Surprisingly... Flyers Will Play Bruins

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first round series, which means that the Flyers will face off against the Boston Bruins in the 2nd round. The Canadiens unexpectedly came back from 3 games to 1 down to the Capitals, and won the last three, two of which were in Washington.

With the Canadiens win, the #6, #7, and #8 seeds all advanced in the Eastern Conference. The only better seed to advance was #4 Pittsburgh. Since hockey re-seeds the teams in the 2nd round, the #7 seeded Flyers will play the #6 seeded Bruins. The Flyers will travel to Boston for Game 1 on Saturday at 12:30 pm.

I think this is very good news for the Flyers, as the Capitals are by far a better team than the Bruins. The Capitals and Bruins are almost complete opposites, as the Capitals had one of the best offenses the NHL has seen in quite some time, and the Bruins do not score many goals, but play very good defensively, and have one of the best young goalies in the NHL.

Even though the Capitals struggle defensively and in between the pipes, they are just too dangerous to want to face in a playoff series. The Capitals had the most points in the NHL by far, and scored the most goals by far. By playing the Bruins, the Flyers might even be the favorite, especially if Brian Boucher can keep playing the way he has been. The Flyers are the better offensive team in this series.

It won't be easy, since the Flyers will start the series without Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, and now Ian Laperriere. Laperriere has been declared out of the playoffs after visiting with neurosurgeon experts from the University of Pittsburgh. The Flyers will need to stay out of the penalty box against the Bruins. They did not do this against the Devils, and the penalty kill is one of the main reasons they Flyers advanced, and one of the main reasons the penalty kill was so effective was because of Laperriere. He will not be easily replaced on the penalty kill. Simon Gagne could return as early as Game 3.

If the Flyers want to win, they need to get continued good play from the leaders on the team Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, and Kimmo Timonen. Obviously, Boucher needs to continue to be solid in net. The Flyers will continue to need to get Claude Giroux, and Danny Briere to keep playing the way they did the last 2 games of the Devils series, especially without Carter and Gagne in the lineup. The Flyers went 2-1-1 against the Bruins this year, the 1 being an overtime loss in the New Years Classic at Fenway Park. Boucher played 1 of those games against the Bruins and picked up a 3-1 victory. As mentioned earlier, Game 1 will be Saturday at 12:30.


Phillies Re-Up Howard

The Phillies extended Ryan Howard's contract today, giving him 5 more years on top of his existing contract, and $125 million. The deal lasts from the years 2012 through 2016, with a club option for 2017.

When the deal kicks in, it will make Howard the highest paid player in Phillies history, and the 2nd highest paid player in baseball if you average out the years. Howard will make $20 million each in 2012 and 2013. He will then make $25 million in 2014, 2015, and 2016. There is a club option on Howard in 2017 at $23 million, and if they buy him out at that time, it will be for $10 million.

This is definitely the right move to do, if the Phillies let Ryan Howard play in the 2011 season and he even played above average, teams would be throwing a lot of money at him. This secures a guy who will bat in the middle of the lineup for years to come. Howard is also a good guy, and good team player, and a guy who seems like he will work hard after getting a big pay day, wanting to win for the fans and the city.

The bigger question is now what the Phillies plan on doing with Jayson Werth or Raul Ibanez. Amaro gave a terrible contract to Ibanez, who is off to a slow start this year. Not surprising, since Ruben Amaro made the worst trade Philadelphia has seen in quite some time. Anyways, this is probably Werth's last season as a Phillie, unless they did sign him to a long term deal, they would need to go way over payroll next season since Ibanez will still be getting paid. If the Phillies could keep Werth, and eventually let Dominic Brown replace Ibanez, that would be optimal.

The Phillies also could use Werth or Ibanez as a trading chip to acquire a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Obviously the Phillies would rather unload Ibanez, but probably won't be able to get much for him, especially if he still keeps playing the way he is. The Phillies, unfortunately, due to not having God, I mean Cliff Lee on the team, are in need of starting pitching. Ever starter except for Halladay has gotten off to a bad start. You know its not a good thing when I am looking forward to Moyer's next start.


Long Wait for Flyers

The Flyers played poorly toward the end of the season and ended up barely making the playoffs, on a penalty shot win in the last game of the regular season. This could be considered a high note entering the playoffs, and the Flyers kept that momentum going by beating the Devils soundly 4 games to 1, while winning 2 out of 3 in New Jersey.

The win against the Devils, despite the numerous injuries for the Flyers is continued momentum that you do not want to see slow down. However, as I mentioned, the Flyers are missing key players that could possibly be back at some point in these playoffs, if the Flyers keep winning, and the extra rest will do them good. Also, extra rest will do a guy like Ian Laperriere good who partially broke his orbital bone and required 70 stitches while taking a puck to the face to block a shot. I have to give mad props to Laperriere for doing whatever he can to help the team win, I will always like Laperriere because of that. It was very Aaron Roward-esche. Ian Laperriere, you are the man!

So, there are two schools of thought to the waiting in between games or playoff series. One thought is that you are on a hot streak, with momentum, and you want to keep that going, and want to play the next game right away. You don't want the Flyers to have time to think about the large situation they are in, or how they are probably playing a little over their heads, and that they will probably have to play the mighty Capitals this next series. You would rather have just kept the same schedule, and had maybe a game or two off, and jumped right into the next series. Unfortunately, proponents of this cannot be happy right now, as the Flyers were in first team in the entire playoffs to advance to the 2nd round, and the Capitals, the team who the Flyers will play if they win, have yet to even close out their series yet, and face a tough game 6 in Montreal tomorrow night.

The other school of thought is what is currently playing out. This is that it is always good to let your team rest up, especially into the playoffs, when the players have played an entire grueling hockey season. You get a chance to get some injuries rested up, and even the players who aren't injured have to be banged up, so you get a chance to recuperate, and start the next series fresh. Also, being the first team to advance also means that while the Flyers are recuperating, the Capitals are still playing and worrying about the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals have to travel to Montreal to play game 6 tomorrow night, and then face a possible game 7. This will increase their chances to get tired out, or more injuries.

Personally, I think most of the debate on whether it is better to have rested or play right away is all just more talking points while your team isn't playing. I don't think it much matters, as long as your team is better, and comes out playing well, they have a chance in any series. There shouldn't be any excuse either way.

Hopefully the 2nd school of thought works out in this case, and that the Flyers can jump right back into action having rested up and not miss a beat next series, no matter who they play. Also, whoever they do end up playing, probably the Capitals, will hopefully be a little slower and worn out from their longer first round series.


NFL Draft 2nd - 7th Round Picks

The draft continued into Friday night and basically all day Saturday, as the 2nd and 3rd rounds were on Friday night, and then the 4th through 7th rounds were Saturday.

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.

2nd round- Nate Allen, S, South Florida
3rd round- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
4th round- Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky
4th round- Keenan Clayton, LB, Oklahoma
4th round- Michael Kafka, QB, Northwestern
4th round- Clay Harbor, TE, Southwest Missouri State
5th round- Ricky Sapp, DE, Clemson
5th round- Riley Cooper, WR, Florida
6th round- Charles Scott, RB, LSU
7th round- Jamar Chaney, LB, Mississippi State
7th round- Jeffrey Owens, DT, Georgia
7th round- Kurt Coleman, S, Ohio State

Overall, I am not a huge fan of this draft for the Philadelphia Eagles. I am unsure of the Brandon Graham pick, when they still had Derrick Morgan and Earl Thomas on the board. I also personally would rather have Taylor Mays than Nate Allen. That's not to say that Graham and Allen are bad players or will be busts, they can be very effective.

I also don't see a need for all the defensive ends to be chosen. I also think that the Eagles really needed to take an offensive lineman fairly early. Even when the Eagles had their offensive line set for the next season, Andy Reid usually stick took a couple O lineman. Now, when we need offensive line help, especially on the interior, we don't take a single one.

Obviously, I am no draft expert, so I don't know much about most of these players, any of them could be busts, and any of them could be future pro-bowlers, but just looking at the draft as a whole, I can't say I am content with it.


NFL Draft Continues Tonight

The broken up NFL Draft resumes tonight at 6:00, with the 2nd and 3rd rounds to take place. The Eagles have 2 picks in the 2nd round, and due to the trade yesterday, 0 picks in the 3rd round. All of this could change, as the Eagles could try to make some moves to get into the 3rd round. If they don't make any moves today, the Eagles will welcome 2 more players to the nest to join Brandon Graham, the first round pick.

The Eagles are in a good spot with what is being referred to as the 'Donovan McNabb pick' which is the 37th overall, and 5th in the 2nd round. I have to imagine most teams like the new draft format, as it gives them an entire day and night to re-shuffle and take a look at their draft boards.

The Eagles still obviously have a lot of needs. I really think the Eagles need to take a safety or cornerback, probably with the 'Donovan McNabb pick.' Taylor Mays, the safety from USC, and Nate Allen, the safety from South Florida are both still on the board, and have to be high on the Eagles wish list. Mays is a guy who would have been a top 10 pick if he left after his junior year at USC, but struggled his senior year, which is why he is still on the board. And Ray Didinger said that the he would like to take Nate Allen, a safety from South Florida, so you know he has to be good. I've also been hearing that the Eagles have a lot of interest in Mississippi running back Dexter McCluster. McCluster is a very small back, who is really quick and elusive, but I'm not sure with his size if he is ever a #1 running back. However, with McCoy, I don't think the Eagles would draft him to be a #1 back. I think the Eagles think they can get McCluster probably in the 3rd round, but they don't have a pick there.

I really want the Eagles to conitnue to address defense, at least with the 37th pick. I still do think that they need a offensive lineman also. Unfortunately, the Eagles have a lot of needs actually. If I had my choice, I would like to have Taylor Mays with the 37th pick, and then possible look at taking a cornerback with the 2nd pick in the 2nd round.

Flyers Put Away Devils

The Flyers closed our their first round series with a pretty convincing series victory over the New Jersey Devils, who really seemed to have little interest in trying to get back into the series. The Flyers won 3-0 on the Devils home ice to eliminate the #2 seed. The Flyers went 9-2 against the Devils this season, including the playoffs.

If anything last night, the Devils had the puck in the Flyers zone more than the Flyers did in the Devils zone, but the Flyers converted their chances into goals, and the Devils did not. New Jersey went 0-8 on the power play, and I think the Flyers solid penalty killing was the main reason they won this series. This was perfectly exemplified last night when Ian Laperriere went down a blocked a slap shot with his face. It took about 60 or 70 stitches to close up a cut above Laperriere's eye.

With Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne out possibly for the rest of the playoffs, the Flyers needed some guys to step up and score some goals. Guys like Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell need to get going, and guys like Claude Giroux, and JVR, both of whom have played well, need to step up into an even bigger role. Danny Briere did his job, and played a great game. He got the Flyers on the board on the power play just over 3 minutes into the game. Two great passes, one from Richards to Giroux, and then from Giroux to Briere wide open in front of the net set up Briere's tally. Briere also saved a goal that appeared to be rolling into the Flyers net on a Devils power play, and Briere swatted the puck away just before it crossed the line. Giroux ended up scoring 2 goals in the 2nd period to put the game away. The Flyers just kind of sat back and didn't make any mistakes in the 3rd period, and won the game, and advanced to the 2nd round.

Unfortunately, the Flyers probably will have to face off against the best team in hockey in the regular season, the Washington Capitals, and Alexander Ovechkin. The Capitals have one of the most potent offenses the NHL has seen in a while, led by Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin. I hope that the Canadiens can win another game at least in that series to extend it and put some pressure on the Capitals. As good as the Capitals offense is, their defense and goaltending aren't great.

Either way, the Flyers played a great series, but need to step it up in the 2nd round if they want to beat whoever they end up playing. Boucher needs to continue his strong performance from this series to help this team advance through the playoffs.

Eagles Draft Brandon Graham

The Eagles made some noise in the first round of the NFL Draft last night by trading up to the #13 spot to select defensive end out of Michigan, Brandon Graham. By moving up to the #13 spot, the Eagles gave up their own first round pick, and also their 2 third round picks. They still have 2 second round picks for tonight.

Brandon Graham is one of those guys who has played both outside linebacker and defensive end, but projects as a DE for the Eagles. He is undersized as a defensive end, listed a little bit over 6'1" and 270 pounds. Graham describes himself as fast, relentless, and a guy with a high motor. I'm not sure if Graham will start right away, but he does project as a left defensive end, to go opposite Trent Cole. This is a position that we needed, as Trent Cole has really been the only effective defensive end during his time in Philly. Juqua Parker is effective in small doses, but is older now. Victor Abiamiri is always injured, and even when he isn't, has not been very effective. If Graham can be a solid player, he will be the long term starter at the left defensive end position.

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.

It is hard to say at this point whether the Eagles made the right move or not with Graham, but Reid and Roseman both wanted Graham, so at least they got the guy that they wanted.


Flyers Take Command of Series

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.

Eagles Schedule Released

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


Phillies Could Use Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee should be on the Phillies. I have a very bad feeling that this thought is going to be in my head all season and haunt many Phillies fans throughout the season, and into the playoffs.

The trade of Cliff Lee was one of the dumbest trades in Philadelphia sports history while I have been alive. Not only was it lopsided in that we got back a few crappy prospects, but Lee on the Phillies makes the Phillies the favorite to win the World Series. Who knows though? Maybe the Phillies will go on to win the World Series this year, and Jaime Moyer, and Kyle Kendrick will play big roles in that.

There are always trades that occur in which your team comes out on the short end of the deal. In fact sometimes these trades are even necessary to move on with your team, or move on from another player. I can think of many instances in which a Philadelphia team made a trade in which we were probably on the short end of the stick. However, no trade has ever been made by a Philadelphia team that I can remember that has one of the best players in the league at a position that you need a solid player there.

Cliff Lee was on the Phillies. Cliff Lee was signed through next season. They didn’t have to give Him a long term deal, they could have paid Him his $9 million, tried to win a World Series with the best roster in baseball, and let Him walk. Instead, the $9 million was too much. Don’t think we should blame Ruben Amaro for not being allowed to go over the Phillies budget? Fair enough – let’s instead blame him for signing Jaime Moyer to a 2 year contract that keeps him in Philadelphia this season, paying him $8 million this year.

I only bring this up, because even though people were upset when the move happened, people are not talking about how this could ruin the Phillies this season. The starting pitching, besides Halladay, and Hamels last start, has been poor. Cliff Lee on the DL is better than Kyle Kendrick in the rotation. A rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, and Happ is so much better than a rotation of Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, and Moyer/Kendrick. Not only do you have Cliff Lee the #2 starter, it keeps the pressure off of Hamels, as Hamels would be one of the best #3 starters in baseball. With Hamels being in the #2 spot, it means that we really need Hamels to step up and pitch like he did in 2008. By having Lee in the rotation, it also means that we don’t have to see the jokes of Kendrick and Moyer out on the mound anymore, unless there is an injury.

Either way, Lee is gone, I just wanted to bring more attention to the fact that Amaro made one of the dumbest moves that I can remember in my lifetime as a Philadelphia sports fan, and he is getting slightly a free pass for it. Even Ed Wade would have kept Cliff Lee. We are only 2 weeks into the season, and we already need another starting pitcher. The fact that we are going to have to get a starting pitcher at the deadline probably is ridiculous, after you trade away a Cy Young winner, because you couldn’t go $9 million over your budget. The offense is good enough to win a World Series. Right now, the pitching isn’t even close. This particular team is built to win multiple World Series’. If the Phillies make it to the World Series and get out-pitched by the better staffs of the Yankees or Red Sox… blame Ruben Amaro.


Eagles Acquire Ernie Sims from Lions

The Eagles made a trade today, just 3 days before the NFL Draft, acquiring linebacker Ernie Sims from the Lions in a 3-team deal. The Eagles will part ways with a 5th round draft pick as part of the deal – the same 5th round pick they acquired from the Browns for linebacker Chris Gocong, and Sheldon Brown a couple weeks ago. The Lions receive tight end Tony Scheffler from the Broncos and a Broncos 7th round pick, and the Broncos receive the Eagles 5th round pick this year.

This seems to be a good trade on the surface. The Eagles really didn’t part with much, just a 5th rounder, and get a guy who has a chance to be a star linebacker in the league. Ernie Sims was the 9th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Lions out of Florida State. Sims has been a stud everywhere he has been, being one of the best high school players in the country, and being a beast at Florida State. He has yet to live up to his potential in the NFL though, and suffered through an injury plagued season last year. His upside is high though, and the Eagles did need a linebacker badly. Sims is still young and is just 25 years old.

Looking ahead to next season, Stewart Bradley will obviously be back as the man in the middle. Sims played at the weak side linebacker position in his career with the Lions, so I would assume he is going to stay at that position, which was mostly Akeem Jordan’s position last season. At strong side linebacker, you are looking at either Moise Fokou or Alex Hall, who was acquired in the Brown-Gocong trade. Fokou saw time last season, and struggled for the most part, but he was a rookie 7th round draft pick. It seems like the starters right now would be Bradley, Sims, and Fokou, but obviously this could all change before the season.

If Sims doesn’t reach his potential in the NFL, it isn’t a very big deal since we only parted ways with a 5th round pick for him. But Sims could end up being a beast, which would be a great move and a great sign for the Eagles. I still think the Eagles could use one of their picks in the draft on a linebacker, but this makes it less likely that the Eagles will use one of their top ones on this position.


Flyers Take 2-1 Series Lead

The Flyers beat the Devils 2-1 in overtime Sunday night to beat the Devils and take a 2-1 series lead in this best of 7 first round series. The Flyers outplayed the Devils most of this game, especially as it went on, and finally solved Brodeur in overtime to put the game away.

This game was easily the most nerve-racking Flyers game all season, and one of those games we as fans are all too familiar with - watching the Flyers dominate the entire 3rd period, and then having them lose on a fluke goal. Well, the Flyers did not let that happen, and even though they couldn't solve Brodeur in the 3rd period, they finally put one past him in overtime.

Daniel Carcillo got the game winner, a little over 3 minutes into overtime on an open net stuff in. The goal came just 5 seconds after a Devils penalty expired making the goal an even strength goal. Mike Richards had the puck at the side of the net and just tried to stuff it into the corner. Brodeur had the corner covered, but the puck popped out in front of the net and Carcillo was there uncovered, and stuffed it in. Gagne was in front of the net also. That line had combined for the 2nd Flyers goal of the game, when Gagne made an unbelievable forechecking hit on a Devils defenseman who gave up the puck. Carcillo immediately swooped in, grabbed the puck and played it out in front to Richards who scored easily. Claude Giroux continued his stellar postseason with the other Flyers goal in the 1st period off a nice pass from Kimmo Timonen.

The Flyers really played well from the start, and benefited from being in front of the home crowd. It seemed to really give the Flyers a boost to play in their own building. The Flyers only got better and more dominant as the game moved along. The 3rd period was completely controlled by the Flyers, and the Flyers seemed to have a legit scoring chance every minute. Brodeur had to show why he is the best goalie of all time to keep the Devils in this one. Even in overtime, the Flyers came right out and had a few scoring chances before Carcillo put the game away.

The Richards, Carcillo, and Gagne line had a superb game. Richards continues to play well this postseason, as he has done the past 2 years. The Giroux, Van Riemsdyk, Asham line also continued to play very well. Giroux has been the best player on the Flyers thus far, besides maybe Pronger, and possibly Boucher. We still need for Jeff Carter to step it up and score a goal. The threesome of Carter, Briere, and Hartnell really need to start playing and give the Flyers something, because they haven't yet in the playoffs. The defense is playing solid for the most part, as Pronger, Timonen, and Coburn had strong games.

The work isn't done yet, the Flyers need to come out with the same intensity that they had at the end of Game 3, because you know that the Devils will be coming out firing on all cylinders. Also, if Brodeur plays like he did tonight, we are going to need to dominate the game just to have a chance to win, similarly to tonight.


Pitt Basketball Offseason Notes

The Pitt Panthers basketball season ended about 3 weeks ago in a 2nd round loss to Xavier in the NCAA tournament. That makes 9 straight NCAA tournaments for Pitt, and 0 Final Four appearances.

Pitt had a very good season, and you do have to give Jaime Dixon a lot of credit for getting the most out of the team this year. Pitt lost 4 starters from the 2009 Elite Eight team, including Levance Fields, Sam Young, and DeJuan Blair. We lost something like 60% of our scoring, 70% of our rebounding, and 50% of our assists. The expectations were not very high, but Pitt had another terrific season overall, coming in 2nd in the Big East regular season, and spending the entire season in the top 25, including cracking the top 10.

However, like is true with most of these Pitt teams, we tend to struggle in the tournament, and Jaime Dixon deserves some of the blame for that. I don't necessarily dislike Jaime Dixon, I just don't think he is really as good as the national media makes him out to be.

Next season, we should be solid again, as we always are. The only player we lose is shooting guard Jermaine Dixon. This will be a big loss, but we have the bodies to replace Dixon. Pitt has a solid group of 3 freshman coming in next year, all of whom are in the top 20 nationally at their respective positions. The only issue with the starting lineup next season is whether or not Travon Woodall is in it. Woodall right now is really the only true point guard on the team, and got better and better as the season went on. Ashton Gibbs can play PG, but is naturally a shooting guard. However, if you want Gilbert Brown to start, which he absolutely should, he needs to be at the small forward position. This means that Brad Wanamaker, who still continues to make the dumbest mistakes on the court, will be the starting 2.

Also, I would personally like to see Dante Taylor take over the starting power forward position for Nasir Robinson. Gary McGhee will be the starting center next year. I like Nasir Robinson, but he is more of a role player, who can be solid coming off the bench. If it were up to me, the starting lineup next year would be Ashton Gibbs at the point, Wanamker at the 2, Gilbert Brown at the 3, Taylor at power forward, and McGhee at center. I wouldn't mind Wanamker coming off the bench, and sliding Gibbs to the 2, and starting Travon Woodall at the point, however, Wanamaker is the best all-around player on the team, and really fills up the stat sheet. I also think that Jaime Dixon will continue to bring Dante Taylor off the bench, and start Robinson, which is a mistake. Look for redshirt freshman Talib Zanna to get some time this year and center, and freshman J.J. Moore should also see some time.

A lot of the success next year depends on how Dante Taylor does. Taylor was a 2009 McDonalds All-American who everyone expected big things from, and essentially did nothing last season. Taylor looked lost and lazy and like he didn't really want to play, but he did show flashes. So if he commits and puts in the work this offseason conditioning and in the weight room, he could be a big factor next year, which we definitely need.

Pitt Football Offseason Notes

The Pitt Panthers ended the 2009 football season on a solid note with a 19-17 win over UNC in the Car Care Bowl. Obviously the final 2 games of the Big East schedule ended on a bad note with losses to West Virginia and Cincinnati knocking Pitt out of a BCS Bowl, but a #15 ranking to close the season is solid nonetheless, and definitely something to build on.

We will need to not miss a beat next season coming out as we open the season at Utah the first weekend of the college football season. 2 weeks later, Miami comes to Pitt. Throw in a trip to Notre Dame, and we have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. It is nice to see a team not afraid to schedule tough in the non-conference, unlike Penn State.

Pitt has a lot of solid players returning, but also a lot of question marks, mostly at the QB position. Pitt returns all american WR Jonathan Baldwin, who is one of the best WR's in the league. Pitt also returns all american Dion Lewis, who was the best freshman in the nation last year, and is one of the best RB's in the nation. The offensive line was incredibly solid this year, and even though we have to replace some bodies there, I think we will be fine there. On defense, Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard both return to form one of the best DE tandems in the league. Pitt led the nation in sacks last season. Remember the name Dan Mason, who takes over the middle linebacker position this year - he is going to be a beast. The secondary replaces both CB's, but I think we will be fine there.

The main position battle and question mark comes from the most important position on the field - the quarterback position. Even though we have 2 solid incoming freshman in Mark Myers and Anthony Gonzalez, it looks like it is going to be a battle between junior Pat Bostick, and sophomore Tino Sunseri. Bostick was the highly recruited QB from Lancaster who came in and played games in both his freshman and sophomore year when Bill Stull struggled. Bostick, unfortunately looked pretty bad each time he was in there, but he was able to win some big games including games at Notre Dame, and at West Virginia. However, Tino Sunseri, the sophomore from Pittsburgh seems to have the upper hand running with the first teamers in spring practice. Sunseri was fairly highly recruited, came from a big time Pittsburgh program, and has much less playing time than Bostick, but has appeared poised and under control when he has been in the game.

I think we will go into the season with Tino Sunseri having the upper hand and starting at the quarterback position. He might be on a short leash with the more veteran Bostick waiting for some playing time however. Also, going forward, look for Mark Myers, from Ohio to eventually be the starting QB on this Pitt team.

Pitt should start the season in the top 20 nationally, and with big games in the non-conference and in the Big East, this could be a huge season for Pitt to put their stamp that last year was no fluke, and the Pitt Panthers are back in the national spotlight in football.


Flyers Drop Game 2

The Flyers opening round series against the Devils is tied up after the first 2 games at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The Devils came back in Game 2, and beat the Flyers with 2 late third period goals to win the game 5-3.

The Devils wasted no time getting on the score sheet in this game, with a short handed goal early in the first period by Zach Parise, less than 3 minutes into the game. The Flyers however, didn't let the early goal affect them, and came back with 2 goals in the first period to take a 2-1 first intermission lead, even though the Devils, like most of Game 1 had control of the action.

The Devils continued to push the pace in the 2nd period scoring a goal about 4 minutes in to make the score 2-2. This was really the first bad goal that Boucher has allowed in the postseason, as he led a fairly weak wrist shot from the point creep through his pads. Each team added a goal later in the period to go into the 3rd period tied at 3. The Devils again controlled most of the 2nd period.

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.


Phillies News and Notes

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.

Eagles Have Lots of Draft Needs

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.


Flyers Take 1-0 Series Lead

The Flyers took game 1 against the Devils in a very nerve racking game, as the Flyers basically sat back in the 3rd period and trying to hold on a 2-0 lead. They gave up a late goal to make the score 2-1, but held on to take a 2-1 series lead in this first round series.

Brian Boucher was the player of the game for the Flyers, as he made just about every save that came his way, including a few really nice ones. The only goal the Devils scored came off a deflection that he had no chance on. The Devils controlled the play in the first period and Boucher kept it at 0-0 after that period, and the Devils controlled the 3rd period, but Boucher was up to the task. This was Boucher's first playoff win since 2000, also against the Devils.

The Flyers got on the board halfway through the 2nd period on the power play, as the puck was out in front of Brodeur, and Chris Pronger muscled the puck into the net. With just over 3 minutes left in the 2nd period, Mike Richards unleashed a laser that found the upper corner and beat Brodeur on a slap shot. The Flyers took the 2-0 lead into the 3rd period, and then really just sat back and basically wanted to clock to tick down before the Devils could catch up. They came close, but they didn't.

Even though the Flyers won, they were outplayed. They should treat Game 2 as if they were outplayed in Game 1, and show some more energy and a sense of urgency. The Flyers only ended up with 14 shots on the night. The Flyers never really carried the puck into the zone, they were always getting to the red line and dumping it in. And when they did dump the puck in, they were not able to get the forecheck going and start cycling to get some chances. The Flyers did do very well on the penalty kill, as they had to kill off 6 minutes of power play time for the Devils in the 3rd period alone, including a double minor.

Great start to the series, but the Flyers should not be content with this victory. They need to play better in Game 2 and the rest of this series if they want to advance to Round 2, because it is only a matter of time before the Devils players like Parise, and Kovalchuk get going. The Flyers can't count on Boucher carrying them many more games.

Flyers Playoff Preview

The Flyers get underway with the 2010 playoffs this evening when they travel to Newark to play the Devils at the Prudential Center. The Flyers went through a very up and down season, and had to win the final regular season game in a shootout against the Rangers just to get into the playoffs. The Flyers are in as the #7 seed in the East.

This season will definitely be considered a disappointment if the Flyers get bounced in the first round. The Flyers have arguably as much talent as almost anyone in the NHL, and should be competing to win Stanley Cups. The defense did improve this season with the help of Chris Pronger, and the offense, while not great, is above average. The Flyers still have no go to guy in net, and the musical chairs that has been the Flyers goaltending of the past decade has continued. It started with the offseason signing of Ray Emery. Emery started the season in net, and played well. He then had some injury problems and was eventually shut down. Enter Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton. Both goalies got their shot, and Leighton outplayed Boucher. Unfortunately, Leighton also got injured, which left Boucher as the Flyers starter through the end of the season. Boucher did play very well in certain games down the stretch, but overall was not effective. Nothing explains the Flyers inconsistencies in goals more than Boucher vs. Brodeur in the 2010 playoffs… a rematch of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals that the Flyers lost to the Devils 4 games to 3. We all know the Flyers have had about 100 netminders in between that series and this one, while the Devils have the best goalie in NHL history in Brodeur.

While the goaltending edge obviously goes to the Devils, the Flyers might have the edge in some other categories. As I mentioned earlier, this Flyers team is not without talent. On paper, the Flyers probably have more talent than the Devils, not including goalies. The Flyers have a solid veteran offense made up of playoff veterans such as Danny Briere and Simon Gagne, and younger emerging stars like Glaude Giroux, and James Van Riemsdyk. The leaders of the team, guys like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Chris Pronger will need to have a very good series if the Flyers want to win. Richards and Carter need to step it up offensively, as they led the Flyers in points throughout the season, and will continue to need to do so into the playoffs. Pronger brings an element to the Flyers that they have not had in a while -- A punishing, intimidating veteran defenseman who has a ton of playoff experience, and success. The defense will need to play well in front of Boucher if the Flyers want to beat the Devils.

The Flyers do go into this series as the underdog, but this is not a typical 2-7 matchup. I think the Flyers have underachieved most of the season. If the Flyers continue to underachieve, then they will be out in the first round, and another disappointing season will pass. The Flyers may just be an above average team and nothing more. The Flyers also will not be afraid of the Devils, as they have won 5 of the 6 meetings this year with New Jersey.

Hockey playoffs are always extremely exciting; one of the best things to watch in all of sports is playoff hockey. The Flyers and Devils know each other very well, and get under way tonight in Game 1 at the Prudential Center.

Sixers Season Comes to an End

The 76ers season comes to an uneventful end tonight... too bad people are more interested in the Flyers playoff game, the Phillies, and the Jimmy Rollins injury right now. The 76ers will close out their disappointing season tonight in Orlando. With 1 game remaining, the Sixers currently sit at 27-54, bad enough for the 7th worst record in the NBA. The Knicks will finish with a better record than the Sixers. The Sixers can do themselves some favors and not win this game, however it might not be easy as the Magic don’t have anything to play for either having locked up the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers actually have somewhat of an eventful, strange season that saw ticket prices spike with the return of a fan favorite, and then drop back down to their normal, abysmal level. The Sixers actually entered the season with decent expectations. They had made the playoffs the 2 previous seasons, and pushed 2 teams better than them to 6 games in the first round. They came into this season with Andre Iguodala in his prime, a healthy Elton Brand, Lou Williams supposed to see more time, and youngsters like Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights supposed to contribute more. Ed Stefanski hired new coach Eddie Jordan to run the team. Unfortunately, the Sixers never quite got on track.

Instead, they faltered as soon as the season started. They never quite grasped Jordan’s “Princeton” style offense. Lou Williams never really fully took over the point guard position. Samuel Dalembert continued to suck. Elton Brand was terrible. Thaddeus Young regressed, but is still young. Speights sat behind an ineffective Brand most of the season.

Allen Iverson was re-signed, which brought a sellout crowd to the Sixers game, but not much else. Iverson played pretty well, all things considered, but quickly left the team as personal issued mounted. After Iverson left, the season was a lost cause, and so we got to see the one bright spot this year in rookie Jrue Holiday, who is the youngest player in the NBA. Holiday has been the only person who has even really tried the 2nd half of the season, and has looked good. In fairness, Andre Iguodala has also played well, and is a good player, but is not the guy who should be leading your team. Iguodala is a very good #2 or #3 option on a team, a guy who can do everything well, but cannot be a #1 option on a good team unfortunately.

The Sixers team is put together terribly, but I think you need to give general manager Ed Stefanski some more time to fix it. You have young guys such as Speights and Jason Smith who need to get some time to see what they can do. Speights has shown the ability that he can be a possible solid player, but he is stuck behind Elton Brand. Samuel Dalembert is a clown, but he makes so much money that they have to play him. Thaddeus Young is still very young and has a lot of room to grow, but needs to step his game up. The Sixers won’t be able to do anything this offseason, but should soon get some room to maneuver with Dalembert and Willie Green coming off the books after next season. Unfortunately, for the next few years, the Sixers are flat out a bad team.


NFL Mock Draft (4/13/10)

1. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

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


Eagles Trade Brown and Gocong

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.