Following a five point loss to Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs earlier this month it was easy to criticize any and all of the Eagles miscues. One player that came under scrutiny, and I must admit I was frustrated with him myself, was placekicker David Akers. Akers in unlikely fashion missed two field goals from 41 and what seemed a chip shot for him from 34 yards. Akers is the 17th most accurate kicker in NFL history. Kicking for him has become second nature.
After the loss it was evident that something beyond football was on his mind. Safety Quintin Mikell reiterated multiple times in post game interviews that Akers was “dealing with a lot” but would not elaborate much further. This past weekend we discovered what had been plaguing our place kicker.
In a recent article, ESPN Writer and Philadelphia native Jayson Stark wrote about the most underrated players in baseball at each position. He named Ruiz as the most underrated catcher and he talked to a MLB scout about Ruiz and here is what the scout said. “I think he's the best catcher in the game -- other than [Joe] Mauer who's on a different planet. The confidence his pitchers have in the fingers that go down is invaluable."
Sir Charles is known in Philly and quite frankly around the country as a man who speaks his mind. Well this week the Round Mound said something “turrible” and downright stupid about his former team the 76ers. Despite a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last night, 99-94 where the Sixers led by 16 entering the fourth, the Sixers have won 13 of the last 17 at home and currently sit in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference. Your Round highness had this to say about his former team.
“Why is Doug Collins trying to win games? That’s stupid. They should develop the young guys and try to get a better draft pick.”
The Flyers have been searching for their goalie of the future for what seems like forever. We have seen goalie after goalie between the pipes year after year. Since Hextall played 60+ games in each of his first three seasons in the NHL starting in the 86-87 season, no Flyer goalie has played back to back 60 games seasons. A Flyers goalie has only played back to back seasons of 50 games twice since then, once it was done by Hextall in his second stint with the team, and the other time was Martin Biron.
Since parting ways with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott on January 16th one of the biggest questions concerning the Eagles has been who is going to fill that position? A number of different names from Dick Jauron to Jim Mora Jr. have circulated but Andy Reid and Jeffery Lurie remain tight-lipped about who the new DC will be. In Philly executive decisions are always under the microscope and the lack of a replacement has been scrutinized heavily by Eagle fans alike.
To subpar reviews McDermott served as their defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, and has been with the Eagles since 1998. A job he was handed the reins to after the legendary Jim Johnson lost his bout with cancer. Reid who 3 days prior to his firing reiterated that McDermott would be back as the Eagles defensive coordinator touted McDermott as a hard worker and a respected coach. Looking back you can see that maybe Andy had already decided to send him packing with only some pleasantries to show for it.
Who is this team that has won 3 straight and has gone 17-12 since November 26th? As I watch the Philadelphia 76ers as of late I seem to be having trouble with my eyes and am overcome with a weird sense of interest and excitement. This can’t be the same team that has averaged 38 wins in the last six seasons? There is a new sense of hope and energy, a new commander at the helm. The man in charge is our very own Doug Collins.
As soon as Cliff Lee decided he would join the Phillies on that great December night, people started to talk about how good this rotation will be. All of the talk about the rotation's great nicknames soon followed. Last year with the addition of Oswalt, we had h2o. Now it seems we have a choice of our favorite nicknames for the four. The most popular one seems to be r2c2; my personal favorites are the Phantastic Phour and the Phour Ace’s.
As the Flyers dominate the headlines in Philly I can’t help but feel “the itch.” No it’s not a rare skin disease or bed bugs; it’s that itch that I start to feel in the middle of winter when I can smell spring in the air. The feeling that overwhelms me with sounds of the ball off the bat, CHOOOOCH, beer vendors, the crazy Cracker Jack girl, and the friendly voice of Dan Baker. Opening Day is on the way!
Pitchers and catchers are now less than 3 weeks away from reporting with the first game vs. FSU on February 24th and Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1st. The countdowns are everywhere I turn with so much excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead in 2011.
Every time any national program asks the “experts” who are the best coaches in college basketball, there is one name that is almost never mentioned. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo deserve all the respect and attention they get, they are both legendary coaches. But there is a coach in the Big 5 who deserves some respect. His team has already beaten a highly ranked Big East team this year and he has an unmistakable look. No, it’s not Villanova’s well dressed Jay Wright, its Temple’s Fran Dunphy and his great mustache. Wright and his staff get the luxury of showing their recruits the Big East Schedule and have the benefit of all the Main Line money. Wright is a great coach, and he has a very good chance of leading his Wild Cats to national championship at some point. But Dunphy has consistently had a lot less to work with and fails to receive a lot of praise.
April 13, 2009: The day we lost “Our Voice.” The infamous day when all of Philadelphia mourned for a man who personified our passion, our team, and our city: Harry Norbert Kalas. I can still remember getting the call from my dad that Harry had collapsed in the Nationals press box as my brother and I were making our way south to Washington D.C. for the game. It was a somber day heading into Nats Park to cheer on our Phightins with the death of a Philadelphia legend, a man who loved the game of baseball so much. I can’t imagine Harry wanting to go out any other way, being able to call the final out of the 2008 World Series, a call that still gives me chills: