Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eagles vs. Cowgirls Preview

NFC East Divisional Champions
NFC Playoffs 1st round bye
Home field advantage until NFC Championship

While these three items were all on the Eagles checklist at the beginning of a season, they can now each be checked off with one task - beat the Cowgirls in "small d" this Sunday at 4:15pm. I cannot remember ever being this pumped up for a regular season game! Having the regular season end in Dallas, against our bitter rivals, with the division and a first round bye on the line...honestly, does it get any better than this?

Below are statistical comparisons between players and the match-ups that I see as the most important to the Eagles success or defeat. Bold shows best number in their field.


Donovan McNabb - 3330 Yds, 60.7 %, 22 Td, 10 Int, 94.5 Rat
Tono Romo - 4172 Yds, 62.6%, 24 Td, 8 Int, 97.0 Rat
LeSean McCoy - (Rush) 633 Yds, 4.1 Ave, 4 Td - (Rec) 303 Yds, 8.0 Ave
Leonard Weaver - (Rush) 321 Yds, 4.7 Ave, 2 Td - (Rec) 140 Yds, 9.3 Ave, 2 Td
Brian Westbrook - (Rush) 257 Yds, 4.6 Ave, 1 Td - (Rec) 161 Yds, 7.7 Ave, 1 Td
Marion Barber - (Rush) 841 Yds, 4.2 Ave, 7 Td - (Rec) 207 Yds, 8.3 Ave
Felix Jones - (Rush) 594 Yds, 5.9 Ave, 2 Td - (Rec) 116 Yd, 7.3 Ave
Tashard Choice - (Rush) - 349 Yds, 5.5 Ave, 3 Td - (Rec) 132 Yds, 8.8 Ave

Wide Receivers
DeSean Jackson - 1120 Yds, 18.7 Ave, 9 Td
Jeremy Maclin - 715 Yds, 13.8 Ave, 4 Td
Miles Austin - 123o Yds, 16.6 Ave, 11 Td
Roy Williams - 596 Yds, 15.7 Ave, 7 Td

Tight End
Brent Celek - 875 Yds, 12.7 Ave, 8 Td
Jason Witten - 954 yds, 10.8 Ave, 1 Td
Punt Returns
DeSean Jackson - 432 Yds, 15 FC, 85 Long, 2 Td
Patrick Crayton - 413 Yds, 22 FC, 82 Long, 2 Td
Asante Samuel - 40 Tot, 39 Sol, 1FF, 15 PD, 9 Int
Sheldon Brown - 51 Tot, 43 Sol, 1 FF, 17 PD, 5 int
Mike Jenkins - 48 Tot, 44 Sol, 16 PD, 5 int
Terence Newman - 56 Tot, 51 Sol, 3 FF, 18 PD, 3 Int

Not comparing these..Dallas simply dominates having two healthy LBs all year.


When you look over the numbers above you can see why this game means so much for both teams - they're both very good. It is weird how well these two teams match up offensively. I kept waiting for stats to show the position that we dominate in, but the stats show how evenly we match up across all of the positions.

With this in mind, I believe that there are a few positions that we need to pay specific attention to if we want to give ourselves a good shot at winning.
Miles Austin - He is the most important person on this team. We absolutely need to contain Austin. In the first meeting, Austin had one catch for a 49 yd TD. He seems to do this in just about every game..this is why he has 11 TD's and made the Pro Bowl.
Tony Romo - Romo has had a very good year, which makes me sick to say. Romo's legs are what will kill us. He can make a play out of nothing because he allows himself time to get out of the pocket and either run or complete a broken-play pass.
Felix Jones - Marion Barber does not scare me..he's getting slow and doesn't hit the hole like he used to - he'll get the ball in goal line situations, we know that. Felix Jones is an explosive back that can take a hand off or screen and turn it into a big play...easily. The 'Girls could use this speed to counter the coverages we will put on Austin, so it is important to shut him down early and get our hands on the ball...he fumbles.
Jason Witten - Dude always kills us.

We need LeSean McCoy to have a big day, which I feel he will have. More importantly, if Jeremy Maclin has a few big catches in the first half the offense will open dramatically, because you know the 'Girls are scared of DeSean Jackson and have been pooping their pants all week trying to figure out some sort of bracket coverage for him.
I'll save your eyes some stress and wrap it up here...
The Eagles have their playoff situation in their own hands. This team should be salivating at the opportunity that they have in front of them. We have no excuses if we lose this game.

Go Birds!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Adam Stanco's NBA Naughty and Nice

Adam weighs in once again before the holidays to help your fantasy squad..

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NBA Fantasy Rookie Report - ESPN Video

Ladies & gentlemen...I present to you, Adam Stanco, the smartest man in the world of basketball.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doc Halladay/Cliff Lee + 5,000 Minors Trade

Well, it was only a matter of time before the Phillies got their hands on Roy Halladay. The twists and turns of ironing out this deal seemed to be never ending - there were new players/prospects added to the speculation every hour. It does not surprise me to see a past Pat Gillick team (Mariner's) once again in the trading mix. Below is what each team received in the deal:

Phillies: Roy Halladay ('03 AL Cy Young), Phillippe Aumont (Mariner's #1 pitching prospect), J.C. Ramirez (Mariner's #2 pitching prospect), Tyson Gillies (speedy, on-the-rise OF prospect), $6M cash
Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek (Phillies #1 pitching prospect), Michael Taylor (Phillies #2 outfield prospect), Travis d'Arnaud (Phillies #1 catching prospect)
Mariners: Cliff Lee ('08 AL Cy Young)

The deal gives the Phillies an unbelievable Right-Left, 1-2 combination at the top of their rotation. It is important to realize that a performance like Lee's playoff run in '09 will most-likely not happen again....ask Cole Hamels. His playoff pitching will be studied down to every possible second by the next time that he is on the big stage. Therefore, I think that swapping Halladay for Lee is a great deal. You get a cheaper ace, who is right handed, to compliment Hamels, and a pitcher who has been salivating for 6 months to join this team. The confusing side for many fans is that the Phillies lost basically what the Jays wanted in the summer for Halladay. The deal maker for Ruben Amaro Jr. was that they were able to bring the Mariner's into the deal and take three of their top prospects along with Halladay.

The Phillies were not prepared to go past 3 years with Cliff Lee's contract where they would have had to pay him over $100M. They orchestrated a deal that gave them an equal or better ace, saved $40M+, and received three very promising youngsters. While the Phillies traded top pitching, outfield and catching prospects they received the Mariner's top 2 pitching prospects and an outfield prospect that many scouts say will be as good if not better than Michael Taylor. On top of it all, the Phillies still kept their #1 overall prospect in Dominic Brown who may not be MLB ready like Taylor, but will be by the time we actually need MLB outfield help! (Ibanez, Victorino & Werth are all staying put for at least 3 years)

In the end, I think that this deal was a lot of work for potentially a very big return. The Phillies have saved money while getting arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Our farm system did not take such a hit that we are left with gaps and we were able to keep Joe Blanton and J.A Happ. I never would have seen a deal like this happening, but this new style of GM that Ruben Amaro has brought to the organization is something to be happy about - he goes out and makes things happen any way possible. In a week and a half he has brought Placido Polanco and Roy Halladay to Philly. That is pretty impressive. The reason that I do not absolutely love the trade is simple because I have so much respect for players that carry a team on their back, and that is exactly what Cliff Lee did for us in the '09 playoffs. It is hard to just get rid of such a valuable member of a team, but this is professional sports - it is a business.

The Phillies obviously still need to pick up some bullpen help, and I'm sure that they will do this before spring training (looking at Fernando Rodney and John Smoltz heavily). The best part of this offseason is realizing that Ruben and the Phillies owners are making the moves that we have dreamed of the last 15 years. The Phillies are slowly becoming the Yankees of the NL and leaving every other team feeling that they're not doing enough.

Honestly, how painful must it be to root for the Mets???

IN THE FOREGROUND - Essentially, the Phillies traded Carlos Carrasco (#2 prospect), Lou Marson (#3 prospect), Jason Donald (#4 prospect), Kyle Drabek (#5 prospect), Michael Taylor (#6 prospect), Travis d'Arnaud (#7 prospect) and Jason Knapp (#10 prospect) for Roy Halladay and the '09 NL pennant. The Phillies traded all but three of their top ten prospects leaving the #1, #8 & #9 prospects in Dominic Brown, Zach Collier and J.A. Happ. (rankings from prior to the Lee deal last summer)

IN THE BACKGROUND - The Phillies kept great prospects, picked up a few phenomenal prospects from the M's, have an ace for the long run and save 40M+. This is how baseball trades work.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Riding on DeSean Jackson's Back

These days, when Donovan McNabb drops back, torques his body, and unleashes the deep ball I feel comfortable. Chances are, the ball will sore 30+ yards to a wide open DeSean Jackson who will make another breathtaking play. In all of my years of watching the Philadelphia Eagles I cannot remember a more exciting player to watch - I know you feel the same way. Each and every time that DeSean Jackson touches the ball I expect a touchdown, I'm not kidding.

DeSean Jackson is listed as a 5'10", 175 pound wideout. I would argue he's closer to 5'8", but none-the-less has rockets on his cleats and the city of Philadelphia on his back. This kid, and I say that because he's only 23, is simply unbelievable. This season he has 1481 total yards with 9 TDs, 8 of which have been over 50 yards. I'll repeat that again....8 of his 9 touchdowns have been over 50 yards! The DeSean Jackson mixtape for the 2009 season will certainly look a lot like Usain Bolt's...a lot of people in the dust and a nice little dance for the kids.

With 3 regular season games remaining, and most likely the playoffs, DeSean has an excellent shot at becoming the first NFL player to have 9 or more TDs that are 50+ yards. More importantly, 5 of the 9 TDs DeSean has had have come when the Eagles were losing. He is taking it upon himself to change the outcome of football games by simply evading the opponent any way that he can.

DeSean seems to figure, "why wait?", as he has scored 5 of his 7 offensive touchdowns on first down. His explosiveness and reliability are both carrying this football team and his fans in the city of Philadelphia, and I'm enjoying the ride.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

B-West & DeSean's Craniums

Well, the two most explosive Eagles have recently been sidelined due to their brains shaking inside their heads. When you think about it don't concussions just sound crazy!? Here's how you feel:

"Yes, I blacked out. I mean that guy hit me so hard that my brain was shaking (literally). Now, I feel like I'm going to puke and I have terrible headaches."

I don't know about you, but that sounds awful to me! We as humans seem to have figured out that our brain is our most important organ. Honestly, we have a think skull encasing our brain! There are no bone casings around our lungs, or even our heart! How has it taken doctors and athletes this long to figure this out and address this issue seriously? The NFL has been so worried about quarterback's health and good looks for the league's own personal revenue that they have forgotten to look at what happens to their retirees 10-30 years down the road. Now you've got players from the 70's and 80's who can barely remember past 2 days, are as depressed as Tiger Woods on Thanksgiving, and function like a 95 year old.

I believe Desean Jackson's concussion came because of a terribly unfortunate hit across the middle. DeSean is a deep threat that runs posts, double move routes, and end arounds all game. He has a much lower chance of getting another concussion than Westbrook. B-West is continually running through traffic, catching blind screens, and blocking linebackers running at full speed. On top of this, Westbrook had two concussions in 3 weeks, so he's obviously prone to this type of thing.

If I'm Brian Westbrook, I'm the next Tiki Barber and catching the express train out of the NFL. I wouldn't put my pads back on ever again. He has millions of dollars and can invest it now and be financially secure for the rest of his life. His career has been successful enough that he could work in sports or TV immediately.

Desean, on the other hand, dude just needs to run...stop cutting across the middle at flying linebackers 2x his size! He'll be just fine.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Allen Iverson Is Home

There is a reason that I have watched 2 full 76ers games since 2006...Because Allen Iverson was no longer a part of the organization. I could only see the trading of Iverson as a final destroy and rebuild attempt by Billy King and the terrible Sixers staff. This annoyed me to the point that I (and I assume you if you're reading) have payed attention to our NBA team, but have really not cared enough to watch a full game or even think about buying a ticket to a Sixers game. I wanted Iverson to retire as a Sixers - as a kid I thought it was inevitable.
I grew up watching Allen Iverson. I was 10 years old when we drafted him in '96 and was in the prime of my basketball career! While I was the farthest thing from a guard, Iverson's heart and consistent 'do whatever it takes' attitude made him one of the most amazing athletes I had ever watched. I wanted to emulate his style in any sport I played. I went to probably 30 Sixers game during Iverson's time in Philly - simply, I wanted to watch AI play, and hope the Sixers won..too. Essentially, in my eyes, Allen Iverson was the Sixers and they went as he went, good or bad.

Well, I promise that I will watch every second of the next Sixers game. Allen Iverson has finally returned to the Philadelphia 76ers. Amazingly, I have had the "what-if Iverson came back" discussion with friends and college roomates so many times that it makes me laugh to think it has seriously happened! We'd always joked about it and say, "ahh man, that would be awesome. Back to 2001 when we were legit!" My one pessimistic, idiot roomate would always tell me why it wouldn't happen. Well, idiot, it happened!

I don't care if the Sixers look terrible Monday. I don't care if Iverson gets two technicals. I don't care if Lou Williams demands a trade. I don't care if Allen says he will not practice...just please let my boy AI retire in the city of Philadelphia....he belongs here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Phillies Payroll in 2010

Below is the Phillies payroll for this upcoming season. Crazy what having a good team does to your situation financially.

C - Carlos Ruiz - $475K
C - Brian Schneider - $1.25MM
1B - Ryan Howard - $19MM
2B - Chase Utley - $15MM
SS - Jimmy Rollins - $7.5MM
3B - ? ($5-10MM)
IF - Juan Castro - $800K (estimated)
LF - Raul Ibanez - $11.5MM
CF - Shane Victorino - $3.125MM
RF - Jayson Werth - $7MM
OF - Ben Francisco - $421K
OF - John Mayberry Jr. - $400K
1B/3B/OF - Greg Dobbs - $1.35MM

SP - Cliff Lee - $9MM
SP - Cole Hamels - $6.65MM
SP - Joe Blanton - $5.475MM
SP - J.A. Happ - $405K
SP - Jamie Moyer - $8MM
RP - Brad Lidge - $11.5MM
RP - J.C. Romero - $4MM
RP - Ryan Madson - $4.5MM
RP - Chad Durbin - $1.635MM
RP - Clay Condrey - $650K
RP - Sergio Escalona - $400K
RP - Kyle Kendrick - $475K

Adam Eaton - $500K, Pedro Feliz - $500K, Geoff Jenkins - $1.25MM

With $ being spent on players like Ruiz and Victorino in the off-season the total will rise somewhere near $125-130MM as a team. This allows the Phils plenty of space to sign a big player at 3rd base (Beltre, Polanco) and some bullpen heat (Betancourt, Putz, Gonzalez).

I really like the Brian Schneider deal - he's been a little banged up in the past year, but there are two things I see as the catalyst to a good year for him. 1) He'll now be a backup that will play sparingly, which will keep his back/knees nice and healthy. 2) He's from the Philly area and took a pay cut and backup role to play for his dream-team - that says a lot for the heart he will put in for this team.

Besides this, it is fair to say that this team's line-up is only going to be better than the last season - which is scary! Pitching is the main concern in my book, especially that we're losing Eyre and Park, but with the way Ruben Amaro Jr. has handled signings so far I am not too worried about picking up some quality guys.

Random team info: The Phillies each received over $265K for winning the NL this past season. In total, the team was awarded over $14MM to divide amongst players on a pro-rated basis.