Tag Archive | "Michael Vick"

Time’s Yours Podcast: Chip Kelly’s Undoing (Or Is It Tebow Time?)

Time's Yours

THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!

Spike and Lee discuss why in the world Michael Vick was playing, Chip Kelly’s questionable decisions, Vick sitting on the bench, and how long it will be until Eagles fans demand Jon Gruden.

Also, the return of Chris Johnson!

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Time’s Yours Podcast: Nick Fails!

Time's Yours

Get it?! Fails instead of Foles!

Spike and Lee talk about the ugly loss to the Cowboys, Nick Foles people, Michael Vick’s mindset, discuss who Steve Eskin is (!!!!!!!), and take three observations from Chris Johnson Jr.

There will be no Spike Eskin Show on WIP this week, so if you want to hear gloating about Nick Foles, this is the place!

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Time’s Yours Podcast: Eagles, Giants, And A QB Controversy!

Foles

We were sad because we don’t have Chris this week, but we find a way to pull it together to talk about yesterday’s game.

Among the topics are: how horrible the Giants are, Foles vs. Vick, Josh Freeman, how horrible the Giants are, and other assorted topics.

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Conroy: The Philly Sports Top Ten

Vick

Michael Conroy is a freelance sportswriter and Flyers fan, and a guest writer for Spike Eskin Dot Com. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelConroyPM.

Spring is here in Philadelphia, and the local sports landscape is barren as can be. So I thought now is as good a time as ever to re-examine who the most important athletes in Philly are right now. I based my rankings on how much of an impact each athlete could potentially have on our sports world in the next year. Who holds the keys to the city? Before we answer that question, let’s recap a few key points from last year’s list.

Last Year’s Most Important

How much difference can one year make? You don’t need to look much further than last year’s number nine most important athlete in Philly. For one, he is no longer a member of the Philadelphia sports scene. In fact, he’s about as far from Philadelphia as the league he belongs to would allow him to go. I’m speaking, of course, of Nnamdi Asomugha. I referred to him last year as a “money pit.” This was partially meant as a joke at the time, but Nnamdi proved this label fairly accurate during his last campaign with the Eagles. There’s a lot to regret about how the whole relationship played out in the end, but Eagles fans can find solace in the fact that we no longer have to watch him try to cover someone or ring out Kurt Coleman ever again. Count your blessings.

Another pair of highlights from last year’s list were Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. This time last year, most of us had thought that Iguodala would have been dealt for something of value and Turner would have blossomed into a beautiful shot-making butterfly. Neither of those things came to fruition and the Sixers faithful are looking at one of the ugliest roster situations in all of the NBA. Good thing Jrue Holiday opted to sign that extension months ago. I’m not entirely sure he would make decision today.

The List

Enough about last year. It’s time to figure out who holds the position of “Most Important Athlete” in all of Philadelphia Sports.

 

10. Ilya Bryzgalov

This is quite the fall for last year’s number two most important athlete and, to be honest, I struggled even ranking the Flyers’ embattled goaltender. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that any goaltender should make this list so long as the defense remains so ineffective. Bryz hasn’t exactly gone above and beyond as you’d expect from a goalie with his talent, but I’m not sure Bernie Parent, himself could hold up against the mind-numbingly consistent one-on-one situations the Flyers have allowed.

To say that his contract is a problem is lenient. His potential buyout may be the only means of creating the cap space needed to fix the defense. Steve Mason’s exemplary play towards the end of the season may make the decision a bit easier.If he is not bought out and remains with the team, it will be difficult to expect anything better from the Flyers in 2014.

9. Jrue Holiday

It’s difficult to put any member of the 76ers on this list for a very simple reason. The 76ers are not important and won’t be for a few years, save a move or a series of moves that would shock us all. The team gutted themselves involuntarily in the trade for Andrew Bynum. While I was and still am completely okay with that, the state of the franchise on the basis of meaning anything to the NBA is downright bleak.

The reason I’ve included Jrue Holiday has little to do with the position of his franchise. Jrue took massive steps this year, making his first ever all-star game. He became one of the top (uninjured) point guards in the Eastern conference and showed all of us Sixers fans the difference between genuine growth and whatever the hell it is Evan Turner’s doing.

Jrue is also important as an asset. If he does not weather the storm of futility that will be the next 3 years of 76ers basketball, a trade involving the young point guard could net a hefty gain. Whatever the Sixers do in the next few years, at least Philadelphia will have Holiday’s box score to follow.

8. Brayden Schenn / Sean Couturier

So the Flyers have this very highly touted prospect. He is a Center and can play both ways. He came to the Flyers as a result of a trade and performed well above expectations in his playoff debut. Last year, however, Philadelphia witnessed a bit of a downturn in his performance on the ice. He is not the shimmering ray of potential that he once seemed to be. I think it’s time we started seeing some more concrete production out of this young forward. He’s going to have to earn his reputation back.

Was I talking about Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier? You’re not sure? Neither am I, but I’m not so sure it matters anymore. These were the keys to the Flyers’ rebuild just one off-season ago and Philadelphia simply needs to see more production from them on the ice in 2014. Otherwise, the Flyers might have to rebuild all over again.

7. Claude Giroux

The leader always gets the credit when his team’s doing well. It’s only fair that. having been only the second Captain in the past 17 seasons who failed to lead the Flyers to a playoff berth, he takes some blame. I could make excuses such as his line mates being in flux for most of the year or his wingers missing open shots by embarrassing margins. I could even say that the Flyer’s abysmal defense forced Claude Giroux to focus less on his offensive game than he’d like.

As the Captain, however, there can be no excuses. Giroux set out to lead his team to the playoffs this season and he failed. That’s the way he has to look at it. It’s the way his team must look at it. Whether fair or unfair, the burden of the “C” is undeniable. Claude Giroux is the Captain and undisputed leader of the Philadelphia Flyers for the foreseeable future. This is his story to write and it began with an ugly stumble.

6. Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson or “Lame” Johnson, amirite? No? Okay we’ll move on.

This is more about this year’s draft class as a whole than Johnson on his own but the lineman represents one of the first true football decisions of a new coach. With his first ever first round selection, Andy Reid took Donavon Mcnabb. The two are now synonymous, seminal parts of Philadelphia sports history. Will this be the case for Chip Kelly and Lane Johnson? It’s difficult to compare situations as there is no greater football bond than that between a coach and his quarterback. Nevertheless, this was Chip Kelly’s first draft class and their level of success in the NFL can tell us a couple of things.

First, we will see if it was Howie Roseman or Andy Reid who botched so many draft choices in recent years. If Lane Johnson spends the next two seasons on the bench or struggling to stay afloat, Chip Kelly may survive but Roseman should be on the hot seat. Second, and more importantly, Eagles fans can learn just a little bit more about what makes a #4 overall caliber player in the mind of Chip Kelly,

5, Domonic Brown

He’s finally arrived! Or, wait..no nevermind he didn’t. Oh wait, yeah he definitely did! Can we make up our mind on this guy? Let me rephrase that question. Can this guy make up his mind on this guy? In all seriousness, I cannot tell whether Dominic Brown is a good player or not. One night, he’s a butcher in the outfield who doesn’t look comfortable with a routine fly ball. The next night, he’s flying through the sky like a tiger, lunging to make a Sportscenter top-10 highlight reel catch. Then there’s the matter of his batting which may be half as predictable as his fielding.

At the moment, it seems he’s put together a few good games in a row, but Phillies fans still can’t totally trust him. With such cornerstones as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley losing a bit of “it” every day, the fate of the Phils appears to rest solely upon the shoulders of this confusing young player. That scares me.

4. Lesean Mccoy

Kenjon Barner flourished in Chip Kelly’s system. He ran amok in the Pac-12. This could be a huge year for Lesean Mccoy as he enters his prime under the direction of one of the most progressive offensive minds in football. Mccoy is arguably one of the best backs in the league already, despite a down year in 2012. The opportunity is there for Lesean Mccoy to assert himself as the number one running back in all of the NFL. His success could also mean good things for an offensive line that has less pass protecting to do and a quarterback who has proved incapable of efficiently running a passing oriented offense.

3. Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels isn’t the most important athlete in Philadelphia but he sure as hell should be. He’s the home-grown, MVP ace of the only team to bring Philadelphia a championship since 1983. He gave us all a damn parade. As far as I’m concerned he can have at least the money his contract is worth and be terrible for the rest of his career and I wouldn’t be angry with him. I realize I’m in the minority here, but when you really sit down and think about it, Cole Hamels is an icon in Philadelphia sports and we rarely speak of him as such.

He chose to remain with this declining team last season and leave money on the table. He chose Philly over Los Angeles, over the Dodgers. He’s Philadelphia royalty and number three on my list.

2. Jason Peters

Boy, did the Eagles ever miss Jason Peters last season. The old adage goes:”You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” and it’s completely applicable in Jason Peters’ situation. The offensive line went from being one of the most impressive units in all of football in 2011 to an absolute mess in 2012. Again I say, what a difference a year makes…

When we last saw Jason Peters, he was arguable the best player at the second most important position in his sport. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever see that player again. His twice-torn Achilles and a year off from the game will likely prevent a full return to power. It’s not all bad news, though as 80% of what Peters was could make 100% of the difference for the 2013-2014 Eagles team and bring stability to a unit that sorely needs it.

I don’t know how far the Eagles can go in 2014, but it’s not out of the question to think that, with a new coach and scheme, a healthy Philadelphia team could catch the league by surprise. Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Don’t talk about playoffs!

Your winner…(long pause)…and STILL reigning champion is

1. Michael Vick

Football is stupid. Every single year, stupid things happen that simply cannot be explained. Whether this is due to the uniquely small sample size of the NFL regular season or the presence of extreme parity throughout the league, you can depend on having ample cause to scratch your head in the coming football year. Don’t kid yourself. A potential third act in the Michael Vick experience is in play here.

Perhaps the Eagles’ presumed starting quarterback’s 2010 season represented the “A New Hope” portion of this trilogy. Then his 2011-2013 years saw the “Empire” strike back. Is Philadelphia due for a “Return of the Jedi” scenario? Does that make Chip Kelly the “Yoda” figure in this narrative? But then who’s the “Han Solo” here? I’ve gotten totally off-track with this analogy haven’t I?

Anyway you slice this number one ranking, you can’t avoid a depressing thought. There really isn’t a great pool of competition this year. Also, when considering the parameters of this list, you’d have to admit that Michael Vick possesses the most potential to affect the world of Philadelphia sports in the coming year. If he can recapture some of that post-reinstatement magic once more, the Eagles can make a significant run. An NFL playoff game in South Philadelphia would blow anything that’s happened in the past 1,210 comparatively flaccid days.

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Conroy: Michael Vick’s Fourth Quarter Comebacks Making History

Michael Conroy is a freelance sportswriter and Flyers fan, and a guest writer for Spike Eskin Dot Com. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelConroyPM.

Michael Vick:

13/20 159 yards 1 TD Rushing: 5/33 yards 1 TD QB Rating: 106.0

% of total offense: 68

Eli Manning:

6/9 126 yds 1 TD 1 INT QB Rating: 107.2

% of total offense: 64%

In the latest installment of the maddeningly unpredictable ongoing series that is Michael Vick’s career, a bizarre trend is materializing. Many are aware of Vick’s constant battle with decision-making and his affinity for making bad situations worse (sometimes in spectacular fashion). For this reason, many may find this developing pattern, and its subsequent comparison, baffling.

The Eagles are 3-1 through their first four games this season. While their record may not be surprising, the manner by which it was achieved certainly was. In all three of the Eagles’ wins thus far, a late 4th quarter, game-winning drive was required. That’s a tall order even for some of the most elite quarterbacks in the NFL. In a show of impressive resiliency, Michael Vick has come through for the Eagles whenever he’s had the opportunity.

Just how impressive have Michael Vick’s late game heroics been? For the answer, look no further than the performance of an ELIte quarterback just one year ago. (Do you see what I did there? No one has ever used that before right…right?)  Eli Manning made history in 2011, posting a stunning EIGHT game-winning fourth quarter drives. Still, it took until week 6 for the New York Giants’ signal caller to match Vick’s current total. The comparison between these two late-game heroes is even more compelling upon closer inspection.

“Clutch”

As is stated above, Michael Vick has had three opportunities this year to be “clutch”; to drive his team down the field to a 4th quarter, game-winning score. Thus, a fair comparison would warrant examination of Eli’s first three opportunities in 2011. Most importantly, overall record in these situations should be considered. Vick edges Manning here with an impressive 3-0. Eli converted on two of his first three attempts. As erratic as Philly’s quarterback has been at times, it’s hard to believe that he has been more reliable than his Giants counterpart in 2011.

Taking a Closer Look

While Michael Vick has posted a better overall record in these close games, it is a common misconception that Manning is simply rELIed on to do more. (Again, do you see what I was able to do here? It’s gold!) Taking a closer look, the statistics polygraph has determined that is a lie. During these late-game adventures, Michael Vick has had the ball placed in his hands on 68% of the plays. That’s 4% higher than Eli’s rate through his first three such drives in 2011. This really brings Andy Reid’s trust in his quarterback to light for a few reasons.

For one, Michael Vick had not been exceptional through the first three and a half quarters of most of these games. This would lead most coaches to take the ball out of his hands in crunch time, but Andy had the courage of his convictions and deserves some credit. After all, it’s his job that’s on the line. Another reason this reliance on Vick is surprising is that, for the most part, there has been plenty of time left on the clock during these late-game drives. The running game was certainly still a viable option in most of these cases.

Eli Gets One

There just had to be one area where Eli Manning and his 201l campaign could gain an advantage over Vick. It’s true, Manning’s quarterback rating of 107.2 during his first three game-winning opportunities is impressive. Connecting on 6 of his 9 pass attempts for 126 yards and a touchdown, Eli made his presence felt. What kept his rating down, however was a soul-crushing pick-6 that the New York quarterback threw at the goal line, in the waning moments of a home game vs. the Seahawks.

Michael Vick certainly has had his share of head-scratching throws this season, but few have come during his comeback bids. He’s hit his targets on 13 of 20 attempts for 159 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles’ savior has also made use of his legs, rushing 5 times for 33 yards and another score. It should be noted that this success on the ground doesn’t even factor into Vick’s impressive 106.0 quarterback rating on game-winning drives.

What Does it Mean?

Is Michael Vick a better quarterback than Eli Manning? No. I’m fairly certain that, aside from a few die-hard Vick fans, there will be little argument here. Still, the stats would suggest that what Michael Vick is doing this season in the 4th quarter is special. It’s entirely possible that Philadelphia’s quarterback is making some history of his own. There’s a lot of football left to be played, and there are sure to be some bumps along the way, but if Michael Vick is building a “dynasty,” these fourth quarter drives make for a solid foundation.

All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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Conroy: The Eagles Cannot Win The Super Bowl

Michael Conroy is a freelance sportswriter and Flyers fan, and a guest writer for Spike Eskin Dot Com. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelConroyPM.

It’s a common belief that, no matter the magnitude, one loss only counts as one loss. For the Eagles, yesterday’s debacle in Arizona counts as a lot, lot more. Through the first two weeks of the 2012 season, the Eagles had overcome seemingly unsustainable misfortune, stumbling clumsily to a hollow 2-0 record. After Michael Vick led the way to a go-ahead touchdown on the final drive against Baltimore, Philadelphia fans were inspired to believe that, beneath the disorganization, carelessness and chaos, a Super Bowl contender laid dormant. After 3 weeks, the sample size is now large enough to draw some conclusions that would point to the contrary.

Conclusion #1

Michael Vick is no longer a starting caliber NFL quarterback.

It’s been the source of a sense of dread that most Eagles fans have felt but explained away for over a year now, watching Michael Vick lead this offense. The entertaining highlights and reputation that accompany a player like Vick have gone a long way to mask a disturbing trend that has surfaced during his tenure with Philly. This most glaring fact that Eagles fans must come to terms with is that Michael Vick is no longer a good player.

This honestly isn’t an arguable fact (it’s not a fact, it’s an opinion, and it is arguable, -spike) but for those who choose to disregard what their eyes are telling them, consider this: Michael Vick is currently the 29th rated quarterback in the NFL. He is rated behind Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jake Locker, all of whom are considered to be the biggest reason their respective teams are not a threat to win a super bowl. Additionally, Michael Vick has led the league in turnovers since the start of the 2011 season.

This is important because the biggest difference between a starting quarterback and his potential replacement is his tendency to turn the ball over. It is absolutely reasonable to assume that Nick Foles, Trent Edwards, or even Mike Kafka could give the Eagles more efficient quarterback play. Thus, a strong argument can be made that Michael Vick is no longer above his replacement level.

Conclusion #2

We have seen the best Andy Reid has to offer.

When a band releases their first “Greatest Hits” album, it’s pretty much a lock that their best work is behind them. In 2004, Andy Reid released his last platinum record. We saw the most successful manifestation of his “plan” for the Eagles and it just wasn’t good enough. That’s not to say that Andy Reid cannot be successful or even show some glimpses of the brilliance he once possessed, but to expect a return to that level on a consistent basis is unrealistic at this point.

With that in mind, one question looms over Philadelphia. What are the Eagles doing? On one hand, you have a coach whose sole focus should be on finishing with a record “substantially better” than 8-8. Thus, the notion of benching the irresponsible Michael Vick in lieu of an unproven commodity like Nick Foles is inert. Andy Reid has no choice in the matter. Making a change at quarterback is tantamount to handing in his resignation.

On the other hand, you have a quarterback who is rapidly declining in an offense that demands more from him than ever before. As the season drags on, this volatile situation is going to become toxic. While the coach is trying desperately to salvage the present and the quarterback struggles to hold onto his past, fans will begin to realize that what matters most is the team’s future; a future that does not include either.

Conclusion #3

The Philadelphia Eagles CANNOT win the Super Bowl.

On the last snap of the first half, Sunday, Michael Vick rolled to the right, straight into oncoming pressure, and was strip-sacked from behind. The ball was picked up by the Cardinals and returned, with zero seconds remaining on the clock, for a game breaking touchdown. This is damning in a few respects. For one, this is a play the Eagles have seen many times at the goal line in since 2010. A similar defensive play call was employed just last week when Vick almost fumbled his team to their first loss of the season.

To think that, not only has the team made no discernible progress in dealing with this situation, but they seem to have gotten worse is nonsensical. Whether this is a failure of the coaches to make adjustments or the quarterback’s limited understanding of opposing defenses, the results on the field speak for themselves.

Another troubling part of this play was the fact that Vick held the ball until the clock ran out. At the 1-yard line, with a deafening crowd, when the best weapon on your team is a running back, the only justification for throwing the football is keeping the possibility of a field goal open. When Vick held the ball so long, he ensured that the only advantage to keeping it out of Lesean Mccoy’s hands was eliminated. This is the type of lazy, sloppy, irresponsible behavior has spread through the team like a fungus in recent years.

This brings a larger point to light. In a league where the talent has become so evenly distributed; where parity is rampant, what separates good teams from championship teams is their attention to detail, preparation, in-game adjustments and situational football. The Eagles have proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are lacking in all of these areas.

Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles have entered every single one of their first three games unprepared. The offense has been maddeningly slow to adjust to opposing defensive schemes. The Eagles do not pay attention to detail, they do not play situational football, how can they be legitimate super bowl contenders?

While many will be hiding behind the hackneyed drivel that is “it’s just one game,” I urge you to understand something. When you claim that the Eagles can contend for a super bowl, you are arguing against all available evidence. There is nothing that the Philadelphia Eagles have shown to indicate that they are capable of being as consistent and efficient as a world champion needs to be.

Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” This may be the 19th time in three seasons that this Eagles team has shown us who they are. Can we please, at long last, believe them?

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Photoshop With Matt Mac: Vick’s Picks

Ohhhhhhh, so that’s what the problem was. Photoshop via Master Photoshopper @_mattmac.

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Time’s Yours Podcast: The Philadelphia Eagles, Team Of Destiny

Well, you never know, right?

The defense looked great for the second straight week, and Michael Vick found out that Brent Celek is on the team. The Eagles have won two in a row, and they ain’t dead yet.

Lee Russakoff and I break down the game, and why people in Philly feel the need to say that they don’t want the Eagles to make the playoffs. We also try to figure out what kind of chance they actually have of doing it.

P.S. I’ll be guest hosting the Nick and Artie Show next Thursday night (12/29) with none other than Howard Eskin. The show is on 10pm until 1am. It doesn’t air in Philadelphia, but you can listen at nickandartie.com.

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Time’s Yours Podcast: The Eagles, 8-8 For Excellence

Two important things happened with yesterday’s Eagles win over the Dolphins.

First, they started off 1-0 in the “new season” that Asante Samuel claimed started yesterday.

Second, Lee Russakoff realized that he doesn’t want to lose Andy Reid. I couldn’t believe my ears.

We talk about those things, what the real chances are that the Eagles wind up in the playoffs, and whether signing Michael Vick was a good idea.

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