruins preview:
Or not and we can all suffer once more
I mean hell, they might as well pull off the opposite of last year am I right?
The Flyers look to end their nine game losing streak today against the 11-8-4 Boston Bruins. Boston comes into the game 5-4-1 in their last 10, including a win in their last game vs the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the Flyers losing skid, they trail Boston by just three points, with Boston only having two games in hand.
At this point the standings don’t even matter all that much, we just need a win to at least restore some kind of hope that this team can bring some excitement.
PHI Point Leaders
BOS Point Leaders
Shut down the Pasta Man
Obviously, a huge key for the Flyers to win this game is to shut down the Bruins top point scorer and one of the brightest young stars in the entire NHL, David Pastrnak. Not only is the “Pasta Man” scoring at a high rate, he posts the fifth best CF% on Boston at 54.08%. There are a lot of threats on this Bruins team, but for the Flyers it will be pivotal to stop the young winger.
Flyers CF%: 50
Bruins CF%: 52.25
Flyers xGF%: 50.66
Bruins xGF%: 51.29
Flyers PDO: 101.62
Bruins PDO: 99.53
Maybe we need a comeback win?
A constant theme throughout this painful losing streak have been the blown lead losses. Getting a two goal lead, then coughing it up seemingly instantaneously afterwards. Now obviously I’m not suggesting falling behind in the game as a viable strategy — but if they’re gonna get out of this funk — a comeback win would be a nice turn around.
(who am I kidding they’ll get the lead late then blow it with 0.01 seconds left and lose in OT)
A prediction model has us winning? Well, that’s a shocker
Every model but one has the Flyers losing on corsica.hockey, and even in the one we’re projected to win, it’s 50.6% to 49.4%. The low point for the Flyers in this one comes at a staggering 41%, the odds are most definitely not in Philadelphia’s favor today.
Flyers Projected Lines
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Simmonds
Konecny - Filppula - Raffl
Lehtera - Laughton - Weise
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Manning - Sanheim
Subject: Alshon Jeffery, Eagles sign multi-year contract extension
NFL insider Adam Schefter reports the deal is worth $52 million and includes $1 million per year in incentives. Ian Rapoport reports the contract contains $27 million guaranteed.
Two weeks ago, we noted that Eagles insider Dave Spadaro said he believed the Eagles would re-sign another player before the 2017 season was over. He was correct.
The Eagles Jeffery to a one-year contract worth up to $14 million in free agency this offseason. Now that the two sides have gotten to better know each other, they’ve reached a long-term agreement.
In 11 games with Philadelphia this season, Jeffery has logged 43 receptions for 619 yards and seven touchdowns. He also leads the NFL in two-point conversions scored with three.
Jeffery’s presence gives Carson Wentz a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver to work with. Now the two will be together in Philly for the foreseeable future.