Eagles-Jaguars Postgame

The Eagles beat the Jaguars 33-32 with a nice 4th quarter comeback on Thursday night in their 3rd preseason game. The score does not indicate how poorly the Eagles actually played. They needed a 4th quarter comeback by Kevin Kolb to win the game.

The Eagles offense and defense really continue to be very average. They looked average in the first preseason game, but did some good things, so I wasn't too worried. They also did not look very impressive in the 2nd game against the Colts, and that trend continued last night in preseason Game 3.

The actual result of the game last night is not very significant, I wanted to see the players make plays, and see how the Eagles try to use Mike Vick. It didn't take long for Vick to see the field, he came on for the 2nd play of the game, and threw a shovel pass to McCoy. It became apparent fairly quickly that there was no flow to this almost alternating plays for McNabb and Vick, and the play calling was way too gimmicky, even when McNabb was under center. If this were the regular season, I would be yelling at Reid to run the ball more. Of course that isn't too easy when the offensive line in my opinion has been horrible this preseason. I understand there are multiple injuries on the offensive line, so lets hope that this unit gets better once the season starts.

Shawn Andrews and Todd Herramans did not play, and it was revealed after the game that Herramans will have surgery and will miss the start of the regular season, and will miss multiple weeks of the regular season. Stacy Andrews did start, and couldn't make it as far as the regular starters went, but apparently, it was more of a precaution as to why he was taken out. Jason Peters didn't play... ohhh he actually did play, you just wouldn't have known that he showed up. Peters has not been good this preseason. It's hard for me to tell how a center is doing, so I'm not sure if Jamaal Jackson looks good, but the overall unit flat out looks bad. McNabb has pressure on him almost every time he drops back to pass, and has to keep plays alive by getting out of the pocket and trying to make something happen. The O-Line run blocked well in the first preseason game, yet I haven't seen them open up a hole on an inside run in the past 2 games. The running backs are running into walls when they try to run up the middle. The offensive line is a unit that has to get back by the regular season.

The play calling was also an area of concern for me. Like I said earlier, if this were the regular season, I would be yelling at Reid to run the ball more. I understand you wanted to get Vick involved, and I liked that they did that, but the play calling just wasn't there, and it got gimmicky very quickly. I would like to Vick line up in the slot more often on multiple plays in a row, whether you plan to use him on a play or not. Keep McNabb under center, and have Vick in the slot. This way, you don't have to do anything gimmicky, you run the regular offense (yes, I want to see Vick go out for passes), you don't have to keep running McNabb and Vick on and off the field, and you have multiple weapons on the field at one time. I'm not sure who calls the plays at this point, probably Reid because he is so arrogant, but the play calling needs to get better in the regular season. I don't anticipate this however, as the play calling in my opinion has not been good for years. Morningweg is a below average offensive coordinator.

On defense, the 1st team is still getting points scored on them, and letting teams drive down the field. This defense was the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL, and 1st ranked in the NFC last season, and I think for the Eagles to be successful, their defense needs to be in the top 10 at worst. Losing Stewart Bradley is still hurting this team, as Joe Mays has been a non-factor at the middle linebacker position. In fact, the entire linebacking corps have been mostly invisible in the preseason, besides rookie Moise Fokou, who has been a beast. I will say the Eagles did a better job of getting to the QB, and disrupted many plays by getting in the Jaguars' quarterbacks faces. On the line, Trent Cole stood out, and was in the backfield a lot. Asante Samuel continues to play well, and had a pick last night. I think Quintin Mikell is also playing well, but you expect that out of him.

The Eagles do have some things to work on still, and need to improve in multiple areas. If they run this team and this game out in the regular season, they will be completely average. But this is what preseason is for, to work on the kinks, and get ready to play well in Week 1 of the regular season. Lets hope that the Eagles are ready to Week 1 against the Panthers.


What To Do With Brad Lidge

Brad Lidge blew his 9th save of the season Tuesday night against the Pirates, in a game that the Phillies really should have won. With the Phillies large lead in the NL East, the actual loss doesn't hurt as much as it does to see Brad Lidge blow another save, and continue to not be able to get batters out. The Phillies went to the 9th down 1 run, and managed to get 2 across off of Pirates closer Matt Capps. For Capps, that was his 4th blown save, to go along with his now 3-7 record, and 6.38 ERA. Those numbers look horrible, but aren't even close to the horrible numbers of Brad Lidge - 9 blown saves, 0-6 record (record isn't really big deal for a closer), 7.33 ERA.

Lidge threw 6 pitches last night, allowed 2 singles, a home run, and threw a wild pitch. Lidge didn't record any outs, and gave up 3 earned runs. If Lidge had to continue pitching until he got 3 outs, he still might be pitching right now. Not only do I think that Brad Lidge had nothing on those pitches, he admitted this after the game, saying that he struggles when he goes out 4 games in a row. In a way, this in Manuel's fault for sending him out there, but Manuel probably wanted to send Lidge out to get some confidence against a crappy Pirates lineup that he should be able to mow down even if he threw 50 days in a row. But he couldn't. And this is officially getting to be ridiculous. Lidge has been the worst closer in baseball this season, and it isn't even close. Late August isn't the time when we can still continue to wait for Lidge to find his stuff, or figure it out in his head, or whatever is going on with him.

These games are going to matter in the playoffs. Again, we can get away with it now with such a big lead, but we won't be able to get away with it come playoff time. We actually have to win 1-run games in the playoffs, and since it is the playoffs, there probably will be many close games we are going to have to hold onto.

I will support whatever decision Manuel makes, but he has to at least do something. If you want to continue to run Lidge out there, then fine, but give him some 1 out saves. If a lefty is starting the inning, start the 9th with Eyre, or Romero when he comes back. Even if a righty is starting, send out Madson, or Park, or Myers when he comes back to start the inning. Manuel could also send Lidge to the 15 day DL if he thinks Lidge needs to re-focus and almost start over when he comes back. Madson or Park could close while Lidge is out, and even possibly Myers if he shows his stuff is nasty when he comes back. Or you could completely demote Lidge, and make Madson, Park, or Myers the closer. This is also risky since it is so close to the end of the season, and a lot of pressure filled games will be coming up. What Manuel will probably do, and what he says he is going to do is continue to ride Lidge out until the end, hoping to have another happy ending to the season like last year.

Let's just hope this doesn't turn into another Mitch Williams incident.

Speaking of Mitch Williams, as if I wasn't mad enough after watching Lidge blow the game, I have to watch Phillies Post Game Live, and listen to Mitch Williams of all people let us all know what Lidge is doing wrong, and what he can do to correct that. Yeah, Mitch is exactly who I want to hear from in this situation... go back to the MLB Network.


Eagles Should Use Vick a Lot Thursday

Mike Vick will make his Eagles debut this Thursday in the Eagles 3rd preseason game. According to Andy Reid, Vick will play and mix in along with the first team, which is supposed to play roughly the first three quarters.

The Eagles would be smart to use Vick in multiple situations. It is uncertain as to whether or not Vick will play in the 4th preseason game or not. He does need to get in the work, but the starters, and important players usually do not play in the 4th preseason game. I'm not sure if Vick falls into that category or not, so I have no clue whether he will be playing in the 4th preseason game. If he isn't, this game on Thursday will obviously be the only game action he sees before the regular season.

I think that the Eagles should use Vick with the 1st team as much as possible, in as many different situations. During the regular season, you want the opposing teams defensive coordinator to have to worry about Vick throughout the whole week when they are game planning for the Eagles offense. No matter how much you actually use Vick in the regular season, or where he lines up is irrelevant. You still want the opposing defensive coordinator to think that Vick is going to play, and spend time worrying about how they will stop Vick. No matter where Vick lines up, he is dangerous. You want to show this off in the preseason game. You want to show how quick and dangerous and athletic Vick still is. You want him to line up in the slot, out wide, in the backfield, at quarterback, in the shotgun, in the wildcat. If the Eagles show this on Thursday, the opposing teams during the regular season then have to prepare for Vick to be anywhere and everywhere on the field. And when you get Vick into the open field, he can be very dangerous.

The more time an opposing team worries about Vick, the less time they worry about the more important weapons who will be playing more - McNabb, Westbrook, Jackson, and McCoy. The Eagles should show Vick in multiple situations this Thursday, because even if they don't give him the ball, you still have to worry about where he will be at all times.


Time To Worry About the O-Line?

I’ve tried to not worry, and I’ve tried to hold it in, but it is official - I am worried about the Eagles offensive line. With only 1 (Jamaal Jackson) starter on the offensive line healthy enough to make the trip to Indianapolis for the 2nd preseason game this week, I am starting to get more and more concerned as the season gets closer. I understand that teams will hold a player out of a preseason game with a hang nail, but still…. I am worrying.

I hope that my worrying is over nothing, but it seems less likely every day that our revamped offensive line will all be starting the season together. This will be a problem, as the Eagles spend a lot of money and draft picks on their offensive line. Let’s take a look at all the different players on the offensive line, and what they are out injured with.

Starting at left tackle this season, replacing Tra Thomas will be Jason Peters. Peters was paid a lot of money after being acquired in a trade before the draft. He looked horrible in the first preseason game, was having trouble getting the snap count down, and now is out injured with a strained quad. Peters will be replaced by King Dunlap, who is a monster (even by offensive lineman standards).

At left guard this season is Todd Herremans, who has been a starter in the offense for a few years now. It was initially reported that Herremans had a bruised ankle, but now it is listed as a stress condition in his foot. I can’t imagine that is a good thing for a guy that size, especially when offensive lineman tend to take longer to heal when things go wrong with their legs or feet. Herremans will be replaced by Max Jean-Gilles, who has seen playing time with this team before.

At right guard, free agent acquisition Stacy Andrews is slated to be the starter. When the Eagles signed Andrews, he was coming on surgery, and they knew it would take some time to get him on the field. Well, supposedly he is healing just fine, but he has been on and off the field. He doesn’t have any specific injury besides simply healing from knee surgery. Andrews will be replaced by Nick Cole, who started most of last season in place off Shawn Andrews.

Speaking of Shawn Andrews….. the oft injured now starting right tackle is injured with back spasms. Andrews had back surgery during last season, and apparently re-injured the back while running at some point. I have no clue what to make of Andrews, his desire to play, or when he will be back. Andrews will be replaced by Winston Justice. If it turns out Andrews can’t go this season, the Eagles may consider reaching out to Jon Runyan, if it turns out he is able to play this season.

So what does this all mean? Besides Donovan McNabb having to run for his life all night against the Colts Thursday night, hopefully nothing. Hopefully this is all just regular before season injuries and rest, and the starting unit will all be healthy, available, and productive week 1 of the season. There is a big difference between healthy and productive. We need our offensive line to be both this year. If this unit is all together, and productive, it has the ability to be very dangerous, and one of the best units in the game. Let’s hope this is the case, and my worrying is for nothing.


Shawn Andrews to See Back Specialist

Shawn Andrews was not at practice today. He wasn't even in the area to discuss his injury as he did over the weekend... sort of. Andrews spoke to the media yesterday, and said that it is easy to people to criticize him without being in his shoes, and that he is content with where he is at.

Interesting. Well today, we learned that Shawn Andrews flew out to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Robert Watkins, the doctor who performed back surgery on Andrews last year. What this means remains to be seen, but it is clearly not a good thing.

The banged up offensive line looked poor in the first preseason game. In my opinion, it is officially time to start worrying about the offensive line. The Eagles spent a lot of money to bring in guys to make sure that this unit remained one of the best in the NFL after losing Tra Thomas and John Runyan. Jason Peters can't stay on the field, Todd Herramans in out for the entire preseason, Shawn Andrews hasn't put on pads yet, and Stacy Andrews has a banged up knee, and seems to be in and out of practice each day.

If Shawn Andrews if out for an extended period of time, Stacy could slide back to right tackle, and Nick Cole, or Max Jean-Gilles could play guard. If Stacy remains at guard, Herramans, if he is healthy, could play left tackle, or Winston Justice, who got the start in the first preseason game, could as well. Who knows, maybe we will see John Runyan at some point.

Vick's Number & NFL Rules

We took the time the other day to go through some of the ways that the Eagles could use Vick. Well there are some additional issues to look at before we even know how Vick will be used. Michael Vick is listed as #7 on the Eagles roster, the number he has always been. According the NFL rules, a #7 on the roster can only be listed as a quarterback, punter, or kicker.

Okay, that's fine, Michael Vick will be listed as a quarterback, which is what he has always been. However, according to Andy Reid, both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb are ahead of Vick on the quarterback depth chart. My first mistake might be believe anything that comes out of Reid's mouth, but if you do believe this, then Michael Vick is 3rd on the quarterback depth chart. This creates a problem with the NFL rules also. Each team needs to list their #1, #2, and #3 quarterback going into each week's game. If a team's listed #3 quarterback enters any game, the #1 and #2 quarterbacks can no longer play in that game.

So, if the Eagles plan on moving Vick around and using him in a variety of ways, which I would like to see them do, and which makes the most sense to me, then he would have to be listed as the #2 quarterback going into each game. I am fine with this, mostly because I want to see Vick in this offense a good amount this year, and moving around the formation, lining up at WR, RB, and QB, and in the wildcat. If you plan on using Vick this way though, Kolb will essentially not get any time this season, barring an injury to McNabb.

We are still very early into the Michael Vick tenure with the Eagles, so we will find out how this plays out as we go on.


How Will Vick Be Used?

So the Eagles signed Michael Vick. Everyone wants to find out if he has changed, if he feels remorse, and what he will do going forward. While all of that is important, we are at the point where Vick is going to say all the right things no matter what, and we aren't going to get much information out of him in regard to that.

What I am interested in however is how the Eagles are going to use Vick on the field to help this team with a Super Bowl. Let's take a look at some of the possible ways the Eagles could use Vick.

The Eagles can use Vick as a quarterback. This seems to make the most sense, as Michael Vick actually is a quarterback, and has always been a quarterback. However, this actually doesn't make much sense to me. The Eagles quarterback is Donovan McNabb, whether certain McNabb haters want to admit that or not. Not only is McNabb a better quarterback than Vick on Vick's best day, but he was also given a large monetary raise this offseason. I don't think the Eagles would do that, and then bench McNabb for Vick the first time McNabb struggles. There is also no indication that Kevin Kolb isn't still the quarterback the Eagles see will take over for McNabb when McNabb is no longer an Eagle. Essentially, Vick could be one of the backup quarterbacks, and come in for a few plays to take some snaps, and shake things up. I don't feel like this really utilizes his talent however, and I don't think the Eagles signed Vick simply to sit on the bench as a backup quarterback all season.

I believe that Vick makes the most sense in the slot, or running the wildcat offense. Let's be honest - it's not really that hard to play wide receiver. You have to be fast, you have to be athletic. Vick is both. I feel like Vick could definitely be effective running some routes from the wide receiver position. You can also line Vick up as the quarterback in the wildcat offense. Vick can take off running, or he can pass the ball from this position. Basically, I feel like you can move Vick around in different areas of the offense, and he can help the team. Bottom line, if you get Michael Vick the ball in open space, he is dangerous. We haven't seen what he can do on the field in a while, but I would assume he is still fast, and athletic. Even though it is way too early to speculate how they will use Vick, I would guess that we will see Vick on the field for around 15 offensive plays a game.

Vick is about the take part in his first practice today, so as we see him practicing more and more, we should get a better idea of how the Eagles and Andy Reid plan on using Vick on offense.


Eagles-Patriots Recap

Just wanted to say a few things about the Eagles first preseason game last night, a 27-25 loss to the Patriots. LeSean McCoy is the real deal. Many people are finding this out now, and more and more people are really starting to like McCoy a lot, and talk about how good he looks now. Well I have had the privilege of already knowing this for years, watching basically every game Shady played at for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Kotite's Corner has been hyping McCoy since our inception. In fact one of our first posts was about how much of a beast McCoy was, and he was still at Pitt at this time. McCoy looked comfortable in the offense, ran the ball well, and caught a nice screen pass. Other than McCoy, I thought most of the first team offense did well. They moved the ball effectively for the most part. McNabb, besides a few poor throws played well. The receivers made plays for him.

The offensive line was not impressive in my opinion. Jason Peters was not good at all, and McNabb was under way too much pressure on a few plays. The offensive line run blocked well, and opened holes for McCoy, but really struggled in the pass blocking game. We know that most of the starting offensive line did not play, so hopefully it will only improve.

Despite the Eagles giving up a lot of points, the defense did not play poorly. The Patriots one touchdown came on a punt return, and another one was the result of a 40 yard pass interference call on Asante Samuel on Randy Moss. The defense can get better, but I am not concerned about how they looked.

Vick Press Conference

Just watched the Michael Vick press conference. Nothing interesting or new really came out of it, besides Jeffrey Lurie spending 15 minutes ripping into Vick and his actions basically. Andy Reid spoke for a minute, and said what you would expect. He then turned it over to Tony Dungy, who spoke a little longer, and talked about how he was happy that Vick is getting a 2nd chance. Vick then spoke, and spoke well, and expressed remorse for his past actions, and thanked a lot of people who helped make this comeback possible. Vick then answered a lot of questions, basically about what he will do with the community going forward, and all that good stuff. Lurie then spoke about 15 minutes later, and made it fairly clear that he really was not in favor of this move to begin with, and basically had to be talked into it by Andy Reid, Tony Dungy, and Roger Goodell.

To be honest, all the off the field stuff is not very interesting anymore. Whether he believes it or not, and I think he does, Vick is saying all the right things, and will continue to do so. What I am interested in is how the Eagles are going to utilize Vick on the football field. I can't imagine they are bringing him in to run 2 plays a game in the shotgun, and maybe take off running. Vick is a very impressive talent when he is running with the football, and when he gets out in the open field. The Eagles obviously know this, and should be able to use Vick is a bunch of different situations. The Eagles have some very impressive athletes on the offensive side of the ball this season, and it will be interesting to see how they are used, especially Vick.


Michael Vick an Eagle

Cliff Lee. Pedro Martinez. Chris Pronger. And now.... Michael Vick. Holy shit!!! The Eagles really signed Michael Vick. In one of the most shocking Philadelphia sports stories in a while, the Eagles signed Michael Vick, who hasn't played a game since 2006. A lot of people throw out the saying "I can't believe it." I literally couldn't believe that this was true when I got 500 text messages and 100 calls at the same time all about Vick. This is an absolute bombshell and a shocker.

Vick will be paid $1.6 million this season, with a chance to make up to $5.6 million next season, with a club option. Vick and McNabb are good friends, and McNabb has fully supported the idea of bringing Vick in. Clearly Donovan McNabb is a the starting quarterback, so it will be very interesting how the Eagles use Vick to help the team. Maybe put him in the slot, and run some routes with him. Maybe run some wildcat formation plays with him. Clearly no one supports what Michael Vick did with the dog fighting, and you could easily argue that Michael Vick is not a very good or true quarterback, but he is a flat out unreal athlete. Assuming Vick isn't going to play quarterback, barring a McNabb injury or a trick play, Vick can be very effective when you get him out in the open field with the ball.

The Eagles now have a lot of unique weapons on offense. LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson, and Michael Vick are all extremely athletic and you can do a lot with all of these players. That doesn't even include McNabb who is still one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the league. It will be very interesting to see how the Eagles plan to use Vick, and get him on the field, and use him as another weapon on offense.
Plenty more will come on this story as it develops, and we see how the Eagles plan on using Michael Vick on offense. The Eagles will hold a press conference tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. announcing the signing.

Successful Debut for Pedro

Pedro Martinez looked good in his first professional outing in almost a year Wednesday night, and picked up his first major league victory since August 31, 2008. Martinez went 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, and 3 earned runs, struck out 5, and walked 3. He threw 99 pitches, and said he felt good after the game. Martinez threw his fastball in the upper 80s, low 90s, and even hit 93 on the radar gun. He looked comfortable on the mound, and commanded his breaking pitches well. The Cubs were not hitting his off-speed pitches at all, and Pedro was throwing them for strikes, which is a good sign. Pedro should only improve from this point on, as his arm stretches out, and he gets more comfortable with the Phillies, and more comfortable throwing to Ruiz.

As well as Pedro pitched, the offense made it very easy for him in his debut. The Phillies smashed former Notre Dame wide receiver, Jeff Samardzija, for 12 runs in the first 4 innings alone. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Raul Ibanez all homered, and every starter had at least 1 hit, including 3 hits from Utley. The Phillies had 3 home runs, 2 triples, one from Howard, and 3 doubles last night. Not only was it a successful debut for Pedro’s first start, it is a very good sign to see the offense finally start to hit. This could mean good things for the offense going forward. I should also mention that Chan Ho Park has been unhittable in the bullpen since he has been there, and that continued last night. It’s amazing how comfortable Chan Ho looks coming out of the pen, as opposed to earlier in the season when he struggled as a starter.

There was an incident in the 5th inning, on a deep sacrifice fly to center, just as Victorino was about to catch the ball, he was doused with a beer thrown from the bleachers. In my opinion, Victorino should have thrown the ball at the punk who did that, but that wouldn’t have solved anything. Not much has been made of this, however, if it were a Phillies fan who did this, it would be getting national attention on how horrible the Philadelphia fans are. But when it is another city’s team, it’s not that big a deal, yet people still bring up things that happened involving us Philly fans from decades past. And yes…. I cheered when Michael Irvin was on the ground injured.


What To Do With Brad Lidge

Brad Lidge has blown another save tonight, less than an hour ago. In fact, the Phillies game is still going on, but the outcome of the game has nothing to do with Brad Lidge, and his 7.29 ERA. I believe it is officially time to start seriously considering other options at the closer spot for the rest of the season. Lidge just flat out is not getting it done. He walks way too many batters, allows the first runner to get on way too many times, can't hold any runners on any base, and gives up too many bombs.

Look, we all love Brad Lidge. The same way we all love Jamie Moyer, and want to root for both of them. But, the same way we couldn't keep showing loyalty to Moyer, we might have to take Lidge out of the closer spot. The Phillies are officially in a playoff race right now, and we need to put the best lineup/pitching staff out there that gives us the best chance to win games. Moyer in the starting rotation was not giving us the best chance to win games, and let's be honest - keeping Brad Lidge as the closer is not giving the Phillies the best chance to win games right now. Also, come the end of the season, and into the playoffs, the Phillies are going to be in many close games, and they are going to need to win those close games in which they have small leads going into the 9th.

There are a few problems with this though. You can't move Brad Lidge anywhere, and he is a straight up closer, and would not really be effective too many other spots coming out of the bullpen. Also, even though you do have other pitchers who have closed before, none have done it consistently. Ryan Madson closed this year when Lidge went on the DL. A few times out, Madson looked unhittable, and then a few times out, he blew a couple saves. J.C. Romero has the stuff to do it, but does not throw enough strikes. Sadly, he still throws more strikes than Lidge does right now. The wild card option in all of this is Brett Myers. Myers is coming back to the bullpen for the end of the season, and into the playoffs. Myers closed for the Phillies two seasons ago, and closed very effectively. We all loved that fire that Myers brought to the closer spot.

After tonight, this is something that seriously needs to be considered if the Phillies want to stop being loyal, and start closing out games.


Thank You, Jamie Moyer

Instead of taking the time to rip Jamie Moyer, which I could do, or talk about how poorly he has been this season, which he has, I will instead extend a thank you to Jamie Moyer for his service these past 4 seasons. Moyer was just sent to the pen to make room for Pedro Martinez to make his first start as a Phillie. Moyer joined the team after the trade deadline in 2006. In both 2007, and 2008, Jamie Moyer pitched the NL East clinching game to get the Phillies into the playoffs. Moyer led the Phillies in wins last season, and had a 3.71 ERA. Also, even though he struggled in the playoffs last season, he did pitch well in Game 3 of the World Series, which turned out to be a very crucial game of the series. Moyer took the mound after the Phillies won the World Series, and he deserved it. He was born and raised in this area, and understands us Philadelphia fans. He is a likeable guy, who everyone wants to root for.

Moyer may have started his last game as a Phillie. It all depends on how Martinez and possibly Happ pitch down the stretch this season to see if Moyer can break back into the starting rotation. Also, Moyer is signed through 2010, so he very well could start next season in the starting rotation. Right now, I'm pretty sure I don't want to see Moyer make another start for the Phillies ever again. The Phillies need to do what is best for the team, and what is best to get back to the World Series this season, and their plans to do that do not include Jamie Moyer at this moment. Moyer has been bad, but instead of rip the guy, like I have been doing at my television every Moyer start recently, I figured I would celebrate what he has done here in Philadelphia, especially if he never makes a start again.

Eagles Coach Becomes Player

With Kevin Kolb going down today with a sprained MCL, the Eagles need to bring in a quarterback to take some playing time in their first preseason game Friday night. Kolb's injury is not too serious. He is out for the Thursday game, and then will be day to day afterwards. This opens the door for...... you guessed it, Eagles coaching intern, Matt Nagy. Nagy has been working this training camp as a quarterback coaching intern, which basically means he has been an extra arm throwing passes. Nagy spent six seasons in the Arena Football League, and played in college at Delaware. Who knows, if Nagy plays well, all the stupid Eagles fans out there may want him to start over McNabb this season.


Eagles Camp Battles

As training camp comes into full swing, let's take a look at some of the position battles going on at Eagles training camp.

Middle Linebacker
It is a shame that this has become a battle for the starter, as it wasn't a week ago when Stewart Bradley was healthy. Bradley is one of the best young linebackers in the league, and was probably going to make the pro bowl this season. Not only that, he was definitely one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball, which is especially important now without Brian Dawkins, or Jim Johnson around.

Anyways, the middle linebacker battle seems to be between 2nd year player Joe Mays, Omar Gaither, and newly acquired Matt Wilhelm, who spent last season with the Chargers. Joe Mays appears to have the upper hand, as he has been taking all the reps at starting middle linebacker since Bradley got injured. Gaither has played middle linebacker for the Eagles in the past, and did a decent job there. Wilhelm also has plenty of experience, but was recently released by the Chargers. I personally am a big Joe Mays fan. The guy looks like a beast when you watch him play. He is a little undersized, but really attacks the ball and runs downhill. Mays should do a good job against the run, but needs to improve his play against the pass.

Free Safety
With Brian Dawkins no longer on the team, this position is almost impossible to fill, not only on the field, but also from a leadership standpoint. This battle appears to be very close, as is between Quintin Demps and Sean Jones. Demps started out taking all the first team reps, but Jones has been taking some of that action lately. Demps flat out was not good in the last game he played as an Eagle against the Cardinals. He got burned by Larry Fitzgerald on a long touchdown pass, and failed to wrap up Tim Hightower down at the goal line, which could have kept Hightower out of the end zone. The coaching staff has been talking about how good Demps looks, and I'm hoping he has improved. However, we give the nod at starting free safety to Sean Jones. Jones, the former starter with the Cleveland Browns has the experience, and has very good size, while still being fast. Jones also is a guy who picks off a lot of passes, something the Eagles need from their secondary.

Left Defensive End
The starting left defensive end battle includes in incumbent starter, Juqua Parker, along with Victor Abiamiri, and Chris Clemons. All three of these players contributed effectively last season, and should all see time this season. There isn't much to say about this position battle, especially since Abiamiri has been injured throughout camp. Parker has been an effective starter, but seems to wear down easily every season. Parker goes games without making a play. I was hoping that Abiamiri would come in and win the job, as there is still a lot of hype around Abiamiri. The guy is a monster out there, and can stop the run as well as get to the quarterback.

Third Running Back
The 3rd running back might not be all that important, as the Eagles rarely use two running backs during a game. This battle appears to be between Lorenzo Booker, Eldra Buckley, and Kyle Eckel. I believe that the Eagles are only going to keep 4 running backs/fullbacks. Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, and Leonard Weaver are locks. These three will see a lot of time during the regular season. Booker, and Eckel both saw time with the Eagles last season. From what I have heard and seen, neither Booker, nor Eckel have had a great camp thus far, while Buckley has been impressive. In my opinion, I like Lorenzo Booker, but he brings nothing to the team that you don't already have in Westbrook and McCoy. Booker is a smaller running back, and he is really small. He doesn't have the strength to break tackles, or pick up blitzes consistently. I thought Kyle Eckel looked very good when he played last year for the Eagles, and would have no problem with him making the team as the 3rd running back. I also am liking what I see out of Buckley, who spent last season on the Chargers practice squad. Buckley is a bigger back who runs real hard.

There is still a long way to go in training camp, and still all four preseason games to play, so these position battles should start shaping out as we get closer to the regular season.



As Pedro Martinez continues his personal tour around the Phillies minor league system, the question still remains: Where does baseball’s winningest pitcher fit in with the big club when he’s ready?
Most experts believe that JA Happ would be relegated to the bullpen and Martinez would take his spot every fifth day. But here’s the problem with that idea: It doesn’t make the Phillies a better team. Happ may never win any Cy Young Awards or put up the career numbers that Martinez has. But in 2009, Happ definitely gives the Phillies a better chance to win. Does that mean Martinez should head to the bullpen? Not exactly.
Martinez should still take the ball on a regular basis. But its not Happ’s spot that he should be taking, but rather the spot of Jamie Moyer. Sure the ageless wonder leads the Phils with 10 wins, but he 5.55 ERA is almost a run higher than any of the other four. That is what happens when the team scores in droves when he takes the hill. It’s the same reason Rodrigo Lopez picked 3 wins in his first 4 starts. Even I could notch a few wins if I was provided as much run support as Moyer.
Moyer is the only hurler in the rotation that scares the entire fan base when he takes the hill. If the umpire doesn’t give him the corners, then open up another beer because its gonna be a long night. Not to discredit everything the Souderton product has accomplished over his career—as I am a fan from nearby North Penn myself—but right now, he is the weakest link in the chain.
But Moyer doesn’t exactly fit in the bullpen, you say? I know. That’s why the Phillies should cut ties with him altogether. He had a nice run and from everything I know, he’s one hell of a guy. But he doesn’t figure to get a start in the postseason, so let’s just cut it off now.
Is Pedro better than Moyer? That question is yet to be answered. Is Pedro better than Happ? That answer is clear: no. Not in 2009, anyway.