Sal Pal nails it

Sal Paolantonio was on with Pat Callahan and I on Saturday on 950 ESPN and laid out how Sunday would play out, leading to an Eagles playoff berth.

Damn if he didn't nail it.

- Tim McManus


Going to the playoffs!

The Eagles needed a lot to happen before they played the Cowboys to even have a shot at the playoffs. But the Bucs did their job by losing to the Raiders at home, and the Bears lost to the Texans.

It was then up to the Birds to do their job, and they did so with ease.

Here's what was said about the game.

The Eagles can go deep into the playoffs according to Phil Sheridan.

Paul Domowitch gave out his report card of the game.

The Daily News' Eagletarian blog gives Andy Reid's postgame thoughts.

The Eagles may also have a new fan.

The Eagles are playoff bound, Geoff Mosher wrote.

Sheil Kapadia gave McNabb's postgame thoughts.

Kapadia even has Jimmy Rollins thoughts on the Eagles win.

Here's Bob Brookover's game story.

Bob Ford said Andy Reid stayed even-keeled, even after the big win.

Nick Fierro says everything aligned perfectly for the Birds.


"The Reggie Brown catch"

The 2008 Eagles season, defined, complete with Merrill's play-by-play.

Don't throw snow at Shaun Ellis

Seattle Seahawks' fans showed some class after their team beat the New York Jets on Sunday by throwing snow at the visiting team as they went into the tunnel.

Shaun Ellis, already mad about losing to a 3-11 team and his team's downfall after beating the Titans and Patriots in back-to-back weeks, responded.

News about an 0-15 team, besides the fact that they're 0-15

Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli and Rob Parker, a writer of the Detroit Free Press, had an interesting exchange after Sunday's game and it drew quite a bit of media attention.

Joe Barry, the Lions defensive coordinator, is the son-in-law of Marinelli, so Parker asked him if he wishes his daughter would have married a better defensive minded man.

Here's the exchange and what the FOX studio guys' reaction. The clip is at the bottom of the page.

Parker felt bad and wrote an apology column.

Marinelli hasn't accepted Parker's apology.

It was a question he probably shouldn't have asked, but he doesn't deserve to lose his job over it.


Post Game Thoughts: Redskins 10, Eagles 3

Prehaps everyone was too quick to pronounce the Eagles as the Super Bowl favorites. Donovan McNabb looked sharp against the Browns and Cardinals, and everyone said he's back. Well fast forward to Washington, a team that has a defense that is comprised of more than just 11 guys with a pluse, and you get three points.

Here's what the writers had to say.

Sam Donnellon of the Daily News says Donovan McNabb could use a hand.

Ashley Fox talks about DeSean Jackson's case of the drops.

Rich Hofman wonders in his blog why the Birds threw 16 passes.

Bob Ford says a coach's job was saved -- Jim Zorn's.

Phil Sheridan said Andy Reid came up small in a big game.

Bob Brookover of the Inquirer says the Eagles came up inches short.

Brookover also gave his notes from the game.

Ray Parrillo of the Inquirer says Dawkins and the defense are feeling the frustration.

The Daily News' "Eagletarian Blog" talked about some clips from the postgame press conference.

The "Eagletarian Blog" also gave out their report card from the game.

Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com gives his 10 observations about the game.

The Associated Press says the Cowboys are facing a do-or-die final game.

Geoff Mosher says the Birds playoff chances dwindle in the loss.

Larry O'Rourke of the Morning Call wrote about Jim Zorn saying he had no doubts when the final play was reviewed.

Paul Domowitch writes about the Eagles' troubles on third down.

Jason Reid of the Washington Post gave the Redskins' side of the story.


Catching up with Royal Ivey

This summer, the Philadelphia 76ers made a big splash in the offseason by signing forward Elton Brand -- the top free agent on the open market -- to a long term contract.

They brought back a familiar face at center in Theo Ratliff, a much needed sharp shooter in Kareem Rush and Reading native Donyell Marshall.

In the 2008 NBA Draft, the Sixers continued to build the team when they selected forward Marreese Speights, out of Florida, with the 16th overall pick.

During the free agent signing period when everyone was concerned about the re-signing of guards Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams, the Sixers quietly signed guard Royal Ivey to a multi-year deal.


Roy-al Ivey!

Ivey, a 6-4 guard from New York City, is known for his defensive prowess and his steady floor play. The four-year starter from the University of Texas was drafted in the second round of the 2004 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

After a three-year stint with the Hawks, Ivey signed with the Milwakee Bucks last season.

Well, there's a little background, but who is this Royal Ivey?

950 ESPN Sixers' beat reporter Devon Givens had a chance to sit down with Ivey in the locker room after the Sixers beat the Bucks on Wednesday, and got a chance to get up close and personal with the new Sixer.

DG: How do you like Philadelphia?

RI: Still getting used to it and getting acclimated to the city. It’s close to home, so that’s the good part about it. It’s different, a metropolitan city, a lot of traffic, but it’s home right now. So I’m gonna make the best of it.

DG: You come from a long list of New York City point guards, who’s your favorite? Do you have an idol?

RI: Man, my idol growing up was Kenny Anderson, it had to be. Great point guard. He started the line of point guard’s going to Georgia Tech -- Stephon ( Marbury ) went there, Kevin Morris, that was my idol growing up. I looked up to Rafer Alston. We went to the same high school, and the list goes on and on of great point guards from New York City.

DG: New Balance, what’s that about. You wore AND 1 the first few years and Adidas last year. How’d that come about?

RI: I guess I play at a different beat, whatever suits my feet, I’m gonna wear. I wear New Balance for one because one of my good friends ended up getting me a good deal, so I took it. They take care of me, they feel good too and they’ve got the greatest running shoes, so the basketball shoes are good. It’s a different look.

DG: Like you said, Philly is a metropolitan city -- fast pace. What do you like to do in your spare time?

RI: Just hanging for the most part. I haven’t really gone out a lot to see what’s really happening in Philly. There’s some spots, some lounges and good places to eat. I’ve been to Chickie’s and Pete’s. That’s about it.

DG: Have the people been good to you?

RI: Yeah, the people have been cool. I’m cordial, low key. If somebody recognizes me, I say "hello" and keep it moving. That’s about it.

DG: Since we’re sitting here with the young guy's (Speights) locker next to you, what kind of things does the team make him do?

RI: ( Laughs) He’s a good Rook, you know he’s learning. He’s a hard worker on the team, he’s young. He does the duties, getting donuts during shoot around. He does little stuff, nothing major. He listens, and that’s the big part.

DG: Thanks for a couple of minutes.

RI: Alright, I appreciate it.


Reporter feud brewing

Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com tends to get in his share of verbal scuffles with various members of the media, generally stemming from issues of accountability and accuracy.

Another feud has flared up right here in Philly.

The other party? Paul Domowitch, who ripped into Florio for his recent posting on Dick Vermeil.

Florio countered, first on his site, then on Philadelphia airwaves.


Afternoon Tug-Thems Are Phighten Words!

After Cole Hamels goes on the New York airwaves and declares the Mets choke artists, the war of words continues with Mets pitcher John Maine firing a fastball right down Broad Street.

Check out what is on the minds of Redskins fans, now that Head Coach Jim Zorn has officially labeled himself the worst coach in the NFL and the season of dreams is over...Hip Hip Hooray!

For everyone that is on the border of Tyler Hansborough making it in the NBA, please watch tonight's UNC game and witness Psycho T becoming the Tarheels all-time scoring leader. The jerseys that hang in the Dean Dome rafters are simply amazing.

Finally, it may be me, but I have this dream where I am a judge at a Brazilian Bikini Contest and a fight breaks out between all of the women on stage. It might just be me but, its one hell of a dream!

Brand out a month

News just in that Elton Brand's MRI revealed a fracture of the humeral head (bone) and a tear of the labrum, which was expected along with his dislocated right shoulder. No surgery is expected, but the injury is likely to sideline Brand for a month.

Flip to the Sixers?

Here's a post that is creating a stir:

SI.com reporting that Flip Saunders is the Sixers' first choice to be the long-term coach of the club.

The current coach, Tony DiLeo, was on with Jody Mac and Harry Mayes today, talking about his new gig and how the Elton Brand injury will affect the team.

London Fletcher feels that he's a Pro Bowler

Redskins LB London Fletcher feels that he's been done wrong by those involved with the Pro Bowl voting. Notice the possible little dig at T.O.


Old Andy Reid Press Conference

Andy seems to give good answers here, I don't know why everyone rips on his pressers.

Through the Tube: Don't mess with Jim Boeheim

I interviewed Jim Boeheim at the Big East Media Day, and he's very soft spoken. One thing I have learned though is to not piss him off. In honor of Matt Mattare, who updates on the Big Five, he has to warn the Villanova PR people to leave the Boeheim alone, and not to mess with his microphone.

Also, don't make stupid proclamations about his players being overrated or else this might happen.

He may be soft spoken, but don't ... and I mean DON'T piss off Boeheim.

Colleges beware, the Flyers are crashing a party near you

The Inquirer says the Flyers have crashed a party at Temple. Watch out preppy, tough guy frat boy, you might be next in being emasculated.

Adam Gretz of FanHouse gives his thoughts on the Flyers party life.

Lovin' those outdoor games Mr. Philadelphia Hockey fan, well Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post says there's a long shot chance of one coming to Philly.

Ed Moran writes on the Flyers fifth-straight win. I guess it's okay if they party.

Gormley writes that everything went the Flyers way in the win.

Here's Sam Carchidi's view of the game.

The Total Sports Network gives you this on the game.

I'm not a Sixer, but I'm still in your headlines

Sixers' fans thought Mo was gone. Well not yet. We got more Mo for ya.

Martin Frank of the News Journal says DiLeo wants to speed up the Sixers.

The Courier Post said Maurice Cheeks made a classy exit.

Kate Fagan has more on Cheeks.

John Gonzalez of the Inquirer has a Mo Cheeks love hangover.

Sam Donnellon said the firing was just a matter of time.

Frank Ziccarelli of the Toronto Post said Mo Cheeks exit should be an example for all.

Johnathan Abrams of the New York Times said the Sixers are slipping far below expectations.

Peter Vecsey wrote for FOXsports.com that most coaches just aren't worth investing in.

Sean Gregory of Time talks about the epidemic of coaches being fired.

Here's Phil Jasner's Mo story.

Jasner says the coaching change will have to be able to take the Sixers through the rest of the season.

Jim Burton of the Standard-Examiner has a soft spot for Mr. Mo.

Mo was a good guy, and it's sad that things didn't work out for such a classy coach.

Eagles in the News

Deborah Hirsh of the Courier Post writes about the Eagles giving back to a young fan.

Ray Parrillo of the Inquirer writes about the offense spreading the ball around.

Geoff Mosher talks about the Eagles' in the Pro Bowl.

Les Bowen says McNabb is likely to return as a starter next year.

Pal Sokoloski of the Times Leader says the Birds are feeling good about their playoff chances.

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says the homefield advantage hasn't been there for the Redskins as they get ready to play Eagles.

A wire report from the SunSentinel.com says the tie against the Bengals takes out any confusing tie breaker scenarios.

Tom Pedulla of USA Today says the Eagles have responded after McNabb's benching.

David Weinberg of the Atlantic City Press says McNabb's been a different player since the benching.

The Press of Atlantic City says the Redskins game is the biggest of the season.

Jeff Young of LancasterOnline.com says Dawkins is ramping up for a playoff push in the autumn of his career.

Steve Patton of the Reading Eagle says the Eagles aren't guaranteed a spot even if they win out.

Here's an updated version of Patton's Bird's Eye View.

Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times says if the Birds' win out, they'll be setting history.

A LehighValleyLive.com poster says Dawkins will be a hall of famer when he's done.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post says with McNabb off the bench, the Eagles are off the mat.

Dawgs by Nature, a Browns Blog, breaks down what the Eagles did to stop Cleveland.

Phil Sheridan discusses Andy Reid and Mo Cheeks.


Pro Bowl rosters out

Pro Bowl rosters were released, the Eagles had three selections.

How do you feel about the choices?

From the press box

By Tim McManus

Sights and sounds from the Eagles-Browns game...

Mini-Reid goes green

Howard Eskin's transformation into an Eagles company man is complete. His blind support for Andy Reid and the team is well known, but Howard "being on the Eagles payroll" is no longer just a disparaging remark.

Welcomed by a mixture of laughs and grumbles from the press corps, Eskin strolled into the Reid postgame press conference last night dressed from head to toe in official rain-proof Eagles apparel. Coat, pants, the whole bit.

He even sat away from the rest of the reporters, side-by-side with members of the PR staff.

Way back machine

After every play, a voice comes over the PA system in the press box to detail the last sequence. Ex: McNabb passes to Avant for a gain of 7. Rogers with the tackle.

About midway through the game, our guy said: No. 36 Wilbert Montgomery carries for a gain of 3...(Pause)...Check that, Brian Westbr...

Quote of note

Jon Runyan, on another Eagle dropping the ball before crossing the goal line:

"That kind of stuff will take care of itself. Can't harp on it. Just got to get it into the end zone."

On the way out

No scene quite like the aftermath of Monday Night football in Philadelphia, especially when the city is wrapped in an orange haze brought on by a balmy December night.

As the last RVs pulled out of the lots, horns blazing and random body parts hanging out the window, an eerie scene was left in their wake.

The barren lot was soon filled with a mass of seagulls fit for an Alfred Hitchcock film, pulling at the leftover trash and scaring off any remaining stragglers.

City cleaning crews are truly under appreciated.


Your typical Cowboys fan...

T.O. being T.O.

The funny part about Terrell Owens signing with the Cowboys was all the Dallas fans thinking Owens was a changed man. The man has stirred the pot and tore apart the locker room everywhere he's been, and they thought everything would be fine.

Owens was fine when he first got there (same in Philly), and the fans all said 'see, the man has learned his lesson and just wants to play football.

If Owens had a problem with Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia, wouldn't you think he would eventually get fed up with an interception prone quarterback in Tony Romo.

No, of course not. Owens even gave a Grammy worthy performance at his press conference after the Cowboys lost to the Giants in last year's playoffs.

Okay, what if you add a No. 1 quality receiver in Roy Williams to go along with Jason Witten, one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL.

Uh oh, that might have been the back breaker.

He did say they needed another weapon, but felt like Witten was getting too much attention from Romo.

Nevermind the fact that before the Sunday Night game against the Giants, a graphic showed Owens had more passes thrown his way than Witten did. In Owens defense, lets use a phrase often used by athletes: "I don't care about the stats, the game is played on the field, not on paper."

That's just semantics.

Well here's T.O.'s press conference after the 'Boys knocked off the Giants last week courtesy of Shiel Kapadia of Philly.com. There's also some thoughts underneath.

Did ESPN take it too far with its reporting last week?

"No... well yeah. I think Ed Werder did. I don't know where he got his information, but it was a lie. It's unfair. I had to deal with this all week. Like I said, I don't know where he's getting his sources from and whatever his source was, they told a blatant lie."

"I don't know what his sources are talking about. He's making accusations as if he's on the practice field. I'm clueless as to what his sources are. For me I think that's a lack of professionalism in my eyes."

Isn't it funny that the media is always lying. Werder was looking for a story in Dallas, since nothing interesting ever happens there, and was bored so he just made up some stuff. His source was probably his buddy who was pissed off that T.O. cost him a playoff spot in his fantasy league. When something is true, why can't an athlete just face the music once in a while. The funny thing is, the Dallas fans might eat this up and believe it. It's not like this guy has a rap sheet for throwing QB's under the bus or anything.

Did he have an altercation with Jason Witten?

"I don't know where that came from either. They say we went to blows with each other and I don't understand where that came from either."

Translation: I said Ed Werder is a liar, didn't you hear me. Why does everyone assume that Werder, who works for ESPN, is telling the truth and that I'm the bad guy. What have I done to deserve the tag as the bad guy. That's my tight end.

Did the media coming down on the team help them come together?

"I'm used to it. Everybody's gonna criticize me. They're gonna say this and that. I got some broad shoulders. I'm strong enough. I blocked it out. I went out and played."

I wonder why they would criticize you. You've never done anything to warrant it.

Did he hear the fans booing him?

"That's alright. Only people I'm concerned about are my family and they're right outside. They can boo me all they want to. It don't matter."

Screw them. They only buy your stuff and pay outrageous money for tickets and food (especially with that beautiful stadium Jerry Jones is building for next year) to see you play. Who cares about them. It's really hard to believe that people don't like you.

Does he worry that his coaches or teammates are the ones that are the sources?

"If it is, that's sad because we're supposed to be a family... so maybe I'm being fooled."

Did you consider Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb family. If so, I wouldn't want you to raise kids around that kind of family.

How ironic would it be to have to beat the Eagles for a playoff spot?

"Hey, we'll deal with that when the time comes."

Translation: I really want to stick it to them, but I'm playing victim today and my team won so I won't say anything. I put my foot in my mouth with the "getcha popcorn ready" comment" and I didn't do anything against the Giants and lost in the playoffs. So for today, here's my answer.

Some Morning Reading

Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan reminisces about Pat Burrell.

Keith Law, of Scouts Inc. on ESPN.com, isn't impressed with the Phillies' new addition, Raul Ibanez.

Bob Brookover of the Inquirer said the Eagles' offense receives a boost when he takes off with the ball.

Ashley Fox said the Birds' are gaining some late-season confidence.




By Matt Mattare

Temple 88

#8 Tennessee 72

It’s just too easy to make a reference to the Christmas season or a Christmas gift or any and all things yuletide when talking about this game—espn, cbssportsline, cnnsi all do. I’ll shy away from the clichés: Dionte Christmas is good.

Really good.

This is exactly the type of game Fran Dunphy was looking for; a game where perhaps his Owls turned a corner. Last year’s run through the A-10 tournament established Temple as a force to be reckoned within the A-10 but this victory was a much bigger statement. The team is finally learning to truly run what can be a stifling match-up zone, one that totally took an extremely athletic and dynamic Tennessee team out of their game. The Vols shot only 36.5% from the field—including a paltry 6 of 26 (23.1%) from behind the arc—while being held to their lowest point total of the year (15 points below their average).

The defense was one of the two big reasons the Temple student body was partying at mid-court when the clock hit zero. The other of course was Dionte Christmas. You can’t say enough about this kid. Defenses are keying in on him this year with the graduation of last year’s running mate Mark Tyndale and he continues to deliver. In the second half he threw up THIRTY POINTS and blew the game wide open with three-point bombs on three consecutive possessions. Mark my words, he will be mentioned when they’re listing All-Americans come April.

The media outlets will all give Christmas the headlines for winning this game—and don’t get me wrong, he totally deserves. But everyone knew this guy was a stud. The real story here is the evolution of Temple’s defense. The match-up zone just smothered one of the most prolific offenses in NCAA. This win conjures up memories of the days when Pepe Sanchez ran the point and Temple could lock down the best teams in the country on any given night.

Dionte and the defense that backs him up are delivering the Owl faithful a gift they’ve yearned for: a return to relevance.


No Mo'!

Give us the home run call Harry K:

"Maurice Cheeks is ouuuuttaa heeeeeerrreee!"

And how would you like to trade Andre Miller for Steve Nash? Ian Thomsen of cnnsi.com says, hey, it could happen...


Ibanez now a Phillie

Jayson Stark reporting that Raul Ibanez and the Phillies have agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal.
It appears all that stands in the way is a physical.



By Matt Mattare

Villanova 59

St. Joe’s 56

The old cliché is that you can “throw out the records” when it comes to rivalry games and I suppose this game would qualify for that. The Hawks looked poised for a big-time upset tonight at The Pavilion, but when push came to shove Scottie Reynolds just would not allow Villanova to lose. In the second half he was involved in every Wildcat field goal but two (whether it be with an assist or bucket), finished with 18 points and 8 assists, and led Nova to a three point victory.

There was just recently an article posted on ESPN.com that labeled Reynolds as someone who has been a disappointment since his freshman year and claim he’s dropped from a projected first rounder to maybe not even being drafted. I would argue that this performance showed that Villanova will be dangerous come March because of him. He also provides a perfect contrast to St. Joe’s star Ahmad Nivins. Both stars are capable, but only Scottie goes out and takes control of the game when his team needs him to answer the bell. He’s trying to adapt and become a more efficient game manager at the point guard position, but he’s still a microwave type scorer when he needs to be.

At the same time you have to tip your cap to the Hawks for taking the #12 team in the nation to the brink. This is a team that I was totally unimpressed with in person, but once again Phil Martelli showed how he is capable of maximizing the talent he has to be competitive at even the highest level. The Hawks become a totally different team when Darrin Govens is making shots from outside—he frees up room for Ahmad Nivins to operate and gives the defense something to think about other than sagging and collapsing on big #34.

For all my criticism of Nivins I have to say he’s still a very solid big man. He goes to work, gets his 20 points and 10 boards (tonight he was a little below his averages with 16 and 8), and makes his presence known on the defensive end (just check the SportsCenter Top 10 tonight and you'll know why)...but it’s easy to see the potential he has to be great and I feel like it’s time for the senior to make that jump to a dominant force in a mediocre league like the Atlantic 10. In order for this team to play at a level high enough to contend for an NCAA berth Martelli needs to find a way to get Nivins to be more assertive.

In the end it’s a good, hard fought victory for Nova. On the flip side this could have been a huge non-conference W to throw on the resume for the Hawks but they just couldn’t put it away. Unfortunately the tournament committee doesn’t consider moral victories when plugging teams into the brackets.

In The News

What if the Eagles run the table and make the playoffs this year? That's the question Rich Hofman asks.

The Inquirer's Ray Parrillo wrote this story on David Akers.

Sam Carchidi said the Flyers turnaround started with a team meeting.

Ed Moran of the Daily News reports on Matt Carle's injury.

Phillies in free agency - Park

Not that I'd be cynical just a blink removed from a championship, but the Mets land K-Rod and J.J. Putz, and the Phillies get Ronny Paulino?

No worries, Chan Ho Park is on the way!

So much for Derek Lowe.

The Ronny Paulino Era

Fear us.


Random thought of the day

Does anyone else see the Yankees signing of CC Sabathia potentially turning into a bigger/messier 10,000x more expensive version of Hideki Irabu?

Phillies in free agency - heating up

Aside from Charlie Manuel getting extended the Phillies haven't pulled the trigger on anything in Vegas, but the rumblings are growing louder.

The Inquirer has been doing a good job chronicling the Winter Meetings. Now Andy Pettitte and Randy Wolf are in the mix.

The Derosa deal still has life, but may involve Kyle Kendrick heading out instead of J.A. Happ (seems like a better situation for the Phillies, no?)

And is Ryan Madson heading to the Cardinals?


Not so fast my friend....

It seems that the Cubs have hit a snag in their quest to acquire Jake Peavy--which means that the Phils attempts to add Mark DeRosa through the proposed three-way deal are on hold as well. Don't pack your bags just yet Mr. Happ...

More Phillies rumors...

Ken Rosenthal has the Phils linked to Ryan Ludwick of the Cardinals and Jason Marquis of the Cubs. Pretty interesting.

Through the tube - the future?

Maybe a little extra pop coming to Philadelphia.

Phillies in free agency - DeRosa

Activity appears to be picking up now that the Winter Meetings are underway, and the Phils are right in the thick of it.

The Phillies are involved in a proposed three-team trade with the Cubs and Padres that would bring in second baseman Mark DeRosa. J.A. Happ would likely be sacrificed in the trade, which would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs.

One I didn't see coming...the Phils pursuing Delmon Young?

Jon Heyman gives the latest on Derek Lowe and Jamie Moyer.

The Mets, meanwhile, are closing in on the prime-time closer.


Where from here?

By Matt Mattare

So the Eagles have once again resurrected a season from the brink of extinction, this time going into the Meadowlands and dominating what many believe is the best team in football. As I listen to Mac and Mayes and the callers on 950ESPN I sense there is a bit of confusion as to whether people are happy about this victory. Many fans call for change and another late season push that comes up this short might be enough to keep the current regime intact for another year. Does this victory mean the Reid-McNabb era has pulled yet another Lazarus after rock bottom in Baltimore? Should Eagles fans be what Bill Simmons calls “fan-tanking” (hoping the team loses for the good of the franchise) for the remainder of the season? I don’t believe that is the case.

Like I outlined earlier in the year, this isn’t a team that needs to necessarily be totally scrapped—as we’ve witnessed over the past two weeks they are quite capable of not only beating but thoroughly dominating some of the best teams in the league. Andy Reid’s performances over the past few weeks also may have won him a stay of execution, but changes need to be made. Obviously he has (miraculously) tweaked his philosophy a bit and has committed more to running the ball. Philadelphia had 41 rushing attempts yesterday, more than the Cincinnati and Baltimore games COMBINED. Whether or not he sticks with it remains to be seen, but the mere fact that he adjusted at all is something that should give Birds fans hope. After all, if Tom Coughlin can adjust his philosophy and win a Super Bowl Andy Reid can too…right?

I think this is still a very dangerous team that is capable of being the best team in the league on any given day. Will that be enough to get them in the playoffs? Maybe if they would have won that game in Cincinnati, but too many things need to break Philly’s way at this point. Those that want Andy Reid gone should start the fan-tanking but everyone else should still be pulling for the improbable run to the playoffs. If I’m an Eagles fan personally I’m hoping that McNabb lights the world on fire down the stretch—boost that trade value before his time in Philly is up.

After seeing the adjustments and reflecting a bit my stance of canning Big Red has wavered—I don’t think it’d necessarily be a bad move to keep him. However my position on Donovan remains the same and if he plays better and better down the stretch it will only help in the reshaping of this team. After watching the Cincy-Baltimore stretch did anyone think they could fetch more than a fourth rounder for him? Now suddenly he’s back into 1st-2nd round territory. Once McNabb has been traded to Minnesota (this has to happen), the Andy Reid era will hinge 100% on how well and how quickly he is able to develop Kevin Kolb. If THAT is the discussion in July then we’ll know the Birds are at least headed in the right direction.

The morning after

Don't try to rub the blur out of your eye, you are reading it correctly -- the Eagles ran the ball 40-plus times, for the second straight week. Just how amazing is that for Big Red? 950 ESPN's Brian Seltzer breaks it down.

Sal Pal caught up with No. 5 afterwards.

If you didn't bail on this team and wear your fandom on your sleeve (or your face) here's your chance to win a hundred bucks.


Through the tube - Burn baby burn!

In the parking lot, the Philly teams always win.

Phillies in free agency - Punto on the radar

Former Phil Nick Punto might be back in red pinstripes. That is, if the Mets don't snatch him first.

Speaking of the Mets, looks like a play for K-Rod is coming soon. And yet another source ties them to Bobby Abreu.


Afternoon Tug - Friday Delight

What do Plaxico Burress and Ralphie from "The Christmas Story" have in common...? [SI Tale Of Tape]

Big weekend in Vegas. No, not the De La Hoya fight....OJ!!! [Yahoo]

Hate to say it's over, but I think Les nails it. [Philly.com]

Playboy's 2008 Sexiest Sportscaster probably will be the great E.A. but please have a look at Ms. Charissa Thompson from the Big Ten Network. [Playboy]

With it being Friday, I will provide you with the image to get you to the nearest watering hole 5 minutes faster. Enjoy!

Phillies in free agency - Donald on the move?

Minor-league prospect Jason Donald has popped up as trade bait too many times to count over the last year. It isn't going away. Ken Rosenthal says Donald is a hot commodity, but the Phils might just need him this season.

Rumblings continue about the Phillies making an offer to Derek Lowe. If there is one, don't expect it to be more than three years.

And the more this free agency period drags on, the more it seems like Pat Burrell is just not in the team's plans.

Through the tube - History repeating?

Took a miracle to get this team rolling...might take one to keep it alive.


End of an era is near

By Tim McManus

The evidence is beginning to mount.

Piece by piece the picture is filling in, and now that it is starting to come into focus, reveals that the 2009 Eagles will look radically different barring a miracle stretch run.

Another piece fell into place today. When soon-to-be free agent Tra Thomas was asked by Jody Mac and Harry Mayes if he had hopes of returning to the Eagles next season, he said there have been no talks. He went on to say that there could be "drastic changes" if the season ends in disappointment.

Drastic changes might just equal youth movement.

Consider: Not only is Thomas a free agent, but so are fellow lynchpins Jon Runyan and Brian Dawkins. It is possible, if not likely, that all three may be purged.

Couple that with the fact that Donovan McNabb wants to sit down with the Eagles brass, as he revealed on Thanksgiving, to discuss his future at the end of the season. How is he going to feel if his starting tackles aren't coming back?

Will his opinion even matter, considering he will cost next-to-nothing against the cap if exiled?

While fans clamored for immediate upgrades, management continued to trade out of the first round and stockpile picks. Could it be for an offensive rebuilding project?

Smart money says yes.

A loss to the Giants Sunday, and that picture may become clearer still.

Report: Phils make offer to Lowe

Boston Globe is reporting that your World Champion Phils have made an offer to Derek Lowe.

Web shooter: Front Page News

If you woke up this morning and checked SI.com and ESPN.com, both Web sites have front pages features on Philadelphia sports teams. Lucky us.

SI's Marty Burns writes that the Sixers are still preaching patience to justify their slow start.

It wasn't supposed to be this way, of course. When the Sixers lured Brand away from the Clippers with a five-year, $82 million deal, many expected Philadelphia to make an immediate jump in the standings. Maybe even challenge the Celtics for the Eastern crown.

Just like in real life, the article offers no real solution for the problem. Maybe while Brand is out of the line up, they'll start playing like they did at the end of last season.

The second article comes courtesy of Rick Riley. He took a survey of NFL players, asking them what the outcome is of obscure rules. Does this vindicate Donovan? You decide.

Phillies in free agency - Burnett coming to NL East?

The Phillies have been linked to AJ Burnett, but not to this level. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Braves, fresh off trading for Javier Vazquez, are making a serious play for Burnett.

Ruben Amaro Jr. appears to be focused on locking up his own. Are extensions on the horizon for Madson and Werth?

Ken Rosenthal gives a list of teams interested in Pat Burrell.

Sixers reeling through a quarter of the season.

The Sixers aren't off to the start everyone envisioned after a big offseason that included the signing of Elton Brand. Right now their 8-11 and have lost five of their last six after a 114-102 loss to the Lakers last night.

Here's what the writers said about the team today.

Kate Fagan writes about last night's loss.

John Smallwood of the Daily News said that nobody said the Sixers would turn things around quickly.

Caryl Kauffman of the Journal Register News Service said Stefanski said the Sixers will get back on track.

Bernard Fernandez featured Maurice Speights in his story.

The morning after

At least we can take solace that the perennial beating comes from one of our own (sort of)...



By Matt Mattare

St. Joe’s 77
Lehigh 64

Thinking too much about the enigma that is the Philadelphia Eagles or the fact that the Sixers are paying Andre Iguodala $80 million to average 13.0ppg is enough to give anyone an ulcer, so I figured I’d head down to Stabler Arena to relax and get my first live peek at the St. Joe’s Hawks. Every few years they pop up as a dangerous team in March so I was curious to see if I could pencil them in as a potential bracket buster down the road. The answer in a word: no.

After a week in Maui the Hawks looked a little flat against Lehigh, a middle of the road team in one of the weakest conferences in D-I (the Patriot League). The artist formerly known as the Engineers put up a spirited fight—pulling within four points with less than ten minutes to go—but they were outmatched and couldn’t keep up late in the contest. They certainly didn’t help their cause by deciding the best defense would be commit touch fouls when the Hawks went up for borderline uncontested put-backs, but I digress.

The Hawks had problems getting points on the board—which has been a theme the entire season so far (in fact only three players are averaging more than 5.2 ppg going into the game). Guard Darrin Govens has some range but went 0-for-6 from behind the arc after hitting his first two shots to start the game. For the most part they relied on put-backs and hitting the boards to wear down Lehigh and that’s something you can’t do against a conference power like Xavier.

The thing I was most interested in getting a look at was Ahmad Nivens’ game—he’s a preseason all-conference selection who many claim is the best big man in the A-10. He posted pretty impressive numbers (20pts and 17rebs) but he did it very quietly. If I were to give a scouting report I’d say the positives are that he’s got a beautiful shot for a big man, a very solid mid-range game, nice touch around the basket, and gets his share of boards (he’s averaging over 10 rebounds per game). There are plenty of negatives though: he is not very assertive at all, never demands the ball, and disappeared for stretches. Tonight he was far and away the best player on the court and should’ve thrown up 40 points.

If I were to compare him to a player it’d be former Maryland forward Terence Morris; Morris had loads of talent and plenty of hype after two great years to start his college career, but if you ever watched him in person you were never impressed because he was just so passive. Jameer Nelson and Delonte West would have killed to have him anchoring their front line when they made their Elite Eight run, but he’s just not the type of player who will demand the ball and throw a team on his back to take them to a new level.

When St. Joe’s has been dangerous in the past it’s been on great guard play—whether it’s been Jameer and Delonte, Rashid Bey, Marvin O’Connor, or Pat Calathes. They’re lacking in that department this season which means expectations should be tempered—it also means that Villanova should have a pretty easy path to a Big Five crown.

On The Beat: Eagles

The Eagles get ready for the 11-1 Giants this weekend at Giants Stadium, needing a win to keep their playoffs alive and pick up their first win in the NFC East.

Ed Barkowitz, of the Philadelphia Daily News, said Akeem Jordan has earned a spot in the Birds' linebacking core.

Geoff Mosher says the Eagles need to stop the potent Giants running game to come out with a win.

NFL.com gives its preview of the game.

TheBleacherReport.com wrote this about J.R. Reed and the NFL.

Postgame Reactions: Sixers 103, Bulls 95

The 76ers snapped their four-game losing streak with an overtime win over the Bulls.

Here's Phil Jasner's gamer.

The Inquirer's Kate Fagan says Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Andre Miller carried the Sixers to victory.

Here's Fagan's postgame notes.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune's story gives you the Bulls angle.

Jasner talks about No. 1 pick Derrick Rose.

The Associated Press discusses the game and Andre Miller, who scored nine of his 28 in overtime.

Stats, LLC, on ESPN.com, previews the Sixers next game against the Lakers.

On The Beat: Phillies

Here's some Phillies talk to get you through the morning.

Todd Zolecki discusses the pitching staff and the World Series share.

Scott Lauber says the Phils are saving cash to keep their young stars.

Daily News writer Paul Hagen says the Phillies are leaving their options open with Burrell and Moyer.

Andrew Farrell of Forbes.com highlights the oldest athletes in sports, with a little bit about Moyer.

Jack Etkin of the Rocky Mountain News catches up with Brad Lidge who's spending his offseason in Colorado.


Phillies in free agency - C List?

Steve Phillips weighed in on the Phillies today on 950 ESPN with Jody Mac and Harry Mayes. He broke down the Moyer and Burrell situation, and also threw out some names that the Phillies might be looking at. Braden Looper or Jon Garland do anything for you?

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN is reporting that the Phils are interested in infielder Mark Loretta. Could that be an insurance policy for Utley?

Meanwhile, the Braves are trying to bolster their rotation.

Plaxico has his own club song!

Shoot it up like Plaxico Burress...

On The Beat in Philly


Neither Jamie Moyer, Pat Burrell, Rudy Seanez and Tom Gordon were offered arbitration according to Paul Hagen of the Daily News.

Todd Zolecki gives his thoughts on the situation in his The Phillies Zone blog.

Zolecki says Ruben Amaro Jr., has a full plate, with little time.


Sam Donnellon said Andy Reid's distaste for the run is making him a dinosaur among those who run the West Coast Offense.

Bill Conlin says goodbye to McNabb and Burrell.

Geoff Mosher of the Wilmington News Journal says Joselio Hanson and Nick Cole will need to step up for the Birds down the stretch.


Ed Moran says the Flyers finally have some leaders.


Villanova's Casiem Drummond will transfer according to Mike Kern of the Daily News.


Through the tube - Folding Cards

Could this be the last semi-meaningful win under No. 5?

Just in case, hold onto this minute tribute.

Phillies in free agency - arbitration

Today is when the Phils and the rest of Major League Baseball decide whether to offer salary arbitration to their existing free agent. For the hometown squad, that list reads: Jamie Moyer, Pat Burrell, Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez.

Moyer appears to be the only lock.

Todd Zolecki of the Inquirer breaks this down, and throws a few more names onto the hot stove.

As for Jermaine Dye, turns out the Phillies are on his no-trade list.