Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Is it just me or does it seem like it's been about a month since the Eagles played?

That's what happens when you hit the national limelight on a Thursday night matchup. A lot has happened since the Birds' most impressive win in the last couple of years as they tamed Cam Newton and the Panthers in front of a national audience.

People noticed. The Birds vaulted to the top of the Associated Press Power 32 NFL Rankings. That's right, we're No. 1.

Then Andy Reid and the Chiefs coughed up a fourth quarter lead Thursday night against the Raiders. That means the Eagles, at 5-1, sport the best record in the NFL.

The Birds won't hit the field again until Monday night, when they are back on national TV for a Monday night NFC East clash against the Redskins at the Linc.

Doug Pederson and the Eagles knocked off the Redskins on opening day, 30-17. Since then Kirk Cousins and Washington have rebounded to post a 3-2 mark.

This game should come down to Cousins vs. the Eagles defense. If Fletcher Cox and pals can harass Cousins into making mistakes - read turnovers - they should prevail, especially in front of what will no doubt be a raucous home crowd.

Of offense, right tackle Lane Johnson will be back after missing the last game with a concussion. That's a good thing. Because it will be his job to neutralize Redskins' tackle Ryan Kerrigan, who usually makes life miserable for Eagles QBs. On opening day he picked off a batted Carson Wentz pass and took it to the house for a Pick-Six. He also is usually in Wentz's face with a constant package of blitzes. Once again, it will be interesting to see if Pederson will stick to his new balanced offense, feeding LeGarrette Blount. On opening day, Wentz again dropped back to pass way too many times.

THE PICK: Make it Eagles 31, Redskins 19. Look for Carson Wentz to dazzle again, using his escapability to improvise and make big plays. I know this is going to sound bizarre, but I also like the idea of Doug Pederson now having some extra time to prepare for a game. Look for a very innovative game plan from the Birds' head man.

LAST WEEK: One week after a dominating performance against the Cardinals, the Eagles went on the road on a short week and took down Cam Newton and the Panthers. Easily the most impressive win of the Doug Pederson Era. The victory put the Birds among the NFL's elite with a 5-1 mark. I misfired again and now have fallen a game behind the Birds at 4-2.

GAME BY GAME: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)

Eagles 28, Panthers 23. (My Pick: Panthers 26, Eagles 17)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Amazon on Chester waterfront? Don't bet on it

Do I think that Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, is going to set up shop with its much-ballyhooed second world headquarters, on the Chester waterfront.

Probably not.

Do I wish they would? Sure.

One of the things Jeff Bezos has stressed in his push to create what the Amazon folks are calling HQ2 is the ability to improve the quality of life in an area.

If that's the case, Chester should shoot to the top of the list.

We're talking about a multi-billion dollar economic shot in the arm, and the addition of 50,000 new jobs.

Think that would do something about helping the quality of life in Chester?

Something else struck me as a gaggle of city and county officials gathered in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge as Delco made its pitch to lure Amazon.

Haven't we been here before.

The group was standing outside Talen Energy Stadium. That's where the Union plays their Major League Soccer games. It wasn't always called that. When it was first built, it was called PPL Park.

It's a beautiful facility, but it was not supposed to be sitting there alone under the Barry Bridge.

Remember? Originally, the stadium was supposed to be part of a similarly impressive multi-million dollar development. The developers Buccini & Pollin, who had done wonders for the Baltimore waterfront, were promising to do the same in Chester.

They envisioned a mix of residential, retail and entertainment outlets. Upscale townhouses on the waterfront. Even a convention center was tossed into the mix.

They got the county to kick in a big chunk of public money.

The stadium got the OK.

Then the economy went off a cliff back in 2008.

Not much has happened since.

The stadium is still there. Down the road in one direction is Harrrah's casino. In the other direction is the Wharf at Rivertown and the restored old PECO Power Station.

The Union has built a training complex.

Townhouses? Uh, no.

Retail outlets? Not yet.

Convention center? Don't hold your breath.

Officials maintain that the plan is still in place and could still happen.

Yeah, right after Amazon sets up shop.

Why Chris Long is on today's editorial page

The NFL is making all kinds of headlines - many of them for things that have nothing to do with what goes on between the lines.

You know, the actual games.

Today on our editorial page, we focus on another off-the-field incident.

No, it's not what you think.

Today we salute Eagles defensive end Chris Long.

What is he doing to merit a spot on our editorial page?

He's donating the rest of his salary for this season to a fund he set up to increase educational opportunities for underserved kids who might otherwise not get that opportunity.

Forget what happens on the field.

Long is a winner in our book.

You can read the editorial here.

The best team in the NFL; Utley heads back to Series

Two quick notes this morning for Philly sports fans.

Congratulations! You're a fan of the team with the best record in the NFL.

That's right. The Eagles are 5-1, and that puts them on top of the heap, after the Chiefs lost a game in classic Andy Reid fashion last night in another prime time performance. This one had Andy's familiar clock management skills written all over it. That and some bizarre penalties led to one of the wildest endings in recent memory.

You can get all those details here

And our old pal Chase Utley is going back to the World Series.

The Dodgers hammed the Cubs in Wrigley last night to seal the deal. They will now face either the Yankees or Astros.

Utley has been struggling mightily of late, but it will still be good to see him get back to the fall classic.

Read about the Dodgers' big win here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Delco to Amazon: We're Prime!

Now the waiting begins.

Delaware County yesterday threw its hat into the Amazon Derby, hoping to lure the online world biggest retailer to the Chester waterfront.

They have lots of company.

Philadelphia also is hoping to convince the Seattle firm to bring its much-ballyhooed HQ2 to Philly.

The Delco pitch involves the land surrounding Talen Energy Field in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge on the Delaware River.

They also are making the old Community Hospital site available.

And if that's not enough, they have a backup plan, the much talked-about former Franklin Mint site out on Baltimore Pike in Middletown.

There is a lot at stake, a multi-billion dollar economic boom and as many as 50,000 new jobs.

There's plenty of time to debate where Amazon will wind up. The company is not expected to announce its decision until sometime in 2018.

You can read all the details on the Delco pitch for Chester here.

Another reason why the war on opioids is so tough

The opioid battle is not going away.

Not any time soon.

That's why they packed a meeting Monday night in Upper Darby. They wanted to know what they can do to fight the heroin-opioid crisis that is ravaging our towns.

The next night, they were doing the same thing.

Don't fool yourself.

This problem is not limited by geography. It is happening in Upper Darby. And on the Main Line. And in every other Delco town. That is why what happened this week in Washington is absolutely mind-boggling.

What happened?

You can read about it on our editorial page.

27 minutes

27.

That's the most important number to come out of last night's Sixers' season opener.

Not that they lost 120-15 to the Wizards.

Not that Ben Simmons sparkled, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds.

Not that Robert Covington had 29 points.

So what is the 27?

That's the number of minutes logged by center Joel Embiid.

It tells you that the tanking is over.

The Sixers actually are going to try to win games this year.

The team announced earlier that Embiid would start the season again on a minutes restriction, that he likely would play only 14 minutes. But he blew by that in the first half, and he was on the court with the game on the line in the final five minutes.

That tells you all you need to know about the change in attitude for the Sixers this year.

But it was not the best sports story in the region yesterday.

For that, you had to go to the Eagles.

But it had nothing to do with a game. And everything to do with life.

Chris Long, the defensive end who the Eagles signed as a free agent this year, announced he would donate his entire season of game checks to a fund being set up to push educational equality.

Long had already decided to donate his first six game checks in the wake of the controversy surrounding a white nationalist march in the town where he went to school at the University of Virginia.

You can get all the details here.