George Lambritsios Commits to West Chester University

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Newtown Square, PA. – There is no denying that George Lambritsios’ impact on special teams played a role in Marple Newtown’s success of capturing their first District One Class AAA victory in program history. 

Lambritsios hopes to duplicate that success next season, where he plans to kick collegiately at West Chester University. 

73IMG_7537

Steve Coyne Special Teams MVP award recipient, George Lambritsios (R) 

Two factors played a role into his decision of attending West Chester this fall. The most important being the top notch education he would be receiving as he plans to study criminal justice. Second was location, considering that it is only a short car ride away from his residence in Broomall. 

Additionally, the West Chester coaches met his expectations of being able to help the team right away and make an impact in a tough Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

The Golden Rams finished with a 7-4 record, while also appearing in the PSAC Championship Game. Lambritsios provides some extra firepower to a West Chester offense that 34 averaged points per game last season. 

In his two seasons as Marple Newtown’s kicker, Lambritsios developed into an important asset for the Tigers. His senior campaign is where he truly shined, connecting on 11 of 15 field goal attempts, including a long of 45 yards. On extra-points, he put 22 of 26 kicks through the uprights.

Kickoffs is where Lambritsios showcased his big leg, establishing field position by recording 21 touchbacks. When the postseason rolled around, Lambritsios was nothing short of spectacular. In the pair of playoff games, he converted 4 out of 4 field goal attempts, including a long of 34 yards. 

For his efforts on the field, Lambritsios racked up 2015 First Team All-Southeastern PA honors, a nod as the All-Delco kicker, while also being an All-Central League selection this past season. 

When asked about statistics and awards, he mentioned how they are nice when things are going well. However, his mentality will remain the same regardless of the situation. He will never change who he is and stick to his goal of always getting better. 

Lambritsios credits all of his success and development as a kicker to coach Dave Bertoline. The pair worked hard together, training through the summer and school year. 

Bertoline is a graduate of West Catholic High School, where he was a multi-sport athlete in soccer, football, baseball, and basketball. In 1988, he was named the Philadelphia Daily News Athlete of the Year. After high school, Bertoline did a two-year stint at Spring Garden College, then ended up up at Temple University where he played soccer. 

In terms of coaching, Bertoline assisted West Catholic’s special teams for fourteen years before joining Marple Newtown’s squad. Lambritsios and the rest of the team have benefited from the knowledge and experience Bertoline has provided. 

Kicking at the collegiate level is an adjustment, considering how different it is from the high school ranks. Lambritsios has recently started to kick off of the ground, instead of using a block. He admitted that the transition is going well.

“Many kickers have a hard time with this transition, but kicking the soccer ball off the ground all these years definitely could have helped.” 

For Lambritsios, football was not even on his radar until his junior year. 

“After many people telling me to go kick, I would have been a fool to not give it a chance.”

Soccer was his priority, putting all his focus into the one sport. From his perspective, playing other sports would have taken away his concentration and therefore fall behind.

His hard work did payoff, earning several awards. In 2014, he was named All-Central League’s Player of the Year to go along with other honors such as All-Central League and All-Delco. 

“Growing up in a Greek household soccer was the sport to play. My father introduced me to soccer and asked me if I wanted to get serious about it so other sports never crossed my mind.” 

Representing the Tigers on the gridiron and soccer field did present some challenges. The fall was hectic, running around from practices to games. This was a strict schedule for him, highlighting the importance of time-management. Transitioning was difficult with all his schoolwork, but he found a way to make it work.

Be sure to see Lambritsios among several other of his teammates in the 40th annual Delaware County Hero Bowl, which will be held on Thursday, June 2 at Cardinal O’Hara High School with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. 

 

Signing Barnes is the #1 Priority

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Newtown Square, PA. – Trusting the process failed miserably in Philadelphia.

There is no way around that statement. The Sixers were the laughingstock of the NBA, while also being a punchline on the television show “The Simpsons.”

920x920

Barnes is a must moving forward for Sixers 

Philadelphia elected to to trust Sam Hinkie’s approach for awhile, but their patience soon ran out after another dismal season. Bryan Colangelo now takes over a squad that stockpiled draft picks, acquired a trio of talented big men, and a stud from Europe (hopefully) coming over in Dario Šarić.

Colangelo is the new sheriff in town and I’m interested in seeing what he does with all the assets he was given. Barnes should be the top free agent on their list. 

 1) Harrison Barnes: Restricted FA

The first priority on their list should be to call Harrison Barnes’ agent and see what he desires. After that conversation, give him what he wants. Golden State is strapped financially with a bunch of contracts, while also looking to lockup Steph Curry to a long-term deal in the near future. Barnes has the potential to be an absolute star on the right team. If the Sixers offer the 24 year old a max contract, it would be up to the Warriors on whether they can make it happen. 

Barnes comes from a winning culture as a secondary option behind Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. In Philadelphia, he would be the primary option behind Jahlil Okafor in the post. This season Barnes has contributed 11. 7 points per game, while also grabbing 5 rebounds (basketball reference). Is he okay being slated at the small forward slot as well? Moving the 6-8 Barnes to the shooting guard position creates mismatches that instantly help this squad out. Additionally, you may have the option of having an 18 year old kid in Brandon Ingram from Duke next to Barnes. I’m sure they will be plenty of North Carolina and Duke comments between the two, but this could be a winning formula. 

Part of that winning formula is the importance of depth. Golden State has about eleven players on that roster that contribute on a daily basis, making them difficult to play against. Everyone knows their role, whether being a rebounder, defender, or shooter. The Sixers have the ammunition to produce something similar. Šarić is arguably the best player to come over from Europe in awhile. People have labeled him as a stretch four with good size at 6-10. Say Ingram is the draft pick selected for the Sixers, then just look at the length they have on the floor (Barnes 6-8, Ingram 6-9, Šarić 6-10). By the way, Šarić is only 22 years old! Now, if the Sixers throw in a point guard who can shoot… this could be team to be afraid of. A name that instantly comes to mind in the draft is Tyler Ulis out of Kentucky. 

In 2016, the Sixers had $56 million dollars in salary cap space. Next year, their number jumps to $69 million. It is time to utilize some of that space for a player that can make a difference. Building through the draft only goes so far. Drawing free agents for Colangelo will be a challenge moving forward, but at least head coach Brent Brown will appreciate the effort. Stealing Barnes away from Golden State will be difficult, but not impossible. 

 

 

Eagles Eye Up Franchise Quarterback

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

Philadelphia, PA. – The Philadelphia Eagles made a surprise move today by acquiring the second overall pick from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a plethora of selections. 

This is absolutely a high risk, high reward type of move that will make Howie Roseman look like a genius or a fool. Personally, this was a mistake that could have been avoided. There still would have been a game-changing player at number eight, which would have been Ezekiel Elliott or Ronnie Stanley. 

CggOO5hW8AEhzIU.jpg-large

Eagles jump to No. 2… Good or Bad?

Similar to 1999, Andy Reid found his franchise quarterback in Donovan McNabb with the second overall pick. Pederson was the bridge quarterback for McNabb in that situation. Fast-forward to 2016 and now the Eagles have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel to bridge for either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. The Eagles would not have made his deal without knowledge of who the Los Angeles Rams are taking with the top selection. 

Reports have the Eagles taking Wentz at number two, the North Dakota State product. Scouts are raving about his intelligence and physical abilities.  He has all the tools, considering that he is 6’5″ and can make all the throws needed.

There are still question marks about the level of competition he played against. Adjusting to the pace of the game will be a challenge. I know there have been great players from smaller colleges, but the quarterback is the most important position on the field. Wentz will be slowly groomed into the starting role. Success does not happen overnight, so expect to see him starting either next year or in 2018. Roseman must believe Wentz can be a franchise quarterback. 

Whether it is Wentz or Goff, they will be holding a clipboard and be inactive. On game day, the third quarterback is normally inactive on the roster. This gives them a year to adjust to the speed of the NFL. Additionally, this provides a project for coach Pederson and Frank Reich to work on. 

For all those people who believe Bradford will be dealt, think again. The Eagles are responsible for his $11 million dollar signing bonus, which is why he is not going anywhere. Therefore, Bradford is the starting quarterback for this season. Daniel will be the backup who knows the system and most likely play a few games, considering Bradford is injury prone. 

In conclusion, the Eagles need this move to pan out. There are several other holes to fill, which will now be put on hold. The reward is that Wentz or Goff is their quarterback for the next decade. The risk is that they are a bust, while surrendering a fortune in terms of picks. Only time will tell. 

 

Should Giants go Wide Receiver or Offensive Line?

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

The New York Giants need to protect Eli Manning, plain and simple. Defensively, the Giants have spent a small fortune to help out one of the worst defenses in the league. Below is a look at what the Giants should do in the draft. 

 10. New York Giants: Jack Conklin, OT/G, Michigan State

Rounding out the top ten are the New York football Giants with new head coach Ben McAdoo. This is where I expect some teams may inquire on whether the pick is available. The Giants were dreadful last year, from their offensive line to their entire defense. This off-season is where the Giants dove deep into their pockets for help, which includes Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Jason Pierre-Paul. 

None of these players will help protect Eli Manning. However, their goal should be to obtain Vernon Hargreaves to play opposite of Jenkins. If Hargreaves does not fall or they can’t trade, then Jack Conklin deserves a hard look. Spending top picks on offensive line has not panned out like the Giants have hoped, yet Conklin is worthy of a top ten pick. Conklin possesses incredible strength and versatility to be able to play guard or tackle. Having played at Michigan State, Conklin has played against elite competition and can be plugged in immediately. Manning is the number one priority and Conklin can help the cause. 

Rams Grab No. 1 from Titans

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

The Los Angeles Rams have made all the headlines today by trading for the first overall pick from the Tennessee Titans. 

Without a quarterback on the roster to build around, the Rams needed to make a splash considering they are headed to Hollywood. This type of move helps create hype and exposure. Now, the decision is whether to take Carson Wentz or Jared Goff with the top selection. My bet is that head coach Jeff Fisher has his eyes set on Wentz. Fisher coached a quarterback out of Alcorn State, who went by the name of Steve McNair. At this rate, nothing would surprise me. The North Dakota State product has impressed coaches and scouts in every possible way, which could be a reason to trade from fifteen to get him. The Rams now have to figure out who they want to give the keys of the kingdom to. 

Tennessee is now sitting pretty with six picks in the top 76 selections in this draft. This was a tremendous trade for a team that is looking to rebuild. The Titans already have their franchise quarterback in place with Marcus Mariota and running back in DeMarco Murray. However, do they miss out on a player like Larmey Tunsil, who is the best offensive lineman in the draft. You take the good with the bad. It is still possible that the Titans could trade back into the top ten for Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin from Michigan State. 

This might of been the best case scenario for the Cleveland Browns who sit at number two, considering that they hold all the leverage for any team that will want the other quarterback. If the Browns want Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey, then they should go for it. On the flip side, the Rams might take the quarterback the Browns had their eyes on. This opportunity the Titans have given them has presented options. It is all about perspective. 

The Philadelphia Eagles are staring at this trade and looking at how their second round pick was apart of it. Their second rounder helped propel the Rams up to number one, but Sam Bradford could be the quarterback of the future here in Philadelphia if he stays healthy. To make a long story short, both Wentz and Goff will be off the board by number eight. The Eagles must trade up in order to grab either quarterback, which I highly doubt. In retrospect, this allows them to take the best player available. Most likely, players like Ronnie Stanley and Ezekiel Elliott are going to be on the board. 

Hate to say this, but the Cowboys will be sitting pretty at number four. “America’s team” has plenty of options, whether it is Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey. Anything can happen with Jerry Jones.

There have been two trades into the top ten already and I fully expect more to come on draft night. The NFL Draft is set for April 28th, in Chicago. 

 

Tampa Bay Takes a Familiar Face at No. 9

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston after selecting him first overall last year. There were some growing pains, but the Bucs are a step in the right direction. With the ninth overall selection, they have an opportunity to improve their secondary or either side of the line. Taking Ezekiel Elliott does not make much sense after resigning Doug Martin to a new contract. We chose secondary, considering you can never have too much depth in that area. 

 9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Tampa Bay will turn to defense with the ninth selection in the draft, debating whether to take a pass rusher or defensive back. If it were me, the Buccaneers take Vernon Hargreaves out of Florida. Hargreaves is the second best defensive back prospect in the draft behind Jalen Ramsey. It is possible to find an edge rusher in the second round or even later in the draft. Hargreaves is too much of a talent to pass up, considering his knack for being around the ball. In a division that likes to air it out, the Buccaneers must have a lockdown defender that can shrink the field. Yes, Brent Grimes was recently signed but you can never have too many defensive backs. 

At 5’10”, Hargreaves has all the tools to become an elite corner in the league. Scouts love his instincts and speed to matchup with top receivers. Hargreaves would enjoy the chance to play in-front of his hometown, where he was raised and played collegiately. Gerald McCoy will still supply the rush upfront for the Bucs, in addition to newcomer Robert Ayers. Take the corner and figure out how to best utilize him in the secondary. 

Eagles Bulk Up the Offensive Line at No. 8

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

The Philadelphia Eagles are now on the clock! Rumors have spread like wildfire, speculating that the team is interested in drafting a quarterback. However, both Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are off the board by number eight. If the team stays put, then I expect them to bulk up the offensive line even more in the draft. 

 8. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

After trading with the Dolphins for the eighth pick in the draft, the Eagles will look to upgrade their offensive line. Former head coach Chip Kelly simply believed he could plug anyone in at the guard position and get away with it. This is why the Eagles will take Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame. However, the consensus is that most people have Ezekiel Elliott landing in Philadelphia. Both make sense, after DeMarco Murray was shipped off to Tennessee with his big contract. Ryan Mathews is consistently injured, while Darren Sproles is primarily a third down back. 

My take is that the duo of Mathews and Sproles is good enough to get the job done. Selecting a running back will occur in this draft, but I do not foresee it happening in the first round. The Eagles are still searching for one guard position on the line after filling several needs in free agency. Head coach Doug Pederson would have a offensive line of Jason Peters (6′ 4″, 328), Ronnie Stanley (6’6″, 312), Jason Kelce (6’3″, 282), Brandon Brooks (6’5″, 346), and Lane Johnson (6’6″, 310). Controlling the line of scrimmage is going to be crucial in this Pederson offense. 

Peters is up there in age being 34, but still has a few good years left in him. Stanley can move inside, then move back out to right tackle when Johnson replaces Peters on the blindside. After having the worst season of his career, Kelce will be praising Howie Roseman for bringing in Brooks and Stanley. Running north and south hopefully comes true this season, in addition to potentially winning the time of possession battle. The line can give Sam Bradford more time in the pocket. Brent Celek and Zach Ertz will be running more patterns this season, meaning that there will be less blockers to help out on the edge. They can still chip them, but don’t expect additional support. In conclusion, the more important need right now is offensive line to protect Bradford. 

Chip Kelly Era Begins at No. 7

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

The San Francisco 49ers were in disarray with Jim Tomsula at the helm last season. In a surprise move, the team elected to sign Chip Kelly from Philadelphia as their head coach. The Kelly experiment crashed and burned when Kelly was granted power in the front office. See who we have Kelly taking at number seven in our NFL mock draft. 

 7. San Francisco 49ers: Jared Goff, QB, California

The Chip Kelly era has begun in San Francisco! Kelly’s run-and-gun style is perfect for Colin Kaepernick. Unfortunately, Kaepernick wants out after a dreadful 2015 season that left the team in shambles. Selecting a player like Jared Goff makes sense, considering Kapernick’s 11.9 million dollar salary becomes guaranteed soon. Kelly needs a quarterback he can trust (preferably from the Pac-12) and Blaine Gabbert is not the answer. 

Goff should transition easily into Chip’s spread offense, considering that is the style he played at California. There are going to be several quick passes that occur, including bubble screens, slants, and curls. Additionally, the running back will be dashing toward the perimeter on sweeps. Kelly is completely stubborn and likely to run the same material he did in Philadelphia. There will be no audibles at the line so there is nothing to worry about right there with a rookie. In order for this to work, Kelly must be able to have his quarterback. It is time to move on from Kaepernick and take the QB of the future. 

2016 Phillies Podcast

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. Phillies_Logo

Baseball season has arrived in 2016!

Listen to our baseball podcast with special guest Amanda Orr, who comes from Phillies Nation. 

Topics of discussion

  • Expectations for the Phillies 
  • Pitching rotation 
  • Prospects-Future looks bright 
  • Trade deadline, who could be dealt 
  • Phillies radar with first overall pick 
  • Games to circle on your calendar 
  • MLB Predictions-Divisions, MVP, Cy Young, and Postseason 

Ravens go Buckner at No. 6

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

The Ravens can go in many different directions, especially when a playoff caliber squad is selecting in the top ten of the draft. Below is my NFL mock draft, taking an in-depth look at the Baltimore Ravens. 

 6. Baltimore Ravens: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Injuries plagued the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, losing players like Terrell Suggs, Justin Forsett, Matt Elam, and eventually Joe Flacco. The Ravens will gladly take the best player available at this point, but it does not hurt that Bucker fills a need. Suggs is getting up there in age and Buckner can learn the ropes. 

In his senior campaign at Oregon, he managed to put up 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 83 total tackles. Bucker can jump inside at defensive tackle as well, providing versatility for coach Harbaugh. The Ravens must take advantage of his height, which at 6’7″ allows him to knock down passes. You can’t teach height, but it is essential to teach him the importance of gaining leverage. Baltimore is a playoff caliber squad this upcoming season and Bucker can attribute right away in a tough AFC North division.