Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Can the Phillies live up to their Power Potential?


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The Phillies are in Spring Training and are filled with youth. What can we expect from them as far as wins? They have alot of players with big potential. Will their power be as advertised?

With the Eagles strapped against the cap, it is going to take a lot of maneuvering to get the team where it needs to be. The Linebacker position is a big need with the uncertainty of Jordan Hicks, which makes Nigel Bradham a priority. Do you resign him?

Tiger Woods at 42 still has the chance to be the best player in the world. After a weekend of flashes, will he be competing for a Top spot in Augusta? Is he back to true form?

The top QBs and their salaries are eye popping statistics. Kirk Cousins is looking at the biggest contract in NFL history. What do you do if you’re a team who needs an arm? Do you take the risk?

We have our 1st Fantasy Baseball mock draft and the results are puzzling. Mookie Betts goes at 3 while Paul Goldschmidt drops to 8. The Pitcher run starts at the top of second. Is that the right spot to target an arm? John also gives us some sleepers to keep an eye on as the draft gets deeper.

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories from the news. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says the Eagles are the bread winners now in PA while John (@PGHJohn36) says to live it up for now as it will change. From Maikel Franco’s party problems to a Tiger Woods transformation, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

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As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.

 

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Will the Eagles soar into the Playoffs?


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The Philadelphia Eagles came into this season with new life and a profound attitude under first year Head Coach Chip Kelly. After their dismal 4-12 seasons, Eagles management decided it was time for a change. They decided the Andy Reid ship had sailed after a 14 year tenure and it was time to float another boat into the dock. However, Howie Rosman and Jeffery Lurie didn’t just want any old boat, they thew their line out to the most sought after yacht in college football and reeled in Oregon head coach, Chip Kelly. It was a risk and reward power play that would have to settle for a few years before we were able to deem it successful. Either way, it was bold and brilliant, as it breathed new life into a city and a franchise that sorely needed the boost.

Along with the Head Coach, came a new philosophy and system that needed to be implemented and mastered before the team could worry about winning. There was a major roster overhaul and a new message being relayed to the veterans that needed to be adhered to in order for Kelly’s system to advance. All of these intricate things needing to be mastered before success would be accepted.

As you can see, there was a lot of excitement in the City of Brotherly Love this offseason, but we still maintained an expectation of minimal results, understanding we were in a rebuilding phase. The NFL can be very unpredictable at times, leaving us all scratching our heads in confusion. In the same token, the Eagles are currently sitting at 7-5 in the NFC East, trading blows with the Cowboys for the division, way before anyone thought we were ready to compete. This all leads to a dramatic turnaround, in which the Eagles will continue their way into the Postseason by making the playoffs and leading everyone to alter their expectations for the rest of the year.

As we gear into the final 4 games of the regular season, these are my top 5 reasons why the Eagles are going to give Philadelphia fans a special Christmas present with a trip to the Postseason:

  • Nick Foles: The Eagles started the preseason amidst a Quarterback controversy between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Chip Kelly made the choice to go with Vick and after week 1 it looked like the right call as he passed and slashed all over the Redskins.  However, after taking over full time, Nick Foles has led the Eagles to a 5-1nick-foles-4_3 record in his six games as starter, leading Chip Kelly to announce he will remain the starter for the next “1000” years. Nick has been remarkable with his accuracy breaking the team record of 233 passes without an interception (19TD/0 INT), previously held by Michael Vick. All this leads to the model of a playoff quarterback, something Foles plans to accomplish.
  • Chip Kelly: The questions of surrounding the decision the hire Chip Kelly could be heard all the way around the globe. Is his commitment there? Will his system work in the NFL? He has answered all of these questions with an emphatic YES! Obviously, he is still learning the NFL coaching scheme, but he has adapted well so farchipside and will only get better as the year extends. The one thing that cannot be preached enough is team morale, something that Chip has brought to the team, showing they have bought into the system. There was a reason why current NFL coaches were looking to pick his brain on a regular basis and now all are clamoring to protect themselves from his offensive approach. Chip Kelly is a blue collar, football junkie, which all adds up to the prototypical Philadelphia football fan and a trip to the NFL Playoffs!
  •  Defense: We are all familiar with the phrase, “Defense wins Championships,” and what                    it is perceived to mean. Well, when the Eagles began their transition to a new 3-4 defensive scheme under D-Coordinator Billy Davis, it looked like it was going to be a long season full of missed tackles and overwhelming defeats. However, as the season went on, players continued to adapt and now have the look of a solid defense. 081111-trent-cole-400They have a good mix of experience and solid, younger talent, laying the foundation for a successful playoff push. The two guys who have stood out and showed their willingness to anchor the defense this year have been Trent Cole and DeMeco Ryans.  Trent has recorded five sacks, five quarterback hurries, and 31 tackles over his past four games and Ryans has 105 tackles, 3 Sacks, and 2 INTS, on his way to a Pro Bowl season.
  • Special Teams: Every NFL team has to be solid on special teams in order to succeed, let alone make the playoffs. Fortunately for the Eagles they have electric return specialist Desean Jackson, a usa-donniejones-slideshowsolid placekicker in Alex Henery, and fantastic punter Donnie Jones. A quiet pickup in the offseason, Jones has proved to be a key to the success and rise of the defense. The opposing teams are getting the ball deep into their own territory, giving the defense more options to attack. One of his trademarks this year has been his consistent, situational punting. He holds a percentage of 44.6% inside the 20 and in week 13 dropped 7 out of 8 punts inside the 20, only one away from the NFL record of 8. This is a definite luxury to have leading your playoff push.
  • Schedule: The Eagles sit at 7-5 and in my opinion, need to win at least 2 of their next 3 games to set up a showdown in week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys for the division title. The remaining 4 games include Detroit, @ Minnesota, Chicago, and @ Dallas. As Minnesota and Chicago both seem to be running on lost dreams, their schedule favors them to control their own destiny.

As you can see, there are many valid arguments to help support the Eagles cause in being a playoff team. In Philadelphia, they judge teams by character and competition, two things this team strongly possesses. The year started out as a rebuild in progress, basically everyone looking ahead to the draft. Fortunately, for the city and its fans, Chip Kelly has comes as advertised and turned this town in to a frenzy once again!

****As always I appreciate all comments and feedback….you can follow me @TCutillo23.

 

A Star in the Making…


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In a coaching era that had been mired in controversy, Andy Reid may have actually done something right when he drafted cornerback Brandon Boykin in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. During his tenure as Philadelphia Eagles head coach, he wasn’t known for his draft picks, but this one may be an exception.  Coming out of college, Boykin was an accomplished player who, as a senior, received the MVP award in the Outback Bowl and is the only player in Georgia Bulldog history to return three (3) kickoffs for touchdowns in a single season. All these accolades led him to be a projected late first/early second round pick. Unfortunately, Brandon fractured his leg in the senior bowl, making him unavailable to showcase his skills for the combine. This led to his slip down NFL teams’ draft boards, leaving him as a potential steal for the Eagles in the fourth round.

After critiquing his college career at Georgia, the knock on Boykin was his size (5’10) and weight (183lbs), two things that would prevent him from playing as an outside cornerback in the NFL. This is what his scouting report looked like:

  • Tackles poorly and rarely fights off blocks
  • Most likely never be more than an average nickel corner
  • Plays best in one on one coverage
  • May get bullied from time to time off the line because of lock of arm strengthboykin1
  • Stays in back pedal far too long on underneath routes
  • Plays fast and can cover deep ball well

Obviously, these are only preliminary views without the prospects of getting better. In this case, exceeding expectations is exactly what Boykin has been doing. He has probably been the Eagles best cornerback this year, showing fantastic cover skills and unique playmaking ability. The matchups are never easy in the NFC, but Brandon has been able to hold his own against the likes of Dez Bryant, Pierre Garcon, etc. He currently leads the team with four (4) interceptions and has shown the ability to be a top cover corner in this league.

In the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles hired Billy Davis to be their defensive coordinator and put a new 3-4 Hybrid scheme in place. The boykin4team then decided to sign Cary Williams from the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens with the expectation of him being the focal point of the secondary.  As it turns out, Carey has been adequate, but Brandon has shown he is very capable of producing at that level or even higher, on the way to making the defense successful. There have been many great CB’s in Eagles history, Troy Vincent and Eric Allen, just to name a few. Consequently, Brandon Boykin has every opportunity to keep improving and maturing, working his way to becoming another polished member of a great Philadelphia cornerback tradition.

BY: Tony Cutillo…….@TCutillo23

Mediocrity, Inconsistency, and Patience……..


Following the horrific 2012 football season, the Philadelphia Eagles decided it was time to begin a new regime and let Andy Reid ride out into the pastures of the NFL coaching pool, waiting until his next stop.  His next destination wound up being Kansas City and he is now enjoying a road of relief and new found success, as his Chiefs are 8-0.  In Philadelphia, we chipnandywere enamored by the idea of breathing new life into a city and team who has been floundering in mediocrity for far too long. We were labeled as the gold standard not too long ago by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, but the one thing he never imagined is we would be conceivably the cubic zirconia’s of the NFL instead of the fine diamonds and jewels.  In the midst of regaining our previous success, Chip Kelly was brought in to steer us in to the world of evolution and leave all of the other 31 teams in the dust.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and people are already pondering the what if’s or how come’s, instead of still understanding there is still lots of work to be done, in order to stay on the right path.

After going back and looking deeply into the first 8 games of the 2013 season, I come with an overall feeling of mediocrity again, but keeping calm to the fact that this is only a learning year for the coach and the players.  That being said, I decided go look back to 2012 and compare the first 8 games to 2013 and see how much of a difference the Chip Kelly offense has made. Here is the breakdown:

2012 (first 8 games)                                                                      2013 (first 8 games)

Record 3-5                                                                                       Record 3-5

Pass Yds: 1720                                                                                Pass Yds: 1986

Rush Yds: 824                                                                                 Rush Yds: 1203

Total Offense: 2544 yards                                                            Total Offense: 3189 yards

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Figure 1: this all comes out to a + 33 pass yds and 47 rush yards per game…81 yds of total offense per game.

The interesting thing about these numbers is we are in the plus category for both statistics, but it has not translated to more victories.  Obviously, there is more than just raw numbers that contribute to wins and losses, but I think looking at the view of running the ball more then we are accustomed to, shows that Chip knows you need a running game to win in the NFL and also shows he understands that Lesean Mccoy is there best overall player.  The one thing that concerns me is, even though this is a rebuilding year, the players might feel ready to jump off the Chip ship because the results are not chipsidegoing the way they envisioned.  Chip Kelly has to be careful, as he is walking a fine line with veterans, who he is preaching a different culture from what they are used to hearing. In the confines of new surroundings, they will initially buy into the system, but if that system fails to operate or be successful they will tend to question it and start to go on their own statistical path of self promotion.

In my opinion, we cannot judge Chip Kelly, or this team for that matter because of the new systems in place and for the simple fact that our future QB isn’t even on our roster right now. We have to understand that Chip is trying to run his offense with his glass half full. The things that need to be taken from these games so far is improvement from game to game, play calling and emotion.  I think the offense has been in a stalled state of regression, but in part due to injuries and uncertainty at the quarterback position.  Furthermore, the play calling has been suspect to say the least, but keep in mind this is a year of adjustment for the players as well as the coach. Lastly, the one thing the team has not lacked so far has been emotion. This team has battled through each game, playing to the last minute, even if they couldn’t develop an offensive chemistry. Therefore, if I would have to grade the Eagles so far it would be a C+ because of inconsistencies on the field, but an overall product that is workable. The road is going to be long and bumpy, but I think this team will be back to prominence one day with Chip Kelly under the helm. So what’s your grade so far?

BY: Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)

New Era Approaching


After watching the Eagles game on replay the other night, I feel I learned a lot about what to expect from the current Philadelphia Eagles team this year and what to expect in the near future. There seems to be a newfound presence of surprise and confidence that has been instilled into the players by new head coach Chip Kelly. Chip has been seen on the sidelines acting like a giddy little kid who is awaiting a gift onchip Xmas morning. There is a special aura about him that breathes confidence and certainty into the locker room, something that had been lacking in the previous regime. In Philadelphia, the fans have been clamoring for change and the ability to improve a franchise that has been in a downward spiral since 2008. It has become apparent, after watching the first two preseason games, they have indeed received that change in more ways than they could have imagined.

Following a dismal 2012/13 season, my expectations were down due to the fact there was a major coaching change, intermingled with an entirely new culture and system. In the National Football League, change is something that every organization will eventually go through, but during the trial and tribulations of implementing new focus to a game these players have been playing for a long time, it will at times become slow and stalled. However, it seems as though the players have quickly bought into this new system and look to be clicking on more cylinders this early in the year than most people had expected. The offense looks smooth and exciting in every facet of the game, on the field and along the sidelines. Along those same lines, first round pick Lane Johnson, is showing every one across the league why there was so much hype surrounding him, making it look like the Eagles finally made the right call on a draft pick. The Andy Reid era was full of mishaps and busts, so hopefully this is a sign that we are headed in the right direction.

In regards to leading, the Quarterback controversy has finally been wrapped up with Michael Vick, the obvious choice, to be the winner. Vick has shown anvick undeniable desire to learn, play and win. He looks extremely confident and poised in the pocket, which are all attributes that could lead to a big, successful year. Understandably, Nick Foles was given proper consideration and a fair shot as well, but if anyone can say there was equality in the speed and tightness of their throws, they need to get a new prescription. I completely understand the basis of many arguments in regards to age and durability, but what if everything comes together this year? What if this system really is tailor-made for him and he does have the best year of his career at the age of 33? I would like to conclude with the following thought: If Vick indeed does have a career year, do the Eagles sign him to an extension to go all in or do they continue the current youth movement? Just something to think about as this year progresses!

BY: @TCutillo23