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SugarHouse Casino took its first sports bets earlier today, the first of a planned two-day soft opening. The casino is also expected to run a 10-hour soft opening on Friday, and if the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gives the expected go-ahead, it will be all systems go for regular operations on Saturday, just in time for the start of NFL Week 15 action and college football’s bowl slate.
Footage of the first bets:
Woohoo! Philly’s first live bets have been placed here at SugarHouse Casino.
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler. pic.twitter.com/MRinRkx9fK
— SugarHouse Casino (@WinAtSugarHouse) December 13, 2018
SugarHouse and Pittsburgh-based Rivers Casino, which also opened today, became the state’s second and third casinos to take legal sports wagers. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville opened its sportsbook last month.
For those wondering, among the first accepted bets were plays on the Chiefs, Eagles, Lakers, and Flyers. Bold strategy backing the local teams, I must say.
With SugarHouse’s soft launch, Pennsylvania moves one step closer to green-lighting online sports gambling, which is expected to happen sometime in early 2019. You can read all about the much anticipated arrival of PA online sports betting right here.
I just hope the guy stays for more than two seasons. Let’s get some continuity in the Temple football program.
The first thing that jumps out to me is that the Diaz hiring follows the pattern of recent Temple hires. He’s a coordinator coming from a power five conference and a first time head coach. He’s in his early 40s. That fits the mold of what they had in Geoff Collins, Steve Addazio, and even Matt Rhule to an extent. It’s true that Rhule took the gig after moving to the NFL, but he had been with the Owls for half a decade prior. Addazio was more of an offensive guy, but Rhule, Collins, and now Diaz specialize in the defensive side of the game.
Diaz spent the last three years in Miami as Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. That follows stints with Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech in the same role. Tech was sort of a “rebuilding” type of job for him after he was fired by Mack Brown following a couple of disappointing seasons as the Texas Longhorns’ DC, but every other defense he’s worked with has been more or less sound, and he cut his teeth as a position coach on Chuck Amato’s NC State teams of the mid-aughts.
Diaz spoke this afternoon, and you can listen to his introductory presser after the jump:
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The ex-Birds linebacker dropped this a short time ago:
— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 13, 2018
It’s a different medical staff, right?
Several, “this is a new medical staff“ replies. The entire medical staff is not new. Some protocol is very similar & the main focal point, teams have their best interest in mind. It’s likely awful many places, I can only speak on what I know.
— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) December 13, 2018
His point does hold, I guess. The medical staff works for the organization and not the players, which is why you have language in collective bargaining agreements that allows athletes to get second and third opinions from outside sources. This is how Markelle Fultz was able to get his shoulder checked out by multiple specialists in recent weeks.
Stephen A. Smith, Tedy Bruschi, and Max Kellerman were on ESPN’s First Take earlier today breaking down the pivotal AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Chiefs. Typically, I don’t have many nice things to say about the show, but since it’s the holidays and all, I’m going to try to be a little more positive here. I have to give the show credit because, well, you’re just not going to find NFL analysis like this anywhere else:
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 13, 2018
The faces of Kellerman and Bruschi are absolutely priceless.
This story was 97% done before the Carson Wentz “cracked vertebrae” story came out, but I figured I’d go ahead and finish it anyway.
On Monday morning, I mentioned an awkward exchange between the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. It was just one of many awkward exchanges between the pair this season. In fact, every exchange between these two feels awkward.
McLane asked Pederson about Wentz and how his average pass per length has dropped off this season. Jeff’s number was 7.68 yards this year, compared to 9.91 last season.
Pederson sort of shrugged off the question but ultimately answered it. Here’s the full exchange:
Q. You talked about QB Carson Wentz’s improved accuracy, yet his average pass per length has dropped from 9.91 yards per attempt to 7.68. How do you explain that? (Jeff McLane)
PEDERSON: I would have to look at all the attempts and see if it’s design, if it’s scheme.
Q. Is he taking too much underneath? Is he not trying to push the ball down field enough? (Jeff McLane)
PEDERSON: Again, without looking at the coverage, coverage dictates where the ball goes; blitz dictates where the ball goes. If it’s down the field, he’s going to throw it down the field. You have to play quarterback in this league. Every play can’t be designed to get you 20-plus yards. That’s foolish.
Q. So you’re saying that defenses are taking away the deep ball? (Jeff McLane)
PEDERSON: Defenses are playing defense. You’re confusing to me, because if you play quarterback in this league, the mentality is you take what the defense gives you. That’s the mentality. If it happens to be a back or tight end underneath, then you know what? First and second-down, we stay ahead of the chains. We get a chance to stay on the field on third-down. If that affects the overall, then it’s probably going to affect the overall. But at the end of the day, I would rather take a win over a two-yard discrepancy or whatever you got there.
Doug is right; you’d have to watch 11 games worth of all-22 film and dissect all of the defensive coverages, every play call, every route run by every receiver to get a true understanding of why this is happening. And then you factor in the back and ACL injuries and wonder if Carson can even consistently chuck the football beyond 40 yards.
But it definitely is happening. There’s no disputing that. I’m not sure specifically where McLane’s number comes from, but the NFL tracks air yards at their Next Gen Stats page, and this is where Wentz ranks in a couple of categories, after the jump:
Schefty coming in hot at 12:44 p.m. –
A recent CT scan on Carson Wentz’s back revealed a fractured vertebrae that, if allowed time to rest, would fully heal without further expected issues, sources tell ESPN. There will be a continued evaluation to determine if continuing to play this year will make injury worse.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 13, 2018
Alright, so shut him down for the season and then we’ll see what happens with this medical snafu or whatever happened.
Ian Rapopopopoport coming in with more info:
With no surgery coming for #Eagles QB Carson Wentz, rest is the key. That’s why he’s not expected to play on Sunday — with QB Nick Foles starting. No determination has been made on Injured Reserve… but they won’t put him at risk. Looking more likely we’ll next see him in '19.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 13, 2018
Sources: A battery of tests revealed that #Eagles QB Carson Wentz has a fracture in his back. The team did CT scans throughout the season, but none revealed the fracture until now. The team is still determining if there is any risk of continuing to play. No surgery necessary.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 13, 2018
Source: Carson Wentz has had a fracture in his back but was not made aware of the results of the scan. Some players are aware of the situation and what I am told this has caused a huge issue internally.
— Jason Myrtetus (@jasonmyrt) December 13, 2018
I hope Jason’s source is good, because this is some pretty serious stuff. And if it’s true, the resulting legal process will be something else.
Let me leave you with the eye emoji:
A bit of info from Jeff McLane:
Carson Wentz is getting different medical opinions on his back, going outside the #Eagles medical staff, per NFL sources. Had CT scan yesterday and is getting MRI today, source confirms @AdamSchefter report.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) December 13, 2018
They did an investigation into the quality of stadium and arena food by collecting “more than 16,000 food-safety inspection reports from health departments that monitor the 111 professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey facilities across North America.”
In that data, they found that 28 percent of those venues incurred some kind of “high-level violation,” which doesn’t surprise me as somebody who used to work in the food service industry.
Researchers parsed all of this to come up with a nationwide ranking, and all three of the venues in South Philadelphia fell somewhere in the middle of the list, after the jump: