2009/04/30

Sixers Try to Force Game 7

The Sixers play the a depleted Magic squad tonight in Game 6 of their first round series. The Magic will be without starters Dwight Howard, and Courtney Lee.

The Dwight Howard loss to the Magic will be seen as the most important factor in this game, but if the Sixers don't get their offense going, they will lose this game, even with Howard on the bench. The Andre's have been the two best players for the Sixers in this series, but should not be counted on to carry a team in a series. Both are good players, the problem is, Iguodala is not good enough to be a #1 option on a good team. He is a very good player, and has played well in this series, but has been inconsistent.

The Sixers have not been getting much in this series from Thaddeus Young, and Lou Williams. Both of them have such good offensive skill, and the Sixers need scoring from them. Williams has looked hesitant to do anything in this series, as if he doesn't want to shoot too much. Young is doing the opposite, and is doing too little. Young has struggled trying to create for himself, and has not hit the open looks that he has gotten. The Sixers need to get offense out of those two guys, so they can actually get out of the low 80's in points.

Back to the absence of Howard. Besides Howard, the Magic are also a very good three point shooting team. They take a lot, and they make a lot. Without Howard in the game, look for the Magic to take ever more, because that may be the best chance they have to win this game. The Sixers should be able to defend this however. Without Howard in the lineup, the Sixers do not need to double down when the ball goes into the post, and instead, can stay out high and cover the Magic players at the three point line. I will give Gortat or Battie any low post shots they want if it means keeping the Magic three point shooting at bay.

The Sixers should not look at this game, and feel like they have the edge without Howard playing, and with the game being at home. The Sixers need to come out with an edge, and execute, and hopefully force a Game 7 back in Orlando.

2009/04/29

Howard Suspended for Game 6


Dwight Howard has been suspended for Game 6 on the 1st round series for his elbow that caught the head of Samuel Dalembert. This really was an easy decision, but you never know. Howard is the biggest star in this series, and one of the biggest in the league, and the league obviously doesn't want their stars sitting on the bench.

It goes without saying that Howard being suspended helps the Sixers out a great deal. Howard had 24 and 24 in Game 5 in the Magic victory. He really should have been ejected early in the game when he threw his elbow. Without Howard, the Magic's starting center is Marcin Gortat... if you don't know who he is, neither does anybody else. He did score six points in Game 5 though, which equaled the amount that the Sixers bench scored. Without Howard however, the Sixers will not need to double down on him in the low post, which usually allows the Magic to get good, open three point looks. With the game at home in Philly, and the Magic not having their big man, the Sixers have a big advantage in Game 6. They still need to come out and play their game, and not act like this game will be easy to win, because it won't.

Courtney Lee is also out for the Magic, who also caught an elbow in the head from Dwight Howard, this one inadvertent however.

2009/04/28

Hamels Leaves Game Early... Again


Cole Hamels left the game early in the Phillies win against the Nationals due to an injury. Hamels was cruising in the 5th inning, with 1 out, and a National on first base. Lannan came up to bat, and bunted the runner over. When Hamels went to field the ball, while planting his left foot, his foot got caught, and his ankle rolled over. He was in pain, grimacing at first, but then stood up. He threw a practice toss, and then tossed the ball to Manuel, clearly frustrated, knowing that he couldn't continue.

The Phillies won the game, and have obviously been playing better lately, but everyone knows we need Cole Hamels in this rotation, healthy, and pitching well. Hamels has looked better and better in every start he has had this season, and appears to be rounding into form. His last start against the Brewers, he left the game early after looking good early in the game after taking a line drive by Prince Fielder off his left shoulder. Hamels left that game, but the injury thankfully was not serious, and Hamels was able to make his start tonight.

Right now they are calling the injury to Hamels, reigning World Series MVP, a sprained ankle. It has made for some nervous moments for all Phillies fans watching Hamels leave his last two starts early due to injury. A lot of people were holding their breath as Hamels ankle was turning over in this game. More information should come available soon, and we can only hope for the best. It doesn't look like a real serious injury, if anything, he would miss some starts, but shouldn't be anything to threaten his season (My fingers were crossed writing that final sentence).

Ohh by the way, the Phillies won 7-1, winning their 5th straight.

Sixers Lose Game 5 to Magic


The Sixers lost Game 5 in Orlando, as the Magic took a 3-2 series lead. They will have the opportunity to close out the series Thursday night here in Philly. The Sixers really continue to not play all that well, and in every game this series have had an opportunity to take control of a game, if they could just show some consistency on offense.

The first half was fairly close throughout, as most games in this series have been. The Magic were up six at halftime, but it wasn't until early in the 4th quarter when the Magic took a double digit lead. The Sixers would fight back and cut it to six, but couldn't get any closer, as the Magic closed out the game, and won 91-78. It goes without saying that the Sixers need to do better than 78 points. They need to do better than the 81 points they managed in Game 4. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 26 points. Andre Miller had 17, and Willie Green 16 for the Sixers. Dwight Howard, who is allowed to stay in the paint for the entire shot clock, had 24 points, and 24 rebounds for the Magic. The Magic out-rebounded the Sixers 45 to 33 in this game. The Sixers never really sustained any offensive threat, scoring 20, 19, 21, and 18 respectively in the 4 quarters. They really need to find a way to jump start the offense in Game 6.

I would also like to state that for a team as good as the Magic, they complain constantly. Led by Stan Van Gundy who never stops crying about the officiating on the bench, and then claims all the Sixers do is complain. Dwight Howard is a beast in the middle, but cries every time there is any physical play around him. He also threw a cheap elbow to the head of Dalembert in the 1st quarter, which really deserved more than a technical. According to the rules of what Howard did, he should have been ejected. Because he wasn't, he could be suspended for Game 6.

The Sixers need to hope to come out and win Game 6 at home, which is a definite possibility. At that point, anything can happen in a Game 7, but the Sixers first need to win Game 6.

More on Shady McCoy


Coming into this year’s draft, I really wanted the Eagles to draft one player – LeSean “Shady” McCoy. I had told everyone for the weeks leading up to the draft how much of a beast McCoy was, and how he was the best running back in this draft; better than Wells, Brown, and Moreno. When draft day came, even though I wanted McCoy, I really just wanted the Eagles to draft a much needed running back to spell Brian Westbrook for now, and eventually replace the oft-injured back. I was confident that we would take a RB, as most mock drafts and “experts” had the Eagles taking Moreno, or Brown, and I even saw one that had the Birds taking McCoy in the 1st round.

When the pick came, with Moreno off the board, the Eagles selected Maclin 19th overall. I was happy that we got a guy with that much talent with the 19th pick, but upset that we would have to take a running back in the later rounds that would need to step in immediately and back up Westbrook. Donald Brown, and then Beanie Wells were picked at the end of the first round. The Eagles held the 53rd overall pick, and there was no way everyone in the 2nd round before the Eagles would pass up on McCoy, who was now easily the best running back available... or so I thought. The 2nd round went by and McCoy was still there when the Eagles picked. The Eagles did the right thing, and picked McCoy with their 2nd round pick. I was ecstatic and amazed that he made it that far. McCoy will prove to be a huge steal with the Eagles at that pick.

In McCoy, I believe that the Eagles are getting the best actual running back in the draft. McCoy is shifty, and elusive. He doesn’t go down easily, and can run up the middle. He is also a very good receiver. According to McCoy, he is about 205, 206 pounds right now, and would like to be around 208-210 for the season. I watched McCoy play almost every one of his games in college, multiple times in person, and can tell you firsthand how good he will be. At Pitt, McCoy carried the Panthers the past two seasons. We had no passing game to speak of for two straight seasons, and McCoy would routinely get more rushing yards than we had passing yards. It would get to the point where we had a 3rd down and 5, and would run the ball…. and McCoy would usually get the first down. That not only speaks to how bad our passing game was at Pitt, but also how good McCoy was. In the two games Shady played against our rival West Virginia, which annually is our biggest game, he ran for 331 yards, and 2 TDs, averaging over 165 per game.

McCoy does a lot of same things that Westbrook can do. He should be able to contribute immediately, and get his touches even as a rookie, since we have no real backup for Westbrook, and no Buckhalter anymore. Assuming McCoy can stay healthy, he should have a very long, successful career here in Philadelphia, where we Eagles fans will be able to see the player that I have been watching for the past two years at Pitt.

Sixers Travel to Orlando for Game 5


The 76ers will resume their series in Orlando tonight in Game 5, with the series locked at 2 games apiece. The Sixers need to shake off the disappointing ending to Game 4, and come out like this is a completely new series.

The Sixers need to pretend this is just another game, and not a game that will turn the tide in this series. The Magic have not been playing their best basketball in this series, and really, neither have the Sixers. If the Sixers had just been able to shoot a little bit better in Game 4, they would be up 3 games to 1. The Sixers know they can play with the Magic, they just need to execute. They need to get out in transition almost every time the Magic miss a shot. If no transition basket is there, be smart enough to pull it back out and run the half court offense instead of forcing something that isn't there.

You have to hope that the Magic are not able to find their offensive touch. Dwight Howard is a beast, and has shown that at times in this series. However, his supporting cast has been average. You have to hope that the game winning shot from Turkoglu does not get him going in this series. If Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis start hitting their outside shots, the Magic are a tough team to beat, especially with Howard inside. Dalembert and Ratliff are doing a respectable job on Howard for the most part, there is just really no one in the league who can cover Howard for an entire game.

For the Sixers, the Andre's need to play well. This Sixers team seems to go as the Andre's do. If both Miller and Iguodala have a good game, the Sixers have a chance to win. They both played well in the Game 3 win, and neither played well in the Game 4 win. For the most part, Miller has been getting the better of Rafer Alston in this series, and the Sixers need to continue to exploit that mismatch.

By losing Game 4, the Sixers put themselves in the position of really needing this win tonight. If the Magic go up 3-2, they will most likely be able to win one of the final two games of the series to close it out. It would be huge for the Sixers to steal this game in Orlando, then go home with a chance to close out the series.

2009/04/27

Flyers Early Elimination Unacceptable


The Flyers season came to a disappointing end Saturday when they lost to the Penguins in the 1st round in 6 games, 4-2. This is not a situation where it is nice for the Flyers to make the playoffs, and we are happy just being there. It is quite the opposite, as lately, we have seen the Flyers make the playoffs year after year, and had to go through the agony of watching us get eliminated every one of those years.

Starting with the 1994-1995 season, the Flyers have made the playoffs every season except for the disappointing 2006-2007 season. In all of those years in the playoffs, we have seen our Flyers get eliminated in every round of the postseason, including a loss to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup, and multiple losses in the Eastern Conference Finals, including losses to the Lightning and Devils, among others. This season started out with very lofty expectations. The Flyers made the Eastern Conference finals last season, and lost to the Penguins. But the Flyers did a great job last season, and ran into a better Penguins team. The Flyers are a very good offensive team, with a lot of young stars, so we expected a lot out of them this season. The regular season never seems to be a problem for this team. The Flyers always are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and are usually one of the better seeds in the playoffs.

This season, due to struggling down the stretch, the Flyers fell to the 5th seed, and had to play the 4th seeded Penguins. This was a very bad draw for the Flyers, as the Penguins might be the most talented team in the Eastern Conference. However, the Flyers were in this position because of their own doing by playing poor hockey down the stretch. So another offseason comes quicker than we would have liked. The fans deserve more. We deserve a Stanley Cup. As successful as the Flyers have been, they have not won a Stanley Cup since the 1974-1975 season. I, like many other younger fans, was not even alive at that point. Unfortunately, it has usually been the same story as of late with this team. When Bobby Clarke took over, he always seemed to have slower, more physical players. Clarke never liked the speedy, softer European players, or Russians. To Clarke's credit, he did do a successful job with the Flyers, but he never got us over the hump.

Now with Paul Holmgren in charge, he seems to feel the same way about players and talent evaluation as Clarke did. It is not fair to criticize Holmgren, as he has not had the job long enough to build his team, and that is not what this is about. But at some point, the Flyers philosophies have to change. Don't get me wrong - I love being a physical team. I love being able to beat the crap out of softer teams, and muscle teams around. But you need to add in speedy, finesse players to compliment them, and the Flyers have lacked that as of recently.

The offense, while inconsistent at times, is usually not the problem however. The Flyers defense, beyond Timonen and Coburn, is average. Saying the Flyers need to get better at defense each offseason has become like the Eagles need to bring in a #1 receiver. It is the truth, however; the Flyers do need to get better at defense. Too many times, when you see the opposing team score a goal, you say there is nothing that the goalie could have done to save that. That is on the defense. With this team, the offense is set. You have good, young players on offense who can make plays and score goals. You need to get better at defense. Marty Biron is over 30, and is a free agent, and may not come back next season. If Biron does not come back, you need to get better at the goalie position as well. I am not going to bash the goaltending as much as some others, I feel like putting a solid defense in from of the goalie will improve that position greatly.

Bottom line - losing in the 1st round of the playoffs to whoever is not acceptable. To take a 3-0 lead in Game 6, and then lose that game is not okay. The players, and coaches should be livid. The fans are. As fans, we expect and deserve more from the Flyers. Other teams in the Eastern Conference such as the Devils, Capitals, and Penguins aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and will always be among the teams competing in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers need to step up their game, improve their team, and finally win the Cup that we all have been waiting for.

2009/04/26

Eagles Top 2 Picks First News Conference

Sixers Lose Ugly Game 4 to Magic


The Sixers let a golden opportunity slip away on Sunday evening, losing Game 4 to the Orlando Magic at home. A victory would have allowed the Sixers to take a much needed 3 games to 1 advantage in this series, and they were unable to capitalize. Now the Sixers are forced to play a best of three series, with two of those games at Orlando, meaning the Sixers would have to win one on the road.

The Sixers absolutely let Orlando off the hook, and if the Sixers would have played even average, they win this game. The Sixers could never find their stroke, which is unacceptable at home, especially in the playoffs with so much at stake. The Sixers made a late comeback to tie the game in the 4th quarter, but Hedo Turkoglu nailed a three pointer on the final possession with 1.1 seconds left to play to win the game 84-81. The Sixers were down by two after the first quarter, and then the 2nd quarter was played. It might have been the ugliest quarter played in the NBA playoffs so far this season, as the Sixers wound up outscoring the Magic 14-12 in the quarter. If the Sixers would have been hitting any of their shots, they would have taken a double digit lead at halftime. Both teams were not playing well to say the least.

Instead, it was tied at halftime, and the Sixers continued to struggle on offense in the 3rd quarter, and the Magic started hitting some shots. Hotting some shots was enough, as the Sixers still couldn't hit any. Right when they were about to make it a game, and would cut it to 5 or 6, the Magic would push it back to 10. This happened from the later stages of the 3rd quarter until halfway through the 4th quarter. Somehow, someway, the Sixers scored, and eventually came all the way back and tied the game at 81 on a dunk by Dalembert with under 20 seconds left. The Magic had the final possession, and Turkoglu, isolated on Thaddeus Young pulled up and took a three pointer, and drained it for the win.

The Sixers need to do a better job of getting out in transition to get as many easy baskets as they can. The Sixers still struggle in the half court sets, and need to get out and get as many transition buckets as possible. The Magic did do a good job of getting back in transition, you could tell they worked on that. Iguodala struggled scoring, going 4-13 in this game, and Andre Miller went 6-18 from the field. Lou Williams is still better than Willie Green, but looked very hesitant at times in this game. The Sixers as a team shot just 39% from the field, and 73% from the line. The Sixers took 10 more shots than did the Magic, and made 2 fewer shots.

The Magic aren't exactly playing up to their capabilities either. They definitely miss Philly's own Jameer Nelson. Alston has played well in this series, but hes not Nelson. The Sixers have to make everyone else beat them besides Dwight Howard. They have done a good job of that, and the Magic's supporting cast have done well when they have needed to. Either way, the Sixers led a great opportunity go by the wayside, and now must try to bounce back in Game 5 at Orlando.

Eagles Make More Moves on Day 2


On Day 2 of the NFL Draft today, the Eagles continued to deal, and put themselves into a better position for next season.

The Eagles traded out of the 3rd and 4th rounds, basically trying to get every single pick in the 5th round. The Eagles at one time had 6 picks in the 5th round. They traded two of those picks to the New England Patriots for cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Hobbs at one time started at the opposite corner as Asante Samuel, and has been the starting cornerback in New England the past two seasons. Hobbs is only 25 years old currently, and seems like the Eagles got a very good player for two 5th round picks. New England had actually already given the Eagles a 5th round pick earlier in the offseason for Greg Lewis. Not sure what this move means for Sheldon Brown. Brown is still an Eagle as of right now, and is not very happy about that fact. Will Hobbs replace Brown as a starter, but Brown remain on the roster? Will Hobbs play as the nickel corner at the start of the season if Brown is still on the team? The Eagles may try to move Brown in training camp for a future draft pick, much like they will probably do with Reggie Brown.

The Eagles did make some picks in the 5th round as well. They first drafted tight end Cornelius Ingram from Florida. I've already heard people say that Ingram is one of the steals of the draft at this spot. Ingram is 6'4", 245, and very athletic. From what I have been hearing, Ingram would have been a 1st or 2nd round pick if he was healthy this season. Ingram missed all of his senior season with a torn left ACL. He had a very good combine, and at times, played both wide receiver and tight end at Florida. Seems like a very good pick for the Eagles, filling a need a tight end.

The Eagles then took Victor "Macho" Harris, a cornerback from Virginia Tech. Seems like another guy the Eagles were able to pick who has a lot of skill and could have been taken higher in this draft. Harris has played both cornerback and safety, and also returned punts. Has a good eye for the ball picking off six passes this past season, and has returned four picks for touchdowns in his career. With the Sheldon Brown situation uncertain, Harris could actually step in and see some playing time, at cornerback or safety.

The Eagles next pick was also in the 5th round, and was Fenuki Tupou, and offensive lineman from Oregon. Tupou has good size, which the Eagles like, and Andy Reid always drafts an offensive lineman. In the 6th round, the Eagles took another wide receiver, Brandon Gibson from Washington State. Gibson had an amazing junior season, but his numbers fell off his senior year at Washington State. It will be interesting to see if Gibson can contribute, and what receiver make the roster for the start of the season. In the 7th round, the Eagles chose offensive guard Paul Fanaika from Arizona State, and with their final pick, they chose Moise Fokou, and outside linebacker from Maryland.

All in all, with the draft coming to an end, it looks like the Eagles have definitely address a lot of needs. It seems like Maclin, McCoy, and Ingram can come in right away and help the offense. Hobbs is a good pickup on defense, and we have to say that the Eagles did a very good job this weekend, and their roster looks better today than it did Friday.

Must Win Game 4 For the... Sixers?


The Sixers face the Magic in Game 4 of their first round series this evening at home here in Philadelphia. This may be a must win game for the 76ers.

This game might actually be a must win game for both teams, with the winner ultimately taking the series. If the Sixers win, they take a 3-1 lead in the series. It's not insurmountable, but with the way the Magic have been playing, the Sixers should be able to take one of the final three games to close out the series. If the Sixers lose this game, the series is tied 2-2. Game 5 back in Orlando would be very hard for the Sixers to win. If the Magic go up 3-2, they have two opportunities, including a possible Game 7, to win the series. We do not want that scenario to even come up. To be honest, even if the Sixers win Game 4, it will still not be easy to close out the series. The Magic would still have two games at home in the series, and you have to imagine they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point.

The Sixers need to play even better than they did in Game 3 at home to win this Game 4. The Magic are going to give us a good game, and the Sixers need to be ready. Game 4 is tonight, and it is huge for the Sixers to win to remain in command of the series.

Watch Clips of Maclin and McCoy



Eagles Made Splash on Day 1 of Draft

The first day of the draft is over, and the Eagles used their two picks in the first two rounds to draft two skill position players.

The Eagles holding the 21st pick in the 1st round were looking at guys like Knowshon Moreno, or Brandon Pettigrew. Moreno was taken 12th overall by the Denver Broncos. You thought the Eagles might then look to take Pettigrew, or Donald Brown from UConn. Instead, at pick #19, the Eagles gave the Cleveland Browns a 6th round pick and their 21st pick to move up to the Browns 19th pick. At pick #19, the Eagles took Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. This was the first time the Eagles took a skill position in the 1st round since 2001 when they took Freddie Mitchell. Let's hope this turns out a little bit better. Maclin is definitely a weapon. Most boards had Maclin going in the top 10, or somewhere around the 7-13 range. The fact that Maclin was still available at 19 was surprising, and the Eagles clearly wanted him. Maclin is somewhere between 6'0" and 6'1", and weighs a little under 200. He is fast enough to stretch the field, and also a great possession receiver. By adding Maclin, the Eagles will have an extremely dynamic, versatile pass catching tandem in Maclin and DeSean Jackson. You can do a lot of different things with Maclin and Jackson.


In the 2nd round, the Eagles waited until their pick at #53 to make their selection, and ended up getting an absolute steal in Pitt running back LeSean McCoy. It is no secret that we are Kotite's Corner have been hyping LeSean McCoy for a while. Many mock drafts had McCoy going in the first round of this year's draft. He definitely has first round skill. In his two seasons at Pitt, the guy was an absolute beast. Without any passing game at Pitt, he still ran wild on every team he played. McCoy does a lot of the same things that Westbrook does. He is elusive, shifty, and very quick. He can get to the corners, and also run in between the tackles. He hits the holes hard, and sheds more tacklers at his size than you would think he would. He makes defenders look foolish with his cutting ability. He has that built in running back quality, where when he is making a move on a defender, he is already looking at the next defender coming at him. He can also catch the ball on screen passes, and he can run the "wildcat."

The Eagles added two weapons on offense who should be able to step in right away and help the offense out. They will need to learn a lot of things, but they are still good weapons that will be much needed on the offense. Day 2 of the draft continues today. Look for the Eagles to take a tight end today, as long as a cornerback, and possibly a safety.

2009/04/25

Flyers Season Comes to a Disappointing End


The Flyers lost Game 6 to the Penguins in the 1st round of the playoffs, eliminating them from the playoffs.  This is the 2nd straight season that the Penguins have eliminated the Flyers from postseason play.

This was an extremely frustrating loss as the Flyers held a 3-0 lead in the 2nd period of this game.  You cannot lose a game in which you have a 3-0 lead at any point in the game, I don't care what the circumstances.  From that point on, the Penguins dominated the game and the Flyers could not get any offensive zone pressure at all.  The ice was slanted towards the Flyers end the entire 2nd and 3rd periods, and as the Penguins were able to tie up the game at 3 apiece by the end of the 2nd period.  As the 3rd period started, and the Penguins continued to put pressure on the Flyers, you knew, unfortunately, that it was only a matter of time before the Pens took the lead.  They did just that, and went up 4-3.  The Flyers did have some chances at the end of the game, including Giroux hitting the post.  The Penguins added an empty netter to win the game 5-3.

It is a very disappointing end to the season, that at times during the season looked very promising.  The Flyers struggled down the stretch, and ended up without home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  The Penguins were also a very tough team to draw in the 1st round, as they might have more skill than any other team in the Eastern Conference.  There are no excuses however, as the Flyers had plenty of opportunities in this game, and in this series to win.

76ers Take 2-1 Series Lead


The 76ers won on Friday night to take a 2-1 series lead over the Orlando Magic. In a game that had the opposite flow of the first two games, the Sixers blew a large 17-point lead, but ended up winning the game down the stretch.

The Sixers lead this game the whole first half, and into the 3rd quarter. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Sixers stretched the lead to 17. However, the Magic came back with their three point shooting. Dwight Howard was a beast in this game, but the comeback was made possible with multiple threes from Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus. Even with Dwight Howard going off for 36, the Sixers held it together, and held off the Magic to take the series lead.

The Sixers were able to get out to the big lead due to their transition game. The Andre Brothers (Miller & Iguodala), were solid to start this game. Iguodala was scoring in transition, and actually making his jumpers. Andre Miller was doing what he has done this whole series, and doing whatever he has wanted to do against Rafer Alston. Down the stretch, the Sixers were up two with 10 seconds left, when Andre Miller missed a runner in the lane. The Magic inbounded the ball to Dwight Howard down low, who was fouled right away. Howard drained two clutch free throws to tie the game at 94. On the final possession, Thaddeus Young has the ball in his hands, drove to the lane, was tied up by Dwight Howard, regained possession of the ball, and put up a layup over Howard and Lewis to win the game. Andre Miller, who has been fantastic in this series lead the Sixers with 24 points, 7 assists, and 9 rebounds. Iguodala lead the Sixers scorers with 29, and Willie Green had 12.

The Sixers still need to improve if they want to win this series. They can't settle, and be happy to win two games against the Magic. The Magic are there for the taking, and the Sixers need to take advantage. The Magic are going to come out with a mission in Game 4, and the Sixers will need to match their intensity. The Sixers have a 2-1 series lead, and pick up the series Game 4, Sunday night in Philadelphia.

2009/04/24

Philly 4 Pack


Starting the Philly 4 Pack with the Eagles, who have the NFL Draft tomorrow, and it will be very interesting to see what they do, as there are still a few more pieces to the puzzle to fill in on this roster. The offensive line appears set going into next season, and the defense is solid. We believe the Eagles should take a running back first overall, and still look into packaging some picks for Anquan Boldin possibly. Look for the Eagles to take a RB, TE, CB, D-Lineman, and WR in this draft. The Eagles have made some very good moves in the offseason with the offensive line, however, there are still no new skill players or play makers on the team. You have no backup RB, you have no starting WR, and you are not any better in the red zone, which has been a weakness of the offense for the past couple seasons. Take a look here if you want to look at some of the players the Eagles might target in each round. Optimal situation would be to acquire Boldin, and still be able to draft one of the backs among Moreno, McCoy, or Brown.

The Flyers played a great game last night against the Penguins, holding off elimination, and making the series 3-2 in favor the Penguins. The series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 6. Check out our recap of Game 5.

The 76ers are next, and are currently tied in their first round series with the Magic, 1 game apiece. Two straight games at home are next, starting tonight, and the Sixers need to win at least one of the two home games. The Sixers really can win this series, the Magic have not looked all that special so far in this series. The Sixers need to step it up on the offensive end against a stingy Magic defense. Game 3 is tonight on Philly.

The Phillies lost a tough game yesterday, their 2nd straight home loss to the Brewers. After putting up 11 runs on Tuesday, the Phillies put up just 1 run each on Wednesday and Thursday. Cole Hamels left yesterday’s game with a left shoulder contusion, which basically means a really bad bruise. Hamels took a line drive off his shoulder off the bat of Prince Fielder. He said he wanted to stay in the game, and said he would not miss his next start. The pitching has been slightly better this week, but the offense has fallen asleep. Still a good sign if they can put together some good starting pitching performances. The Phillies sit at 6-8, and open up a big weekend series tonight against the first place Marlins.

Flyers Avoid Elimination With Win


The Flyers stayed alive for at least two more days, fighting off elimination, and beating the Penguins 3-0 in Pittsburgh. Everyone can grow their playoff beards at least a little longer, and hopefully a lot longer.

The Flyers know they can play with the Penguins, and I think were a little angry at themselves for losing two games (Game 2 & Game 4) which wer every winnable. The Flyers came out and played a very focused, determined, and smart Game 5, while still playing their game. The Flyers victory allows the series to come back to Philadelphia for Game 6, where the most intimidating fans in the NHL are waiting.

After a scoreless first, Arron Asham got the Flyers on the board in the 2nd, with a nasty slap shot that couldn't have been placed any more perfectly in the upper corner of the net. In the 3rd period, the Flyers got goals from Giroux and Knuble to put the game away. The defense played their best game of the series, and Marty Biron obviously was solid, getting the shutout. The game was evenly played, the Flyers just being the team to put the puck in the back of the net. The Flyers did a great job back-checking, and not allowing the Penguins stars to ever get anything going.

This has been a very good series, probably the best first round series in the NHL so far, especially since it is between two rivals. Both teams now have 13 goals in this series. The Flyers need to keep doing what they have been doing the past few games in this series. They need to still play with a lot of focus, and desperation. Even though we held off elimination for one game, we still have to two more. We are still down in the series, and it's not going to be easy. But one game at a time is how the team has to approach it... and they did their job in Game 5. The series comes back to Philadelphia for a day game on Saturday.

2009/04/23

Flyers Try To Avoid Elimination Tonight

The Flyers try to avoid elimination tonight against the Penguins in Game 5 of the first round series. The Penguins took a 3-1 series lead with a 3-1 victory in Game 4.

As bad an idea as it seems, there is nothing the Flyers can do other than continue to play the way they have played in the past two games. The Flyers won Game 3, and dominated the action in the Game 4 loss, but they want to keep doing what they have been doing. If that means playing another hard fought game, and losing, then so be it. The Flyers can claim they lost to the more skilled team, which is probably the case.

On offense, we need to see more from the top players. The Flyers had six 25-goal scorers in the regular season, but no one has really stepped up their game on offense, except for Claude Giroux. Danny Briere had a great assist in Game 3; unfortunately we expect more from Briere. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards both have one goal apiece, and we need more from both of them, especially when you get 8 power play opportunities in a game. The star counterparts on the Penguins have been doing their jobs. Malkin and Crosby are the reasons that the Penguins hold a 3-1 series advantage, along with Fleury, who has outplayed Biron in between the pipes.

A loss tonight would mark a disappointing end to the season. We expect more than a first round series loss from this Flyers team and this Flyers organization. The Flyers are an organization that has reached an elite status among NHL teams, yet have no recent Stanley Cups to show for it. We are always one of the better, more competitive teams, and thus first round losses are considered a disappointment. So hopefully we can put away our razors at least for one more game and grow our playoff beards a little longer.

Possible Players the Eagles can take in each round

The Draft is Saturday and we outlined who the Eagles might select.

1st Round:
K. Moreno, Georgia RB - The Eagles have Moreno as their #1 RB on their draft board, so if he is available and the Eagles want a RB, they will take him. Might be the guy with the best chance to get, but they may have to trade up to pick 15 to get him. Might be the best overall running back in the draft.
D. Brown, UConn RB - Led the nation in rushing yards this season. Plays bigger than he is, sheds arm tackles with ease, and has more speed than you would think.
L. McCoy, Pitt RB - Put up great numbers both years at Pitt. Is the total package, speed, quickness, has better cuts than any of the other RB's, gets through the hole quickly. He is also the best receiving back of all the backs. Would be a great pick.
B. Pettigrew, Okla St. TE - The best TE in the draft no question. Could go before the Eagles pick, but tight end is definitely a position the Eagles will be targeting, and Pettigrew is not only the best overall TE, but a great blocking TE, which the Eagles need.

2nd Round:
Louis Delmas, W. Michigan FS- Best Free Safety in the draft. The Eagles would go nuts if he fell to them in the 2nd round, but most likely they will have to trade up to get him. He could be the heir to Dawkins. With Dawk gone he could battle for the starting job this year.
Jared Cook, South Carolina TE- Not as good of a blocker as the higher rated Pettigrew, but Cook can stretch the field and his 6'5", 246 frame will be a great red-zone target.
Patrick Chung, Oregon SS- Best Strong Safety in the draft. Drafting him and moving Quinten Mikell over to FS could solidify the safety position for a while for the Eagles.
Paul Kruger, Utah DE- This guy goes to a college in Utah, that alone is enough for Andy Reid to draft him. This 6'4" 265 pounder is a potential beast.

3rd Round:
Richard Quinn, UNC TE- Was surrounded by stud WR's his whole career. He was not used properly. Only caught 12 passes, could have been a potential first rounder in the right system. Can be a steal here.
Chase Coffman, Missouri TE- Coming off a foot injury which kept him from working out can slip him possibly to the third round. If the Eagles think it can look past this, they may get a steal here. He caught 30 TD's in his 4 years at the Mizz.
Kevin Barnes, Maryland CB- With the news of Sheldon Brown crying to the media about his contract, CB becomes a position of interest. Barnes' stock is rising. He possibly has a shoulder issue, but is a great all around athlete.
Antione Caldwell, Alabama C- The only weakness on the Eagles line is Center. Look for the Eagles to address this need in the draft. Centers are not drafted high typically, so even a great center like Caldwell can fall to the 3rd Round.

5th Round:
Rames Barden, Cal Poly WR- This guy might drop to the 5th round, but he is 6'6" - the red zone possibilities are endless. His stock is currently falling, but he is worth the 5th round risk.
Cameron Morrah, Cal TE- TE should be addressed in this draft. LJ Smith sucked, but they Eagles run two TE sets and I am not sure Celek is the future. If the position is not addressed in the 2nd or 3rd Round, Morrah should be there in the 5th Round. Morrah is not the greatest blocker but has good hands.
Deon Butler, Penn State WR- Blazing speed (4.3 40) He has size and speed like DeSean Jackson, but he does have the potential DJ does. It is the 5th Round and you cannot be picky. Plus if Demps is going to start we need a new Kick Returner, and with Butler's speed, he should be able to handle that.
Lardarius Webb, Nicholls State CB- Great speed (4.35 40), can also return kicks. Getting an athlete like him in the 5th Round will only help the team and under the guidence of Jim Johnson, you might be able to turn him into a great CB.
Juaquin Inglesias, Oklahoma WR- Quick and has great instincts to get open. His 40 time of high 4.4's does not show his true speed.
David Bruton, Notre Dame FS- If the Eagles miss out on Delmas in the 2nd Round, Bruton should be available in the 5th round when they select. He can play either position, and has great size and speed (6'2" 219, 4.4 40) Probably cannot start this year, but will excel on special teams and will battle for a starting postition the following year.

6th Round:
Ray Feinga, BYU OG- Andy Reid loves O-Lineman and mormons. This is a no brainer. Feinga has nice size for a guard 6'4" 337, and you can never have too many lineman..... or mormons.
A.Q. Shipley, Penn State C- Center will be addressed in the draft. It would be amazing for Shipley to fall to the Eagles in 6th Round, but more likely that Shipley from PSU will be there. He was first team All-Big Ten Center.

2009/04/22

Sixers Fall in Game 2


The Sixers couldn't do the unthinkable and take the first two games of the series in Orlando. The Sixers fought hard, but fell to the host Magic 96-87. The game had a fairly similar ebb and flow to Game 1.

The Sixers jumped out to an early lead much like they did in the first game, and held the lead most of the 1st quarter. Andre Miller came out on fire abusing Rafer Alston, but he was really the only Sixer who could get anything going early except for Thaddeus Young. As the 2nd quarter went on, the Magic beared down on defense, and held the Sixers to 18 2nd quarter points, and the Magic took a 7 point halftime lead. The Magic then went up big at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, just like Game 1. But the Sixers fought back, and after an Iguodala three pointer, the Magic lead was down to 5 points with Dwight Howard on the bench having fouled out. But the Sixers resorted to shooting jump shots after Howard fouled out and were never able to close any further.

The Sixers continue to get virtually nothing from Dalembert or Willie Green. Miller, Iguodala, and Young all had 20+, led by Andre Miller's 30. Besides those three players, the next leading scorer was Marreese Speights with 5. Lou Williams couldn't get much going and finished the game shooting 2-10. The outside shooting just flat out was not there, especially down the stretch. The Sixers did not get the ball inside enough, and shot the ball way too much early in the shot clock without working their half court offense. They also need to get out and try to run after a rebound, and if nothing is there, then slow it down. The Sixers have not been trying to even see if they can get out and get anything in transition as much as they should.

While they did close in the 4th quarter to make it close, just like they did in Game 1, the Sixers are not going to win this series if they continue to get behind by double digits. They need to start playing from ahead. They are playing decently on defense, making the Magic make their outside shots, which Courtney Lee did well tonight.

Either way, it cannot be considered a disappointment coming back here to Philly tied 1-1. The Sixers now have the home court advantage, and hopefully can come out ready to go in Game 3.

Sixers Game 2 Preview

The 76ers look to go up 2-0 in their series against the Magic and possibly steal another game in Orlando. It isn’t going to easy, nor is it likely that the Sixers will take two in Orlando and bring a 2-0 series lead back to Philadelphia.

The Sixers just need to keep their momentum going from the 4th quarter of Game 1, and play the way that they want to play. They can’t worry about being up 1-0 in the series, they need to approach this game just like they would approach any other. The Sixers stole Game 1 in Detroit last season in the 1st round of the playoffs, and then got blown out in Game 2. Even though overall it would still be considered a good thing to go 1-1 in Orlando, the Sixers need to realize that they have the opportunity to really take control of this series by winning this game. Instead of coming out and not working as hard in Game 2, knowing that you still won Game 1, the Sixers need to come out and play even harder in Game 2, knowing that they have an opportunity to go up 2-0 in this series.

To win this game, the Sixers will really need to continue to defend the three pointer like they did in Game 1. It helped that Orlando missed shots that they usually make, but the Sixers did a good job of not letting Rashard Lewis or Hedo Turkoglu ever get into a rhythm and get into the game. It seems stupid to talk about how to stop the Magic and not mention Dwight Howard first, but Howard had a great Game 1, and the Sixers still won. Yes, it would be nice to slow down Howard, but let’s be honest; it’s not going to happen. Howard is a beast, and no one on the Sixers can defend him. Theo Ratliff did do a respectable job defending him though I will say.

On offense, the Sixers need to get out and run where they can, and get as many easy baskets as possible. Orlando is a very good defensive team, so the Sixers need to get as many layups and dunks in transition as possible. In the half court set, Iguodala, Miller, Young, and Williams need to get their baskets, as they can all create.

It would be exciting if the Sixers can get this win tonight and come home up 2-0 in the series, but they will need to play their best game possible to accomplish that.

Dr. G: Philly Fans Screwed Again

Yup, here we go again. Just as the Eagles' fan base had reason to start getting fired up with the Peters acquisition, the outside possibility of nabbing Boldin, and the upcoming draft, along comes the Sheldon Brown train wreck to take the wind out of our sails. This is all too familiar and all too disheartening: like watching a family member on the verge of success repeatedly self-destruct. You want to intervene, you want to scream & shout, you want to slap some sense into him, but you know there's really nothing you can do but watch the tragedy unfold again and again. There are no good guys in this case, no one to root for, and little possibility of a satisfying outcome. Brown is dead wrong for whining publicly in the depth of a dangerous recession about a multi-million dollar deal he agreed to -- and was in fact delighted with -- in 2004 that set he and his family up for life. Banner is dead wrong for publicly inflaming an already volatile situation, and for once again exhibiting the knee-jerk "screw you" attitude of a petty tyrant. And they're both dead wrong for putting the fans through this agony again. But, then, with the singular exception of Brian Dawkins, when has any component of this Eagles organization given a damn about anything beyond the fans' wallets? The official motto of Team Gold Standard, from the players through the front office, is best captured in the immortal words of Ricky Watters: "For who, for what?" And that's the real shame of it all...

Drama at NovaCare, Fans Come Out the Loser


We all know now that Sheldon Brown has requested to be traded, because he is unhappy with his contract and feels he is under paid. This is becoming a bad trend with the Eagles with players coming out unhappy about their contract situation. The main problem with this is who ends up suffering the most. It’s the fans.

Sheldon Brown signed a six-year extension in 2004 worth $30 million. At that time, Brown’s agent, Jason Chayut stated, "We didn't need to do this now, but this deal was too attractive and too important not to get it done, They made him a multimillionaire, taking all the risk out of injury. He's set for life."

Apparently that’s not enough anymore. Brown not only wants more money, he also said that this is not the first time this has happened with the Eagles players, and it won’t be the last. He is right. But the players aren’t suffering. The team isn’t suffering.

First off, these players are already rich to begin with. They are rich for playing a sport that any of us fans would love to play for a living. I understand that sports are immensely popular, I’m not saying that athletes don’t deserve to make a lot of money, it is just hard for me to listen to these players complain about making millions, and needing to support their families.

On top of that, you have the Eagles brass, who is about an annoying and arrogant as they come. Just for them to come out and comment on anything anymore annoys me, because no matter which one it is (Banner, Lurie, or Reid), it is always going to come off as cocky, and as if the player’s are meaningless pieces to them who mean nothing. Even if Sheldon Brown is in the wrong in this situation, the Eagles brass actually needs to act like they value their employee in any statement they make.

All of this started with Terrell Owens, and it’s a disturbing trend that as Sheldon Brown said, probably won’t stop anytime soon. And to us fans, it’s just flat out annoying. It’s a Soap Opera, and we are on the losing end of it. The same situation will happen every time. The Eagles will act all high and mighty because they will refuse to pay more money to the player. So they are on the winning side. The player, just like TO did, will just go to another team and get paid. And even if they don’t, they are already making freakin’ millions of dollars. So they are on the winning side. Who loses? The fans. Not only do we have to listen to all the drama of the player vs. the Eagles, but the Eagles as a team end up suffering on the field, which affects the fans. The TO saga ruined a season. TO might not care about though, the Eagles might not care about that, but we do!

2009/04/21

Flyers Lose Game 4


The Flyers came out on the short end of a much needed Game 4, 3-1. It was a very frustrating game for the Flyers as they dominated the game for the most part, but couldn't get the bounces, and couldn't get the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury, who was the only reason the Penguins won the game. Fleury made 45 saves on 46 Flyers shots, the only goal being a point blank shot out in front of the net by Carcillo.

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins got a lucky goal on a bounce that the Flyers never seem to get. As Crosby was sliding into Biron and the net, which looked more like he was trying to steal 2nd base, the puck hit the shaft of his stick, and somehow found the net. It looked like Crosby took out Biron before the puck was in the net, and before the puck even hit Crosby's stick, but the goal was allowed. The Flyers meanwhile hit about 100 posts in this game, and couldn't get any bounces. The Penguins made it 2-0 shortly after, and that would be all that Fleury needed. Carcillo got a goal halfway through the 3rd to make it 2-1, and even though the Flyers dominated the 3rd period, they couldn't get the puck in the net, and the Penguins would eventually put the game away with an empty net goal.

The Flyers went 0-8 on the power play, and this game hurts to lose because the Flyers were the better team, and had so many chances. The series goes back to Pittsburgh with the Penguins having a chance to close the series out on home ice. All you can do in Game 5 is continue to play the well you have the past two games. It won't be as easy on the Penguins ice, but the Flyers have played well the past three games of the series, and the only thing they can do is continue to play the way they have and hope that they get the early lead, and get some bounces go their way to come back to Philadelphia for a Game 6.

Flyers Game 4 Preview


The Flyers face their 2nd straight must win game at home, in Game 4 of their first round series against the Penguins. A win would send the series back to Pittsburgh tied 2-2, essentially becoming a best of three series. A loss would put the Flyers in a big 3-1 hole going back to Pittsburgh, a situation we want to avoid.

The Flyers looked bad in Game 1, good in Game 2, and great in Game 3. They need to come out and play exactly the same way they played in Game 3. We still need to eliminate the penalties, but being the more physical team, we need to keep hitting, and keep with the rough stuff, to wear down the Penguins. One of the reasons the Flyers thrive in a 7-game series is because we can tire out our opponents as the series goes on. Being physical is easier said than done, especially when the Penguins have the snipers on offense that they do. Crosby and Malkin are both playing well in this series, and that is not a good thing for us.

It is also very important for the Flyers to continue to play from ahead in these games. They played from ahead in Game 2, but ended up losing, and played from ahead in Game 3, which allowed them to control the game for the most part. If the Flyers play from behind, they will need to take more chances, which will allow the Penguins to come through the neutral zone more easily, and get odd man rushes.

The Flyers also need to play very strong defense, much like they did in Game 3, and get solid goaltending from Marty Biron. If the offense can feed off of the crowd, and the refs aren’t out there giving the game to the Penguins, the Flyers have a good chance to get back even in this series.

NFL Mock Draft (4/21/09)

1. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
It’s looking more and more like Stafford will be the choice here at #1 for the Lions. The Lions should possibly look to take Jason Smith here if they aren’t sold on Stafford, but we still think Stafford will be the pick.

2. St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Classic left tackle who is arguably the top offensive lineman in a draft full of them. The Rams clearly need someone to protect the QB’s backside to replace Orlando Pace. Very athletic for his size. This pick will be between Smith and Monroe.

3. Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Clearly the best linebacker in this draft, and maybe the safest pick in the entire draft. All signs point to Curry being a future pro-bowler. Since the Chiefs acquired Matt Cassell to address their QB situation, they would be silly to pass on Curry at this point if he is there.

4. Seattle Seahawks – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Some say Sanchez will end up being better than Stafford, and he is probably too good to pass up for the Seahawks, who have a 34 year old, recently injury prone Matt Hasselbeck at QB. Sanchez could be the backup for a year or two and then jump in as starter. Seahawks could also go Eugene Monroe here.

5. Cleveland Browns – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
It will be interesting to see where Crabtree ends up going in this draft. He is listed at 6’1” instead of the 6’3” he was listed as at Texas Tech. Still a beast, who is the best receiver among a group of deep receivers in this draft class. The Browns already lost Stallworth, and may get rid of Edwards, so they need a future beast WR to go with whichever young QB wins the job, probably Quinn.

6. Cincinnati Bengals – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Some people consider Monroe the best offensive lineman in the draft over Jason Smith. Monroe is a classic tackle, perfect size. The Bengals could go a few different ways with this pick, with Orakpo, Raji, and Maclin still on the board, but we think the pick will be Monroe.

7. Oakland Raiders – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Maclin may be the ultimate “playmaker” of the draft. Maclin has speed, can run routes, catch the ball, and can return punts. Definitely the 2nd best receiver in this draft behind Crabtree, and could fit in for the Raiders right away, especially since their best current receiver is Johnny Lee Higgins.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Jaguars offensive line last season was among the worst in the league. They did sign OT Tra Thomas, but he is not a long term fix. Andre Smith is as talented as any OT in this draft, and if he gets his head on straight, should be a beast.

9. Green Bay Packers – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Raji not only dominated the senior bowl, he also performed very well at the combine, and has established himself as the premiere defensive tackle in the draft. The Packers should go defense here, and Raji will be a good stopper up the middle, similar to Haloti Ngata of the Ravens.

10. San Francisco 49ers – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The 49ers really shouldn’t go into next season with Hill or Smith as the starter, but because we have Stafford and Sanchez off the board, the 49ers should pick defense. Orakpo is a guy you can plug in as the foundation of a defense, and is a flat out physical specimen.

11. Buffalo Bills – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State
Maybin is a guy who can play both defensive end, or outside linebacker positions, depending on what the Bills need. The Bills need a solid defensive end who can get after the quarterback, and even though Penn State players are usually busts in the pros, Maybin is the best pure rusher in this draft, besides maybe Orakpo.

12. Denver Broncos – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Broncos also wouldn’t mind taking a QB in this draft, but again with Sanchez and Stafford off the board, the Broncos will look to defense on this pick. Jackson is very high on the Broncos radar, and will immediately fill a need for the Broncos, who are bringing in a lot of new faces this offseason.

13. Washington Redskins – Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Redskins have addressed a few needs in free agency, and with Michael Oher on the board here, they may take him. Should be able to provide some security and much needed help in the passing game for Jason Campbell.

14. New Orleans Saints – Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
Wells stock has been up and down all offseason, but could end up being the pick for the Saints at this point. The Saints would love the running back tandem of Bush and Wells, viewing it much like the Bush-McAllister combination. Saints could also go defense with this pick, and take Jenkins.

15. Houston Texans – Brian Cushing, LB, USC
Cushing is shooting up the draft boards, and some say he will go before teammate Rey Maualuga. Cushing has a lot of upside, and could be plugged in at the outside linebacker position next to Ryans.

16. San Diego Chargers – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Maualuga is a flat out playmaker. He had an average combine, but if you watch tape of this guy, he stands out. He can get to the edges, and cover a tight end or running back. With the Chargers bringing back both LT and Sproles, they probably won’t go RB, so they may look to sure up their defense, and provide some help to Merriman.

17. New York Jets – Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
May have done the most to help himself at the combine than anybody else. Ran the fastest 40 at the combine, and with his decent size, locked himself into being a first round pick. The Jets don’t have much depth at receiver, and Heyward-Bey could provide immediate help to Clemens, or whoever is QB. Speaking of QB, the Jets could take Freeman at this position.

18. Denver Broncos – Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida State
Brown is a guy who can play both defensive end, or outside linebacker positions, depending on what the Broncos need with this pick. We have the Broncos really solidifying their defense here, by taking Jackson early, and Brown at this spot. They could take Freeman at this point.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
One of the most intriguing guys in the draft is Freeman. At the combine, Freeman was shaky, but showed a tremendous upside. Could be a huge bust, but may be worth it for the Bucs in the long term, as they have no proven starting QB on their roster right now. Rookie head coach Raheem Brock is a huge Freeman fan as well.

20. Detroit Lions – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Another one of the good tackles that will be taken in the first round. Britton is ranked a little lower than the elite tackles like Smith, Monroe, and Oher, but will the Lions taking Stafford #1 overall, they need a future OT to protect him.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
If Moreno is on the board here, the Eagles should and probably will take him if they stay at this spot. Moreno is the highest RB on the Eagles board, and would fill a need the team currently has. Buckhalter is gone, and Westbrook is getting older, and Moreno would eventually take over for Westbrook.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The Vikings don’t have much depth at receiver, and Nicks could provide immediate help to Jackson, or whoever is at QB this season. Nicks is a big receiver, who can stretch the field, go over the middle, and has great hands.

23. New England Patriots – Clay Matthews, LB, USC
It is obvious that the Patriots are looking to get younger at the LB position, and with losing Vrabel, we think they will take the best available linebacker to groom into a beast in the Patriots defense. Matthews is shooting up the draft boards, and some say he will go before teammates Maualuga, and Cushing. Matthews has a lot of upside, and could be a steal at this pick.

24. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
Great blocker, but doesn’t have much speed. Can still catch what is thrown his way, and should be effective. The Falcons should be surrounding Matt Ryan with talent, to maximize his talent. They have Turner, and White already. Pettigrew should be able to help out a lot with the passing and running game.

25. Miami Dolphins – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Bill Parcells loves taking defensive players, and the Dolphins do need secondary help. Davis is the 2nd ranked cornerback in this draft, although he may be the most athletic.

26. Baltimore Ravens – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Harvin is another guy who is a flat out playmaker in this draft. Very strong for being a smallish receiver, but is a great combination of speed and strength, who could fit in with the Ravens right away, even if it is only returning kicks.

27. Indianapolis Colts – Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
The Colts need a solid defensive tackle to plug up the middle, as their run stopping continues to be poor. Jerry is a very good defensive tackle, who can come in and help plug up the middle of the line, which is exactly what they need. They will take him if he is on the board here.

28. Buffalo Bills – William Beatty, OT, UConn
With the Bills giving up Jason Peters to the Eagles for this pick, look for them to take the best offensive tackle on the board here. We have the Bills addressing defense with their 1st pick, so look for them to draft a good OT with this pick.

29. New York Giants – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Giants clearly were not the same without Burress last season, and Eli Manning needs a weapon at wide receiver. Britt is a receiver who has the same skill set as Burress; he is tall, and can stretch the field. Britt is a local guy, who could step right in and see some time. This pick could change if the Giants end up making a deal for Braylon Edwards.

30. Tennessee Titans – James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Laurinaitis is another one of the solid linebackers in this draft, who could go higher than this pick, but if he is on the board at this pick, the Titans should take him. Laurinaitis can probably play inside or outside, depending on what the team needs. Also, Keith Bulluck isn’t getting any younger.

31. Arizona Cardinals – LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
McCoy is a beast, and may be the most complete running back of this draft. McCoy is considered a small back at 5’11”, but weighs 210, and can run the ball up the middle if he needs to. Finds the hole quickly, and can make defenders look foolish with his cutting ability. Should be a solid back for years to come. Has better numbers than any of the other RB’s in this draft, and with Edge wanting out, the Cardinals need a RB at this pick.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Max Unger, C, California
The Steelers may get a steal here in Unger. There are a lot of other good offensive lineman going in the first round, most are huge tackles, so Unger can get overshadowed. The Steelers need offensive line help, and Unger can provide it. They could also select Alex Mack here.

2009/04/20

Great Day for Philadelphia Sports

It was a great Sunday for Philadelphia sports teams, and surprisingly, it did not include an Eagles game, but an Eagles signing instead. The Eagles officially locked up all-pro left tackle, Jason Peters, formerly of the Buffalo Bills. The move makes the Eagles offensive lines one of the best in football, with 3 former pro-bowlers, and all players still in their 20s. The Eagles sent their 28th overall pick, their 4th round pick, and a late round 2010 pick. The Eagles still do have the 21st overall pick in this year’s draft. Peters signed a four year contract extension with the Birds for 4 years, $53 million. With Peters existing contract, he will earn $60 million over the next six seasons. The Eagles have done a very good job addressing the offensive line, and now can focus on other needs at the draft.

There were actual games going on in Philadelphia, which kicked off at 1:35 PM with the Phillies and the Padres from Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies went down early, 4-0, but fought back with HR’s from Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to be down by one going into the 9th. Ryan Howard led off the 9th with a single, and then Raul Ibanez hit a walk off two-run HR to win the game for the Phillies 5-4. Ibanez has been the MVP of the team so far, and even though the Phillies are still not getting good pitching, and the games they have won have not been pretty, the walk off win is a good sign, and may be the type of win that the team can rally around and put a winning streak together.

While the Phillies were making their comeback, the Flyers got started across the street at the Wachovia Center at 3:00 PM. In traditional “orange out” style, the fans packed the stadium, and provided a great boost for the team. We all know Philadelphia fans are the best in the nation, and this was proven during this game, where the stadium was rocking. The Flyers fans do hold the distinction as being the most intimidating fans in the nation as voted by the players. The actual game was on the best games I’ve watched in a long time. The first period was non-stop action, lots of rough hitting, lots of battles with each other, and almost a brawl. The Penguins are more of a finesse team, and when it comes to the actual rough stuff, the Flyers own the Penguins. The Flyers also won the game 6-3, with Simon Gagne and Claude Giroux playing great games. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards also both got their first goal of the season, so hopefully the momentum will carry over to Game 4, when the crowd will be crazy again. Kimmo Timonen, who almost got his head taken off on a check coming around the Flyers net, played a great game, as did Ryan Parent on defense. Giroux scored a goal on a great assist from Danny Briere, and Gagne scored a goal on a great assist from Giroux. It still hurts that we lost Game 2, because Game 4 is another must-win, but the Flyers have been just as good as the Penguins in these past two games, and need to keep it up for Game 4, which should be another exciting contest.

After the Phillies walk off, and then the Flyers amazing Game 3 victory, you wanted to relax and take a nap. But the 76ers game kicked off down in Orlando at 5:30 PM. The Sixers held the lead for the whole 1st quarter, and the beginning of the 2nd quarter, but went into halftime with a 4-point deficit. The 3rd quarter looked like what everyone expected going into this series. Dwight Howard was dominating, and the Magic hit some threes to go up by 14 after the 3rd quarter. The lead was as much as 18 earlier in the quarter. The Sixers, however, would not be denied. They came out firing in the 4th quarter, with Royal Ivey, Lou Williams, and Donyell Marshall nailing big three-pointers to get the Sixers back in the game. With 1:07 on the clock, the Sixers had cut the deficit to one point with Iguodala at the line shooting two to take the lead. He missed both, and a Dwight Howard dunk followed with 49 seconds left in the game to put the Magic up by three. It looked like the Sixers comeback might have been all for nothing, and Iguodala would be one of the reasons, missing two free throws. That was not that case. Donyell Marshall nailed a three pointer with 34 seconds left, and Rashard Lewis missed a jumper to give the Sixers the ball and a final look at that basket. It was an isolation play for Andre Iguodala with Hedo Turkoglu defending. Turkoglu did a good job not letting Iguodala get to the basket, but not to be denied, Iggy hit a step back jumper with 2 seconds left on the clock to give the Sixers the 100-98 victory, and a 1-0 series lead against the Magic.

All in all, it was an exciting, tiring, and fantastic day for the Philadelphia sports teams and fans.

2009/04/18

Flyers Lose Game 2 in OT


The Flyers Lost Game 2 against the Penguins 3-2 in overtime. It was an extremely tough pill to swallow, as the Flyers had leads of 1-0, and 2-1, but allowed the Penguins to tie the game both times, including late in the game on a power play. Once the game went into overtime, the Penguins got a two-man advantage, and scored late in the first OT.

The Flyers looked like a much better team in this game than they did in Game 1 when they were dominated. The Flyers actually played their game, which we knew they were capable of. The Flyers held a 2-1 lead, and should have pushed it to 3-1 halfway through the 3rd period when Fleury stoned Jeff Carter on what looked like an easy open net goal for Carter. It definitely helped that the Flyers got the 1st goal in the game, a power play goal in the first period by Scott Hartnell. It is imperative that the Flyers play from ahead in this series, and they really need to get the first goal in all games.

It's extremely tough to lose this game, and to watch the Flyers lose on a two-man penalty kill in overtime. The Flyers have to quickly put that game behind them, and look forward to Game 3. The Flyers did a lot of things right in Game 2, and need to carry that over to Game 3, and hopefully play even better since the game is at home. Our home crowd will be ready to go, and can get the Flyers players fired up to play. Obviously Game 3 is a must win for our boys.

2009/04/17

Philly 4 Pack


We are starting a new feature here at Kotite’s Corner called Philly 4 Pack for right now. It will be a weekly feature providing a short summary on the current state of all four major Philadelphia sports teams. So without further ado—

Starting with football, even though we are in the offseason, there is always information to talk about all year long. With the draft coming up, and the Eagles with the most picks of any team, this is a big week and a half for the Eagles. With the news coming in today that the Eagles have reached a deal to trade for Jason Peters, the Eagles have now solidified their offensive line. Check out the story on the trade here. The Eagles biggest needs right now after the Peters trade are running back, and wide receiver. It would be a very successful week if after the draft, the Eagles have actively addressed those needs. By addressing, we aren’t talking about taking a receiver in the 7th round, and claiming he is a steal and the next Jerry Rice. We want the Eagles to do something, and make a splash. If the Eagles can address these needs, they would probably be considered one of the favorites in the NFC. They still have the 21st overall pick to play with, and plenty of other picks. We stated previously that we would like to see the Eagles trade a 1st and a 3rd for Boldin, and a 1st and a 4th for Peters. The Peters trade happened, so who knows, maybe talks are in the works for Boldin. The Eagles, Giants, Ravens, and Jets are rumored to be the most interested in acquired Boldin.

The Phildalphia Flyers play Game 2 tonight against the Penguins in a first round playoff series. We have covered this, and provided a Game 2 preview, which you can find here.

The Philadelphia 76ers are gearing up for their first round series against the Orlando Magic which kicks off Sunday. The Sixers are the 6th seed, and may have a chance in this series against the banged up Magic. They are definitely over matched by the Magic, especially since Dwight Howard is not one of the Magic players who is banged up. You can find out series preview here.

The Philadelphia Phillies are off to a very average, but disappointing 4-4 start on the season. The Phillies always struggle in April, so it is not that much of a surprise, but the way they have played is concerning. The pitching staff has been not good, especially the starters. The Phillies have already allowed 54 runs, and only scored 42 in 8 games. We are still very early, so there is no reason to panic, but the Phillies starting pitching has been horrible. Cole Hamels got lit up in his first game, and it is a cause for concern since he pitched so many innings last season, and we obviously rely heavily on Hamels to be the #1 starter on this team. Blanton and Park both got lit up as well in their first start of the season. The hitting will come along as it gets warmer, and the players get their at-bats. Let’s hope the pitching comes along as well.

Eagles Trade for Peters


According to multiple sources, the Eagles have a deal in place to trade for Buffalo Bills pro-bowl left tackle, Jason Peters. The Eagles would give up the 28th overall selection, their 4th round pick, and an undisclosed 2010 draft pick. Peters is flying to Philadelphia today, and will need to pass a physical. The Eagles also want to lock up Peters to a long-term deal before they announce the trade.

Peters is a two-time pro bowler who is 27 years old, and was unhappy with his current contract with the Bills. If Peters ends up an Eagle, he would be the starting left tackle. This would allow the Andrews brothers to hold down the right side of the line. Todd Herramans would continue at left guard, and either Jackson or Nick Cole will be the starting center.

Seems like a good move for the Eagles to sure up that offensive line, and still have the 21st overall pick to draft a RB, or a WR, or use in a possible trade.

Flyers Need to Step it Up for Game 2


Game 2 of the Flyers Penguins first round series is tonight, and the Flyers really do not want to go down 2-0 in this series, even with the next two games being in Philadelphia. As the road team in this playoff series, the goal in the first two games in to just win one. The Flyers can accomplish that tonight, and no matter how bad they looked in Game 1, a victory tonight takes back home ice advantage.

The Flyers looked bad in Game 1, and the Penguins looked very good. There isn’t much time to get this all figured out either, since Game 2 is tonight. The Flyers need to find a way to slow down the Penguins through the neutral zone. I’m not sure how they are going to be able to do that against the quicker and more skilled Penguins, but they need to be able to do that. The Flyers also need to stay out of the penalty box. The Penguins can throw Crosby, Malkin, and Gonchar out on the ice together on the power play; all three of those players extremely efficient 5 on 5, and much more dangerous with the man advantage. It will also be important to get the first goal in this game. Another early Penguins goal could mean trouble in this game. You do not want to have to come from behind, the Flyers really have to play from ahead to have any chance in this game.

As we stated in the preview, it was a bad draw to end up playing the Penguins in the first round, who may be the most skilled team in the entire Eastern Conference. But the Flyers are a very good team as well, and need to get back to playing their game in this Game 2. If the Penguins are the better team, then let them beat us while we are playing good hockey. We did not show what we can do in Game 1, and you have to wonder if John Stevens, or captain Mike Richards will try some way to fire up the team going into tonight’s game.

Game 2 is a must win for the Flyers and is tonight at 7:00 PM.

Sixers Magic 1st Round Preview


Let’s be honest - The Sixers do not have that great a chance to win the series. If this was KC odds makers, I would put it at about 9%. But there is still a chance and anything can happen. We at Kotite’s want to give a preview of the matchups you will see while watching this series. This matchup and the 9% is assuming that both Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will play. Today it was announced they might return. If they do not play, Sixers percent chance of winning goes up to 40%/ Let's take a look at how the Sixers and Magic match up - position by position.

PG: Andre Miller vs. Rafer Alston - Advantage Sixers
If hometown favorite Jameer Nelson was not injured this would be a lot closer (with advantage still going to Miller, primarily because of experience). Miller should be able to control Skip-to-my-Lou fairly easily, but will have trouble keeping up with his speed.

SG: Willie Green vs. Courtney Lee - Advantage Magic
Any starting 2 guard in the league is better than Willie Green, so the advantage Magic really has nothing to do with Lee’s skill. The rookie from Western Kentucky shoots well from the field, can hit the three, and shoots well from the line, and moved big free-agent signing Mickael Pietrus to 6th man. Hopefully Willie Green gets taken out early and Big Lou Williams gets a lot of minutes in the series.

SF: Andre Iguodala vs. Hedo Turkoglu - Advantage Sixers
Hedo has a bum ankle and might not play in this series and Andre was completely embarrassed last year in the playoffs with a performance that I could match - that is how bad he was. I expect Iggy to step up his game and play very well in this series.

PF: Thaddeus Young vs. Rashard Lewis - Advantage Magic
Thaddeus Young is the best player on the Sixers. You heard it here first. It is a shame that AI part 2 cannot play 2 guard, so when bust-Elton Brand comes back next season, Thad is playing the 3 and not 6th man. Rashard Lewis a freak of nature and will give match-up problems for Thad if Lewis’ knee is alright for him to play.

C: Samuel Dalembert vs. Dwight Howard - Triple Advantage Magic
This is not even close. The self-proclaimed Haitian sensation, Sammy DDDDDDD, on his best day is not even close to the skill level or physical prowess of Dwight Howard on Howard’s worst day. Sammy D could be a good player, but he thinks he is Dwight Howard and he really is much closer to Shawn Bradley. Expect at least one 20/20 game from Howard, especially if Hedo and Rashard do not play.

Bench – Advantage Sixers
The Magic do bring Mickael Pietrus off the bench, who is a very good player. JJ Redick also comes off the bench, who can provide instant offense with his 3-point shooting. The Sixers have the best bench player in this series in Lou Williams, who usually plays in crunch time over Willie Green. The Sixers also bring Speights off the bench, who has shows the ability to do a lot of good things at the power forward position.

Picks
Mr. Green: Sixers in 6
Roget: Magic in 5

2009/04/16

"Some Like it Hoth" recap


Last night’s episode was Miles-Centric, and now that it is confirmed that Miles is Pierre Chang’s son, there is an obvious question. Was Miles born on the island and does that explain his "power"? We find out a little bit about Miles’ life before he came back to the island, but other than the visit from Naomi and then Bram, it was basically meaningless.

On the island it was pretty stupid especially with Kate messing everything up. Kate is way slicker than that, she has lied her way out of things her whole life and now she can’t lie to a drunk Roger (Uncle Rico)? And then Jack tries to intimidate him with what? Threatening to never act on TV again? Can Matthew Fox promise not to do anything after Lost? I would like that, because I cannot stand him or his character. Seriously, what actor with no good lead cinematic roles ever tell anyone he is not acting on TV again. Who does he think he is? I think Sayid on a shitload of LSD should come in slow motion and scalp Jack like Daniel Day Lewis in the Last of the Mohicans. One cool thing on the island is the slug-like construction of the Swan Station. The season finale is called The Incident, and we all know the incident was at Swan, and that is the reason the button is pushed ever 108 minutes. I was drinking some Peroni out of my Swan Dharma pint glass and wearing my Star Wars PJ’s last night watching Lost. Hurley’s Star Wars references were funny, but some were slightly incorrect, probably on purpose. This world would be great without Ewoks, Jar-Jar Binks and Matthew Fox.

The ending with Faraday back should be interesting, in two weeks (damn you Damon and Carlton, you promised no weeks off, what the shit?) the new episode seems to be Faraday-centric and we should learn about where he has been - possibly in Ann Arbor with DeGroots?

So in all seriousness, theories about last night mainly are about Bram and his crew. Who does Number 2 work for? We saw him last week surprise the hell out of us with Illana and ask, “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” This week off the island after Naomi (Number 10 on our hot ladies of lost list) asks him to work for Widmore, Bram abducts Miles, like Will Ferrell in Old School. “You tell anyone about this and I'll fucking kill you. I'm kidding, I'm kidding, we'll have him home by midnight.” So last week I assumed this was Widmore’s Kahana II. That is now obviously not true. Now it can be one of two groups. If this new group works for Ben, would he really have killed one of the main players, Caesar? I mean technically he would kill anyone, even his own daughter, but I just don't think they work for Ben. Maybe they are some type of group that is the remaining members of dharma and want to regain control and research on the island. Maybe they are not hostiles or Dharma and they are a group that wants to protect the original "purpose" of the island's powers.

Boldin For Sale


Cardinals coach, Ken Whisenhunt announced yesterday that star receiver Anquan Boldin was "for sale." The rumor has it that Boldin can be had for a 1st and a 3rd round pick. With heavy rumors floating around that the Giants will get Braylon Edwards to replace the Plaxico Burress, the Eagles need to step up, stop calling their receiving crew elite, and get Boldin at any cost. The only reason why this should not happen, is if the Eagles trade for Jason Peters, the LT from Buffalo on draft day. I honestly think they should give up the 28th pick and a 3rd rounder for Boldin, and the 21st pick and a 4th rounder for Peters. With the remaining 2nd round pick, draft a RB. I know that the Eagles would never do this, because they and the rest of the NFL place too high a value on the draft, but the Eagles do not even draft well. So going into draft day no matter who the Eagles get, I will not be happy if Boldin and/or Peters are not wearing Eagles uniforms this season. No matter what the Eagles brass tells you, this team does have certain needs this offseason. When you combine the teams needs with the bevy of draft picks that we have, there is no reason they should not make a move to get an already pro-bowl caliber player, who will fit certain needs that the Eagles current team has.