Posts for Teams Category

The Sixers and Opposite Ends of the Spectrum, Part 1: A Realistic Worst-Case Scenario

Kevin Love - September 21, 2017

The Sixers over/under win total for the 2017-2018 season currently sits at 40.5.

That’s an extreme jump from the 27.5 over/under win total heading into last season.

It’s an impressive number, considering that the 13-game year-to-year difference (plus or minus) is second only to the Houston Rockets’ 15-game difference (41.5 to 56.5). There’s obvious reason for the expected win increase, but I won’t exhaust you with that.

The tricky thing about using that 40.5 number to project the Sixers’ performance this season, for fans and degenerates alike, is that the team leaves the door open for a wide range of variance. Joel Embiid playing 40 games versus Joel Embiid playing 62 games could be a difference of seven, eight, nine, or more wins. Lineup experimentation could force the Sixers to play two or three months of basketball before they finally “figure it out.” Ben Simmons could light the league on fire right out of the gate, or he could struggle mightily with turnovers and become exposed as a poor shooter.

With so many factors surrounding this team’s potential, let’s focus on an extreme, while being realistic. 

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The Eagles Didn’t Draft a Good Running Back, but Everyone Will Survive

Sean Cottrell - September 21, 2017

The Eagles’ running game has been the topic du jour since the Birds traded for Ronald Darby and partially fortified their undermanned secondary. We deviated for a day or so to bitch about screen passes, but now we’re right back to square one.

Much of the debate focuses on why the running game is struggling – lack of called running plays, poor offensive line play, lack of decent running backs, etc.

As an aside, I am firmly in the “running game is fine, you just need to actually run the ball” camp. Most of the offensive line, from an individual talent standpoint, is a known quantity. The Eagles have had success running behind these guys in the past.

As for the running backs, Darren Sproles is obviously not an issue, Wendell Smallwood has shown he can at least be effective in spurts, and LeGarrette Blount is a nine-year NFL veteran. You don’t play nine years in the NFL with no running ability. I honestly believe that the answer is giving them more opportunity and some patience. In other words, trade everyone to New England!

I don’t want to talk about the actual running game, though. That topic has been analyzed and debated ad nauseam.

I want to discuss another topic that has spurred a lot of recent debate: the Eagles walking away from a “historic” running back class with nothing but a 5’8”, 176-pound change of pace.

With the recent running game struggles, and the early success of rookies like Kareem Hunt and Tarik Cohen, the masses have taken those events, rolled them into a half-baked narrative about the Eagles leaving the draft with only Donnel Pumphrey, and are now passing it around for everyone to take a hit.

Here’s why that’s wrong.

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New York Radio Host Eloquently Explains Why The Giants’ Offensive Line Sucks

Kevin Kinkead - September 21, 2017

The New York football Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in the National Football League.

They’re 0-2 and likely will be 0-3 after your team, your town, your Philadelphia Eagles inevitably lay the smacketh down this weekend.

YES broadcaster and ESPN NY 98.7 FM radio host Don La Greca didn’t want to hear excuses for the G-men’s miserable line play:

 

As a public service, I transcribed the above clip.

Don La Greca: “Did he have to throw the football? Come on, stop it already! Everybody’s coming up with these, ‘well this offensive lineman, only 27% of the time was Eli pressured from his left side on Monday nights when Sean McDonough is the announcer.’ Stop. Stop creating some narrative that everybody knows football better than somebody else. Your eyeballs tell the story. The offensive line sucks, period. That’s my stat. You want a stat? You want Sabermetrics? Don La Greca tweeted last night or said on the Michael Kay Show, that the offensive line stinks. That’s the stat. Give me a break. That’s what we’re going to do now, Michael? We’re going to be accountants now in baseball? What is it, the Pythagorean Theorem? The Pythagorean Theorem said that the their offensive line, that their record should be 1-1. The Pythagorean Theorem said the Giants should record should be 2-0. (random sounds)

Michael Kay: “When I talk Pythagorean Theorem I sound like that?”

La Greca: “No. The people that trust the Pythagorean Theorem, the people that listen to the Pythagorean Theorem, the people that sit there at their desk that only know the naked body through National Geographic that do the math to come up with the Pythagorean Theorem. That’s what they sound like. ‘duh daa duh duh da duhhhhh!’ Quit it. IT’S FOOTBALL. I’VE BEEN WATCHING IT FOR 40 YEARS. 40! 40 YEARS. THAT’S ONE OF THE WORST OFFENSIVE LINES I’VE EVER SEEN. And they have not gone this long without scoring 20 points since 1977-78 when Joe Pisarcik was their quarterback. (???). So take that with your PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM. The Joe Pisarcik theorem. YOU’RE DEAD.

 

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What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Tyler Trumbauer - September 20, 2017

The season’s first loss is a pill that’s never easy to swallow, and the week leading up to the next game always feels just a little bit longer.

This was a winnable game for the Eagles, marred by mistakes, injuries, and questionable coaching decisions. Let’s see what they’re saying about the Birds’ week two setback to the Chiefs.

Philly.com’s Paul Domowitch graded every area of the Eagles on Tuesday and gave the birds a C overall:

Yeah, it was a tough road game that everyone had put an “L’’ next to before the season. With the exception of the long TD run they gave up to Kareem Hunt, the defense played pretty well. But the offense has a number of issues, including a non-existent run game and a continued propensity for third-and-longs.

Speaking of grades, Pro Football Focus broke down the game and doled out their own marks, with Rasul Douglas receiving the highest rating of any Eagle. Carson Wentz received a 50.5 and these remarks:

Carson Wentz struggled mightily against the Chiefs defense, the only real success the Eagles offense passing game had was the last drive where the Chiefs played soft coverage and a lucky 53-yard pass which bounced off a Chiefs defender’s arm into Zach Ertz’s arms. When Wentz was pressured (10 passes) he only completed 2 passes for 10 yards.

ESPN Eagles writer Tim McManus analyzed the shunning of LeGarrette Blount and why it’s a bad thing:

The early returns have not been good, but where can they turn if they turn away from Blount? Sproles is 34 and cannot be used as a workhorse at this stage of his career, Smallwood has not shown himself to be a reliable option to this point and undrafted rookie Corey Clement is no sure bet. Start cutting Blount out, and you run the risk of alienating a veteran presence in the room without a sound Plan B.

The Eagles are in this bind largely because of the front office’s inability to hit on running backs in recent years. The disastrous decision to trade away LeSean McCoy falls on former coach Chip Kelly, as well as owner Jeffrey Lurie for allowing him to do it, but executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has had a couple of offseasons to try and build the position back up.

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OK I’m Beginning To Think There’s Something To This Whole “Joel Embiid isn’t cleared to play” Thing

Kyle Scott - September 20, 2017

Brett Brown, Bryan Colangelo and his thick, deep collars met with some assembled media today at what appears to be the set where they take product shots for food delivery services and explained to the gathered mass that, fuck no, Joel Embiid isn’t cleared to play 5 -on-5:

“We just left the gym with him running around and getting shots. To be able to tell you specifically what I’m expecting to be able to get out of him next week, I’m not able to do that now.”

Shat.

Me, watching that video:

Colangelo added that it is too early to tell when Embiid will scrimmage, but that he has not suffered a setback following his knee surgery this spring and that the team is just being overly cautious. It sounds like Embiid will meet with doctors next week.

Still, this feels odd. Why even the hesitation? The meniscus thing is a simple procedure and there’s no reason the Sixers shouldn’t know, for sure, that Embiid is good to go. Again, they’re likely being overly cautious, but this isn’t a group that deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to injuries. Anything short of yep, he dunked on Vegan Jah so hard yesterday in a scrimmage that we thought a sewage pipe burst because so many people were screaming “oh shit!” is concerning. Until that happens, I will remain inside my own clothing*, sobbing like a big baby.

More positive outlook: The Sixers are in contract talks with Embiid and are shooting to get something done soon. It is quite possible that Embiid, or his people, don’t want to risk further injury before the pen hits the paper.

*It would be so much easier if I had Bryan Colangelo’s collars.

Space Jam: The NBA’s Gravity Era Welcomes the 2017-18 Sixers

Jim McCormick - September 20, 2017

The Monstars were well ahead of the analytics curve in that they made all nine of their three-point attempts against Michael Jordan’s Tune Squad back in 1996. Even though they lost, the Monstars merit some credit for the modernity of their approach to the game. (Yes, someone from Harvard charted the game from Space Jam.)

Gravity – in basketball terms – wasn’t really a factor in Space Jam, as Jordan’s team didn’t attempt a single shot beyond the arc and still somehow beat a gang of efficient aliens with a crew of cartoons. The Monstars also jumped like 40 feet in the air, so even the Isaac Newton version of gravity wasn’t a factor in the premise. Continue Reading

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Phillies Fan Loses Wager, Hands Out Chicken Nuggets

Kevin Kinkead - September 20, 2017

The only thing better than a chicken nugget is a free chicken nugget.

And the only thing better than a free chicken nugget is eating it while watching the Phillies beat up on the Dodgers for a second-straight game.

A bunch of kids had that pleasure Tuesday night, thanks to a Phils fan who lost an online wager:

Damon Miller Jr. made his bet last Thursday, which held up for all of two innings. Rhys Hoskins belted a 91 MPH fast ball out of the park in the bottom of the second, good for his 18th homer in 34 games. The Phils won 10-0.

So Miller was now on the hook for nuggets, but the wager language was vague. Who is “everyone?” Does the entire stadium get nuggets? Are they coming from Chick-fil-A or Wendy’s or what?

Unlike overly-political celebrities, or that guy who promises to tattoo (subject) on his ass if (team) wins or loses a game, Miller actually followed through with some help from the Phillies. The team bought 50 boxes of McDonald’s nuggs and had Miller hand them out at the first base gate.

Miller spoke with The Good Phight about his experience:

“(The Phillies) set up the entire thing, which I’m extremely grateful for!”

“I was actually at the game when (Hoskins hit the home run) and my first reaction was I looked at my dad and said DID THAT JUST HAPPEN!? I OWE EVERYONE NUGGETS NOW!”

Good man, much better than Lena Dunham, who said she’d leave the country after Trump won the election. She’s still here.

It Looks Like A Beautiful Friendship Is Budding Between Freddie Mitchell and Lenny Dykstra

BWanksCB - September 20, 2017

I love Twitter. It’s the absolute best. It is the perfect way to get information, share thoughts, and interact with others who share similar interests. As sports fans, Twitter is great because it also provides us with a front-row seat to the insights and online interactions of current and former athletes. And sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we get to witness the insights and interactions between two absolutely BATSHIT crazy lunatics who feed off attention. I’m talking about like, say, a former Eagle first-round bust asking a former 1993 NL MVP runner-up and convicted felon why his former employer doesn’t like him batshit crazy.

Thus, I present to you, with commentary, the budding friendship playing out before our eyes via Twitter between Freddie Mitchell and Lenny Dykstra. Here is the tweet that got our attention:

As Chris Jastrzembski asked last night, why the Hell would Freddie Mitchell ask Lenny Dykstra, of all people, why the Eagles hate him so much? Because I fancy myself the people’s reporter, I decided to find out. Although yesterday’s bizarre exchange marked the bulk of interaction between the two, it seems the pair actually began bonding last week when Dykstra fired off this timely and nuanced tweet about Hurricane Irma: Continue Reading

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