Archive for March 2012
The Eagles have admittedly a strong point at cornerback, with General Manager Howie Roseman speaking about the topic on Tuesday.
“We [feel] like corner is a position of strength right now,” Roseman said. “But at the same time when you talk to teams around the league, you’re talking about maybe some positions that you have a strength and maybe that they have a weakness. You try to see if that’s a match whether that’s cornerback or anywhere else.”
Samuel is the one corner who could be traded, and he has been in trade talks since last August, when the team took a number of calls from teams interested in acquiring him.
Even though he carries a base salary of 9.5 million next season, Asante is also reportedly open to restructuring his contact, and the Eagles are seeking at least a third-round pick for their Pro Bowl cornerback.
The Titans are one team whose name has come up recently as a suitor in a trade, as they lost their top corner Cortland Finnegan to free agency this offseason.
Given the depth the Eagles have at corner, another draft pick could help this team build even more of a young squad with plenty of potential, but it’s all up to how they execute their selections.
The 76ers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night 103-85, after getting strong backcourt production from Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks. The starters combined for 50 of the team’s 103 points, who were without all-star Andre Iguodala.
It was only the third victory in the last eight games for the Sixers, who have not won two games in a row since a March 11th victory against the Knicks.
The 76ers have a narrow half game lead on the Boston Celtics, and will need a strong finish next month to capture their first division title since their NBA Finals appearance in 2001.
“The goal is to win the division,” Head Coach Doug Collins said. “I told them that last year with a new coach, you started 3-13, and we dug ourselves out. This year, going into this game, we had had a 7-13 stretch. The difference now is we’ve all been together.”
The Sixers have been successful this year against sub-.500 teams, with an 18-5 record. But against winning teams, they are just 10-17. Luckily, most of the team’s remaining schedule is against teams with a losing record, with 9 of their last 16 opponents being below .500. The other 7 games are all against teams in the Eastern Conference, and this will be the time for the Sixers to show where they can go in the playoffs.
“We know we are resilient. We know what we have to do,” said Collins. “We’ll just keep doing the same thing and we’ll dig ourselves out.”
Ilya Bryzgalov, arguably the team’s MVP in March, was found limping in the locker room after the Flyer’s loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night, and the team announced on Tuesday he has a chip fracture in his right foot.
But according to general manager Paul Holmgren, he is day-to-day. He will miss the Flyer’s game on Thursday, but the team is hopeful he will be back to practice soon and be able to return to action this weekend.
This is coming at a bad time for Bryzgalov, who is enjoying his best month by far as a Flyer. In March, the net minder is 10-2-1 in 13 starts, with a 1.43 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. He also leads the NHL with 4 shutouts this month.
“We don’t think this is a serious injury,” Holmgren said on a conference call with reporters.
Hopefully the goalie can use the time to rest up, and be strong for the playoffs.
Chase Utley announced on Sunday that he will not need surgery for his ailing knees, but he will not be ready for the Season Opener. He will be visiting a new specialist in Phoenix, and is working on strengthening the areas around his knees. It is uncertain when he will be back, but he is optimistic he will be back this season.
This is all coming after Ryan Howard suffered a setback earlier in the month, and probably won’t be back until around June. Losing Utley and Howard gives an opportunity for newcomers Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix to capitalize. John Mayberry will also need to step up in order for this lineup to produce.
Replacing Utley in the starting lineup will most likely be 22 year-old Freddy Galvis, who has had a decent spring. He is hitting .273 in 66 Spring at-bats, with 2 homers, 3 doubles, and 2 triples. Although he provides some pop in the lineup, it does not compare to what a healthy Utley can do at the top of the order.
The Phillies will be leaning heavily on their three aces to start the season, because their usual top two run producers are going to be out for an extended period of time.
For the Eagles offseason so far, it has been marked by re-signing their key players. First, the Eagles became the first team to use the franchise tag, on WR DeSean Jackson on March 1, before signing him to a five year-$51 million contract on March 14.
On the same day, the Eagles extended the contract of defensive end Trent Cole, giving him a four year extension worth $53 million. The Eagles brought back defensive tackle Antonio Dixon with a one year deal.
The team also locked up both guards, giving Todd Herremans a three year-$21 million extension, and keeping Evan Mathis away from the Ravens, giving him a five year-$25 million deal.
Besides retaining players, the Eagles signed QB Trent Edwards, who will hopefully provide better insurance than last year’s disaster Vince Young.
In their biggest move of the offseason, the Eagles traded a fourth-round pick for middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who has been to two Pro Bowls already in his six-year career.
Some were wondering how the Eagles were able to acquire such a talent, who is still only 27 years old. But the linebacker was recovering from a torn ACL in 2010, and did not fit into the 3-4 scheme of Wade Phillips’s Houston Defense.
The Eagles are not expected to make any more significant moves, and they have nine total draft picks in the draft next month. This includes four picks in the top 88, and they look to capitalize on their depth in the draft.
The Birds have struggled significantly in the draft the past two years, and have watched as teams in their own division have built Super Bowl winning teams through the draft. This is do or die time for the Eagles, as they need talent that can help the team right away so they team can make big strides next season.
If not, Andy Reid’s leash will all of a sudden get a lot shorter.
For Temple’s 11 game football schedule, six of them will be at home, including two home games to open the season, against Villanova and Maryland. The game against Nova will be the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, with Temple leading the series 2-1.
The team’s first Big East game will come at home against South Florida, and the season will end with a Friday night game in the Big East against Syracuse. The primetime game will be aired on either ESPN or ABC.
The schedule offers a lot of scores for Temple to settle, starting with the season opener. Against crosstown rival Nova, the team can win the series of four Mayor’s Cup games. The team can also get revenge on Penn St., who narrowly beat the team last year and now has a 29-game winning streak against the Owls. And in the first Big East game of the season, the football team can make up for the upset of the basketball Team, which was upset by USF in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
After a seven-year absence from the Big East after getting kicked out, the Owls need a strong season to show that they belong back in the conference.
Plaxico Burress is making headlines this week, after an interview he had on Tuesday with 97.5 The Fanatic. He said he wants to be a member of the Eagles, stating “Nothing else would make me happier.” Plax also said “Obviously, coming to Philadelphia and instituting myself to the offense it [has] just adds a unique dynamic to what’s already in place.”
This is true, as the 6-5 Burress has proven to be a big red zone target, with eight touchdowns for the New York Jets this past season, seven of which came within the twenty-yard line. This was also his first season in three years after he pleaded guilty on criminal gun possession charges after he accidentally shot himself in a nightclub.
All Eagles fans know the story of Terrell Owens. Granted, Plaxico never caused as many problems as Owens and no one anticipates him to tear apart a locker room, but he also has a history of being a bad teammate.
When Plaxico shot himself in that nightclub in 2008, the Giants were coming off their magical Super Bowl run, riding that momentum and carrying into the next season with a 10-1 record. In Week 12, Plaxico was ruled out of the Giant’s game with a hamstring injury. He then decided to go to a nightclub the Friday night before that weekend’s game, and apparently he was going to a place unsafe enough that he felt the need to carry a gun.
The Giants won their game that weekend against the Redskins, but lost three of their last four games of the regular season. They then lost in the divisional round at home to the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles (which will most likely go down as the last playoff win of his career).
Even before the incident that season, Plaxico had so many off the field problems that teammate Amani Toomer said it was “hard dealing with Burress this year.” He was suspended a game for missing a team meeting, and fined in another incident for abusing an official.
Now with Burress out of prison and in desperate need of money, he needs to put his good teammate face on. The fact is, he has one season under his belt after spending three years out of the league. Yes, he had eight touchdowns last season, but three of those came in one game against the San Diego Chargers, who were ranked 27th out of 32 teams in red zone scoring defense.
Besides the touchdowns, Burress averaged 38 yards and just a little under 3 catches per game. While we all love that image in our mind of Michael Vick throwing the jump ball to Burress inside the 10, the fact is the Eagles are predicable enough in the red zone.
With enough drama caused by wide receivers on the Eagles, past and present (DeSean Jackson causing the most problems recently), the Eagles don’t need to bring in a veteran that could bring a potential bad attitude.
Uncoincidentally, the Eagles were 29th in red zone defense last season. The bottom line is, the Eagles need to focus their attention on defense just a tad bit more than their offense, because a “low-risk” move to sign Plaxico Burress could also turn into a disaster.
On Friday night, it will mark the 50th anniversary of the historical basketball night, where Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, when the Warriors won 169-147. The record has stood ever since, with the closest player to breaking the record being Lower Merion native Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points in a game in 2006.
To commemorate the game, the 76ers are having a promotion for their Friday night game against the Golden State Warriors, by giving away to every fan 2 inch squares of the court used that night. The game was played in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Sixers located and purchased the court used that night. The Sixers purchased thet court from Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, with part of it being donated to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The rest will be on display at the Wells Fargo Center, along with their practice facility and the Hershey Sporst Arena.
“Wilt Chamberlain is without any doubt one of the most legendary individuals to ever play basketball,” 76ers co-ownerAdam Aron said in a statement. “We cannot stress enough how excited we are to have found the original court on which Wilt once soared.”