Redskins aquire Reuben Foster, continue to be huge douches

I swear Dan Snyder has a personal vendetta to make sure the Redskins are perpetual assholes.

News broke today that the Redskins have claimed former 49ers linebacker Rueban Foster off waivers. While Foster is arguably the best young linebacker in football, he’s a terrible human being.

Foster was released by the Niners two days ago after being arrested on domestic assault charges. What’s worse, this is the third time the second-year linebacker has been taken into police custody and the second time it’s been on domestic abuse charges.

While details on the assault charge are still cloudy, it’s clear that Foster lacks the character to play in the NFL. So in other words, he’s the perfect Redskin.

Not only does the team have the most blatantly racist name in the NFL, but this is far from the first time this team has acquired morally bankrupt players under Dan Snyder’s ownership. The team spent a second round pick on Derrius Guice, one of the draft’s top running backs who’d fallen due to major problems with maturity and off the field issues at LSU.

The Redskins also signed Desean Jackson when he was thought to have potential gang ties and Junior Galette after being arrested on domestic assault charges.

Galette was also involved in a beach fight, where he struck a woman with his designer belt, in one of the weirdest off the field incidents I’ve ever seen.

Thankfully, the football Gods are just and none of these players ever made a real impact with the Redskins. Jackson posted decent numbers in Washington, but Galette never played a single down after tearing both of his Achilles’ tendons in consecutive seasons. Guice fell to a similar fate after tearing his ACL this preseason and missing all of his rookie season. We can only hope Foster follows a similar trend.

My Ideal Phillies Offseason Pt. 2

2. Improve the defense.

If there weren’t names like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado available in free agency, this would be the Phillies biggest priority.

When the Phillies built their roster last season, they did it entirely with offense in mind. They put a left fielder in right field, a first baseman in left field, a second baseman at shortstop, a shortstop at third base, and first baseman at third, with two catchers, who had each played fewer than 60 games before the start of the season. Unsurprisingly, this defense recorded the second most errors in baseball last year with 121. What’s worse is, despite the offensive mindset, the Phillies scored the tenth fewest runs in all of baseball as well.

There’s very little justification for the Phillies to go into next season with the same defensive lineup and they have all the resources necessary to make a change. For starters, let’s say this is a perfect world and the Phillies manage to sign Harper and Machado and also convince Machado to play third base. Harper would be a major defensive upgrade over Nick Williams and Machado at third gives you one of the best infielders in all of baseball.

It pains me to admit, but I think the most important step towards fixing the defense is finding someone to take Carlos Santana. I like Santana and I think he had a good season, but his contract kind of forces him in the lineup. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have Carlos Santana in the starting lineup, the problem is keeping Santana and Rhys Hoskins in the same lineup.

Hoskins was a mess in left field last season. He led all national league left fielders in errors with six and posted a -3.6 dWAR. The argument could be made that he was the Phillies worst defender last season and thats really saying something. Despite all this, he’s the Phillies most promising young player and needs to be in the lineup every night, specifically playing first base.

There’s no ideal way to fit Hoskins and Santana in the same lineup. They tried experimenting with Hoskins at first and Santana at third, but that was awkward and could create another log jam with Machado. Any way you look at it, Santana is getting shoe horned in somewhere and the fit just doesn’t feel right.

The Yankees are a team with a question marks around first base. They also seem hellbent on getting rid of Sonny Gray. I think the Phillies could help them out on both fronts.

Another big step towards improving the defense would be adding depth at catcher. Wilson Ramos is the first name that comes to mind. He ain’t anything special of defense, but he’s a seasoned vet who could help Jorge Alfaro mature. Using two inexperienced catchers went as well as you might expect. Alfaro had his moments, but Andrew Knapp just ain’t it.

The Phillies already have pieces to make a quality defense, but the pieces just need to be moved around and helped.

Here’s what I’d like to see the Phillies looking like come next season:

C Wilson Ramos

1st Rhys Hoskins

2nd Cesar Hernandez

SS JP Crawford/Scott Kingery

3rd Manny Machado

LF Nick Williams

CF Odubel Herrera

RF Bryce Harper

It’s a very subtle change from last year, but one that would hopefully make a world of difference. The Phillies also have the depth to replace struggling veterans, so if Hernandez and Herrera continue to underperform in the field, the team has internal options to replace them.

My Ideal Phillies Offseason Pt. 1

I feel like I’m kind of late to this party.

Everyone’s already done their offseason wish lists, meanwhile I was too busy sitting on my hands. Now they’re both asleep and it feels like someone else is writing this article.

I suppose it took me too long to get my thoughts in order on what the Phillies should do this offseason because there’s a lot that could do happen offseason. This is the offseason that people have been hyping up for nearly a decade. The Phillies are finally ready to spend the mythical, mysterious cable TV money they’ve been saving for what feels like eons. They have the money to control the market in one of the most star packed free agent classes of all time.

The Phillies seem like a team on the cusp. Their late collapse last season brought to light a lot of issues with this team, but the right few moves could make a huge difference. After this past season, the National league seems up for grabs and the Phillies can stake their place as a legitimate threat this offseason.

Here is what I’d like to see from the Phillies this offseason:

  1. Get a marquee bat. Two, if you can.
  2. Improve the defense.
  3. Add pitching, but don’t make it a back up plan.
  4. Don’t force yourself into anything.
  5. Miscellaneous.

1. Get a marquee bat. Two, if you can.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Bryce Machado and Manny Harper. Myce Marper and Branny Hachado.

These two players have been talked about so much their names have started to lose all meaning, but it isn’t without good reasoning. Players of Harper and Machado’s caliber don’t hit free agency very often. Even more so, players of their caliber hitting free agency before turning 27 is practically unheard of.

These two players are positioned to earn some of the biggest contracts in MLB history. Sportrac has Harper’s market value at $31M a year and Machado’s set at $26.8M a year. It would not surprise me at all if either player exceeded that number and if the Phillies were the team footing the bill.

To me, this move is more than just adding an elite bat to the Phillies line up. They need a player for the fans to buy into in order to get them back to Citizens Bank Park. When the Phillies first moved into Citizens Bank, Jim Thome was that player. The Phillies rebuild is reaching a point where they’re ready to be competitive, but they still lack the fan presence of the ’06-’11 teams. Adding someone like Harper or Machado would quickly put butts in seats.

The Phillies are in very rare territory because they seem like one of the only teams willing to spend big bucks this offseason. The Red Sox are coming off a World Series win with one of the highest payrolls in baseball, the Dodgers don’t really have a place on their roster for either Harper or Machado with players like Corey Seager returning from injury, and the Yankees are already paying a ton for the services of Giancarlo Stanton and have to start preparing for Aaron Judge’s mega deal.

This shouldn’t be an issue of who the Phillies should sign, this should be a matter of how do they sign both? The Yankees seem to be the biggest obstacle to overcome given their interest in Machado and hole at short stop, which is Machado’s preferred position. If things turn into a bidding war, like I’m sure Scott Boras would prefer, I think the Phillies might be able to scare away the Yankees. They won’t be able to offer anything in the 6+ year range due to the eventual contracts of Judge and Gary Sanchez, which should give the Phillies something to capitalize on.

Harper and Machado’s eventual position is something the Phillies will have to figure out given their current roster construction, but that’s more of a minuet detail. If the Phillies have the chance to sign one of these players, let alone both, they need to do the deal as soon as possible because the longer they wait, the more likely it is that a dark horse team, like the White Sox, swoops in a signs them.

Howie goes all in on Carson: Eagles acquire Golden Tate

Happy NFL Trade Deadline, everybody!

Im sure as most of you are well aware, the Eagles have shipped a third round pick off to Detroit in exchange for wide receiver Golden Tate. Among all wide receivers, Tate is 16th in receptions (44), 21st in receiving yards (517), and 27th in touchdowns (3). To put his numbers in perspective, Tate leads all Eagles receivers in both receptions and yards, and is just one touchdown away from tying the team lead.

Despite his solid numbers, Tate had fallen out of favor in Detroit due to Matthew Stafford’s ever-growing chemistry with Marvin Jones as well as a break out campaign from second year wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Tate is also 30 years old and his contract expires after this season.

Going into the bye week, it was clear the Eagles needed a spark. They managed to sneak out of jolly ole London town with a win over the Jaguars, but it was clear that this team needed a fire lit under their butts.

Cue Howie Roseman.

While wide receiver may not have been the Eagle’s biggest need, adding a dynamic play maker like Tate is never a bad idea. The Eagles have sorely needed a wide receiver who can create plays after the catch. Nelson Agholor filled that role beautifully a year ago, but has struggled to find the same success for the better part of this season.

To me, this trade is Howie acknowledging his team is in a hole and the only way for them to get out of that hole is on the back of Carson Wentz. He’s doubling down on his quarterback because he knows the type of player Wentz is. As long as you have him, the playoffs will always be a possibility, so you might as well make his life as easy as possible.

The cost to get Tate, personally, is frustrating. Seeing the Eagles give up a third round pick for an aging player on an expiring deal is not ideal. Draft picks have to be one of the most valuable commodities to the Eagles while Carson Wentz is still on his rookie deal. They need these picks to acquire young, talented, cost effective players while they can before they have to designate a large chunk of their salary cap to Carson’s eventual mega contract.

To see the Eagles give up an early round pick for someone who could potentially be a rental is concerning, especially when players like Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins could be eligible to return off IR after the bye week. Dynasties are maintain by constantly adding young, quality talent. The best way to do that is by adding and maintaining draft picks and using them wisely. Just look at the Seattle Seahawks, they consistently traded draft picks and are now in a position where they have a franchise quarterback, but almost nothing else. This is a situation the Eagles need to avoid at all costs and a trade like today’s does not accomplish that.

But then again, I suppose I should be more frustrated with the Cowboys than the Eagles. Had they not traded a first round pick for Amari Cooper, Im sure the Eagles could’ve had Tate for much cheaper. Way to ruin the trade market and your own franchise, Dallas.

It is a shame the Eagles go from having four draft picks in the first three rounds to just three in the first two rounds, but there’s no point in crying over spent draft picks. Howie went out and added a probowl wide receiver, who could be resigned on a team friendly deal, and that’s hard to argue against.

Are the Eagles better than the were before the trade? Yes.

Do they have a better chance of making the playoffs because of this trade? Yes.       *Although the Redskins adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix makes me jealous and nervous*

Does this trade make them a Super Bowl threat? Potentially, if Tate’s addition can get this offense looking like it did a year ago.

I still have my questions and concerns about this team, but Howie Roseman seems to still believe they have what it takes. If they’re going to make any type of last season run, this trade proves that it is going to be squarely on the shoulders of Carson Wentz.

Fuck it, trade for Le’Veon

It was reported today that Eagles safety Rodney McLeod would miss the remainder of the season due to a torn MCL.

In the wake of this news, people have been quick to come up with solutions for the hole the Eagles now have in their secondary. Most popular of which being a trade for Seattle’s Earl Thomas.

While it isn’t hard to see why Thomas would be a great addition to the Eagles secondary, the perennial DPOY candidate comes with a steep price tag. It’s reported that the Seahawks have already turned down a second round pick for the veteran safety and refuse to settle for anything less than a first.

Outside of Thomas, the safety market is pretty slim pickings. Eric Reid would’ve been a great option, but the Panthers scooped him up earlier today.

Because there are no clear solutions to the Eagles issues at safety, they may need to get a little creative in solving their problem.

My solution: trade for Le’Veon Bell because there’s no defense like a good offense.

While the hole in the Eagles secondary is pretty glaring, it represents one of the few areas of weakness across the Eagles entire defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team simply move Corey Graham to McLeod’s spot, promote Tre Sullivan from the practice squad and roll with those two for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the Eagles offense is looking about as hurt as Owen Wilson in the Darjeeling Limited. They have injuries across their running back and receiving corps, which has left them looking nothing like the team that led the NFL in points per game last season.

Help is on the way at receiver as Alshon Jeffrey is close returning to the field, but I’m not sure what to expect out of the running backs.

Jay Ajayi has been afflicted by nagging injuries all season, which have prevented him from becoming a featured part of the Eagles offense. While he still hasn’t fully healed from a back fracture, he’s expected to play through the pain this week against the Titans. As a result, he’ll probably be used in a limited role, similar to the season opener against Atlanta.

Darren Sproles is also expected to play this week, but he’s coming off a hamstring injury and those can be pretty finicky. I’m not sure what to expect out of him this Sunday or the rest of the season for that matter.

Ever since these both backs missed week three, there have been rumors that the Eagles could emerge as dark horse contenders for Le’Veon Bell and it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Given his current situation, the most the Steelers should expect in return for Bell is something around a third round pick. He also wouldn’t be able to sign a long term deal this offseason due to the CBA, which might also lessen some of his value in terms of a possible return. And with the emergence of James Conner, they have less need for Bell, giving them even less leverage in negotiations.

The entire situation feels somewhat similar to that of Ajayi’s last season and he only cost the Eagles a fourth.

Howie Roseman is as savvy as they come. He knows a good deal when he sees one. The Eagles should stock up on picks as often as possible, but a third round pick for less than a season of Le’Veon Bell is worth it when it could mean a second Lombardi trophy in as many years.

If things go well enough, there’s also a chance you could convince him to sign a low money, one-year deal after the season, before he gets his big money contract two years from now, but that’s a hypothetical I wouldn’t bank on.

Adding Bell wouldn’t solve the Eagles most pressing need, mitigate the issue. The margin of error would be much wider for the defense, making life easier for Jim Schwartz and the rest of his crew. And it would give Ajayi and Sproles a better chance to heal.

He may not be Earl Thomas, but adding the best running back in football for less than a second round pick would be a solid consolation.

Introducing Gritty, my sole reason for Flyers fandom

I’ve never been the biggest Flyers fan. The sport confuses me, the names are long and ignore phonetics, and the ball is hard to follow.

However, there are somethings in life that, from the moment you lay your eyes on them, force you to completely reevaluate all your beliefs.

Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you, Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers newest mascot.

Does he blink: No.

Are his beady eyes constantly moving: Yes.

Could I buy a dime bag off him: Probably.

Do I love him: With my whole heart.

The Flyers announced today that Gritty will be the team’s newest mascot and I’m thrilled with the direction the team is heading in. Animal was always my favorite Muppet.

According to Gritty’s lore, he was discovered in the Wells Fargo Center during construction and renovation. Meaning, he’s been living in Wells Fargo, possibly for years, maybe even millennia, without anyone knowing.

As excited as I am for Gritty, someone should seriously have a chat with Wells Fargo’s head of security because they might have a serious Muppet infestation.

The team wasn’t very specific on what exactly Gritty is, but we do know he’s 7’0, orange, fuzzy, and looks like he’s always ready to party.

Every hockey season, I tell myself I’ll give a legitimate effort and keep up with the Flyers, but that usually lasts a period. Sometimes I’ve actually been able to stay interested for an entire game.

But there’s something about seeing pictures of Gritty already falling on the ice that makes me think this year is gonna be different.

The future is bright for the Flyers, bright orange. And hairy. And probably on prescription pain killers.

Who Threw it Better, Nelson or Trey?

Last Thursday, we were blessed not only with an Eagles win, but also with a redux of one of their most iconic plays in franchise history.

Half way through the third quarter, before a crucial third and five in Atlanta territory, Nick Foles met with Doug Pederson on the sideline to strategize their next play. Both were immediately on the same page.

The Eagles came out with Corey Clement in a single back set and two receivers to the left of Foles. The ball went to Clement, who then pitched it to Nelson Agholor on an end around, who then passed the ball to a wide open Foles for a first down and then some. It was the Philly Special all over, except this time it was Agholor throwing the ball into the arms of a wipe open Nick Foles.

Although, Doug Pederson said post game that this play is actually called Philly Philly, just to clear up any misconceptions.

While Philly Philly may be drawn up differently from the Philly Special, the personal is nearly the same, with the major difference being Agholor making the throw rather than Trey Burton. Both plays were memorable, both helped spark Eagles victories, but the question stands, who threw the better pass?

To truly analyze these two plays, all outside aspects must be removed. Just because one play took place during the Super Bowl doesn’t mean it’ll get any sort favoritism. With that said, I’ll begin by breaking down Burton’s pass in the original Philly Special.

For starters, Burton has the much easier throw. Nick Foles simply runs to the flat and turns around for the ball. It’s only about a two yard gain, and counting Burton’s drop back, it’s a pass of about ten yards.

Foles has the difficult job of selling the fake, Burton simply has to get the ball to him.

Burton is in bunches left, so he doesn’t have to go particularly far to get the pitch from Clement. This means he doesn’t built up a full head of steam making it easier for him to slow down going into the pass.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 12.17.56 AM.pngHis footwork isn’t bad on the throw. He steps into it with his back foot, but he keeps a good base.

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.37.55 PM.png

Burton also opens his arm a little too much on the throw, but outside of that, his mechanics aren’t bad.

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.37.21 PM

The throw itself is solid. He puts a spiral on the ball, but it isn’t the tightest. His placement is a little high and forces Foles to extend for the ball. Foles even leaves the ground for the catch, although it wasn’t necessary.

All in all, Burton makes a nice throw, without any defender breathing down his neck, to an open receiver for a short gain.

Final verdict: Three thumbs up. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Now, to take a look at the more recent, Philly Philly.

Nelson Agholor’s throw is much more difficult than Burton’s. While Trey has to hit a nearly stationary Foles on a sort of hook route, Agholor has to hit Foles in stride on a wheel route.

The Eagles are on third and five with the ball on the Atlanta forty-one yard line. Agholor makes the throw around the fifty and Foles makes the catch around the thirty-nine yard line and runs out of bounds around the twenty-six. The play nets about a 15 yard gain, but Agholor’s pass is about an eleven yard throw, just a yard longer than Burton’s throw.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 3.59.35 AM.png

Agholor is set out wide to Foles’ left and has to sell the end around before he makes his pass. This means Agholor has to be running near full sprint going into his throw. This is another area where Agholor’s throw is more difficult than Burton’s.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 4.26.27 AM.png

Because Agholor is running at near full sprint before the throw, his footwork is kind of a mess. He never really comes to a complete stop, he throws off his back foot, and his feet are practically touching each other as the ball leaves his hand.

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.31.09 PM

Agholor’s throwing motion however is fairly clean. He high points the ball a little and extends his arm more than he needs to. He also releases the ball at a weird throwing angle, but in his defense he is running while he throws. Also, his eyes are completely on the ball in his hands and not the receiver.

Despite never coming to a complete stop, Agholor’s throw is nothing short of beautiful. The ball could’ve had a tighter spiral to it, much like Burton’s, but his placement is impeccable. He puts the ball right in Foles’ bread basket and gives him plenty of room to turn up field for an extra four to five yards. Foles never has to stop running to turn around and go after the ball, it’s right where it needs to be.

Agholor also gets bonus points for the throwing it over Vic Beasley’s head.

Final verdict: four thumbs up. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

It may not have been the Super Bowl, but I think it’s pretty clear to see that Nelson Agholor out did Trey Burton at his own game. But it’s cool, Burton gave Agholor a shout out on Twitter after the throw. Real recognize real.

Final final verdict: Agholor madethe better throw.

Immediate Thoughts: Eagles-Falcons

1. IT ENDED THE SAME EXACT WAY AS THE PLAYOFFS!

2. LIKE IT SERIOUSLY ENDED THE SAME EXACT WAY AS IN JANUARY!!!

3. Julio needs a team that can get him the ball in the red zone.

4. Eagles defense >>>>>>>> Eagles offense

5. Eagles doing just enough to get the win feels very reminiscent of last season.

6. QB Nick Foles is in regular season shape (bad). WR Nick Foles is in post season shape (good).

7. Carson Wentz can’t come back soon enough.

8. Nelson Agholor seems more than capable shouldering the receiving load until Alshon comes back.

9. Mike Wallace looks just like Torrey Smith.

10. RB rotation surprised me to start. Sproles, Clement, and Smallwood all got touches before Ajayi. Kind of questioned Ajayi’s health for most of the first half.

11. Jay Ajayi is definitely healthy.

12. Also surprised by the tight end reps. Thought the team would go heavy with two tight end sets considering injuries at WR.

13. Zach Ertz looked like his frustrating self from two years ago.

14. Dallas Goedert debut was very rookie tight end.

15. The OLine looks every bit as good as last year.

16. I’m not sure who was better between the DLine and secondary. Both were awesome.

17. Ronald Darby = CB1. Jalen Mills = CB2. there is no debate.

18. Julio exposed Mills, but he’s also really good at football, so it can be excused.

19. Sydney Jones looked awesome. Almost blew the game with a late penalty, but his teammates had his back.

20. The Eagles held Calvin Ridley without a catch. That’s cool.

21. In fact, Julio Jones was the only ATL receiver with more than 30 yds receiving.

22. Red zone defense won the game, by far.

23. No one on the defensive line really stood out. They were collectively awesome.

24. Derek Barnett had some bad penalties though.

25. Jordan Hick is awesome. That late illegal contact penalty was late and BS, but Hicks is awesome.

26. Linebackers as a whole really impressed me. Gerry and Grugier-Hill made some big plays.

27. The Eagles called Philly Philly again and it was everything.

28. The refs were brutal. 26 penalties for 236 yards sets a bad tone for the NFL season.

29. The Eagles are still the best time in football and look every bit as good as last year.

30. I really like the banner.

31. And I almost forgot, Cameron Johnston looked really really good.

Season Opener Scaries: Biggest concerns in Eagles-Falcons

Do you smell that? That smelly smell? That’s football. It’s back.

It’s whispering sweet nothings in your ear. You can try to ignore its sultry allure, but it won’t work.

You feel hurt that it would ever leave, but you can’t stay mad. You’ve been feigning interest in baseball for the past three months. It’s time to put away the nerd stats, crack open a cold one, and enjoy the sport of Gods. You’ve earned it.

When we last saw football, the Eagles won, the Patriots lost, and the city of Philadelphia was happy for once. It was like a Black Mirror episode that took place in the Twilight Zone.

Cops hugging drunks, people starting fires in the streets, cats and dogs living in complete harmony, it was mass hysteria.

And the quest to do it all again begins tonight, as the Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons at home to open the NFL season.

These two teams last met in the divisional round of the playoffs. Not much has changed since that encounter, except for a fancy new banner soon-to-be hanging in the rafters of Lincoln Financial Field.

The Falcons will be looking to avenge their heartbreaking playoff defeat to the Eagles and – coming in as four point favorites – many are expecting them to do so.

Here are some of my biggest concerns going into tonight’s home opener:

Nick Foles

Nick Foles was terrible in the regular season last year, then went on to have one of the greatest postseasons in NFL history.

He’s was terrible in the preseason this year, so does that mean he’ll be great in the regular season? I wouldn’t really bank on it.

In just about three quarters of play this preseason, Nick Foles 16 of 26 attempts for 171 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Not very Super Bowl MVP-like.

You could make the argument that Foles struggled because he was without most of his top weapons, but it goes beyond that. Foles was a mess this preseason, consistently under-throwing or over-throwing his intended receivers. Oh, and he STILL doesn’t have two of his top four receivers.

He was also without a quality running game for the majority of the preseason, which limits the effectiveness of run-pass options. Foles could begin to look like his Super Bowl self with a solid ground game, but that something else I’m not ready to bank on yet…

The Running Game

The Eagles ground game as a whole isn’t much of a concern to me, but going into tonight’s game, Im nervous.

Jay Ajayi was hobbled by a foot injury for most of the preseason. Same goes for Corey Clement with a lower body injury. Darren Sproles is an under six-foot, 35 year old running back coming off a torn ACL and a forearm fracture. And Wendell Smallwood, well he’s just kinda lucky to be here.

Excluding Smallwood, this group hardly played in the preseason. While all four seem good to go for tonight’s game, their level effectiveness is yet to be determined. We have no idea what to expect in terms of rotation or snap distribution.

We can assume Ajayi will get the start, Clement will be the change of pace back, and Sproles will come in on passing downs, but outside of that, this unit is a bit of an unknown for now.

The Eagles have one of the better running back groups in the NFL, but it may take some time for them to get up to speed.

If the Eagles want to win tonight, it’s probably going to have to come on the back of their defense.

Linebacker

Linebacker is by far the thinnest position on the entire Eagles roster and with Nigel Bradham serving a one game suspension, their depth is going to be tested.

Jordan Hicks’ return gives the team their most talent linebacker, but outside of him, the group leaves a little bit to be desired. Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill are both relative unknowns. Grugier-Hill was a special teams star last year, while Gerry was more of a developmental piece. Tonight, both will more than likely be starting on the outside.

Grugier-Hill managed to beat out Gerry for the WILL linebacker job, and teammates believe he could really blossom in the starting role, but with Bradham on suspension, he’ll be thrown in at SAM linebacker tonight, position he hasn’t played much this preseason. Grungier-Hill on Falcon tight end Austin Hooper is a match up to watch tonight.

The Eagles primarily run out of the nickel on defense, meaning we’ll see more of Malcolm Jenkins at linebacker than Gerry, but I expect the Falcons to go after the former Nebraska safety whenever he takes the field.

I believe a lot is going to depend on the success of the slot tonight.

Sydney Jones

Sydney Jones is easily one of the players I’m most excited to see tonight, but I also expect the Falcons to go after him heavily.

Jones will see his first meaningful playing time tonight starting in the slot. He was arguable the best corner from last years stacked draft class, but he has yet to prove himself on the field. Jones might be the most talented player in the Eagles’ secondary, but tonight he represents their weakest link.

The Falcons have a trio of wide receivers capable of playing on the outside on in the slot, Mahammed Sanu, 2018 first round pick Calvin Ridley, and Julio Jones. I expect the Falcons to rotate these three consistently to try and keep Jones on his toes.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jones excel in the slot tonight, but I also expect him to have his fair share of rookie mistakes.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other: Eagles-Jets Preseason week four

The Kentucky Derby. The Running of the Bulls. The Tour de France. These are just some of the global spectacles that come close to matching the sense of wonder instilled in the common sportsman as that of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets annual preseason bout.

Born in 2001, this 17-year preseason rivalry is one of the world’s natural wonders. Fans are mystified by the sheer consistency of the event and can’t help but wonder just what it is that draws these two teams together at the close of every preseason.

Every year, when the Eagles’ schedule is officially released, I immediately, unconsciously begin searching through the preseason with baited breath. Once I behold that week four match-up, in all its intoxicating glory, I feel safe because I know all is right with the world. Soon enough, I’ll be home again.

This is a series that defies all logic and necessity. In their 17 exhibition matches, the Eagles are just 5-12 against the Jets. To put that in perspective, four teams tied for the fifth worst record in the NFL last season after finishing 5-11. Historians are baffled as to why these two teams continue, but accept that the world may never know.

The Eagles took the inaugural match-up between the two teams back in 2001 and didn’t win again until 2011. That’s pretty ugly, but it’s the journey, not the destination. This series was never meant to be about wins or losses, it’s all about the unforgettable moments the fans will never forget.

Like when Michael Vick made his return to the NFL, while Mark Sanchez won a starting QB job and Danny Woodhead rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Jets.

Or how about when Greg Lewis went off for 118 yards on six catches as a rookie and became the face of the Eagles’ receiving corps. Or when Reheem Mostert recorded 162 yards from scrimmage in a losing battle for a roster spot.

And who could forget the time Tim Tebow tried to introduce the football world to the sport’s first two-point specialist.

And if the moments aren’t enough, just think of some of the iconic figures that have taken the field for the Eagles in this storied rivalry:

Jabar Gaffney

Ifeanyi Momah

Koy Detmer

Tim Hasselback

Reno Mahe

Hank Basket

Correll Buckhalter

Mike Kafka

Eldra Buckley

Chad Hall

Chris Polk

Greg Salas

Henry Josey

GJ Kinne

Rasheed Bailey

McLeod Bethel-Thompson

I could go on, but the list of historic names, who truly embody this rivalry, is practically endless. Tonight, both teams will try to add to their own rich tradition.

Christian Hackenburg will attempt to join the likes of Tebow as someone who’s played on both sides of this historic rivalry. After having seen the quarterback In the previous two seasons, I can only imagine the Eagles signed Hackenburg in order to gain valuable intel on the enemy, which makes perfect sense because I highly doubt they signed him to actually play football.

Will Dandre Carter be able to out preform his famed predecessors? Will Josh Adams fall to the same fate as the likes of Mostert and Henry Josey?

We’ll find out tonight, as the NFL’s greatest rivalry is renewed once again.