Friday, July 25, 2014

Lane Johnson Messed Up



Lane Johnson is the Philadelphia Eagles starting right tackle. He will miss the first four game of the upcoming season due to testing positive for performing enhancing drugs. Among reporters there is a sense that Eagles’ fans should not worry about Johnson missing the first four games of the season due to a PED suspension. The Philadelphia media believes that Jonson is replaceable. They believe this because he is only in his second year and does not have much of a learning curve. The Eagles have also time to prepare for the absence.

The Eagles former first round pick in 2013 did not start his rookie year strong as he gave up a too many sacks. As the year progressed he improved his pass blocking. His run blocking has always been the best part of his because it takes advantage of his athleticism. By the end of the year he was the best rookie offensive lineman and looked like a future all-pro. Last year the team’s offensive line was together throughout the whole year. After Lane’s suspension that cannot be the case in 2014. It was one of if not the best offensive lines in the NFL. The offensive line and Johnson’s success will not be able to continue until week 5.

The Eagles can try to continue their success up front but they will need some help from Allen Barbre during those four games. Barbre is a veteran who earned a contract extension He did get some playing time last year when Jason Peter went down mid-game. A positive from the suspension is that it forces the Eagles to build depth. Depth is the main critique that the Eagles have for their offensive line. The Eagles will go up against Jaguars, Colts, Redskins, and 49ers for their first four games. Three of four of those teams have a powerful pass rush. The exception is the Colts. Since Allen Barbre will be the weakest link along the line, he will be pressured by bull-rushes as opposing teams single him out. At least Lane’s ego will not be bruised from getting beat up by the 49ers deadly pass rush. Without a great offensive line the Eagles may not be able to put up the same great numbers from last year. Everything starts from up front.  Let’s hope when Lane comes back from his suspension he does not fall into a sophomore slump which he may be prone to after missing the first four games. He was on his way to become an outstanding player in the for the Eagles but now he is a problem that they have to overcome. Lane Johnson might be use getting away with breaking the rules in his hometown in Texas with his redneck friends but he was not sly enough to hide it from the Roger Goodell and the NFL. It is moronic of him to not get a drug cleared by the Eagles training staff before using it.

Roger Goodell handed out a two game suspension to Ray Rice for beating a women in an elevator and dragging her unconscious body into a hotel room. The Eagles first round pick in 2013 is getting a four game suspension for trying to make himself some more money, help the Eagles win, and make the NFL more exciting. Why should Lane Johnson be punished for getting jacked? In Lane’s mind getting muscles on top of muscles is a medical emergency that he was prescribed PEDs to help. Rice may have only received a two game suspension because he had a terrible season last year. Roger Goodell had sympathy for his former playmaker on a Super Bowl winning team. The Eagles released a statement that had an underlying message of them being ticked off about Lane Johnson’s suspension and use of PEDs. The Baltimore Ravens released a statement regarding Ray Rice that seemed passive. Perhaps if Rice had a dominant season last year or was not on the decline of his career Goodell and Ravens would care more about his demeaning actions. Johnson should take the four game suspension as he a compliment that Goodell believes he is rising star in the NFL. Before the suspension everything was on the up and up for Johnson. He had a great season, got married, and had a kid. Someday Lane will have to explain to his son how what he did is twice as bad as what Ray Rice did. The NFL’s bizarre priorities are making it more difficult for Lane Johnson to support his family than Ray Rice.

Something that irks me about the NFL is that it does not release what the specific PED was that Johnson was taking. The bottom line is Johnson screwed up and it will cause trouble for the Eagles in the trenches. There is always that one guy that has to make it harder on everyone else. Lane Johnson will feel pathetic going through training camp and preseason games knowing that he will not play more than 12 games during the season. Jeff Stoutland, Eagles offensive line coach better yell at Lane more than any other play. Lane Johnson should give $1,000 for every sack the offensive line lets up while Johnson is out as additional punishment. So far this is the worst news that Eagles nation has had during the offseason. At least he will be the healthiest person on the field come week 5.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It could be worse



Well, folks with the Phillies season being a mess so far we figured we would lighten the mood a little bit. This has to be one of the worst seasons in recent years for the Philadelphia Phillies, after their 2008 World Series Championship this team has been one of aging stars and big contract mistakes. But, ladies and gentleman it can always be worse. So here we are to list the players at every position that just never worked out for the Phillies. Just think your team could be made up of these guys instead.

Starting Catcher: Lou Marson
                Lou truly was a prospect that was never able to get over the hump. He was a guy that was viewed for many years as the future of the Phillies franchise, a guy that at any moment could hit his peak. However, that would never happen with the Phillies and he would be shipped off in the first Cliff Lee trade. Lou would bounce around the league for a few more seasons even coming back to the Phillies this spring, and once again lack performance greatly. Lou made our list due to the fact he was a guy that had so much expectation and never lived up to any of it.

Starting First Baseman: Travis Lee
                One name comes to mind when you think of first baseman that never really produced with the Phillies. Travis Lee is the first that comes to many people’s minds. Travis Lee was a superstar in college baseball, even winning the Golden Spikes award. Many thought Travis was the missing piece for the Phillies squad a guy that could carry a team on his back. In his time with the Phillies he was known for one thing, and one thing only the guy who never did anything from the Curt Schilling trade. Travis never really panned out with the Phillies, playing only two years with the squad and finally being released when the team signed fan favorite Jim Thome. Travis Lee stuck around for a few more years but never really was anything special, just an average player.

Starting Second Baseman: Nick Punto
                Now I know many of you are probably saying Nick Punto hasn’t had a bad career, in fact he’s still playing with the A’s right now. But, the 21st round draft pick of the Phillies in 1998 really never worked out for them in general. In simple terms he was just like Lou Marson, a guy that was given many chances but never really worked out. Punto in his career with the Phillies in 3 years would play only 77 games and hit .223. The reason Nick made the list over someone like Marlon Anderson is due to the fact that he has had recent success but basically none with the Phillies.

Starting Shortstop: Kevin Stocker
                Many of our readers probably don’t even remember a time when Jimmy Rollins wasn’t the starting Shortstop for the Phillies, and trust us we try to forget that part. The years between Larry Bowa and Jimmy Rollins was filled with many, and we mean many failures at the Shortstop position for the Phillies. One that stands out strong is Kevin Stocker. Though Kevin was very success in his Rookie season, finishing 7 in the ROY voting, batting .324 that season. Stocker’s career would quickly go downhill from there and eventually would leave Philadelphia for the expansion draft with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Kevin Stocker was just one of many failures that the Phillies had at the shortstop position. However, the reason he makes our list is due to the fact again he had a lot of potential but never really worked out for the Phillies.

Starting Third Baseman: Kim Batiste
                The Phillies have always been a team that has struggled to find a replacement Third Baseman for Mike Schmidt. For years many would come to Philadelphia just to fail at the position. Until Scott Rolen arrived to the Phillies and would be a hit, however he would not last long in Philadelphia. The losing of Rolen would cause many years of mediocre players and lack of talent. Batiste is a guy that many remember for playing multiple positions. He was never a true starter with the Phillies, but would get a lot of playing time. Batiste is a guy that never really gave the Phillies anything during his time in the 90s and many would view him as a failure.

Starting LF: Domonic Brown
                The Phillies have had tons of different failures and success at leftfield, but for years one man was a mainstay out there and that was Pat Burrell. Even though Pat never lived up to his potential he was productive day in and day out and was truly a fan favorite. Many thought for sure that Domonic Brown would be the perfect replacement for him. However, Brown has just been a complete failure at the position. Dom was very successful for about 5 weeks last season, even making an All-Star game. Now Brown just looks lost and confused out at that position. Brown just hasn’t lived up to anything.

Starting CF: Doug Glanville
                Yes I know Glanville was decent and frankly above average during a couple season with the Phillies, batting .325 one year. Glanville was a local guy from the New Jersey area, even went to UPenn. Doug did have a few good years in the eyes of Phillies fans, but in all honesty he never did anything special. He was just an average defender, decent arm, and some speed. But, in my mind Doug will always be remember for miss playing a ball during Eric Milton’s almost no-hitter at CBP. Doug makes the list well, just because Phillies fans had a love hate relationship with him.

Starting RF: Jason Michaels
                The Phillies have actually had themselves some great right fielders in their history. There really has been no one that key to pick on. In the past 10 years the position has been filled with guys that were all above average players, Bobby Abreu, Jayson Werth, even David Dellucci. But one guy that stands out in Phillies fans minds will always be Jason Michaels. The guy was always to put it simply unproductive. Michaels played several seasons with the Phillies and never really amounted to much.

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Kendrick
                Face it people we have to go with him. Kendrick has been extremely unproductive in his time with the Phillies. He really hasn’t produced much for this team and hasn’t really given them anything to work with. Year in and year out Kendrick comes in and is either the same or worse then what he is. Don’t get me wrong he’s a decent number 5 starter, but that’s all he is a number 5. Kendrick has had some ups but mostly downs in his time with the Phillies.

The Closer: Jeff Brantley
                This is another position where the Phillies have once again excelled it. Though people including myself do not like Jonathan Papelbon he has been productive; the Phillies have also had guys like Wagner, Mesa, and Lidge all guys that were productive closers. But, if we have to pick a guy to make this squad, it is Jeff Brantley. Most of you guys are at this moment googling his name. Brantley played two seasons with the Phillies and was their closer for one of them in the early 2000s. Brantley was a guy who came to Philadelphia past his prime and was put in the closer role; kind of like how Tom Gordon was. Brantley in his two years had an above 5 ERA, and simply looked horrible.

                Well, we told you it could be worse. We could have this team of rag-tag guys, of failing prospects and washed-up stars. For the most part these guys weren’t necessarily bad baseball players; they were just failures with the Phillies and never really worked out. For the most part all of the guys listed above, may not have been the best ball players but they were probably the nicest and kindest of all the players, so in that category they are winners, performance not so much.         


       

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eagles Pre-Training Camp Thoughts



With players reporting for Philadelphia Eagles training camp on July 25th the start of their season is sooner than later. Last year was the first year that Eagles’ training camp was in Philadelphia since 1943 in which it was being held at Saint Joseph’s University. Last year was also the first year that Chip Kelly was the head coach. It is hard to believe that it has only been one season that Andy Reid has not been around in Philadelphia. It feels like forever ago because so much has changed during the new Chip Kelly regime.

Chip Kelly is a coach that knows exactly what he wants and has changed everything from the food in the cafeteria to the tempo of practice. More than anything he has changed the culture. This team is extremely likable. There is not one player that could even be remotely bothersome. Besides not having any baggage that come along with any of the players they are also one of the most talented teams in quite a few years. Looking back on the teams with Andy Reid it almost seems as if they had a fake sense of professionalism. 

The entire Eagles coaching staff is back for another year with the exception of Bill Lazor. Lazor was the Eagles’ QB coach who is now the offensive coordinator of the Dolphins. It is beneficial for the Eagles that their defensive and the offensive coordinator are back for consecutive years. After a year of playing in the system the entire Eagles’ defense is now adjusted to the 3-4 and everybody knows their role. They should be able to play as a more cohesive unit and be more effective. 

On the offensive side of the ball, there is no starting QB controversy. The fans and the organization are confident in Nick Foles’ ability under center. This year we will no longer see the agony of Riley Cooper doing screens. Maclin, Matthews, and Huff are much more proficient with screens. Like any spread offense in the screens will be a staple of the Eagles offense even more this coming season. Foles will spread the ball out to different receivers more than last year. Each player will have relatively similar total of yards. The opposing defense will not know who they will cover, that is if they can.

There are not many coaches to make the jump from college to the NFL. Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll are the rare few. During Pete Carroll’s 3rd NFL season he won the Superbowl. So does that mean the Eagles have two are one more season away before their Superbowl season? Last season the only playoff team the Eagles faced was the Packers and it was without their starting QB. The Eagles starting players will be the mostly the same as last year except for Jackson. This way the young players that they drafted are able to develop without being rushed. Of course this is barring any injury or suspension. The newly drafted players of the Eagles will see valuable playing time though through being role players. The goal is by the end of the season comes around they will be getting more minutes because their role has grown as their play does. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ronald Roberts Jr. is NBA ready


Since Ronald Roberts Jr. did not get drafted, he is forced to take the long road to the NBA. Every player in the summer leagues is trying to prove that they are worth having on the team and scrapping for that last spot. During Roberts Jr. senior year with the Hawks, his production was never consistent throughout his senior year. Even if NBA scouts did take notice of him, he did not keep their attention. Everybody, including NBA scouts wonder if he is more than just a freak athlete. It is already known that he plays hard, rebounds, and dunks. Not too belittle what he is great at, but that might not be enough.

Throughout the six games of the Orlando Summer League the NBA is seeing what Saint Joes fans have seen for past four years: one handed dunks, put back dunks, and a rebounding machine. During those games he consistently showed his high energy effort. It is also evident that he was a four year college due to his maturity and smartness. It did look as if he had it easy because he was playing alongside Nerlens Noel. But then he played center in place of him for two games and dominated. During the title game which Noel was on bench for, Roberts had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Ronald Roberts Jr. helped the 76ers to win the Orlando Championship League with an average of 10 points and 6.8 rebounds.

It was strange watching him in a uniform other than a Hawks’. Because the Sixers want to develop young promising players, Roberts has a great chance of making the team. The athleticism that Philadelphia 76ers like is there for Ronald being 6’8” tall, 225 pounds, possessing a 7’1” wingspan. The 76ers are a fast pace team, which Roberts is able to run the court with ease. He also does not have a good outside shot which another standard of theirs. But one reason they may not be so high on him is that he is able to play right away because he is not injured nor has a contract overseas.

During the two summer leagues everybody is fighting for a roster spot on an NBA team. With that being said he played harder than every player on the court. His high energy effort and play made him a fan favorite quickly. He is this year’s Khaliff Wyatt. Let’s just hope the Sixers stick with him. Ronald Roberts Jr. could join the long list of 6’8” strong and physical effort players that play a key role of dominating skinny 6’10” kids around. He would give an NBA team toughness, energy, and athleticism off the bench at the 4. If he does not end up on an NBA team’s final roster he will definitely be able to make 6 figures overseas.

The former number 13 for SJU Hawks proved that he can play at the NBA level on a regular basis. After his showing during the Sixers’ championship run during the Orlando Summer League Roberts should be invited to 76ers training camp. There are other teams interested in Ronald if the Sixers are not as he is now suiting up for the Miami Heat in Las Vegas Summer League.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Jameer Back In Philly?


Everyone in Philadelphia remembers Jameer Nelson's years from high school to college. Nelson was "the little man from the little school beating everybody." Throughout his basketball career the former number 14 for Saint Joseph's accomplished the most in Philadelphia. He led SJU to the elite eight of the NCAA tournament during their undefeated season and was the Atlantic 10 conference Player of the Year in 2004. And he could continue that success if he comes back to Philadelphia and would have more than enough fans. He continues to give back to the community he grew up in. Recently, he had a gym dedicated to by the YMCA because of his dedication of giving back to his hometown.  

Jameer Nelson has recently been waived from the Orlando Magic. Where he had a long and outstanding career with the team that drafted him. It has been 10 years already since Nelson had his first game with his Magic squad, a team that looks very different today than they did back then. Jameer would’ve been set to rejoin the team this season being the oldest player on the team, no longer in the prime of his career. By waiving Nelson Orlando is saving money and able to get younger. And they also no longer have a reason to keep him on the roster after trading for PG Elfrid Payton. The former SJU Hawk and former All-Star still has a lot to prove and a lot to give to a NBA team. Nelson is a veteran in the league and is able to be a team leader; especially, with a young team in the locker room. That’s where many are now saying the 76ers may come into play. 


General Manager of the Magic had this to say about Jameer Nelson:
“Jameer (Nelson) is the ultimate professional, We truly thank him for his contributions to the organization, both on the court and in the community, during the last decade. He will always be a member of the Magic family.”

Jameer who is a Chester native has always dreamed of playing for his hometown squad. Nelson has been a very solid and productive player over his last 10 years with the Magic, making it to 1 All-Star game, as well as being named to the All-Rookie team in his first year. Nelson has always been a key part of the Magic team, he can score big numbers when needed, but he is always willing to be the guy to pass first in a situation. Nelson has never wanted the attention or to be the star of the team, and that type of attitude is one that the Sixers could use on their squad. Bringing a veteran in like Jameer could help the young guys like MCW, like Pierre Jackson. Jameer is guy that players listen too, and can help this Sixers team grow as a whole. Jameer would actually be a perfect fit for this team not only because he can help the younger players, but also due to the fact that he can still play with the best of them.Jameer Nelson is an option that would improve the 76ers. He would not only make the team better, but bring more people to the Wells Fargo Center. Michael Carter-Williams needs another PG to give him rest. Nelson could mentor Carter-Williams through any Sophomore slump he might have. Jameer can still lead a team to victory, and proved it several times last season. A guy like Jameer is someone we need on the Sixers and in Philadelphia.
 
Nelson has enough good play left that he could play for a playoff contending team. He will probably get a one-year contract with those types of teams. While, in Philadelphia it is more likely to get a muli-year deal. Philadelphia also has more money in their disposal than playoff contending teams. Is it really absurd to think that he could become a Sixer? No. It would be to think that the Sixers will have both Nelson and Ronald Roberts Jr. on the team. They would probably be in the same room though at some point if Nelson signs with the Sixers soon.  

The Magic has let go of one of the best point guards they’ve had in decades. Jameer needs a team and Philadelphia would be the perfect fit for him. Nelson wants and needs to come home to Philadelphia, as he already still lives here to this day. Bringing Jameer back to Philadelphia will not only help the Sixers tutor their young players, but he may bring some of that great Hawkhill magic back as well. Jameer has always been a class act of a person and a class act to this city, he is the missing piece for the years to come.The Magic even thanked him with his own billboard on his way out, that shows how kind of a person Jameer really was.