Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chip Kelly Speaks

We have finally heard from Chip Kelly.

The fired Eagles coach released a statement Wednesday night on his way out of town after being canned by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, and just hours after the Birds' boss made it pretty clear that Kelly's arrogance and lack of people skills were a big factor in why he is no longer head coach.

Here is the text of Kelly's statement:

"I am deeply grateful to Jeffrey Lurie for allowing me to coach his Philadelphia Eagles for the past three seasons. I deeply regret that we did not bring this great city and its fans the championship they deserve. I was blessed to work with a gifted and hard-working coaching staff every day, and they will succeed wherever they go.

"Finally, my players mean the world to me. I will miss them very much and I will be rooting for them to achieve their dreams. Life is all about responding to challenges and seizing opportunities."

Maybe Kelly should have spent a little more time telling his charges that, instead of monitoring their sleep patterns and forcing smoothies and all manner of 'sports science' on them.

Slowly but surely a picture of Kelly as being someone who is unapproachable is emerging from the Eagles locker room.

Kelly was used to having it his way at Oregon. That's the way it is in college programs. The coach is king. In the NFL, it's the other way around. The players rule - and talent usually wins.

Kelly was constantly preaching 'culture,' but it seems clear that the Eagles culture was increasingly poisoned by the head coach's attitude.

Kelly had lots of problems translating to the pro game.

But his lack of people skills - remember one player saying that Kelly would not even acknowledge him when passing in the hall? - probably led to his downfall.

And Lurie made it clear in his comments yesterday that his next coach will not fall into the arrogant category that seems too often to be the mantra of the NovaCare Complex.

Columnist Jack McCaffery offers his take on Lurie's reasons for firing Kelly here.

I don't doubt the Kelly will get another shot in the NFL. That seems to be what he wants, as opposed to returning to the college ranks.

One possible landing spot could be Tennessee, where he would be reunited with the one guy he really wanted, his old Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. It was the failed pursuit of Mariota that played a big part in why this season started spiraling out of control.

At the same time, it's equally clear Kelly will have to change to be successful if he wants to win in the NFL. It now seems pretty apparent that Kelly's up-tempo offense has a tendency to kill his defense.

But more than anything else, Kelly needs to improve his people skills.

Otherwise, he'll learn the hard way what Jerry Glanville once coined the NFL: Not For Long.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Abandon Chip

So much for the Chip Kelly Era.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie fired his head coach Tuesday with one game left in Kelly's third season.

Call it a 'Culture Crash.'

Kelly was all about 'culture.'

He stressed doing things in a hurry. Everything was up tempo. Sports science became the new mantra around the NovaCare Center. Kelly monitored everything about what his players did, monitoring their sleep, ordering special smoothies to enhance their diets.

Those who did not buy in soon found themselves shipping out.

Just ask DeSean Jackson. Or LeSean McCoy. Or Evan Mathis.

It worked in year one, with Kelly providing a jolt of life to the carcass of a team left by Andy Reid. Kelly reversed the fortunes of the franchise, going 10-6 in his first year, winning the NFC East, but losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Year Two marked a step back for Kelly's 'culture.' Sure, the team went 10-6 again, but after sitting at 9-3 after demolishing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, the Eagles unexpectedly went belly up, losing three straight and missing the playoffs.

Kelly decided the answer was more 'culture' - and more power. He pulled a power play, getting Lurie to go along with his push for more control over personnel, in the process pushing Howie Roseman aside in the front office. Then he took a blow torch to the lineup that failed to make the playoffs.

Quarterback Nick Foles was dispatched to the Rams for Sam Bradford. A dream to somehow acquire his old Oregon buddy Marcus Mariota in the draft never materialized. In a move that left many scratching their heads, Kelly exiled the team's all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy to the Bills for Kiko Alonso. On the offensive line, guard Todd Herremans was sent packing. Evan Mathis, who had the temerity to challenge Kelly, soon found himself an ex-Eagle.

Kelly soon learned what most already knew. Culture is no match for talent.

His squad was bereft of talent, and despite some glittering preseason moments, the season got off to a shaky start in Atlanta and it's been a bumpy ride ever since.

It's one thing to lose to good teams. This year's Eagles under Kelly developed a most annoying habit - getting blown out by what most consider to be mediocre NFL franchises.

So what does that make the Eagles.

Amazingly, still a good team, according to the coach at his Monday press conference.

It was the latest in an increasingly bizarre series of stances taken by Kelly, including insisting that he is not in fact the team's general manager.

One thing we know now - he's not the coach either.

Lurie made sure of that, dropping the hammer late Tuesday.

Why remains something of a mystery, especially the timing. It is not exactly in Lurie's 'culture' to make such a drastic move.

The guess here is that Kelly left him little choice. It doesn't take much to see that Lurie likely confronted Kelly with the personnel moves that doomed this team, and informed him he might be losing some of that power. Kelly probably told him he had no interest in sharing the throne. Thus the wording of the statement put out by the Eagles that Kelly had been 'released.' As opposed to being fired.

Maybe the most interesting thing to come out of the fallout from all this is the reaction of some players, who did not exactly make it a secret that they were not Kelly's biggest fans.

Now Lurie faces the arduous task of rebuilding what Kelly tore apart. He will need the one thing in fairly short supply in Philadelphia. That would be patience.

The Chip Kelly Era is over.

And a culture of defeat - one so familiar to a franchise that has insisted at times on referring to itself as the 'gold standard,' although without a single championship to show for it - hangs heavy on the franchise.

We'll hear from Lurie at noon.

Let the culture of rebuilding begin.

Again.

Maybe Jeff Lurie should run Pennsylvania?

Maybe we should make Jeff Lurie governor of Pennsylvania.

Talk about a losing culture. Is there a better example of everything that is wrong with Pennsylvania than what stands for governing in Harrisburg.

Lurie, the Eagles boss, got his fill of Chip Kelly's 'my way or the highway' culture and decided to 'Abandon Chip.' He fired Kelly, who arrived amid much fanfare from the University of Oregon three years ago, one game before the end of the season.

In the meantime, Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday continued his standoff with the Republican-controlled Legislature. He vetoed most of the GOP budget, making pretty clear what he thought of it. He termed it 'garbage.' Yeah, I guess he's not too happy with the 'culture' in Harrisburg. That is what happens when voters elect a Democrat governor, while at the same time expanding Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.

You can read about what Wolf's budget veto, which frees up some money for schools and social services, here.

Reporter Kathleen Carey gets reaction from Delco officials here.

We'll here from Lurie at noon. He's going to need a big shovel to clean up the mess left by Kelly.

But not as big as the demolition project that's needed in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Seth Williams vs. Monsignor Lynn

Seth Williams is not done with Monsignor William Lynn.

Not by a long shot.

The Philadelphia D.A. yesterday strode to the microphones and indicated he has no intention of letting the recent court ruling setting aside the monsignor's conviction on child endangerment charges stand.

The court ruled that Lynn, who already has served most of his three- to six-year sentence, deserves a new trial.

Williams wants to keep him behind bars.

Williams said he will ask the entire state Superior Court to review the ruling, and once again stated his case why Lynn should remain behind bars.

In doing so at a Monday afternoon press conference, Lynn again focused on what most believe, that Lynn was the point man for the archdiocese's policy of moving problem priests into new parishes without alerting residents of the potential dangers.

But he did not address what has become the legal focus of the case: That being that Lynn likely never should have been charged, let alone convicted, because the state statute did not apply to him at the time of the alleged act. The abuse took place in 1998, but the law was not updated to include those not in a direct supervisory role until 2007. I have written several times on my beliefs both on Monsignor Lynn, as well as the archdiocese and their handling of the priest sex abuse scandal for years.

One thing I think can't be stressed enough is that Lynn was never charged with abuse. That's easy to forget. Instead he was charged with a single count of endangering the welfare of a child after an altar boy was abused by a priest who Lynn had recommended be relocated despite a record of problems.

If you look up scapegoat in the dictionary, you might see Monsignor Lynn's picture next to it.

He's the fall guy for the shameful actions of the leaders of the church in Philadelphia.

He's served time for his alleged transgression, in the process becoming the highest-ranking church official in the United States to be charged and convicted in this sad saga.

But enough is enough.

Lynn very likely was wrongly convicted, despite the clear pattern of this kind of actions that appear to have been carried out again and again by archdiocesan officials.

I don't think Seth Williams' arguments are going to change that.

Of course, they won't change the trail of tears left behind in the archdiocese's wake, either.

No snow, but rain is making roads a mess

Just keep telling yourself it could be worse - all this rain could be snow.

Then again, if you turn on your TV this morning, you would be inundated with reports of a possible winter weather alert - if you happen to be commuting in the Poconos.

What we're getting is rain - lots of it.

And it is making the morning commute a mess. Maybe people have totally forgotten how to drive in bad weather since snow so far this winter has merely been a rumor.

There have been several crashes on the Blue Route this morning, making a mess out of the morning commute. Overturned vehicles have been reported in the southbound lanes, south of the Baltimore Pike Media-Swarthmore exit, as well as in the northbound lanes near the Broomall exit.

There is no word yet on any injuries.

Here is a word of caution. Driving this morning is going to be a mess. Allow some more time to get to your destination.

You can get updates on the region's traffic here.

And your forecast is available here.

Chip: We're not a bad football team

Chip Kelly still thinks the Eagles are a good football team.

Do they not get the NFL standings down there at the NovaCare Center?

Kelly's Eagles are missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. And for the first time under the former wizard from Oregon, they will finish with a losing record. His offense seems to struggle a bit more each year, and his defense is an ongoing nightmare.

"I don't think we're a bad football team," Kelly told the assembled media Monday after his team was dismantled by a mediocre Washington Redskins team with the NFC East title on the line. No, the Eagles would not have locked up the title with a win. But the Redskins did. They played like it was a playoff game. And Kelly's Heroes? Well, reports indicat that All-Pro offensive lineman Jason Peters took himself out of the game rather then risk further injuries after the game was out of hand.

Believe it or not, the quip about not being a bad team is not even the most bizarre thing Kelly said. He actually said he was not the team's general manager and seemed to backtrack from what most believe - that he runs the Eagles operation and has final say on the roster and all personnel decisions.

And he said all this with a straight face.

You can read it all here.

Now the Eagles - for the second straight year - will play a meaningless game against the Giants to finish off a dismal season.

Unless of course you are a fan of those odd NFL games played in London.

That's right. The loser of the Eagles-Giants game likely will be flying across the pond for a date with the St. Louis Rams in Wembley Stadium in late October.

Tally ho, Chip.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Kelly, Eagles season come up short again

Anyone still want to talk about how great the Eagles looked in that preseason game against Green Bay?

I didn't think so.

For the second straight year, the Eagles will need a ticket to see the playoffs.

They were eliminated Saturday night in a dispiriting blowout loss that featured everything that has been the emblem of this distinctly mediocre team all season.

Dropped passes, lack of pass rush, failing to get off the field on third down, taking bad penalties, poor coaching decisions, chief among them a failure by Chip Kelly to alter his vaunted system to fit the talent he assembled.

This season can be defined by a point in the third quarter as the Eagles rallied to draw within one score, then stopped the Redskins and got the ball back with a chance to take the lead.

The previous scoring drive was eye-opening because it marked the return of the prodigal son, also known as DeMarco Murray. Not only that but it marked something else, plays that allow Murray to do what he does best, run straight ahead. Murray put the Eagles on his back and carried them down the field.

So of course on the next possession, there was Murray in that God-awful spot standing beside Sam Bradford, instead of the power formation he had just used to show flashes of the guy everyone thought was coming here from the Cowboys.

It was almost as if Chip Kelly was saying - once again - "sure that was nice, but I'm a genius and my system will work regardless of who I put in there.

The result? An incredibly awkward attempted pitch to Murray, who bobbled it. Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall scooped it up and romped into the end zone.

Game, set and match.

The Eagles are not going to win the NFC Least. They are not going to the playoffs.

For the second straight year, they held their destiny in their own hands and came up woefully short. Last year it was that brutal tumble after leaving Dallas on Thanksgiving with that gaudy 9-3 record. They promptly lost three straight to fall out of the playoffs, even though they did win that meaningless game against the Giants to salvage a 10-6 mark.

This year will offer no such silver lining. The squad put together by Chip Kelly under performed all season, and once again had to watch as DeSean Jackson mocked the fans after the Redskins started the Eagles off-season early.

Washington wins the NFC East crown.

The Eagles sit at 6-9 with more questions than answers.

One question I can answer for them.

The fault for this season lies squarely in Chip Kelly's lap.

He put this team together. Clearly it was not good enough.

It now will fall to Chip Kelly to put it together again.

I'm not sure he's up for that job either.

A thorn with Flowers

My thanks to my lead Sunday columnist Christine Flowers, who gave me an opportunity to put people to sleep on radio as well as in print on Saturday.

Actually, I joined Christine during her weekend radio show on WPHT 1210-AM The Big Talker.

It took me awhile to figure out this great guy she kept mentioning before I joined her at 4 was me.

And of course I could not resist jabbing her about our unseasonably mild weather, which her editor happens to love, but which the esteemed Ms. Flowers detests.

Even I have to admit this holiday season has been a bit weird due to this incredible streak of warm weather. As I said on the show, when I see people outside on Christmas Day in shorts and flip-flops, I have to wonder about all this global warming business.

But Christine and I quickly got to the point of why she asked me on. She wanted to talk about something I've written about many times. That would be the case against Monsignor William Lynn and the priest sexual abuse scandal in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Monsignor Lynn, who already has served much of the three to six-year sentence he received as the highest-ranking church official ever convicted in the widespread church scandal, won a recent court fight when his conviction once again was tossed out and he was granted a new trial.

Let's be clear. Lynn was not charged with abuse. He was charged - and initially convicted - of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the actions of one priest.

His attorneys consistently argued that state law, which was updated in 2007, did not even apply to Lynn and his role as supervisor of the clergy in the archdiocese, in connection with this allegation, which occurred in 1998.

I've always thought Monsignor Lynn was the fall guy for an unconscionable policy put in place by the archdiocese. That does not mean I don't think what he did was wrong. I just don't think the law applied to him, and appeals courts have now backed up that belief.

Christine used her Sunday column to further argue the case that Lynn was wrongly tried and convicted. You can read it here.

Here is the column I wrote after seeing the new move 'Spotlight,' a devastating portrayal of the church in Boston, and a very sad film for anyone who has lived through the last few years in the newspaper business.

My thanks for Christine for the chance to chat on the radio. As usual, some loyal Daily Times readers called in and they were not shy about offering their view - both on the Lynn case and the way the newspaper covered it.

One of the things I am always asked - most often by people who hold her views abhorrent - is why I offer space every week to someone who holds the beliefs that Christine Flowers does. They find her conservative bent to be distasteful, to say the least.

And they always ask me the same question: Why would I run the columns from someone I clearly disagree with much of the time.

I'm always taken aback every time someone expels that belief, as if for some reason I should only run opinions in the paper that conform to my beliefs. Actually, there probably are people who believe I already do that. That would be the readers always taking me to task for the newspaper's supposed liberal bent.

The idea behind what we do here ever day - at least in terms of opinion - is to offer a variety of opinions. Yes, that includes some I do not agree with.

In fact, if you want to try something a bit more challenging, try writing an editorial supporting a position with which you strongly disagree. I've had that task many times. Believe me, it's no picnic.

More importantly, there is danger in limiting the newspaper to any one set of beliefs.

The idea is to offer a broad-based community of ideas. Sure, Christine and I might have a slightly bigger platform to offer our ideas, but we're far from alone.

Readers write letters to the editor, guest columns, and even 'Sound Off' anonymously via our insanely popular reader call-in line.

Today, readers also have the option of posting comments on every story that appears on our website, DelcoTimes.com. There have never been more ways to express your opinion than exist in today's tech-drenched world.

In effect, every person with a phone, tablet or laptop is a publisher, able to deliver their opinions via Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Just take a gander at my Twitter feed during Eagles games. It has fulfilled the long-held aspirations of a frustrated sports writer.

The other question I get, of course, is what that one about what makes a good columnist.

It’s a good question. Fortunately, I think I have a good answer.

They have something compelling to say. Luckily, both of my feature columnists, Christine and Chris Freind, fulfill that goal magnificently. I don’t particularly care if readers love them or hate them, so long as they read them. They perfectly filled the void several years ago when Gil Spencer got out of the journalism racket.

The last thing I want readers to do is roll their eyes and turn the page. They can do that on Monday, when my column appears. No, I want columnists who reach out, grab readers by the throat, and challenge them not to read their piece. I imagine it’s not the first time Christine, Chris and I will write about Monsignor Lynn. Or the church. Or Kathleen Kane. Or our dysfunctional government in Harrisburg.

I will not always agree with them.

But I will always defend their right to express their beliefs.

In print, online - and on the radio.

Thanks for the air time, Christine.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Hey, Chip, here’s a thought. If you win the toss, take the damn ball this week.

Last week the Eagles got a chance to match up against one of the very few elite teams in the NFL. It did not go well. The Birds got dismantled by Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer and the Cardinals.

And yet the Eagles continue to hold their destiny in their own hands. All they have to do is win. A loss in prime time Saturday at the Linc vs. the Redskins will eliminate them. A win means they are alive for another week, with the chance to win the division vs. the Giants on the season’s final week.

First things first. The Eagles must find a way to control Kirk Cousins and the Redskin offense. And yes, DeSean Jackson is itching for the chance to stick a fork in his nemesis Chip Kelly. Maybe the best way for the Eagles to keep D-Jac and company in control is to take control of this game on the ground. Pound the ball at the Redskins with their troika of running backs. Hey, this might actually be the week to see Sam Bradford embrace the read-option and actually pull that ball back a couple of times.

If the Eagles can avoid big plays against Cousins and Jackson, they should be able to handle a Washington team that has won all of one game on the road this year.

Then again, this is the Eagles. They’ve gone belly up before this year.

This time, with their season on the line, I think they get it done.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 24, Redskins 23. The Birds live another week with a last-second Caleb Stugis field goal lifting them to the win. It would be so like this team to win and then fail to show up vs. the Giants.

Last Week: The Eagles got a good look at a good team – and learned just how far they are from achieving that status. Chip Kelly’s team got exposed again, in particular on defense.

Season Record: I’m sitting at an ugly 6-8 after mistakenly backing the Birds last week. So far it’s been that kind of season. Every time I think this team has turned a corner, they fall flat on their face again. We continue to sport matching records. That ugly loss vs. the Cardinals left the Eagles at 6-8 as well, but still alive in the NFC Least.

Game by Game: Falcons 26, Eagles 24. (My Pick: Eagles 37, Falcons 26)

Cowboys 20, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 26)

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

Redskins 23, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 39, Saints 17. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Saints 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 7. (My Pick: Eagles 27, Giants 16)

Panthers 27, Eagles 16 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Panthers 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 27 OT (My Pick: Eagles 23, Cowboys 13)

Dolphins 20, Eagles 19 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Dolphins 16)

Bucs 45, Eagles 17 (My Pick: Eagles 17, Buccaneers 16)

Lions 45, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Lions 23, Eagles 16)

Eagles 35, Patriots 28 (My Pick: Patriots 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 23, Bills 20 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Bills 17)

Cardinals 40, Eagles 17 (My Pick: Eagles 27, Cardinals 26)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Talk with the editor & Christine Flowers Saturday at 4

I don't doubt there are any number of readers who would like to tell my featured Sunday columnist Christine Flowers exactly what they think of her conservative bent.

They probably would not mind letting the editor of this newspaper hear what they think of his decision to grant her that very valuable real estate on Page Six every Sunday as well.

How about a double-header?

You'll get the chance to tell both me and my lead columnist Christine Flowers exactly what you think of us when I appear as a guest on her WPHT 1210-AM Big Talker radio show Saturday afternoon.

Christine graciously asked me to join her on the show for a discussion of what's on the Delaware Valley's mind.

Here's a hint about what could be on the docket. I'm due to be on around 4 o'clock.

On Sunday Christine if using her column to write about something I've written about many times, the prosecution of Monsignor William Lynn and the sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as the Catholic church in general.

Why not call in and give me a piece of your mind? And you can tell Christine what you think of her at the same time.

I ask only one thing: Remember it's the season of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.

Why do I get the feeling this might not work?

Talk to you Saturday at 4.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Steve Harvey & the Eagles: Oops!

Chip Kelly and the Eagles should get down on their knees and offer thanks for Steve Harvey this morning.

He's perhaps the only person who had a worse night than they did.

Harvey somehow managed to announce the wrong winner in the Miss Universe Pageant.

The Eagles can only wish their effort was that ugly.

It was worse.

The Eagles once again got exposed when matched up with a real opponent.

Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals basically did whatever they wanted against the Birds' feckless defense. Chip Kelly's overmatched Eagles tried to hang in there, at least for a half, but were done in at the end of the first half by another questionable coaching decision.

Facing a fourth and inches as they were driving on the Cards and looking for a TD to tie the game, Kelly eschewed the chip shot field goal and decided to go for the first down. But he kept DeMarco Murray, who has been perfect in converting 15 of 15 times on third down, on the bench. Ryan Mathews got stuffed and the Cards ran out the clock and the half.

Offense actually was the least of the Eagles' problems.

Defense, or lack of it, and lack of tackling, killed this team. You knew they were going to have their hands full with Carson Palmer and the Cardinals' high-flying offense. Losing both corners, Byron Maxwell and Curtis Rowe, to injury, didn't help. But the Eagles didn't appear to have much interest in playing defense, especially the tackling part. The Eagles allowed the Cardinals' third-string running back to roll for 187 yards, including a few eye-popping plays in which almost every member of the defense missed tackles.

I had a bad feeling from the opening kickoff, when for some reason Kelly won the toss and deferred, deciding to give the ball to the best offense in football. As has happened several times this year, the Cardinals promptly drove the ball right down the Eagles' throat. And that was after Joe Brown dropped a sure TD while sailing all alone on the first play of the game. The Cardinals simply regrouped and hammered the Birds' marshmallow defense.

Maybe the Birds were looking at a psychological impediment. After all, they knew going in that the game really did not mean anything. By that I meant that the outcome did not matter. The Giants lost that wild game to the Panthers, setting up a winner-take-almost-all Saturday night between the Eagles and the Redskins. The Eagles now need to beat the Redskins and then the Giants in that last week or hope the 'Skins lose two in a row. It would the hallmark of this team if they beat Washington, only to get clobbered by the Giants. If there is one thing this team has shown, it is that they do not show up for big games.

The Eagles sure played like the game last night didn't mean anything. They looked like they wanted to be somewhere else.

Sure, I will watch Saturday night. I would like to see the Eagles win. I'd like to see them make the playoffs. But it doesn't change the facts.

This is not a good team.

A good team does not offer that kind of performance.

It was just flat-out ugly.

Steve Harvey probably understands.

A holiday tradition continues

If it's Christmas week, it must be time for my annual holiday column.

This is all about my mother, and the traditions she held dear - and instilled in her son.

I hope readers don't mind indulging me one more time.

Merry Christmas, mom. Happy holidays, readers.

You can read the column here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

The Eagles have three games remaining and hold their destiny in their own hands.

Win and In.

However, two of the games are more important than the third.

Ironically, it’s Sunday night’s prime time matchup against the 11-2 Arizona Cardinals and former Temple Coach Bruce Arians. The Eagles can lose to the Cards and still make the playoffs by simply winning the final two weeks against the Redskins and Giants. I don’t think they will - lost to the Cards that is.

Teams always struggle when they fly from the East Coast to the desert to play the Cardinals But what isn’t talked about as much is that the Arizona doesn’t fare all that well when they fly to the East Coast. They got blown out two years ago at the Linc. Of course, so far this year they are 6-1 on the road, but they’ve only come all the way to the East Coast once, for a game in Pittsburgh.

The game will be a huge test for the Eagles defense, including rookie corner Curtis Rowe, who looks better each week. This is the best - and fastest - set of receivers they have faced this year, led by All-World veteran Larry Fitzgerald. Joe Brown’s 75 yard TD cost them the game last year in a 24-20 loss in the desert.

On offense, Sam Bradford will get a chance to compare himself to one of the best in the game. Carson Palmer has resurrected his career in Arizona and is playing at an MVP level. Bradford could look at Palmer as an example of a guy who worked his way back from injuries to perform at an all-star level.

Chip Kelly has been peppered all week with questions about his use of DeMarco Murray, the big money free agent brought in from the Cowboys, who now finds himself seemingly taking a supporting role as the Birds continue to rotate their running backs. It shows that Kelly, while still not willing to adjust his vaunted system, but at least tweaking who best works in that system. Clearly that is not Murray.

Bradford actually took a few shots down the field against the Bills, hooking up with rookie Nelson Agholor on a TD strike. But Rex Ryan and the Bills moved their safeties up into the box to defend the run and challenged the Bradford and the Eagles receivers to go deep. They responded with just 6 points - two field goals - in the second half.

They will need to put points on the board to keep up with Palmer and his high-flying receiving corps.

This one just might be Sam Bradford’s coming out party, in prime time.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 27, Cardinals 26. Go ahead, call me a homer. But I think this team finally might be ready to get on a serious roll. Even though they don’t really need the game, I think the Cardinals struggle as usual when they have to travel to the East Coast. Last Week: The Eagles defense put the clamps on LeSean McCoy in the second half, ruining his homecoming and sending him running up the tunnel without exchanging pleasantries with his former teammates. The Birds did just enough to win, but seemed to miss a lot of opportunities to strike down the field after the Bills pulled their safeties up into the block and basically dared Bradford and the Eagles wideouts to beat them deep. They need to do better on this.

Season Record: 6-7. The Eagles don’t really need this game. The key games come next against the Redskins and Cardinals. But I think this will be a huge game for Sam Bradford, who is starting to get questions about whether or not he wants to be here in Philly again next year. Bradford becomes a free agent after the season. Plus he will be matched against one of the best in the NFL when he looks across the field at Carson Palmer. The Birds’ gutty win over the Bills managed to lift them to 6-7 as well. With three games left in the season, they hold their destiny in their own hands.

Game by Game: Falcons 26, Eagles 24. (My Pick: Eagles 37, Falcons 26)

Cowboys 20, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 26)

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

Redskins 23, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 39, Saints 17. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Saints 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 7. (My Pick: Eagles 27, Giants 16)

Panthers 27, Eagles 16 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Panthers 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 27 OT (My Pick: Eagles 23, Cowboys 13)

Dolphins 20, Eagles 19 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Dolphins 16)

Bucs 45, Eagles 17 (My Pick: Eagles 17, Buccaneers 16)

Lions 45, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Lions 23, Eagles 16)

Eagles 35, Patriots 28 (My Pick: Patriots 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 23, Bills 20 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Bills 17)

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Dec. 18

The Daily Numbers: 10,000 dollars, how much the D.A. says a Nether Providence woman stole from a resident at Plush Mills Senior Living Center.

90, age of the victim. 4 recent cases in which senior citizens have been targeted.

446,000 dollars ripped off by a former Aston bank manager.

3 to 6 years in state prison for Catherine Allman for her crimes.

4,065 dollars that poured into the Merry Christmas Fund yesterday.

16,380 dollars on our way to our goal of $50,000 for the Chester Salvation Army.

1 dollar a week, what the tax hike in Clifton Heights likely will cost residents.

3.25 percent tax hike coming in Haverford.

19, age of teen in Harrisburg charged with aiding the Islamic State.

2nd day of deliberations but still no verdict in trial of woman charged in an attack on a gay couple in Philly.

1 email, what Attorney General Kathleen Kane now says she received, not the 11 a Philly prosecutor claimed.

2-0 shutout win for the Flyers over the Canucks last night.

36 saves for Flyers goalie Steve Mason.

7 wins in their last 10 games for the Flyers.

11 carries for DeMarco Murray vs. Bills; 8 vs. Patriots.

174 carries overall, tops for all Eagles backs.

87 for Ryan Mathews.

69 for Darren Sproles.

23 for Kenjon Barner.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. It’s a bit ironic that Bruce Arians comes back to town to face the Eagles at the same time his old team, the Temple Owls, are in Boca Raton, Fla., for a bowl game.

I Don’t Get It: There is another story in the paper today of a person charged with ripping off a senior citizen. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper
: Kudos to Tim Cohen. The longtime volunteer fire police officer also chips in as Santa for the folks at Fair Acres. He’s a good person.

Quote Box: “They smile and they laugh, and the older women, they love it, man.”

- Tim Cohen, on his role playing Santa for the residents at Fair Acres.

An epidemic of crime against seniors

We've written any number of stories on the heroin epidemic that is ravaging not just Delaware County, but much of the region and nation.

Not getting as much ink is what seems like another epidemic.

I'm talking about people preying on the elderly, ripping them off. There is another story in the paper today.

A woman hired to be the companion of a 90-year-old resident in the Plush Mills Senior Living facility in Wallingford now faces charges that she got possession of the woman's bank cards and ripped her off to the tune of $10,000.

It's just the latest in a string of these incidents.

You can read about them here.

That's one of the reasons District Attorney Jack Whelan set up a special Senior Exploitation Unit in the County Criminal Investigation Division.

They seem to be doing a booming business.

Especially at this time of year, it seems especially heartless to prey on the elderly.

Sometimes these cases are linked to gambling or drug addiction; other times it's just plain greed.

Whelan summed it up best: "Our seniors deserve to enjoy their retirement and hard-earned money without the fear of being victimized."

Bo Ryan: A salute to a Delco icon

We don't often turn out editorial page over to a sports figure. We usually like to reserve that honor for our Back Page.

We made an exception today.

Bo Ryan is that kind of guy.

The Chester native stepped down this week as the head coach of the University of Wisconsin hoops program.

The staggering numbers Ryan amassed during his career only tell part of the story.

The rest of it lies in his roots, right here in Delaware County, in particular the Chester and Aston areas.

In short, Bo Ryan was a Chester original.

Read our editorial salute to a Delco icon here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Dec. 17

The Daily Numbers: 256 dorm coming to the campus of Penn State Brandywine in Middletown.

31,000 square foot student union center also part of the complex.

31.5 million dollars OK’d for the project by the Penn State Board of Trustees. A dorm also got the OK on the Abington campus.

28, age of missing Trainer man found dead in a house in Chester.

27 years after saving some city residents in a fire, some local heroes were honored by Chester City Council.

5,000 dollars in counterfeit bills believed passed off at Harrah’s Casino. A New Jersey man is on trial.

1,925 dollars that came in to the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund today.

1 billion dollar tax plan and budget that will be considered today in Harrisburg.

12:30 p.m. deadline given by House GOP leaders to Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrats to come up with the votes for their budget plan or Republicans will move on one of their own.

170 hours, how long Kohl’s stores will be open, from 7 a.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

58 questionable emails sent or received by the sister of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who also works in the AG’s office.

11 emails received by Kane herself.

16 hours, how long a jury deliberated before announcing a hung jury in the trial of the 1st officer to go on trial in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

.25 percent interest rate hike announced by the Fed Reserve yesterday.

9 years, the last time the Fed raised rates.

224 point spike for the Dow Jones after the announcement of the rate hike.

127-106 loss for the Sixers to the Hawks last night.

1-26 record for the lowly Sixers.

1-37 stretching back to last year.

44 percent likelihood that Eagles will win NFC East, according to the folks who keep track of such things.

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

Probably not the best timing by Sam Bradford to start sounding like a guy who is still mulling his options for next year.

I Don’t Get It:
Another bizarre turn in Pennsylvania’s Porn-Gate saga. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper:
Kudos to the Delco community, which continues to open its hearts to honor the memory of firefighter Scott Jones.

Quote Box: “We are blessed in life and we all wanted to help.”

- Stephen DiCamillo, on the toy drive that honored Scott Jones.

It's a Christmas shopping marathon at Kohl's

Somehow I am going to have to keep this news from my wife.

I probably should explain. My wife is a professional shopper. And, if I don't say so myself, she's damn good at it. (She shopped around and found me, didn't she? I think she lost the receipt, she hasn't returned me yet.)

I really think she missed her calling. She should have been a professional assistant. When it comes to shopping, style and decorating, this woman has no equal.

All of which is a prelude to the fact that one of her favorite haunts, Kohl's, is in the news today.

That is because they opened their doors this morning at 7 a.m., just a few minutes ago? Yeah, so what's the big deal, lots of stores are offering expanded hours during the holidays.

Uh, not like this.

Kohl's will not close until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

That is correct. They will be open around the clock for a full week. That's 170 straight hours. Last year they did something similar, but were only open for 100 straight hours. Lightweights.

Kohl's has an ingenious way of luring you back into their stores with a barrage of sales, coupons and money-back "shopping bucks" offers. Their cashiers remind you every time you check out how much money you saved.

Of course, I am struck by the fact that they no doubt are still making money even while offering all these discounts.

I think my wife should just have our mail delivered to Kohl's. At least I know where to find her.

A stand against straw gun purchases

We used our editorial page today to discuss gun control.

Don't shoot the messenger!

Actually, this is a proposal almost everyone can get behind.

It's about a law that was passed to beef up the penalties for anyone who engages in what is called a 'straw purchase' of a gun. That is the practice where a person who is legally eligible to purchase a gun does so, then turns it over to someone who cannot pass the background check, often people with criminal records.

A woman in Chester recently became the first person in the state to be sentenced that the new law, which was named for Brad Fox, the Montgomery County police officer gunned down in the line of duty by a man who got his hands on his gun through just such a straw purchase.

She appealed the mandatory minimum sentence as required under the new statute.

The State Superior Court rejected her appeal.

Read our stand here.

The next 'Star Wars' I see will be the first

It's time to step back into the confessional.

I will not be in line to see the new 'Star Wars' flick.

What's the point? I haven't seen any of the others.

Yes, I can freely admit I have not see a single 'Star Wars' movie. Not one.

Oh, I might have seen a few clips while channel surfing on the tube, but I have never seen an entire 'Star Wars' flick, either on TV or in the movies. And not on my phone or laptop, where my kids watch movies today.

I am strictly a drama guy. And I love action-adventure. Yes, I'm a Steven Seagal-Jason Statham guy. But anything to do with science fiction, space stuff or other land of make believe adventures? I'll pass. I was never a 'Star Trek' Fan either.

James Bond? Count me in. I'll be shaken, not stirred. R2D2 and Han Solo? No thanks.

So the force is not going to be with me today, as the nation storms movie theaters in order to see the latest version of the series, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

One theater in Bensalem is actually doing a 'Star Wars' marathon, playing the entire series.

If you're a fan, make sure you check out our review here. And for a roundup of reviews, you can go here.

The critics seem to like it.

Good for them.

I'll take a pass.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Dec. 16

The Daily Numbers: 5, age of victim of sex assault in Haverford. A 40-year-old New Jersey man faces charges.

2 girls who claimed a man tried to abduct them as they walked to school on MacDade Boulevard near Holy Cross Cemetery. 1 of the girls later recanted the story.

3 more years, how long the state wants to keep a receiver in place in the Chester Upland School District.

1,490 dollars that rolled into the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund. We’re now over $10,000 on the road to our goal of $50,000 to help the Chester Salvation Army.

0 new taxes in the East Lansdowne budget.

1.5 percent tax hike looming in Marple. That’s after they shaved the increase from 2 percent.

4,900 a month pension, what Pa. will pay convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

2 feet of snow in some parts of Colorado

3 straight days of record temperatures here.

55, our high temp forecast for today.

4-3 overtime win for the Flyers over Carolina Hurricanes last night.

6 goals in 15 games for Flyers rookie Shane Gostisbehere, who had game winner last night.

3 OT goals for the guy they call ‘Ghost.’

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

Serious kudos to the pride of Chester, Bo Ryan, who retired immediately last night after 1 more win as coach of Wisconsin hoops.

I Don’t Get It: Jerry Sandusky getting his pension. Only in Pennsylvania.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to officials in Upper Darby, who stood side by side with the Muslim community in a show of unity Tuesday.

Quote Box: “We stand openly with our fellow Americans of all persuasions in the face of evil.”

- Kamal Rahman, at press conference and show of unity in Upper Darby.

No Pa. budget, but Sandusky gets his $4,900-a-month pension

Here's pretty much everything you need to know about Pennsylvania.

We still do not have a state budget, more than five months after the state constitution mandates one be in place.

We do, however, have a $4,900-a-month tab for Jerry Sandusky's pension.

The State Employees Retirement System let the deadline pass yesterday without appealing a court ruling that said Sandusky - the convicted child abuser at the center of the storm that drove Penn State to its knees and Joe Paterno from his icon's perch - should get his pension back.

The court had ruled the state erred when they determined Sandusky was a university employee at the time of the child sexual abuse claims. Thus, he was entitled to his state pension.

The child molester also is owed back benefits - with interest. Sandusky already collected a lump sum payment of $148,000 on his retirement.

In the meantime, local school districts continue to struggle in the midst of the budget impasse. Some have indicated they can no longer borrow money to make ends meet. And several have indicated that unless a new budget is in place, they will not open their doors after the Christmas holiday.

Only in Pennsylvania. No wonder they call us Land of Giants.

Waiting for answers in Colwyn

Yesterday we noted the latest in the sad, tawdry tale of Colwyn Borough.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit that revealed nearly $90,000 in either undocumented or unauthorized expenses at the Colwyn Borough Fire Company.

We also checked in with Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, who has been directing investigations of his own, both of the fire company and the borough's books.

Today we used our editorial page to note that Colwyn residents - and in effect all Pennsylvania taxpayers, since much of the fire company's funding came from state revenue - deserve a full accounting of the borough's muddled finances.

We expect to hear from Whelan any day now.

We can't wait.

Chester legend Bo Ryan hangs 'em up

It was easy to take Bo Ryan out of Chester; it was a lot harder to take Chester out of the legendary hoops coach.

Ryan, who starred at Chester High back in the '60s, stunned the basketball world last night by announcing his retirement - effective immediately.

Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers team had just posted a 64-49 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Ryan, who announced last summer that this would be his final year at the helm of the Badgers, decided to speed up the process with his perennial powerful team off to a slow start. The Badgers have compiled a 7-5 mark. Big 10 play starts in two weeks.

Ryan always maintained close ties to Delaware County, and in particular his roots in Chester. He was a fixture at many events, and always offered encouragement to those looking to get ahead.

He served as the pinnacle of what can come out of the city.

Last year Ryan led the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins and a huge run in the NCAA Tournament, falling to Duke in the national championship game.

Ryan was the boss of Wisconsin hoops for 15 years, finishing with 364 wins and seven Big Ten basketball titles.

Before that came equally successful stints at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Division III Wisconsin-Platteville, where his teams captured four national titles.

Ryan's glittering career is capped by this staggering stat: His career coaching record stands at 747-233.

He told his players after the game and turned the reins over to assistant Greg Gard.

Ryan had become a very familiar craggy face on the national college hoops scene. He was always a great quote, a great interview, someone who told you exactly what he felt.

Not it's time for us to tell him.

To us you'll always be part of Delco, coach. He was Delco proud. And in particular Chester proud. They always used to say, "What Chester Makes, Makes Chester."

Bo Ryan was a big part of what made Chester. In particular the legend of Chester basketball.

Bravo, coach!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 15

The Daily Numbers: 88,610 dollars in undocumented or unauthorized expenses uncovered in audit of Colwyn Borough Fire Company books.

56,332 dollars in ‘undocumented expenses’ in the report.

32,278 dollars in ‘unauthorized expenses.’

20,000 dollars in cash bank withdrawals.

10,061 one-time cash withdrawal

2,500 dollars in cable TV payments.

2,000 dollars doled out for cable TV during one month.

4 checks totaling more than $2,000 to an unknown payee.

10,000 dollars in unauthorized expenses for property taxes.

340 dollars for cable bills

600 dollars for dress uniforms.

10,386 dollars in state funding being withheld by Auditor General’s office until the fire company books can be rectified.

11,555 dollars in state aid to the fire company in 2013.

10,955 dollars in 2014.

2 different times the county D.A.’s office has executed search warrants at the fire company.

35 years, how long Mildred Zepka has been driving a school bus for Marple Newtown School District. She’s retiring after her final run on Dec. 23.

32, age of Brookhaven man killed in crash on I-95 early Monday in very foggy conditions in Tinicum.

15, age of boy charged in rape of 7-year-old girl in Upland.

5 year mandatory minimum sentence upheld for Chester woman in a straw gun purchase.

1 million dollars in scholarship that will be doled out by St. James Catholic High School Alumni Association.

5,000 dollar grant from Taylor Community Foundation to Ridley School District for biology students.

2,805 dollars that rolled into Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund over the weekend.

8,900 dollars given to date; our goal this year is $50,000.

52 dollar tax hike being considered in Morton.

2 percent tax hike in Lansdowne.

51 degrees, average temperature so far in December.

44.5, average high for December. We’re 6.5 degrees warmer so far.

11, age of girl shot in the foot as she walked home from school in Philly

7 women sued by Bill Cosby for defamation; he claims they made false claims of sexual assault against him.

1.5 billion dollars, how much the ‘Star Wars’ series of movies has raked in over the years.

76 years ago, when ‘Gone With the Wind’ premiered in Atlanta.

115-96 loss for the Sixers last night in Chicago.

1-25 record for the Sixers.

22 points for rookie Jahlil Okafor in his 1st trip back to his home town as a pro.

3-way tie atop NFC East after Giants beat the Dolphins in Monday Night Football.

6-7 record for Giants, Eagles and Redskins.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Forget the Cardinals. Sure, a win would be nice. But even if they lose, the Eagles win the NFC East and make the playoffs by beating both the Redskins and Giants in the final 2 weeks of season.

I Don’t Get It: Still not sure how a town the size of Colwyn can have these kinds of problems.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pa. Superior Court for upholding mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison for a Chester woman involved in straw gun purchase.

Quote Box: “It is an absolute, absolute mess ... This is the worst VFRA audit we’ve ever said.”

- Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, on findings of audit of Colwyn Borough Fire Department.

Another mess in Colwyn

Eugene DePasquale did not mince words.

The state auditor general stopped by our Primos office yesterday to sit down with our editorial board and deliver some news on the troubled little burg of Colwyn.

DePasquale was releasing an audit of the Colwyn Borough Firefighter Relief Association, and he said he's never seen anything quite like it.

The audit disclosed more than $88,000 dollars in undocumented and unauthorized expenses.

Among the items that will raise eyebrows are $20,000 in bank cash withdrawals, including one withdraw for the tidy sum of $10,061. The audit also questions $2,500 in cable TV bills for the fire department, including a month when they paid out $2,000.

"This is the worst VFRA (Volunteer Firefighter Relief Association) we've ever seen," DePasquale said.

For that reason, the auditor general is cutting off all state aid to the Colwyn VFRA until the questionable expenses can be accounted for.

Both the borough and fire company books have been the targets of investigation by the county District Attorney's Office. DePasquale said he was sharing the audit information with Jack Whelan's team, and he expected we could hear from the D.A. some time this week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can get all the details on the audit here.

If you want to read the full audit, go here.

The weather outside is ...

Go ahead, you finish that sentence in the headline. I think you know where I stand. We've just set records for warmth three consecutive days.

I actually had to stop and do a double-take when I walked out of the house this morning.

The rain had stopped, the skies had cleared and the stars were gleaming.

But that's not what stopped me in my tracks.

It was warm out. No, not hot, but warm.

I have this personal contest with myself, a die-hard hater of everything winter. Each year I try to see how long I can go before I don a winter coat. Usually my goal is Thanksgiving. This year I'm still coatless. Oh, I've put on a light jacket a couple of times, but I've yet to pull any of my top coats off the hanger in the closet.

The weird thing about today's forecast is that we've already hit today's high. It was actually 62 degrees early this morning. Our high later today will only be 61. I'm not complaining.

They say we're going to get a cold snap this weekend, with highs only in the 40s.

But the forecast for Christmas week calls for another warm-up, with highs again pushing the 60 degree mark on Christmas Day.

According to "Hurricane' Schwartz over at NBC10, our average temperature so far in December has been 51 degrees for the first half of the month. The record for the warmest December is 44.5 degrees, a full 6 degrees warmer.

I'm kicking myself for putting the golf clubs away.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if I can keep my coatless streak intact until the New Year.

I don't want to push my luck. And why do I get the feeling we're going to wind up paying for this in January and February?

All Eagles have to do to make playoffs is beat Redskins & Giants

Call if a reversal of fortune.

Two short weeks ago the Eagles were dead in the water. They had just suffered three consecutive crushing losses to what most believed were inferior opponents. Worse, the games were not close. They got blown out by both the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, just days after being embarrassed on their home turf by Tampa Bay. They surrendered 45 points in both losses.

Fingers were starting to be pointed. Chip Kelly's status was suddenly in question.

Then a weird thing happened. The Eagles went to New England and stunned the Patriots. They got their quarterback Sam Bradford back and he provided a steadying hand. The Birds reeled off their second straight win Sunday by holding off LeSean McCoy and the Bills at the Linc.

Now, incredibly (and at least in part due to the fact that the NFC East is fairly atrocious), they hold their destiny in their own hands.

They face another prime time date this Sunday, when the 11-2 Arizona Cardinals visit South Philly.

But here's where it gets really weird.

Yes, a win would certainly help, but the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter what the Eagles do against the Cardinals. If they win their final two games, NFC East dates with the Redskins at home and winding up the season with the Giants in North Jersey, they will win the division, and host a home playoff game.

Merry Christmas, Eagles fans.

Of course, they have to win those two games.

And if they beat the Cardinals? Don't ask, I'm already confused.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Dec. 14 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 2 straight wins for Eagles after 3 brutal losses.

23-20 win for the Eagles over LeSean McCoy and the Buffalo Bills.

6-7 record for Birds, keeping them in a tie for the lead in the NFC East.

74 yards rushing on 20 carries for McCoy, but most of that came in the 1st half. He was largely shut down in the 2nd half.

222 passes without interception streak for Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor that was snapped with Ed Rogers INT to seal the game in the 4th quarter.

15 penalties hurt the Bills.

101 yards in penalties racked up by the Bills.

23 of 38 for 247 yards for Sam Bradford, including TD strike to rookie Nelson Agholor.

1 interception for Bradford, although really the fault on this one lies with Brent Celek, who allowed Bills defender to rip the ball away.

11 carries for 34 yards for DeMarco Murray.

13 carries for 36 yards for Ryan Mathews.

1 sack and 8 tackles for Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox.

5 catches for 98 yards for tight end Zach Ertz.

50.4 average for punter Donnie Jones, who helped Eagles win field position battle all day.

3 key field goals for Caleb Sturgis.

24-21 win for the Redskins, which keeps them tied with the Eagles atop NFC East.

11-2 Arizona Cardinals come to the Linc next Sunday for a prime time encounter.

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

No class move by LeSean McCoy to run off the field after the game and not exchange a handshake with a single member of his former team.

I Don’t Get It: 70-degree football on Dec. 13. I don’t get it. But I’ll take it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sam Bradford, who continues to improve and look like he’s the real deal in Chip Kelly’s system.

Quote Box: “I got nothing to say.”

- LeSean McCoy to the assembled media after the game.

The real McCoy

Le Sean McCoy was right, right up until the moment he was wrong.

I didn't blame McCoy for being ticked off about the way the Eagles casually discarded the all-time team rushing leader in the offseason, banishing him to Buffalo in exchange for hobbled linebacker Kiko Alonso.

The guy they call 'Shady' has been steaming ever since. No doubt he had Dec. 13 circled on his calendar for months, the day when he would return to Lincoln Financial Field and exact his revenge.

But McCoy allowed the moment to get the better of him, and I'm not the least bit surprised.

In the buildup to this much-anticipated grudge match, McCoy vowed he would not shake the hand of the man who dissed him, Eagles Coach Chip Kelly.

It got so bad that Kelly offered a most unusual mea culpa, admitting the Eagles had botched the way the deal went down, and it was wrong that he had not been able to tell McCoy before the trade went down. In effect, Kelly fell on his sword.

McCoy wasn't satisfied, and insisted on twisting the blade.

Then before the game yesterday, there was McCoy all hugs with Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, and even kneeled down and kissed the Eagles logo on the Linc turf.

Unfortunately, the game then started. McCoy had a good first half, but was shut down after the halftime. He wasn't helped by a series of penalties that erased a couple of good runs.

After the game, McCoy reverted to form, that of an immensely talented but immature brat. That, in effect, is the real McCoy.

Instead of exchanging handshakes and greetings with his former teammates, he stormed off the field and up the tunnel even before the final ticks expired on the clock.

Then he blew off the media after the game, gruffly informing the scribes he had nothing to say to them. I wonder if he would have reacted the same way had the Bills won, giving him the satisfaction of beating his old team, and his nemesis Kelly.

That's the way so many athletes are these days. They're great when things are going their way, but revert to form when things aren't that rosy.

I miss McCoy. He was electric in his time here with the Eagles. He offered something this current Eagles team direly needs, the ability to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

But that doesn't change my opinion of him. He's just not a very likable guy. And he has only himself to blame for it.

By the way, the Eagles won, 23-20, and remain tied for the lead in the NFC Least.

Now maybe we can start talking playoffs, and less about McCoy.

What goes on Page One

I talk to people every day who are sure they can do this job much better than I do.

And some of them make a pretty good case.

I have said for years that the single most important decision I make here every day is what story dominates our front page. Remember, this is print, we don't get to rotate stories in and out of the lead spot, as we do online at DelcoTimes.com. We get one shot at it in print.

Which brings me to the dilemma I faced last week, when we had a huge national story bucking up against a strong local story. I actually asked the readers what they would do if they were sitting in my seat.

I got some great responses.

It's in my weekly Monday print column.

Heron's Nest: Heavy fog across area; fatal crash on I-95 in Tinicum

Here's an early morning traffic alert.

We are dealing with serious fog out there.

With record warm temperatures across the region, thick fog developed overnight.

It is being blamed for a fatal multi-car crash this morning on I-95 in Tinicum. Two lanes of the southbound I-95 are shut down between Route 420 and Ridley Park.

Make sure you plan more time in for your morning commute.

Here's the complete local traffic report.

We have temperatures in the mid-50s. We will again hit record territory today, with rain moving in later this afternoon.

Here's the complete forecast.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Just call it the ‘Shady Bowl.’

LeSean McCoy returns to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday with a giant ‘Chip’ on his shoulder. Literally.

McCoy is still holding a grudge after the ugly way the Birds discarded him in exchange for Kiko Alonso last year. He made it clear he has no intention of even shaking Chip Kelly’s hand before the game. Kelly then went the extra yard, offering a fairly heart-felt apology.

That was at the same time he was trying to put out another brush fire, what with DeMarco Murray sounding off about how he was not happy with the way he was used in the Eagles seismic upset of the Patriots in New England last week. Murray used the flight home to bend Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie’s ear about the way he is - or isn’t - being featured in Chip Kelly’s vaunted system.

This thing could go two ways on Sunday. Maybe McCoy goes nuclear on the Birds, running all over his old stomping ground. Or he easily could be too amped for the grudge match, revert to his old ways of trying to hit a home run on every rush, and play into the Eagles hands.

I think McCoy will get his yards. The key to this game will be two-fold: The Eagles’ defense can’t afford to let anyone else on the Bills beat them. They need to control QB Tyrod Taylor, who is quietly having a very good year.

The real key will be how Sam Bradford handles a very good Buffalo defense. Rex Ryan’s defensive backfield has played very well. Look for Bradford and the Eagles to throw lots of balls underneath the coverage. Bradford will need a huge day from tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. His outside receivers are scaring anyone.

This could be the day when Bradford emerges as the true leader of this team. Witness his reaction after that crucial third-down toss to Riley Cooper late in the win over the Pats. It was a money throw, with several Pats’ defenders in the QB’s face.

He’ll need to do more of that on Sunday. I say he’s ready to step up.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 26, Bills 17. LeSean will get his, but I think Sam Bradford will be the best player on the field and direct the Birds to a late Caleb Sturgis field goal for the win.

Last Week: Raise your hand if you saw that one coming? Yeah, me nor anyone else either. The Eagles used three return touchdowns (blocked punt, punt return, interception return) to beat the Patriots. After New England posted a 14-0 lead and looked like they might be ready to put the Birds away, Bill Belichick got greedy. His onside drop kick ended up kicking him in the butt. The Eagles used the short field to score, then knotted the game seconds before the half on the blocked punt. They went up 35-14 before having to hang on for dear life at the end.

Season Record: 5-7. Amazing what great special teams and some turnovers can do. No, I didn’t see it coming. But then again neither did anyone else as the Birds shocked the world and pushed their record to 5-7, good enough to be in a tie for first place in the NFC Least.

Game by Game: Falcons 26, Eagles 24. (My Pick: Eagles 37, Falcons 26)

Cowboys 20, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 26)

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

Redskins 23, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 39, Saints 17. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Saints 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 7. (My Pick: Eagles 27, Giants 16)

Panthers 27, Eagles 16 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Panthers 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 27 OT (My Pick: Eagles 23, Cowboys 13)

Dolphins 20, Eagles 19 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Dolphins 16)

Bucs 45, Eagles 17 (My Pick: Eagles 17, Buccaneers 16)

Lions 45, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Lions 23, Eagles 16)

Eagles 35, Patriots 28 (My Pick: Patriots 33, Eagles 17)

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Dec. 11

The Daily Numbers: 15,000 in donations that flooded in to help a Ridley mother and her daughter who had fallen on hard times and were basically living on the street.

155 more dollars given to the Merry Christmas Fund. Our total to help the Salvation Army now stands at almost $5,000. We have a long way to go to meet the goal of $50,000.

2 members of borough council present for last night’s meeting in Colwyn. That much talked about state recovery plan is back in limbo now.

4 years in prison for a former teacher at Episcopal on child sex charges in New England.

3.5 to 7 years in prison for a Delco man for a DUI crash in Chester County that led to the death of an unborn baby.

11,345 dollars, what it will cost to send a student to Archbishop Carroll starting next September. That number is locked in for 4 years.

0 tax hike on tap in Edgmont budget.

6 straight years that Concord has avoided a tax increase.

29 years without a hike in Upland.

10 dollar tax hike looming in Prospect Park.

4 bottles of wine, what you might be able to buy in the supermarket under Pa. Senate plan.

4-2 win for the Flyers over the Blues in St. Louis.

100-91 loss for the Sixers to lowly Brooklyn.

0-13 road record for the Sixers.

1 win against 22 losses for the Sixers.

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

Chip Kelly fell on his sword and apologized yesterday. Now will LeSean McCoy be willing to forgive and forget and shake his ex-coach’s hand before Sunday’s game?

I Don’t Get It: Donald Trump’s poll numbers are higher than ever. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Ridley Officer Jason McDevitt and the community, who showed the true meaning of the holiday season by rallying support for a woman who had lost her home.

Quote Box: “I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank them, to repay them for their generosity.”

- Eleanor Gehret, of Ridley, thanking community members who rallied to offer her a helping hand.

Wine in the supermarkets? Maybe

We've got good news and bad news on the great Pennsylvania booze debate.

Bad news first: It doesn't look like full privatization is going away. Nor those state stores.

So what's the good news? You might be able to buy wine in the supermarket or local deli.

The state Senate yesterday voted 29-12 on a package of budget bills that include the wine bill, which has the support of Gov. Tom Wolf. Under the plan, the 14,000 holders of takeout beer licenses, such as your local supermarket, deli or tavern, would be able to sell up to four bottles of wine at a time to customers.

Sorry, beer lovers. If you were thinking of grabbing a bottle of wine at the local beer distributor while picking up a case of duds, they're not included.

And you'll still have to visit a state store if you want to buy strong spirts such as vodka, gin or whiskey, but you'll also still be able to buy wine there.

Following me?

Now, none of this is a done deal.

That's because it faces a much sterner test in the House, where Republicans want to blow up the entire state store system and turn sales of booze over to private enterprise.

I just don't see that happening at this time.

Then again, we don't have a state budget yet, and most of our movers and shakers are not headed to the Big Apple for their swanky annual shindig, the Pennsylvania Society.

Bet they don't have to go to three different stores to satisfy their booze needs up there.

We're having a heat wave!

OK, let's move on to the really important story of the weekend.

Donald Trump?

Hardly.

No Pa. Budget?

No news there?

The Eagles?

Not until Sunday.

Yes, we're talking about the weather. Get used to it. Everyone will be talking about it because this weird El Nino is about to deliver April in December.

We're expected to break records both Saturday and Sunday.

The record high for the area on Saturday is 65 set back in 1931. Sunday's high mark is 69, from way back in 1881. That also is in jeopardy. There is actually a chance we could hit 70 degrees on Sunday.

Here's the full forecast. Don't look for me to complain. I left my skiing day behind when I left Colorado in the summer of 1978. I had never been on skis before I went West, hit the slopes at least once a week in the three years I lived out there, and I've never been back on skis since I came back East.

I hate cold weather. If this is winter, I'll take it.

Which leaves me only one question? Why aren't I going to be out on a golf course instead of sitting in front of a TV watching the Eagles?

The best football players in Delaware County

Want to know who the best football players in Delaware County are?

Here's a hint: None of the Eagles made the list.

How about the best player? Think quarterback.

Yes, today we present the 2015 All-Delco Football team.

You can get all the details here, at PaPrepLive.com, our home for high school sports.

OK, let the arguments begin.

The Eagles: Drama Guaranteed

It turns out Chip Kelly is human after all.

That fast-talking, seemingly emotionless automaton we see at so many press conferences dissolved yesterday as the Eagles coach once again was grilled over the topic of the week, the ugly exit of the team's all-time leading rusher, running back LeSean McCoy.

Kelly, showing a candid side rarely seen since he arrived here from Oregon, fell on his sword.

The coach basically said the team botched the McCoy trade in terms of being able to let their star back know he was being dealt. "I know he was pissed and he should be pissed," a contrite Kelly said. "How he was traded wasn't handled right, and I've said that before. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him, and it's a lesson that we shouldn't ever do that."

All of this stems from the return of McCoy with the Buffalo Bills to the Linc on Sunday with both teams clinging to playoff hopes.

Earlier this week, McCoy made it clear he had no intention of shaking Kelly's hands, and seemed to indicate Kelly knew why.

Yesterday, Kelly concurred.

Here's how our guy at the press conference, Rob Parent, saw it all.

McCoy is not even the only running back unhappy with Kelly. DeMarco Murray, signed for big money to fill the void left by McCoy's departure - but only after Frank Gore snubbed the Birds' offer - has made it clear he was not happy with the way he was used - or rather not used - in last Sunday's big win in New England.

Yesterday Murray seemed ready to put a happy face on everything, saying not only that has happy to be in Philly, but that he wanted to come back next year.

Those details here.

All of which only means more drama Sunday at the Linc.

Then again, this is the Eagles after all.

Remember, it's Drama Guaranteed

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Dec. 10

The Daily Numbers: 10-20 years in prison for Delco doctor Lawrence Wean after being convicted of ‘pill-mill’ charges.

99 counts of handing out illegal drug prescriptions he was convicted on.

100 months, how long before Wean is eligible for early release.

102,000 dollars in fines slapped on the doc.

42-13 loss for the Chester Panthers to a team from Gainesville, Fla., at that national 8-under youth football tournament.

345 million dollar budget given the OK by County Council yesterday.

0 tax hike included in that budget.

4,715 in donations that have rolled into the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund to help the Salvation Army.

6 percent spending increase included in budget adopted by Pa. Senate; 4 percent hike being eyed in the House.

14,000 holders of take-out beer licenses such as supermarkets and delis that would be allowed to sell up to 4 bottles of wine at a time under plan OK’d by state Senate panel.

282.7 million dollars spent on booze in Allegheny County in the past year, making them No. 1 in the state.

6th place for Delco in terms of sales, trailing the other suburban counties.

38.1 percent of all sales in Pa. came from 5-county Philly region.

1, as in the No. 1 selling liquor in the Philly region? That would be Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, in terms of bottles. As for revenue, top spot goes to Jack Daniel’s No. 7.

75 dollars, cost of a field level seat at Citizens Bank Park, many of which now will leave fans peering through extra security netting to be installed.

4 prospects, what it appears Phils are getting after dealing closer Ken Giles to the Astros.

40 million dollar, 5 year deal signed by DeMarco Murray with the Eagles.

14 snaps for Murray vs. Patriots.

35 snaps for Darren Sproles.

12 snaps for Kenjon Barner.

77-73 win for Temple over Penn in Big 5 hoops action.

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

Just call it the Shady Bowl. This one on Sunday - McCoy & the Bills v. Chip Kelly & the Eagles - should be fun.

I Don’t Get It: McCoy could have avoided all this nonsense simply by walking back his sentiment that there was a racial element to Kelly’s personnel decisions. He decided not to do that. Thus it will continue to be talked about.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Chester Panthers. No, they did not win the title. They’re still winners in our book.

Quote Box: “I have come to realize that although I thought was doing right, I was not.”

- Dr. Lawrence Wean, before being sentenced for illegally prescribing drugs.

Celebrating 51 new Americans

Yesterday I used this space to detail my increasing dislike for the flat-out ugly sentiment that passes for political discourse these days.

Today I used our editorial page to do the same.

Leading the parade? Of course that would be none other than Donald Trump.

Ironically, last night 51 people took the oath of office as new citizens in a ceremony at the Delaware County Courthouse.

They came from many corners of the globe.

Yes, some of them were Muslim.

I liked what Koumba Kante, a 21-year-old student from Guinea - who happens to be Muslim - had to say.

"You can't just ban all Muslims from coming because all Muslims are not terrorists," the Aldan woman said in an interview with Channel 6..

And that is the point.

Today, Koumba Kante is something else.

She is an American citizen.

That is the backbone of this country.

Not even Donald Trump can change that.

The return of Gil Spencer, at least online

Not a week goes by that someone does not ask me about my old partner in crime.

'Whatever happened to Gil Spencer?'

Gil wrote our lead feature column on Page Six for years. He was loved by our legions of conservative readers who never missed an opportunity to lambaste me and the newspaper's editorial board for our liberal views.

For several years, Gil would join me in our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream Internet show on Wednesday nights.

Let's just say a lot more people tuned in to see Gil than me.

It was Gil who first uncovered the magical story of Tommy Geromichalos, the young man battling Cystic Fibrosis whose "wish" was that his local parochial school remain open. The Make-A-Wish Foundation obviously could not grant his wish, but Gil did. Gil's column and the appearance of Tommy's letter on our front page unleashed a huge community outpouring that did in fact save St. Cyril of Alexandria School in East Lansdowne, at least for a few years.

Gil came to see the writing on the wall in terms of the newspaper business, and finally accepted an offer that was too good to refuse. Like most of constantly adapting in this ever-changing news racket, in addition to his print column, Gil penned a popular blog he called 'Spencerblog.'

I'm happy to report that Spencer is back!

No, he's probably not going to be appearing in the pages of the Daily Times on a regular basis.

But he's back writing the blog and you can check it out here.

Go ahead, conservatives, cheer.

And liberals. Well, you're stuck with me.

As the Eagles Turn

Leave it to Shady McCoy to steal the spotlight from his replacement, DeMarco Murray.

We could have spent the entire week debating whether Murray went over his coach's head in telling Eagles owner Jeff Lurie he was not happy with the way he was being used, in particular in Sunday's win over the Patriots.

Nothing quite like bemoaning your personal situation minutes after one of the team's biggest wins in recent history, one that was especially meaningful for the native New Englander Lurie.

We could talk about whether Murray is the best back on this team, and if he fits Chip Kelly's vaunted system.

Enter Shady.

The all-time leading rusher in Eagles' history met the media last night and immediately lit a match to the smoldering embers of his ugly exit from the team.

First, McCoy said in a radio interview that he had no intention of taking back comments made when he was traded to the Bills that Kelly was getting rid of all the team's best players, in particular black players.

Yesterday, in his weekly media availability, McCoy said he had no intention of shaking Kelly's hand on Sunday. You can get the blow-by-blow here.

At this point I think it's appropriate to steal a line from another football diva, Terrell Owens.

"Get your popcorn ready."

If the Shady-Kelly feud was not enough, Murray is expected to talk to the media this afternoon.

Just call it "As the Eagles Turn."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Dec. 9

The Daily Numbers: 800 members at the Upper Darby Islamic Center.

1 more win, what the Chester Panthers need to advance to the title game of the national youth football tourney being held in Plant City, Fla. They play today at 5 p.m.

28, age of missing man in Trainer. Police are hoping you can help find Raymond Millard Jr.

2 women arrested after a street fight in Collingdale.

2nd homicide police believe may be linked to a suspect from Marcus Hook already charged in a Wilmington case.

26, age of Yeadon acquitted on all charges in connection with a fatal stabbing in Darby Borough.

3rd defendant who is pleading guilty to stealing an Upper Darby family’s van, which was loaded for vacation.

1,475 that rolled into the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund to benefit the Salvation Army. The total raised now sits at $3,895.

0 tax hike included in the Thornbury budget.

11.5 to 23 years in prison for Glenolden man for attempting to meet a 15-year-old boy for sex.

2 different budget plans still being bandied about in Harrisburg.

1 pig’s head found outside Muslim mosque in Philadelphia

52 page report that slams Pa. Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin, and level 4 ethics charges against him.

244 million dollars being paid for Fox Chase Bancorp by Univest Corp. of Pa.

20 pounds of cocaine seized at Philadelphia International Airport

4-3 shootout loss for the Flyers to the Islanders last night.

3 goals on 10 shots surrendered by Flyers goalie Steve Mason before he was pulled.

8 rushes for 24 yards Sunday vs. Patriots for DeMarco Murray. He’s not happy with how he’s being used.

23-0 run to start the NBA season for the Golden State Warriors

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

Chip Kelly created this mess with DeMarco Murray. Now he has to deal with it.

I Don’t Get It: Donald Trump. I’m not even sure he believes all the bluster he spouts off.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delco Muslim community. They are reacting reasonably and rationally to the inflammatory rhetoric spewed by Trump.

Quote Box:
“Most Americans are familiar with their constitutional rights and their religious freedom. I believe these negative comments will disappear soon.”

- Kamal Rahman, member of Upper Darby mosque, on the uproar surrounding Trump’s comments.