Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

If I had told you back in the summer what awaits at the Linc Sunday, you would have rightly thought I had lost my mind.

It wasn’t that long ago that Sam Bradford was penciled in as the Eagles starter. Carson Wentz? He was supposed to be on the sidelines holding a clipboard this season.

Then Teddy Bridgewater’s knee exploded, radically changing the course of two franchises. Sam Bradford was shipped to Minnesota, in the process Howie Roseman got back the No. 1 pick he traded away in order to move up to get Wentz.

Then he and rookie head coach Doug Pederson went all-in. They decided to bypass backup Chase Daniel and install Wentz as the starter. The Birds got off to a sizzling 3-0 start, including a most impressive, dominating win over the Steelers, who some experts had ticketed as the AFC rep in the Super Bowl.

Then came the bye, and the Birds’ mojo went bye-bye as well. They stumbled in Detroit, losing a game they should not have - and could not afford to - to the Lions. Then they got dominated in Washington last Sunday.

Suddenly, Wentz looks mortal behind an offensive line that is without its best player, right tackle Lane Johnson.

Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled mightily right from the Birds’ first snap, setting a tone the Eagles never did shake.

And hold off on all those head coaching offers for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. His Wide 9 defensive alignment suddenly is looking a lot like the system that was repeatedly gashed under old coach Jim Washburn. The Redskins rumbled for 230 yards on the ground, and failed to get much in the way of pressure on QB Kirk Cousins.

On the other side, things could not look much better for Bradford and the Vikings. Even without All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, ‘Sammy Sleeves’ has guided the Vikings to a perfect 5-0 start.

Bradford is playing well, and the Vikings’ defense is among the best in the league.

The Eagles will have their hands full on both sides of the ball. Maybe the Vikes will suffer the same malady the Eagles did coming off the bye. I’m not going to bet on it.

Bradford no doubt would like nothing better than to shove another loss down the throat of Howie Roseman and Jeff Lurie. The guess here is that there may have been a bit more to his hurt feelings when the Eagles moved up to get Wentz, in the process discarding a lot of picks that could have been used to help Bradford’s offense.

Wentz is now saddled with the same issues Bradford faced. The Eagles have little in the way of weapons or anything that is going to scare the Vikings.

The scariest thing about this game is what the Vikings might do to the Wentz and that porous offensive line. Better learn how to duck, kid.

I’d love to see the Eagles pull out another improbable win here. I don’t see it. This one could get ugly.

The Pick: Make it Vikings 26, Eagles 13.

Last Week: Actually when I think about it, this is probably about where I thought this team was going to be. Then again, the Lions game could be passed off as a bad week; the Washington game cannot. The Eagles got manhandled, beaten physically on both sides of the ball. That’s a problem. Of course, I never foresaw the whole Bradford-Wentz monumental shift, the Eagles’ 3-0 start including the stunning thrashing of the vaunted Steelers, nor the loss they had no business losing to the Lions, and finally an always tossup NFC East game against the Redskins, which they lost. That brings Doug Pederson and his Birds 3-2 and facing a very tough task against the Vikings.

Game by Game: Eagles 29, Browns 10 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Browns 13)

Eagles 29, Bears 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Bears 16)

Eagles 34, Steelers 3 (My Pick: Steelers, 26, Eagles 23)

Lions 24, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 10)

Redskins 27, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 242, Redskins 23)

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Oct. 21

The Daily Numbers: 100 people who packed Brookhaven Municipal Building last night for debate between Leanne Krueger-Braneky and Patti Rodgers Morrisette.

161st state House race, that’ the one to watch in Delco.

23, age of Aston woman charged with illegal straw gun purchases. Cops say she then turned the guns over to her boyfriend,who was prohibited from such purchases.

50-round drum magazine that was purchased for one of the guns.

1st place for Upper Darby Police Department in yesterday’s SWAT competition at the county Emergency Services Training Center. 1 misdemeanor count of simple assault withdrawn against the headmaster at the Haverford School.

10 Novbember, when Springfield residents will get a look at the plans for their new high school.

118 million dollar price tag for the school, and that’s the low end.

3, as in Day 3 of the strike by professors at state universities. The two sides are expected to return to bargaining table today.

4 of 22 corruption convictions against former Congressman Chaka Fattah tossed by judge.

50 years of Flyers celebrated last night before team’s home opener with honors for late owner Ed Snider.

3-2 loss by Flyers to Coyotes.

1 for 7 for the Flyers 1st line power play unit.

3-2 lead for Cubs over Dodgers in the NLCS after they beat L.A. last night.

1908, the last time the Cubs won a World Series.

17 seasons in the NBA for Sixer Elton Brand. He announced his retirement yesterday.

3 TD passes for Aaron Rodgers as Packers beat the Bears on Thursday night NFL action.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Hey, at least those wrist bands the Flyers handed out last night stayed in the stands.

I Don’t Get It: Did Donald Trump think his quip about respecting the elections results if he wins was funny? I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who packed the Brookhaven Municipal Building last night for the 161st state House public forum. Democracy in action.

Quote Box:
“We know that the vast majority of illegal guns on the streets used for violence and crime are a result of straw purchase.”

- D.A. Jack Whelan.

The race to watch in Delco

We interrupt the Donald & Hillary show to let you know that there are other important races to consider on the November ballot.

As usual, the entire Pennsylvania House will be contested, and that brings us to perhaps the most interesting race in Delaware County. In fact, we're labeling this one as "the race to watch."

It's the 161st House district, which has flip-flopped wildly back and forth the past few years. Democrat Bran Lentz wrested the seat from decades of GOP control, only to see it fall back into the GOP's grasp when he decided to seek higher office. Then Republican Joe Hackett tired of life in Harrisburg and decided to pack up his things and head home to his old job with the Delco D.A.'s office.

That set up a special election. The Dems put up Leanne Krueger-Braneky, while the GOP countered with labor leader Paul Mullen. But the GOP did not count on Lisa Esler, a third-party Tea Candidate who was not happy with the process that led the party to Mullen's door.

She ran a vigorous campaign, and siphoned off enough votes from Mullen to open the door for the Democrat Krueger-Braneky to win the special election.

Now she's back on the ballot in her first run for re-election to the seat, which covers Aston, Brookhaven, Nether Providence, Rose Valley, Rutledge and Swarthmore.

But this time she will not be getting any help from a third-party in her contest against Republican challenger Patti Rodgers Morrisette.

And it could be seen as a bellwether for the changing demographics in the county, where Democrats have now opened a 16,000-voter edge in registrations.

Will this be a sign of the times, and a sign that Delaware County Democrats now are truly a force to be reckoned with, including local races here in the county where they have continued to struggle against the mighty Delco GOP?

Or, now that they no longer have Esler nipping at their heels, will the Republican ground forces do what they have done so well for so long: Get their people to the polls and deliver the goods.

Last night Krueger-Braneky and Rodgers Morrisette met in a voter forum that drew more than 100 people to the Brookhaven Municipal Building.

Keep an eye on this one. In Delco, it just might be the race watch.

Good for John Nagl

In this job, I'm not supposed to take sides. I'm supposed to play it down the middle.

Of course, if you asked Democratic and Republican leaders here in the county, they would tell you I fail miserable at that task most days. They are convinced - as are many readers - that I'm in the tank for the opposition. Just this week in Sound Off the newspaper was excoriated for being "in the pocket" of the GOP. That might come as news to Andy Reilly and Mike Puppio.

But I can admit that there are some times when I do feel a rooting interest in the stories that wind up splashed all over the front pages of the newspaper, as well as finding a permanent home online at

I'm not an iceberg. I feel for the people involved in these stories. And yes, sometimes I feel bad about what happened to them. I sometimes refer to it as the 'wince factor.' I guess that's as opposed to our newest Philly sports foible. That would be the Wentz Factor.

The 'wince factor' is my reaction when a story first crosses my radar. Sometimes I question the actions. Sometimes I question the facts. And sometimes I just feel bad for the people involved.

That brings me to John Nagl. He was the headmaster of the prestigious Haverford School on the Main Line.

Nagl found himself in the pages of the newspaper, as well as popping up on all the local TV news shows. Let's just say it was not in the best of circumstances. No, this was not a profile on the tremendous things that are done at the private school.

This was a story about a most private incident involving Nagl and his son.

As police laid out the story, Nagl found some pot in his son's backpack and decided to discipline him by taking away his cell phone. The next day Nagl apparently caught his son using the cell phone and a tussle ensued. The son called 911. Nagl was eventually charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault.

That' how Nagl made the paper. He was placed on leave by the school.

I'm a man. And a father. I am lucky in that my two kids never gave me much in the way of worries, certainly not the hell I routinely put my parents through.

To put in plainly, I felt bad for Nagl.

That's why I was glad to hear the news yesterday that the Delaware County District Attorney's Office is dropping the charges against Nagl.

You can read all the details here.

I hope he gets his job back.

My feelings are not unanimous. Several readers complained that Nagl was getting a break because of his status. I don't see it.

Go ahead. Tell me I'm biased. Again.

I think Nagl had a very private moment that exploded into something very public.

I hope now that everyone can put this behind.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Oct. 20

The Daily Numbers: 3rd and final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last night. Can I get an ‘Amen.’

28 years, how long Bill Adolph has represented the 165th legislative district in the state House. He’s retiring.

14 to 28 years in prison for an Eddystone man in fatal shooting of his friend.

2 Bill Clintons? Yes, that was Upper Providence’s Bill Clinton mugging with President Bill Clinton during a campaign event in Ardmore.

2002, when Upper Darby Officer Dennis McNamara was gunned down on duty. A portion of a Drexel Hill road will be named in his honor.

1st strike ever by members of the union representing faculty at Pa.’s state universities.

14 state schools affected.

110,000 students across the state affected.

22, age of Delco man who was shot when a Craigslist transaction in Philly turned violent.

44 people nabbed in a crackdown on underage human trafficking in Philly.

17, age of suspect being sought in the shooting of a Good Samaritan who intervened in a robbery in Rittenhouse Square.

10-2 win for Cubs over Dodgers last night in the NLCS.

2-2 deadlock in that series.

3-10 win for Indians over the Blue Jays. They take the ALCS and head to World Series.

50 years of Flyers history on display at Wells Fargo Center as team kicks off home opener tonight.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Sam Bradford was all smiles yesterday as he talked to the Philly media. Being 5-0 will do that for you.

I Don’t Get It: Donald Trump says he will not necessarily go along with the will of the voters. No one should be surprised.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Bill Adolph, who is hanging it up after 28 years in Harrisburg.

Quote Box: “I must admit it feels a little strange up here.”

- Bill Adolph, taking to House floor to say farewell to his colleagues.

He's not standing 'Pat' on Trump

Pat Meehan is not standing "pat" on Donald Trump.

A couple of weeks ago the incumbent Republican 7th District congressman called on the man leading the GOP ticket to get out of the race after a decade-old video surfaced of Trump making lewd, vulgar remarks about women.

Trump is sticking around, but he's not going to get Meehan's vote.

In an interview with the Inquirer's editorial board, Meehan indicated he would cast his vote for Trump's running mate, writing in the name of Gov. Mike Pence.

Meehan represents the bulk of Delaware County, along with slivers of Chester, Montgomery and even Berks counties in the bizarre jigsaw the encompasses the 7th District. It is often seen as Exhibit A in the pitfalls of redistricting. Once considered a toss-up district, it is now believed to be solidly Republican, thanks to its new shape, formed to take advantage of Republican strongholds.

Meehan is being opposed by Democrat Mary Ellen Balchunis, a retired La Salle College professor.

Meehan was vocal in his disgust for Trump's comments about women.

“This sort of vile talk is appalling, it’s offensive, and there’s no place in public or private for it," Meehan said. "It’s simply wrong.”

He said Trump was "not the right leader" for the GOP.

“Millions of Americans oppose Hillary Clinton’s liberal, progressive agenda, but it’s clear that Donald Trump is not the right leader for the fight against it,” Meehan said in the interview.

“For the good of the country, the Republican Party, and his family, I hope he’ll step aside and end his candidacy for president so that we can come together as a party and defeat Hillary Clinton,” Meehan said.

Meehan becomes the first member of the Pennsylvania delegation to indicate that he will not vote for his party's nominee, instead writing in the name of running mate Mike Pence.

End of an era for Bill Adolph

There is an interesting twist on this year's election ballot.

Bill Adolph's name is not on it.

The veteran legislator who has represented the 165th legislative district for more than two decades is not seeking re-election. Instead Republican Alex Charlton and Democrat Elaine Paul Schaefer are vying to go to Harrisburg to represent residents in Springfield, Marple and parts of Radnor.

Adolph becomes the latest setback when it comes to wielding clout in Harrisburg. You can reel off the names of longtime veteran legislators who are no longer trooping out the Pennsylvania Turnpike looking out for Delaware County. Mario Civera, Nick Micozzie, Ted Erickson were all familiar names who have stepped aside.

Harrisburg is not unlike most other centers of power. It is accumulated with age. The longer you stick around the more power you wield. And in the case of money, the loss of these longtime legislators means less clout - and less money for Delaware County.

That's especially acute for Adolph, who rose to the Majority Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In other words, Bill Adolph had his fingers on the purse strings. He was the key man in putting together a budget plan each year.

Obviously, that has not been without its challenges, especially when voters elected a Democrat, Tom Wolf, to the governor's mansion. A standoff between Wolf and Legislature went on for months.

Yesterday Adolph took to the House floor to say farewell to his colleagues.

For 28 years Bill Adolph has been looking after the interests of his constituents - and really all of Delaware County - in Harrisburg.

He will be missed.