Sixers’ Mock Draft 1.0

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

Two decades ago, the Philadelphia 76ers’ selected Allen Iverson with the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. 

Iverson brought excitement, energy, and a winning attitude to the City of Brotherly Love. 

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Australian connection with Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown 

Trusting “the process” has gone on long enough and this franchise must cash-in on the first selection in this year’s 2016 Draft at all costs. Fans are desperate for another icon who can take this squad to new heights.

That icon’s name is freshman, Ben Simmons out of LSU. 

Simmons can do it all, considering his 6’10” stature and supreme athletic ability. In summary, this kid will put fans in the stands and give them something to cheer about. The freshman averages 19.5 points, 12.5 boards, and 5 assists. He’s the type of kid who can change a franchise, just ask Magic Johnson. 

Stockpiling draft picks was clearly an objective that Sam Hinkie had in mind. However, the assets are useless unless you find a franchise player. 

The first step is winning the NBA lottery for the first time since 1996 and taking Simmons. If all goes right, the Sixers can potentially have four selections. The odds are not in Philadelphia’s favor, but anything can happen: 

The first is a no-brainer with the the No. 1 pick: Ben Simmons 

Lakers slip to No. 4: PG, Kris Dunn, Providence 

  • This is the best case scenario for the Sixers, especially with multiple options at their disposal. Obtaining a talented guard is next on the wish list. 
  • Provides experience (Jr.) and size (6’4″) at the point guard position. 
  • Explosive first step to the hoop. Knocks down big shots when needed.
  • Elite defender that will translate to the next level. 
  • Can see him being a star in the league. 

Plan BSG, Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

  • Hield is another option if Dunn is off the board. Hield provides tremendous shooting ability to a team that desperate lacks anything from behind the arc.
  • Can clearly shoot the lights out and instantly help this squad out by making teams pay by double-teaming Jahlil Okafor in the post. 
  • Best player (outside of Simmons) and shooter in the NCAA this year, which is why Oklahoma is one of the best teams in the country. 
  • Provides senior leadership and is 6’4″ as well. 
  • One area of improvement is his ability to go off the dribble. 
  • Can’t go wrong with either Dunn or Hield in this situation. 

Heat’s Pick- No. 15-20 Range 

Mid-round pick: SG/SF, Denzel Valentine, Michigan State 

  • Instantly brings a pair of elements that this team desires, leadership and shooting. 
  • Another Tom Izzo type of player as Valentine gives everything he has on the court with his fearless style of play.
  • Another senior who has a winning track record during his time at MSU with experience who can instantly be plugged into the lineup. 
  • Good vision, touch from the perimeter, and versatility. 
  • He’s not the tallest at (6’6″), fastest, or strongest. Think Draymond Green

Thunder’s Pick- No. 25-30 Range 

Late-round pick: SG, Wayne Selden, Kansas

  • To be honest, I see the Sixers electing to trade this pick for a variety of different reasons or selecting another “stash” player over in Europe. 
  • However, Selden has a vast amount of potential and could possibly be a steal here late in the first round if he can put it all together. 
  • Was a McDonald’s All-American with Joel Embiid at Kansas. 
  • Has all the tools: Size (6’5″), Wingspan (6’10”), and Weight (230 pounds)
  • Capable of being a lockdown defender.
  • Hit or miss offensively, but has room to improve. 

Contingencies

1. Sixers receive the Los Angeles Lakers’ first round pick if they don’t fall in Top 3

  • Currently, 11-41 record: This will be a race to the finish for freshman phenom Ben Simmons, keep your fingers crossed and hope they slip to number four.

2. Sixers receive the Miami Heat’s first round pick if they don’t fall in Top 10

  • Currently, 28-22 record: It appears the Sixers will acquire this selection. 

3. Sixers receive the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first round pick if not in Top 15

  • Unless something drastic occurs, this is a guaranteed draft pick. 

Remember, nothing is set in stone. These are all “what-if” scenarios. 

The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery will occur on May 17th, while the draft is set to take place on June 23rd. 

 

 

 

MN’s Pham Prepares for NFL Draft

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

Newtown Square, Pa. – With the upcoming NFL Draft quickly approaching, Marple Newtown alumnus and current Millersville University student-athlete, Joey Pham, has his eyes set on playing at the next level. 

The Millersville product has been preparing for the draft by going to bowl games, such as the National Bowl and Dream Bowl. Pham participated in the National Bowl already, which features the top seniors at the Division II and Division III level. 

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Joey Pham at Millersville 

“The National Bowl was a great experience where I got really good feedback from coaches and got to speak with scouts, agents, and learn what the process ahead is going to be like,” Pham stated.

Additionally, he has been training to improve his combine specific drills and is currently set to attend the NFL Regional Combine in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Pham credited his high school, college coaches, and family support for helping him through his journey. 

Since his days at Marple Newtown, Pham has improved his game in the secondary everyday. 

“I’ve improved my game at defensive back dating back to Marple Newtown. Learning how to play the position in all aspects, technique, eye disciple, how to read receivers, learn their tendencies and trying to bait quarterbacks into what I want them to do.”

Playing collegiately at Millersville not only helped his skills on the field, but also allowed him to grow as a person. This involved his ability to mature, handle adversity, and overcome obstacles.

“Go through the problem and not around it,” is a phrase from head coach Greg Breitbach that has stuck with Pham. 

The Broomall native will be the first one to tell you that being a student-athlete is not a walk in the park. There are several responsibilities as they must balance a planned out athletic schedule to go along with academics. One aspect that Pham will miss is the time he spent with his teammates. Whether being in the locker room or helping each other at 6 a.m. workouts, these are the memories that will be remembered.  

Pham made the most of his time on the field at Millersville, piling up several awards and honors. In 2014, the defensive back recorded eight pass breakups in a single game against Cheyney to set a Millersville and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) record. His efforts came one shy of a NCAA Division II record. 

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Pham got his start at Marple Newtown High School

In his senior campaign, Pham picked up right where he left off. The senior was a preseason All-American honorable mention selection on defense and did not disappoint. 

He led the PSAC East in most passes defended (13) this season at Millersville, while also capturing a pair of PSAC East Defensive Player of the Week awards. For his career, he racked up 6 interceptions, 28 pass breakups, and 120 tackles in the secondary. 

Of those six interceptions, four of which occurred this season. One memorable interception was returning it to the house from 48 yards out in his final game as a Marauder against Edinboro. This proved to be a senior night to remember for Pham, who wanted to go out with a bang. 

His fourth quarter interception sealed the victory, defeating Edinboro by a final score of  31-21. 

With his collegiate career in the books, Pham’s goal now is to attend an NFL camp and showcase his talents to the best of his ability. Fortunate for him, his love for the game is a reason why he will never work a day in his life. He hopes to continue his dreaming of going professional, but if not he will pursue other options such as arena or overseas. 

A final piece of advice that Pham has for aspiring football players is to “enjoy it while it last and try to make the most of it.” 

Pham will graduate Millersville University in 2017 with a sociology degree that focuses on criminology.

Wildcard Weekend Predictions

By: Tommy Yu

Another season flies by with Philadelphia failing to extend their season into the playoffs, but this does not necessarily mean this post-season will be uneventful. There are a handful of games that should be fantastic, and others that should be a slaughter.

Kansas City at Houston, Saturday 3:35 pm

This may be one of the most difficult games to predict. On paper, this looks like it should be a blow out since the 9-7 Texans will be hosting the 11-5 Chiefs. Kansas City ended their season as one of the hottest teams in the NFL on a 10 game winning streak. 

Houston had a season full of adversity. From facing the injury bug and losing star running back Arian Foster to having quarterback controversies (The Ryan Mallet Debacle), they still ended up winning the AFC South thanks to the Indianapolis Colts completely imploding. In their last nine games, the 7th ranked defense only gave up an overage of 9.3 points. Fortunately, due to the great field position and the defense playing out of their mind, the offense has averaged about 21 points in the nine game span. Hoyer will most likely be the man behind center but their offense is not very dynamic. DeAndre Hopkins is undoubtedly their biggest playmaker finishing 3rd in receiving yards.

Kansas City completely turned their season around after starting 1-5. Their offense rarely turns the ball over and the defense does not allow that many points, a perfect recipe for success. The Chiefs’ have playmakers all over the defense such as rookie corner Marcus Peters who led the league in interceptions (8) and Eric Berry leading the secondary in his remarkable comeback. Linebackers Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston are veterans who can shut down the run as well as drop back in coverage. Alex Smith has also played very efficiently for a QB who lost their star running back Jamaal Charles. Smith completed over 65% of his passes along with only 7 interceptions. The addition of WR Jeremy Maclin is also a huge bolster their desperate Kansas City air attack needed.

Outcome

Although having home-field advantage is nice, I don’t think that will be enough for Houston to beat out Kansas City. The Chiefs are simply the better team in all facets. Their offense is more potent and their defense matches Houston’s and then some. Although Houston will put up a fight up until the end, Kansas City is too hot to fizzle out now.

Prediction

Kansas City 27, Houston 20

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Saturday 7:15 pm 

The classic AFC North rivals will face each other for the third time this season. The season series is split between these two teams with Pittsburgh winning the most recent game on December 13th 33-20. Both of these teams are facing injuries and this will truly be a battle of endurance.

The Bengals are 0-6 with Marvin Lewis as their head coach. Why is he still the man in Cincinnati is beyond me, but this year seemed like the year that Lewis would change things…up until Andy Dalton went down with a season ending injury. AJ McCarron has actually been playing decent, completing over 66% of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the downside, McCarron hasn’t thrown more than 200 yards in any of his starts due to the conservative play-calling which may be due to the lack of confidence Lewis has in him. Besides having superstar AJ Green as their offensive weapon (1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns), they also have a two headed monster in the backfield with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard who combined for 1,524 yards and 13 touchdowns. Although neither of them had a spectacular season, they are both relatively fresh and can handle heavy workload in the post-season.

The Steelers have also faced injuries throughout the season losing Big Ben for a few games, LeVeon Bell, and now, DeAngelo Williams. Williams may be able to suit up for the post-season game, but he is a game time decision. The story in Pittsburgh is the same with Antonio Brown having yet another ridiculous season with 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. Antonio Brown also had 25 catches over 20 yards and 8 catches over 40 yards. He is absolutely explosive and has been Big Ben’s go to target with 136 receptions. Everyone knows how explosive the Steelers’ offense can be, but something that may go unnoticed is Pittsburgh’s horrific pass defense. They have the 30th ranked pass defense and they gave up a 66-yard touchdown pass to AJ Green from AJ McCarron the last time they played on December 13th. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, no team with a pass defense ranked in the bottom of the league has ever won the Super Bowl, though the 1983 Washington Redskins and the 1996 and 2011 New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl and lost with similar or worse rankings.

Outcome

At the end of the day, this is a game that may come down to coaching. Marvin Lewis has never won a playoff game and Mike Tomlin has not won one in five years. Although Lewis has plenty of playoff experience, he just cannot seem to win one, and this year is no different. I can’t see McCarron being able to outduel Big Ben, even if the Steelers’ secondary is Swiss Cheese. The deciding factor may be if DeAngelo Williams can play, but I’ll be brave and state that the Steelers will come out on top no matter who is in the backfield with Roethlisberger.

Prediction

Pittsburgh 34, Cincinnati 22

Seattle at Minnesota, Sunday 12:05 pm 

Although the Chiefs ended the year on a 10 game winning streak, an argument could be made that the Seahawks are hotter than them. The Vikings have also defied the odds and won the NFC North over the once dominant Packers.

The Seahawks have finished first in DVOA for the fourth year in a row. Weighted DVOA is used to measure how a team is applying as it enters the playoffs and this is done by giving games later in the season more weight than games that occurred earlier in the year. Seattle has a weighted DVOA of 51.1%, which is 28% better than second place Arizona. Russell Wilson has also been playing out of his mind after Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls faced injury. Wilson is second in the league in completion percentage (68.7), 6th in passing touchdowns (34), and 3rd in yards per attempt (8.3). He is also dangerous on the ground with 566 yards rushing and a touchdown. Their defense has dominated again finishing second in total defense, right behind Denver. 

The Vikings have the league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson, but they will need more than him to be able to beat Seattle. Teddy Bridgewater is proving to be a great franchise quarterback, but they are far too conservative to be able to win a high scoring game. The Vikings also lack playmakers because Mike Wallace is not turning out to be the old burner that he used to be in Pittsburgh, and Stefon Diggs is just a rookie and is not proven to be able to show up during big games. 

Outcome

Minnesota will have to play a perfect game and not turn over the ball while hoping the Seahawks struggle with mistakes throughout the game. Unfortunately for the Vikings, I don’t think that will be the case and that the Seahawks will be able to breeze by the Vikings. Russell Wilson is proving to be a dynamic quarterback that is far more than just a game manager, and Doug Baldwin is showing the NFL that he can be a number one receiver. I just don’t see the Vikings having enough fire power to keep up with the high powered Seahawks offense and their stingy defense.

Prediction

Seattle 31, Vikings 17

Green Bay at Washington, Sunday 3:40 pm 

This has to be one of the most interesting game during the Wildcard Weekend so it’s only fitting that it is the last. The Green Bay Packers certainly do not look like the powerhouses in the NFC of the past without their star receiver Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy being a dud. Washington on the other hand have turned a corner ever since Kirk Cousins’ exclaimed “YOU LIKE THAT!?” He has thrown for 24 touchdowns and 27 interceptions before that game; afterwards, he has thrown for 23 touchdowns and a remarkably low 3 interceptions while completing 72.4% of his passes.

The Packers have been a subpar team as of late. They started 6-0 but have gone 4-6 since. The blame lies on their awful offensive line and receivers. Since Thanksgiving, Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 22 times; only Blaine Gabbert has been sacked more often. It has also become evident that Randall Cobb Is not cut out to be a number one receiver and James Jones and Devante Adams cannot get consistent separation. 

The Redskins’ success is obviously due to Kirk Cousins’ late season turnaround, but something that goes unnoticed is their excellent pass rush which consist of Ryan Kerrigan (9.5 sacks), Preston Smith (8 sacks), and Chris Baker (6 sacks); they rank 8th in adjusted sack rate. This makes up for the fact that they have one of the worst pass defense in the league (29th). 

Outcome

On paper, it looks like Rodgers is due for a rough game. With his porous line and the Redskins’ aggressive pass rush, it wouldn’t surprise me if Rodgers got sacked around 5-7 times. All that being said, this game will ultimately come down to whichever quarterback is better. My gut is telling me that Washington is going to come out on top by my brain is telling me Green Bay. Although Rodgers have been struggling recently, he is the reigning MVP and will be up against one of the worst secondary in the NFL.

Prediction

Packers 24, Redskins 20

2016 Playoff Predictions

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

Philadelphia, PA. – My original Super Bowl pick back in training camp was Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos versus Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks. Overcoming significant circumstances is why I’m sticking with these teams and Manning going off into the sunset with his second ring. 

Super Bowl 50: Manning vs. Wilson 

This has been an interesting season to say the least for the Broncos with Brock Osweiler replacing Manning at the helm, then suddenly sneaking back to secure the top seed in the AFC. 

The Seahawks on the other hand enter the postseason scorching hot as Wilson has proven to be dangerous in the pocket. This may be Wilson’s most impressive season as a professional, tossing 34 touchdowns with 8 interceptions for 4,024 yards. Additionally, his quarterback rating is 110.1, while also logging 553 rushing yards. 

However, first things first. Below are my first round predictions. 

First Round Byes – Denver, New England, Carolina, & Arizona 

AFC Wild Card – 6. Steelers (10-6) vs. 3. Bengals (12-4)

This game will come down to whether or not AJ McCarron can throw the ball down the field to AJ Green. Stretching the field can help this run game as Jeremy Hill can plow his way over defenders. Setting up the play-action is huge as there are going to be opportunities against this Steelers’ secondary.

This will go down to the wire as turnovers will be a significant factor. If this is a shootout, then the Bengals are out of luck. They need a defensive battle, but I don’t see that happening. I don’t believe in the backup enough to outscore Ben Roethlisberger with all the weapons at his disposal. 

Prediction: Steelers 31 Bengals 24

AFC Wild Card – 5. Chiefs (11-5)  vs. 4. Texans (9-7)

This is just something about the Texans and that defense with J.J. Watt that persuaded me to pick Houston. The return of Brian Hoyer does help, especially when you’re throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins. Playing at home severely increase their chances as well.

Time of possession will be a crucial factor by being able to run the ball. Andy Reid’s Chiefs are riding a ten game winning streak, which  I don’t see continuing. Alex Smith will make a mistake, allowing the Texans to jump out in front. This game will not light up the scoreboard. 

Prediction: Texans 19 Chiefs 17

NFC Wild Card – 6. Seahawks (10-6) vs. 3. Vikings (11-5)

Earlier in the season the Seahawks wiped the floor with the Vikings, defeating 38-7, just about a month ago. This game will come down to the arm of Teddy Bridgewater and the aerial attack. Don’t expect a blowout.

Bundle up, it’s going to be a cold one in Minnesota as the high is supposed to be 4 degrees. This is the type of game where the Seahawks prevail, shutting down Adrian Peterson and allowing Wilson time to win the game. Additionally, Marshawn Lynch is a full participant in practice and will give it a go. The experience of Seattle will be too much in the end for the Vikings.

PredictionSeattle 23 Minnesota 20

NFC Wild Card – 5. Packers (10-6) vs. 4. Redskins (9-7)

It’s plain and simple, the Packers are limping into the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers has not been the same quarterback this season without Jordy Nelson and a lackluster offensive line. Green Bay ranks 23rd in the league on offensive this season, which is very unusual. Experience in the playoffs is something that you cannot discard, but I expect Rodgers to fall short in FedEx Field. 

The Redskins are the hot team with one of the best quarterbacks in Kirk Cousins who is clicking on all cylinders with 29 touchdowns. There are flaws in their secondary, but the pass rush of Terrance Knighton and Ryan Kerrigan can shorten the amount of time Rodgers will have in the backfield. A player to watch in this one is TE, Jordan Reed. 

Prediction: Washington 27 Green Bay 20

Yes Washington fans, YOU LIKE THAT! 

 

Is McDermott the Answer?

By: Tommy Yu

It’s no secret that Chip Kelly is no longer the guy in Philadelphia. Some may have rejoiced, and another’s may have wanted him to stay one more year but at the end of the day, there is a vacancy at the head coach position for the Eagles. 

The biggest question that comes with the head coaching vacancy is, “Do we want an offensive or defensive coach?” In order to address to both parties, I will suggest two different coaches which fill in the role for each.

Offensive: Adam Gase

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos

Gase the new head coach?

At first glance, many will say “Who?” Adam Gase has quietly had a great career and is viewed as one of the brightest young offensive coach in the league. Don’t take it from me, but Peyton Manning stated that he was “the smartest guy I know” when he was the offensive coordinator during his record breaking year in Denver.

Now he is in Chicago and helped Jay Cutler achieve career numbers; he dropped Cutler’s interception percentage to 2.3 (his career average is 3.4). He also helped Cutler set or tie career highs in completion percentage, passer rating, yards per attempt, and did all of this without Brandon Marshall (traded to New York) or rookie receiver Kevin White (IR). 

Why he could be a good fit

Producing great numbers on offense is important, but establishing a relationship with players is just as crucial. He obviously established a great repertoire with Peyton Manning because the future hall of famer thinks of him in such high regards, but Jay Cutler also loves him too.

You know, the guy who constantly looks miserable and has such a bad rep in Chicago due to his negative body posture and demeanor..that guy bought Gase a tailor made suit to thank him for all of his help. 

Gase also shows great ability to adapting. Prior to Peyton’s arrival in Denver, Gase was the wide receiver coach for Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd. Gase and McCoy had to adjust their playbook in-season when Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback and caused all of the receivers to run routes differently to adjust to a left-handed quarterback with accuracy issues. 

Gase continued to show his versatility when John Fox was fired in Denver. He followed Fox to Chicago where he took Cutler under his wing. This is his first year in Chicago and like I stated before, Cutler is setting career highs despite the Bears’ offense suffering injuries to many key players such as leading receiver Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte (they combined for a total of 277 receptions last season). The Bears’ offense entered week 17 with the 23rd in points and 21st in years, but ranked 10th in DVOA (11th passing, 5th rushing). 

Adam Gase goes above and beyond to cater to his quarterbacks. He reached out to Urban Meyer and looked at Florida’s offense to help Tebow, borrowed and altered some schemes and concepts from Indy’s playbook for Manning, and discussed and merged what worked best for Cutler when Mike Martz (who worked with Gase in Detroit in 2010) into his playbook this season in Chicago. 

Why he could be a bad fit

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Adam Gase has been surrounded by greater talent than what is currently present in Philadelphia. Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, and Matt Forte trumps Sam Bradford, Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray, ect. It is impressive to see him turn around the injury filled Chicago offense, but he owes a majority of his success when he reached record numbers with Peyton Manning in 2011-2013.

Gase also does not have a lot of experience coaching. At the ripe age of 37, he only has about 12 years of NFL coaching experience in total which marks him as the least experienced coach that is currently being considered for a head coaching job. 

Conclusion

Although there are some risks which surrounds hiring a young coach, I believe that Adam Gase has proven and shown glimpses of what he can achieve. He was able to help and adapt his offense to a future hall of famer reach record breaking numbers, help a turnover prone quarterback become more stable and set career numbers, and repeatedly shown his versatility and flexibility. If many of you are opposed to hiring Gase due to his lack of experience or age, just remember that Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers was two years younger and had one year less experience than Gase did before taking the reins. 

If Jeffrey Lurie is looking for a coach to maximize the potential of Sam Bradford or a new young quarterback, there is no one more qualified than Adam Gase. He will be able to supply the high powered offense that Philadelphia has slowly become accustomed too without the hindrance of the constant three and outs, low time of possession, and awful play calls. Gase is currently scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Tuesday, Janurary 5th.

Defensive: Sean McDermott

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McDermott the answer? 

Yep, I know I am going to get a lot of heat for this one but I believe that Sean McDermott will be a great fit with Philadelphia. Andy Reid fired him as Philly’s defensive coordinator after just two years (both playoff years) and replaced him with Juan Castillo.

During McDermott’s tenure with Philly, he didn’t have the players Jim Johnson had and obviously could not replicate the success his mentor had. Before I dive into why he may be a good fit, let’s look at one eye popping number. The Eagles have become the first team in NFL history to allow 6,000 yards in three straight seasons. 

Why he could be a good fit

McDermott is a Philly guy; he grew up around the area. He played high school football and wrestled at La Salle High School in Springfield, played safety alongside Mike Tomlin at William and Mary, and joined the Eagles in 1998 as a scouting intern. McDermott is now the Panthers’ defensive coordinator under head coach Ron Rivera and revolutionized Carolina’s defense into one of the NFL’s best. Over the last three years, the Panthers’ defense rank 5th best in the NFL in points, 6th in takeaways, 1st in sacks, and 3rd in yards allowed under the control of McDermott. 

McDermott is exactly what the Eagles need right now. He brings a positive personality and has that blue-collar, Philly mentality and works hard for everything he has achieved. He understands how badly Philly fans want to win and has been mentored by some great minds such as Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera. He brings an intensity which the Eagles desperately need and is not shy to speak is mind.

So McDermott kind of has a bad reputation to be a coach in Philly, right? Well, I want to clear the air up a little bit. During McDermott’s two years as Philly’s defensive coordinator, the Eagles allowed the 9th fewest yards, led the NFL in takeaways, and ranked 4th in sacks. That’s not too bad when the Eagles’ defense was composed of Ellis Hobbs, Macho Haris, Moise Fokou, Nate Allen, Akeem Jordan, Sean Jones, Dimitri Patterson, Victor Abiamiri, Antonio Dixon, and Omar Gaither in their starting lineup.

Why he may not be a good fit

Philly may be looking for a new spark that can quickly turn things around in Philly. Can an old face back in their organization do that? That is for you to judge. I believe that McDermott can, but I believe that his familiarity with the organization could in fact hurt him. If Lurie wants a whole new culture in the team, he may be reluctant to bring back someone that was fired. McDermott is not only against other coaches who are pursuing a head coaching position, but he is also against the reputation which has unfairly been built up against him.

Conclusion

McDermott is tough, but he’s a tremendous communicator and motivator. This is exactly what Philly needs right now. He is slowly becoming known as one of the better defensive minds in the NFL and can completely rehaul our defense. McDermott started from the bottom and clawed his way up while earning every ounce of respect (ranked as the number 2 coaching candidate only behind Hue Jackson). If anyone understand the pain and suffering that the city of Philadelphia has endured, McDermott is the guy.

Eagles Head Coaching Candidates

By: David DiPasqua, Jr. 

Philadelphia, PA. – The Chip Kelly experiment came to an abrupt end in year three as the Eagles completely spiraled out of control. 

Owner, Jeffrey Lurie made it abundantly clear that there needs to be better communication and collaboration on decisions moving forward.  Listed below are a pair of potential candidates for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Offensive Candidate: Sean Payton 

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Payton to Philadelphia?

Payton has completely changed the culture down in New Orleans. Since 2006, the coach has a 93-61 (.604) career record while also bringing home a Super Bowl in 2009. 

The Philadelphia fanbase needs someone at the helm who has been in the NFL and can relate to the players on the roster. Payton has served under Ray Rhodes, Jim Fassel, and Bill Parcells. His experience is certainly an element that will entice Lurie. However, one flaw is whether Payton will want full control of personnel. After the Kelly debacle, that is not even on the table. 

New Orleans was most effective when their ground attack opened up the play-action pass. DeMarco Murray immediately comes to mind as his massive contract means he is here to stay. The offensive line needs helps (obviously), but running out of the I-formation will immediately change the complexion of this offense. For example, look at Murray’s 54 yard touchdown against the Giants in last week’s regular season finale.  

According to reports, the New Orleans Saints want to acquire a second-round pick for their head coach. This may attract teams such as the Colts or 49ers who are interested in the Super Bowl winning coach. However, this does seem like a steep price as some teams such as the Eagles may be better off playing the waiting game. 

The Saints are going to rebuild, which makes complete sense on their end to receive compensation for Payton. If push came to shove, I don’t see any team in the league departing with a high draft pick. Additionally, Drew Brees plays a significant role in this equation. Brees heads into this off-season with only one year left on his deal. He’s an aging quarterback, who recently turned 36 years old. It would make sense for either the Saints to keep both of them or cut ties at the same time.

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Brees & Payton? 

If this becomes a reality, the Eagles should jump at the chance to welcome Payton and Brees to the City of Brotherly Love. This duo immediately solves two problems. Bree would teach the young offense the scheme, while also being given a proven workhorse in the backfield with Murray. Don’t forget, this reunites Darren Sproles as well. 

Bottom line, Sean Payton is a proven head coach who can instantly turn this team around in 2016. 

Defensive Candidate: Matt Patricia

The name Matt Patricia is not very well known, except to those who are fans in New England. This defense has not been the same since Jim Johnson and adding Patricia’s mind can help this struggling defense. 

Patricia has been the defensive coordinator for Bill Belichick the last  four seasons. The 41 year old has been learning under Belichick since 2004, being an assistant on both sides of the ball. His versatility and growth showcases his ability to lead. 

matt-patricia-nfl-preseason-philadelphia-eagles-new-england-patriots-850x560

Defense wins championships 

  • 2004: Offensive Assistant
  • 2005: Assistant offensive line
  • 2006-10: Linebackers coach 
  • 2011: Safeties coach 
  • 2012-present:Defensive Coord.

Face it, the Eagles defense ran out of gas and were not able to bounce back from injuries. They were on the field more than any defense in the NFL with 1,148 snaps. Coming in second were the New York Giants with 1,105.

Tempo does matter, which apparently Kelly did not understand. Three and outs were one of the reasons why the defense allowed 401.6 yards per game and 26.9 points. 

A fresh new start is exactly what this defense needs. This will allow the Eagles to attempt and keep the 3-4 scheme. However, a hybrid of 4-3 and 3-4 is possible with the players on the roster.

On the defensive line, Patricia will have the opportunity to work with Fletcher Cox (who will get a long-term contract), Vinny Curry (who should be resigned), Connor Barwin, and Brandon Graham. There is talent in the front seven that should be attractable to coaches. 

There is a log jam at the inside linebacker position with DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, and stellar rookie Jordan Hicks. Ryans looked like he lost a step, especially in coverage. Kendricks was missing in action half the time. Alonso was a complete bust to put it nicely. However, a full-offseason will allow him to get healthy and become the player he once was in Buffalo. Lastly, Hicks deserves consideration for the starting spot after his rookie season. 

He can develop Eric Rowe, rejuvenate Byron Maxwell, and keep Malcolm Jenkins happy who had a tremendous season at safety. Additionally, Patricia may be able to persuade Walter Thurmond to stay. These are all pieces that Patricia can play with. This has the potential to be a top ten defense. 

New England Defensive Stats: 

  • 2012: Allowed (20.7/g), 9th.
  • 2013: Allowed (21.1/g), 10th.
  • 2014: Allowed (19.6/g), 8th.

Bottom line, age does not matter and Patricia can help instill a winning culture. Learning under Belichick for over a decade makes him a suitable candidate. 

 

 

 

Eagles keep Sam Bradford?

By: Tommy Yu

If you asked me this question halfway through this season, I would have screamed no; now I am a bit more reluctant to say so. Since week 8 against the cowboys, Bradford has an average quarterback rating of a 96.9, 8 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Although the Eagles are no longer in playoff contention, I can confidently say that it is not because of Bradford’s play. 

eagles logo

Decisions need to be made

Now my answer may not be as black and white as you may be looking for. Bradford will be 29 next year and is protected by a vulnerable interior line. I can never shake his injury prone status and he tends to panic anytime he is under pressure. 

Before I make a definition answer if Philadelphia should keep him or not, let me digress. The Eagles have many other positions to worry about over the quarterback position. Now I know what you guys are thinking. “Tommy! The quarterback is the most important position! How can that not be our number one priority?!” Well, as we’ve all seen this season, our interior linemen are awful. Does it make much sense to have an injury prone quarterback protected by guys off the street? 

We also need to address our receiving corps. “Tommy! We just got Nelson Agholor in the first round! We don’t need to spend any more time with our receivers!” Yes, I hear you but I cannot ignore the fact that we have no speed to stretch the field. This was blatantly obvious in our most recent game against the Redskins.

When we needed a big play, we would either check it down to Ertz (he had 13 receptions for 122 yards) or we would just throw a screen. Josh Huff may be the most explosive/quick receiver we have on our team but he is too raw. Matthews is slowly turning it around but he stated that he does not like the pressure of being the number one guy. Can Agholor become our number one? Yeah, I can see that, but it may take him a bit longer than everyone anticipated.

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Matthews & Agholor need to step it up

The last position that should be evaluated before Bradford is our secondary. Don’t even get me started on Byron Maxwell the human toaster. I am convinced that he cannot cover Hank Baskett. Current day. With Helen Keller throwing him the ball. Luckily, Eric Rowe looks like he could develop into a pretty decent corner. If it wasn’t for Malcolm Jenkins being the saving grace of our secondary, our secondary would easily give up over 400 yards a game. 

Now we are back to the question whether we should have Sam Bradford back. In my opinion, if he accepts a contract for 3 years for about $32 million, then why not. If he wants more, I would say no. I don’t believe that Bradford can win us a Super Bowl because he is not getting any younger, but it is definitely encouraging to see him get more comfortable with Chip’s system. I do, however, believe that if we got a younger, mobile quarterback, their ceiling would be much higher than Bradford.

So in conclusion, I would not mind if the Eagles resign Bradford, but ultimately, I believe that we should part ways with him and start planning for the future. Yep, I’m going to say the R word…I think it’s time that we rebuild.

Stay or Go: Sam Bradford

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

In three long seasons, Chip Kelly has managed to have the entire city of Philadelphia turn against him. As a head coach for the Eagles, he has been consistently out coached on the field while also tearing apart a talented roster as the general manager. 

At the helm, Kelly has elected to get rid of household names such as DeSean Jackson (Received nothing for him), LeSean McCoy (Received Kiko Alonso who is worse than my little brother), among others. This embarrassing 2015 season is a direct result of Kelly’s inability to recognize talent, therefore missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. 

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Is Bradford the answer with Chip Kelly?

Kelly’s answer was to hit the panic button this off-season and sign DeMarco Murray to a long-term contract. Not only did he overpay the former Dallas Cowboy, but ultimately decided to trade for the injury prone quarterback, Sam Bradford. On paper it looked like a horrible trade. 

Fans were immediately skeptical as Bradford entered a Philadelphia system with bad knees, a bum shoulder, and a hefty paycheck. Sadly, the Saint Louis Rams stole a second round pick as well in exchange for Nick Foles. 

This season was a work in progress as playmakers on the outside proved to be ineffective. Riley Cooper is awful, especially when he can’t win a one-on-one matchup. Jordan Matthews has been hit or miss, but coming on as of late. Don’t ride off Nelson Agholor yet, even though the dropped touchdown against the Redskins that did hit him in the hands. Zach Ertz shows glimpses of becoming a major threat at times. However, not one defense in the league is scared of any of these players. This leaves Bradford in a major predicament.

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Ertz did catch on last game with 13 receptions 

The 28 year old has been pushed around all season, due to a lackluster offensive line, drops, and weak rushing attack. Murray has been dreadful. Matthews has been okay, while Sproles has been solid. The fragile right arm has compiled 3,405 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 INTs. He does have a tendency to check it down too much, but that can be attributed to the receivers.

Adding a deep threat can completely change the complexion of how this team operates. Bradford does look more comfortable in the system with more repetitions. People forget that he missed basically two seasons worth of games due to injury. Shaking off the rust was the first step, then adjusting to Kelly’s system that failed to produce a rushing game. With that being said, all these holes on the squad might not be something he wants to wait around for. 

Bradford will enter free agency without much competition, considering the other pair of starting quarterbacks will most likely return to their respectable teams. Kirk Cousins will receive a big payday from Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins after the tremendous season he has displayed. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been the solution in the Big Apple. Reconnecting with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has jump started this Jets’ offense. 

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Take Kaep or RG3 instead? 

Neither quarterback will hit the market, leaving the door open for Bradford who could collect major money if that is the case. This season, his salary cap number was nearly 13 million dollars. If Bradford is willing to stay for a reasonable number, say 4 years around $55 million dollars then keep the veteran around.

Quarterbacks are a necessity in the NFL today, especially ones who are “apparently” the leader of the team. 

You do not draft a quarterback unless you are willing to completely blowup the roster. There are simply too many other problem on the roster to worry about. Other free agents for the Eagles include Walter Thurmond, Nolan Carroll, Cedric Thornton, and Vinny Curry.

Final decision, the Eagles must sign Bradford in order to succeed and possibly win a dreadful NFC East in 2016. Kelly invested too much by giving up the second round pick and needs it to work in order to keep his job in Philadelphia. 

Sign Bradford, then figure out how you can help him out moving forward. 

 

Pilot Podcast

The pilot podcast consist of analysis regarding Philadelphia sports, applying some insight and commentary on the current situation teams are in. 

Provided below is the podcast, created by my brother and I during the week of November 23rd. 

 

Times

  • Eagles: 1:47-9:18
  • Sixers/Ben Simmonds: 9:20-15:37
  • Phillies: 15:38-Finish

For my final project in a journalism course, we had to create a podcast. Originally I had video streaming overtop the podcast, but I did not have the rights to the visual content. 

Philadelphia Sports: Letter A

Considering how professional sports in Philadelphia have officially gone down the toilet in 2015, I have elected to shine a spotlight on the players who gave this fanbase something to cheer about. 

There were plenty of ups and downs, yet there are players who will forever be known in the city of “Brotherly Love.” Over the next few weeks, there will be a Philadelphia Sports Alphabet, A-Z. 

Kicking things off with letter A, is none other than Hall of Fame center fielder, Richie Ashburn. 

richie_ashburn

Now remembered in Citizens Bank Park with the naming of “Asburn Alley”

Career Statistics

  • Hall of Fame inductee 1995
  • Phillies tenure: 1948-59
  • .308 hitter
  • 1,198 walks
  • 2,574 hits 
  • .397 on-base percentage
  • 6x All-Star 

Whether it was his bat or glove, Ashburn knew how to get the fans on their feet. His heart, hustle, and will to win were qualities that Philadelphia embraced. 

During his tenure, Ashburn a brought National League championship to the city in 1950 as a member of the “Whiz Kids.” 

Ashburn wasn’t quite done after his playing days, joining the media after retirement. The center fielder joined the Phillies’ broadcast team in 1963 and was the voice alongside Harry Kalas for over the next two decades, up until his death in 1997. 

Richie Ashburn was truly a fan favorite who put his speed, bat, and voice on display for nearly 50 years, earning him a top spot in the Philadelphia Sports alphabet. 

Famous quote: “To cure a batting slump, I took my bat to bed with me. I wanted to know my bat a little better.”