Here is a rundown of the rest of the Eagles picks, highlighted by the 'Donovan McNabb pick,' in early 2nd rounder Nate Allen, safety, from South Florida.
The Brandon Graham pick has been praised by some of the so-called experts in Jon Gruden, and Todd McShay. Graham appears to be a DE who can use his speed to beat offensive lineman to the outside, but also has a jab step and is able to fake like he is going outside, and cut back inside on an offensive tackle. Being as small as he is however, you have to imagine he will get pushed around at times by some of the bigger, dominant offensive tackles.
The Flyers won yesterday in Game 4 of the first round series to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in front of the home crowd at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers outplayed the Devils in the past 2 games, and I think the home crowd played a factor in that.
The Flyers were down after the first period 1-0 on a Kovalchuk goal scored on a 5 on 3 power play. Boucher would not allow another goal, and the Flyers went on to score 4, winning 4-1, and seeing players such as Jeff Carter and Danny Briere break out of their slumps.
Jeff Carter got the Flyers going on the power play in the 2nd period wristing a shot past Brodeur. The assist went to Danny Briere. Later in the period, Briere skated in the Devils zone, and ripped a slap shot in the upper corner beating Brodeur and giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. The Flyers got 3rd period goals from goal scoring machine Daniel Carcillo, and another power play tally from Jeff Carter gave the Flyers a 4-1 lead and victory.
Boucher continued to play strong in between the pipes stopping 30 of the Devils 31 shots. The defense has played well for the most part in front of him. Boucher has only allowed 9 goals in the 4 games so far this series. The Devils only goal this game as I said came on a 5 on 3 power play. When the action has been 5 on 5, the Flyers have had control of the last 2 games. Their Flyers have been forechecking relentlessly, and making the Devils defenseman give up pucks, and not enabling the Devils to move easily through the neutral zone. The strong forechecking is a stable of coach Peter Laviolette’s system, which the Flyers seem to be buying into.
The work is not over yet, the Flyers cannot be happy by a strong postseason performance thus far, they need to put the Devils away. It was 10 years ago with Boucher in net that the Flyers had a 3-1 series lead on the Devils, on their way to the Stanley Cup, only to see the Devils win 3 straight games and eliminate the Flyers. Obviously that is in the past, but it can still happen, especially with 2 of the final 3 games of the series in New Jersey. You don’t want to have to go to New Jersey to win a game 7. The Flyers will go to New Jersey for Game 5 Thursday night, and will hopefully be travelling back to Philadelphia without the Devils coming as well. The Flyers will have to win Game 5 however without Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne, both of whom have injured feet. Ville Leino, and David Laliberte will replace them in the lineup.
The NFL released the much anticipated schedules of all 32 teams yesterday. It is hard to break down the Eagles schedule at this point, as there are a lot of question marks and new faces going into next season.
Based on 2009 records, the Eagles will have the 9th toughest 2010 schedule. Those projections never seem to hold up, so it doesn’t mean too much. The schedule to me seems like it is a little easier in the first half, and gets harder in the 2nd half of the season – but I feel like I always think that. The Eagles season is basically split into 2, as they get a bye in Week 8. Hopefully Kevin Kolb can feel comfortable playing against a weaker schedule in the first half of the season.
The Eagles open the season on September 12, at home against the Packers at 4:15. The Packers do present a very good defense that Kolb will have to face in Week 1 right off the bat. The Donovan McNabb led Redskins come to town in Week 4 for another late afternoon nationally televised kickoff. The first night game is in Week 5 at San Francisco on Sunday night. The Eagles have 3 Sunday night games, 1 Monday night game, and a Thursday night game, and close the season at home against the Cowboys.
The full schedule is below—
Week 1 - Sun. Sept. 12 – Eagles vs. Green Bay – 4:15 PM
Week 2 - Sun. Sept. 19 – Eagles at Lions – 1:00 PM
Week 3 - Sun. Sept. 26 – Eagles at Jaguars – 4:05 PM
Week 4 - Sun. Oct. 3 – Eagles vs. Redskins – 4:15 PM
Week 5 - Sun. Oct. 10 – Eagles at 49ers – 8:20 PM
Week 6 - Sun. Oct. 17 – Eagles vs. Falcons – 1:00 PM
Week 7 - Sun. Oct. 24 – Eagles at Titans – 1:00 PM
Week 8 – BYE WEEK
Week 9 – Sun. Nov. 7 – Eagles vs. Colts – 4:15 PM
Week 10 – Mon. Nov. 15 – Eagles at Redskins – 8:30 PM
Week 11 – Sun. Nov. 21 – Eagles vs. Giants – 8:20 PM
Week 12 – Sun. Nov. 28 – Eagles at Bears – 1:00 PM
Week 13 – Thur. Dec. 2 – Eagles vs. Texans – 8:20 PM
Week 14 – Sun. Dec. 12 – Eagles at Cowboys – 8:20 PM
Week 15 – Sun. Dec. 19 – Eagles at Giants – 1:00 PM
Week 16 – Sun. Dec. 26 – Eagles vs. Vikings – 1:00 PM
Week 17 – Sun. Jan. 2 – Eagles vs. Cowboys – 1:00 PM
In the 3rd period, the Flyers actually appeared to control most of the action, and definitely had their chances to take the lead and take a 2-0 series lead, but Martin Brodeur shut the Flyers down. The Flyers finally outshot the Devils in the 3rd period, which is the first period they have done so in the first 2 games of the series. However, it was the Devils who got on the board, with ex-Flyer Dainius Zubrus scoring with about 4 minutes left. The Devils would add an empty net goal, and thus go on to tie the series up at 1.
The Flyers have too many supposed "stars" on their team who either underachieve like crazy or just plain aren't star players. Jeff Carter is coming back from an injury, but he still needs to step it up in the playoffs. Carter had his chances this game, but came up small. Carter was the Flyers leading point getter most of the season, and needs to stop playing soft in big games. Danny Briere is basically a joke on the ice, and is stealing money from the Flyers. He tries out there, but just isn't good enough or big enough to get it done anymore. Also, Scott Hartnell is flat out not a very good player. He's a good guy to have on your team, and a guy you definitely root for, but he doesn't play smart, and doesn't bring much else to the table unless he is mixing it up with an opponent. He definitely should not be in the game at the end when you need a goal, because he is not very good. I honestly think they should healthy scratch Hartnell, and play Ville Leino next game.
Either way, The Flyers need to get a jolt on energy in the next 2 home games, and at worst take 1 of them. The Flyers should play better being at home, they do seem to usually respond to the great home crowds. Game 3 is Sunday at 6.
Cole Hamels is the single most important piece of the puzzle to the Phillies season. He needs to get his head out of his ass and figure his stuff out to become the #2 starter on the team. I think we are past the point where we should expect to see the Hamels from 2008, but I think we all figured he would be better than 2009. Again, it is very early, but Hamels first two starts have been bad. He gets lazy to certain batters, he can’t punch batters out the way he used to be able to, and he still gives up a couple bombs each game, you just have to hope they are solo HR’s. The offense is really good, and Roy Halladay is really good, and the rest of the pitching is average. Since Cliff Lee is not on the team, Hamels needs to be a solid #2 starter if we want to complete to win a World Series.
Speaking of Cliff Lee, He should still be on the team. There is not a grammatical mistake in the previous sentence, Cliff Lee is so much the man and has earned the respect to be referred to as He. Yes, I am going to complain about this all season, but Cliff Lee looks a lot better as the #2 starter than Cole Hamels, and J.A. Happ looks a lot better as the #5 starter than Jaime Moyer/Kyle Kendrick. It was a terrible move by Amaro, and I’m not sure the Phillies can win it all without Lee and Hamels pitching like a chump. Again, we had Lee locked up for this season at $9 mil, which is an absolute steal, and we traded him. Stupid move, Amaro.
Speaking of Jaime Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, they both are not very good pitchers. They can go through stretches where they will get the job done, but I don’t have confidence in either in a big game. Moyer is a guy who everyone roots for, and is a local Philly guy, and definitely has a Philly attitude. The problem is more that Amaro gave Moyer a 2 year deal in the 2008 World Series, when he should have given him a 1 year deal, or let him walk. I will always like Moyer for being a big part of the 2008 season, and winning a World Series in Philly, but I’m sick of watching him throw his slow pitch softball pitches that get raked by right handed hitters. If an umpire isn’t giving him the calls on the corners, he is not effective. As much as I just ripped Moyer, I think Kyle Kendrick is worse. Kyle Kendrick is not a major league pitcher in my opinion; he could maybe be a long reliever type who comes out of the bullpen when the game isn’t very close. Bottom line, Joe Blanton can’t come back soon enough. Unfortunately, we have to rely a lot on Moyer or Kendrick as the 5th starter this season, and I’m not sure either can get the job done.
The offense has looked very good, which is a good sign in April, but they have really only faced 1 good pitcher (Roy Oswalt), who they struggled against. There really isn’t much to say about the offense. The above statement was not a criticism of the offense, just something to keep an eye on. The Phillies lead MLB in almost every offensive category so far this season, and will definitely live near the top all season. But this team will also go through offensive slumps throughout the year, especially when they start facing good pitchers, and pitchers from the division. Either way, it is still a good sign to be getting off to a hot start with the offense, because the Phillies usually start playing real well offensively in the middle of the season.
The bullpen wasn’t really tested this season until the past couple days, and has done a very good job overall when they have been in there, besides the game today. The only 2 losses for the Phillies have charged to Nelson Figueroa and Danys Baez, but neither was given much support by the starting pitcher in the particular game. Figueroa may as well warm up every time Kendrick takes the mound as he will probably be in the game at some point. Madson has looked good, again except for today, and should be even better when he settles into that 8th inning role he is so fond of. Contreras, Durbin, and Herndon have also looked good when they have taken the mound. I really hope that J.C. Romero comes back healthy, because he is the main lefty out of the bullpen, and can be dominant when he is healthy. Romero can also come in the game in the 6th inning if need be, or the 8th inning to get out tough leftys. Brad Lidge, however, I am concerned about. Lidge will have me nervous all season, as even if he starts out well when he comes back from injury, I think he might wear down by the end of the year. We really need to Lidge to be better than last year obviously, and I don’t think he will be. I just have a bad feeling that Lidge will be injury plagued all season, and be very inconsistent when he is healthy.
The NFL Draft is quickly approaching… the first round will take place in prime time this year, April 22nd. The Eagles currently hold the 24th overall pick in the first round. Unfortunately, they enter this offseason with more needs than I can remember in a while, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The Eagles ended last season with their defense as bad as I can remember it in a while. It is only fair that you give Sean McDermott some time to fully take over the defense and turn it back into the elite defense it was under the late, great Jim Johnson. The Eagles appear to be trying to get younger on defense, getting rid of veteran fan favorite Sheldon Brown, when they don’t really have an alternative who is on the same level as Brown right now.
The Eagles have holes in basically every area of the defense. The Eagles need a safety, as Macho Harris and Quintin Demps were not able to get the job done there last season. They also need a cornerback since the aforementioned Sheldon Brown is now a Cleveland Brown. Ellis Hobbs can play, but isn’t as good as Brown. The Eagles could also use some help at the linebacker position. Stewart Bradley will be back in the middle, but I’m not sure how confident we should feel in Akeem Jordan and Moses Fokou on the outsides. Up front, the Eagles also need some help. The tackles are solid, but can’t play entire games. Trevor Laws, former 2nd round draft pick couldn’t even get on the field last year. Trent Cole also has no help at the other end position, and the Eagles are going to have to sure the left end position up at some point soon. This is a lot of positions to address; too many to address in one offseason, which is why I don’t think the defense will be up to par next season.
On offense, the Eagles are pretty solid, and young at most positions. We will see this season what we have in Kevin Kolb. If Kolb is solid, the Eagles have a solid group of young skill position players in Kolb, Shady McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin to built off of for the next decade. Brent Celek has become a solid starting tight end in this league. The offensive line is the weak part of this offense. This is amazing considering the fact that genius Andy Reid spends so much time and money and picks to make sure the offensive line is solid. Shawn Andrews was cut, and Stacy Andrews was horrible and couldn’t get on the field last season. Jason Peters was average when he played, and when he was injured, Todd Herramans would play tackle, and looked terrible there. The rest of the line in Cole, Jean-Gilles, and Jackson played poorly in my opinion. McNabb was not protected well, and none of the running backs had much room to maneuver. The offensive line will need to improve this offseason for Kevin Kolb to feel comfortable behind them.
The Eagles will be on the clock shortly, and need to make something happen in the draft. Right now, this roster might not even be a playoff team right now, and they certainly are not ready to seriously contend. Andy Reid loves to brag about how awesome he is for having so many picks going into every draft... hopefully he uses them wisely.
2. Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
4. Washington Redskins - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
6. Seattle Seahawks - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
7. Cleveland Browns - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
8. Oakland Raiders - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
9. Buffalo Bills - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
11. Denver Broncos - Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
12. Miami Dolphins - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
13. San Francisco 49ers - Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
14. Seattle Seahawks - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
15. New York Giants - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
16. Tennessee Titans - Earl Thomas, S, Texas
17. San Francisco 49ers - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
19. Atlanta Falcons - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
20. Houston Texans - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Taylor Mays, S, USC
22. New England Patriots - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
23. Green Bay Packers - Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
24. Philadelphia Eagles - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
25. Baltimore Ravens - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
26. Arizona Cardinals - Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan
27. Dallas Cowboys - Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
28. San Diego Chargers - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
29. New York Jets - Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
30. Minnesota Vikings - Brian Price, DL, UCLA
31. Indianapolis Colts - Vladimir Ducasse, OT, UMass
32. New Orleans Saints - Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
The Eagles have made a huge trade today. And it doesn't involve Donovan McNabb, or any of the 50 QB's the Eagles have on the roster. I guess Andy Reid wants to hang onto the QB's as long as possible so he can continue to tell us all how amazing the Eagles are for having 3 quarterbacks that could start. But I digress...
We have lost one of the members of our Wolfpack today... and not because the Eagles no longer have Chris Gocong. The Eagles also traded Sheldon Brown to the Cleveland Browns, and in exchange receive the Browns 4th round pick and 5th round pick in this year's draft, and linebacker Alex Hall. The Browns picks that the Eagles receive are the 105th and 137th overall picks in the draft. Linebacker Alex Hall was a 7th round pick in 2008, and is a former Division 2 All-American at St. Augustine's. Not surprising that the Eagles wanted Hall, as Reid loves former Division 2 and Division 3 guys who dominate in college... yet they usually aren't very good in the pros. Reid goes after D-2 and D-3 guys almost as much as he goes after Mormons. The 4th round and 5th round picks are decent, but I don't have too much confidence that the Eagles will turn these into solid players, especially like Sheldon Brown was.
Chris Gocong was below average in my opinion, and was on the field way too much. He can't tackle, he can't cover. The only thing Gocong is supposed to be good at doing is rushing the passer from the outside. Unfortunately, even though this was the report on Gocong on draft day, the Eagles still picked him, and did not use him properly. So if Chris Gocong does have any skill, which I don't think he does, we wouldn't even know because he is not used to his strength. Gocong could end having success in a 3-4 defense where he can play the outside linebacker spot and rush the passer.
Sheldon Brown on the other hand is a great player, and has been so ever since the Eagles drafted him. Brown was one of the longest tenured Eagles, and was definitely a fan favorite. He is probably the hardest hitting cornerback in a league full of cornerbacks who don't even like contact, including the Eagles own Asante Samuel. Brown thrived with his physical play. Everyone remembers the famous Sheldon Brown hit on Reggie Bush on one of the first plays of the game to start a divisional playoff game. Sheldon Brown not ever being a pro-bowler so far in his NFL career is an absolute joke. Eagles fans know that Brown has been playing at a pro bowl level for a while now, and he does not get the national attention that he deserves. Brown epitomizes what Philadelphia loves in their athletes. He plays injured, he plays his hardest on every play, and one time, he came out with a Jason mask on. Even though Brown is getting older, and is probably past his prime, he is still very effective, and is better than Ellis Hobbs any day of the week. Brown will definitely be missed.
The trade overall is a bad one in my opinion. If the goal is to get rid of an older player in Brown, and an ineffective player in Gocong, then they accomplished that. But the trade makes the Eagles a much worse team. Andy Reid loves his late round draft picks, and loves to try to have the most picks of any team in the NFL every year. This doesn't seem to translate into solid draft picks, however. If the Eagles plan is to rebuild, they need to do it right - get rid of the older guys, which unfortunately includes McNabb, and spend the next year improving the defense, to hopefully go along with the young offensive playmakers this team has in a season or two.