76ers vs Thunder Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers will be taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at 7:00 PM EST! This is a very important game for the 76ers; they’re on a 4-game skid, and this is a perfect time for them to turn it around before the end of the season. There’s also a chance they get some key reinforcements back!

Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia has blown their last 4 games to the Warriors, Suns, and Bucks (twice). However, injuries have played a major role in their — quite frankly, pathetic — losing streak. As a result of the losing streak, Sixers currently hold the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. It shouldn’t be a tough turnaround, though, as Philly has the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to ESPN, while the Brooklyn Nets (who currently hold the 1st seed), have to play the Bucks (twice), Nuggets, and Mavericks.

PHI Injury Report:

  • Joel Embiid – QUESTIONABLE
  • Ben Simmons – QUESTIONABLE
  • Danny Green – QUESTIONABLE
  • Tobias Harris – QUESTIONABLE
  • Furkan Korkmaz – QUESTIONABLE
  • Paul Reed – QUESTIONABLE

Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City has been absolutely atrocious this season; they sit near the bottom of the Western Conference (13th seed; 20-40), and are in the midst of a 13-game losing streak. However, this is the youngest team in the NBA and one that is, thus, rebuilding. Thunder have also dealt with several injuries, and that doesn’t change tonight.

OKC Injury Report:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – OUT
  • Luguentz Dort – OUT
  • Josh Hail – OUT
  • Mike Muscala – OUT
  • Gabriel Deck – OUT
  • Tony Bradley – QUESTIONABLE

A loss tonight would be absolutely embarrassing. Whether or not we are missing 2 guys on the injury report or all of them, we’d have to try to lose this game.

Important Information for Tonight’s Game:

  • Against? – Oklahoma City Thunder
  • When? – 7:00 PM EST
  • Where? – Wells Fargo Center
  • TV? – NBCSP

“Wentz” Did It Go Wrong?

17-0…17-24

*sighs*

For those who are unaware, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost to the Washington Football team. In rather embarrassing fashion might I add, squandering a 17-0 lead. Last year it was the Eagles who came out of the tunnel after halftime and rode hot handed DJAX to a eventual comeback of their own. This year, the Eagles came out hot, and lost all steam once Jack Driscoll was removed from the game.

The negatives of this game are abundant, and positives are few and far between, but, there are a few;

Jack Driscoll- The rookie tackle had a few hiccups, none resulting in anything catastrophic and all fixable mistakes. He’s a bright spot simply because once Mailatta was forced to replace him, the drop off was VERY evident. Overall, at this point Jack Driscoll is no Lane, true. I think more importantly we know he’ll be at worst servicable down the road, pending his injury diagnosis.

Defensive Line- Realistically Washington didn’t light us up offensively, Haskins took advantage of numerous short field situations. A product of our either a interception or failed 4th down conversion. The defense held up and players like Josh Sweat and Malik Jackson made some big plays, this is huge to see as they are key contributors going forward.

Wentz and DJAX are OK- As trivial as it sounds, we have to be happy two of our “projected” key contributors stood healthy. We have to assume they will move on to week 2 eager to erase the memory of the week 1 loss.

Rams are next….Let’s just say if this offensive line isn’t in tact by then, Aaron Donald may have a field day.

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The Eagles Offensive Situation

Ben Carlson

QB: The QB situation for the Eagles is pretty straight forward. Carson Wentz will obviously lead the team as the starter as long as he is eligible to play, and Nate Sudfeld will likely back him up. The addition of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft confused a lot; however, I am confident that Coach Pederson and Howie drafted Jalen Hurts mainly to use as a gadget player like the Saints use Taysom Hill.

RB: With the departure of Jordan Howard this offseason a lot of people are wondering what the Eagles will do to replace him for the 2020-2021 season. Their have been some big names popping up such as Carlos Hyde, Shady McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Me personally, I have a ton of faith in Miles Sanders as an RB 1; however, bringing in a vet that can help with the workload and potentially guide Miles for a year isn’t something I wouldn’t be opposed to.

WR: The front office did a great job at adding new weapons for Wentz this offseason. The additions consisted of Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Pederson and Howie were obviously going for speed and I’m all for it. I have high hopes for Jalen Reagor, I think he will have an impact from the start of the season. Marquise will be a good speed guy to have along side D-Jax. As for John Hightower and Quez Watkins, they were both good picks (especially for when we got them) and from the looks of their college tape if needed they will be ready (I really do think they are better than being just random backups but I don’t know what the front office will do about it, for we have a lot of WR on the roster) . To top that all off we still have Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward, JJAW, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett and Shelton Gibson

TE: The TE situation similar to the QB room is also really straight forward. We have the three headed snake from last year consisting of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart and Josh Perkins. I’m a big fan of our TE corp, year after year they continue to be reliable and consistent.

O-Line: As usual we still have a dominant O-Line; however, Vaitai left and is now on the Lions. A solid player and a pretty big lose, but definitely replaceable. As of right now it looks like the starting lineup will be Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson. This is a lineup I’m extremely confident in despite Isaac Seumalo’s super mediocre past. The front office did make some moves this offseason to pad the line such as draft Jack Driscoll and draft Prince Tega Wanogho. Both excelled in college and were good picks in the 4th and 6th round. The main obstacle is not being able to avoid injuries, we need to stay healthy. That doesn’t go for just the O-Line, the entire roster needs to stay healthy if we want to succeed this season.

Speed is Going to be Key for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had a goal going into the off-season to get Carson Wentz’s speed. I think it’s fair to say that I got some speed. Now the talent of that speed is another question, but let’s evaluate the need for speed the Eagles have.

It’s clear that the Eagles missed Desean Jackson last year. Considering that Jackson totaled the fifth-most receiving TDs’ for the Eagles this season while only playing three games (only one full one), was a problem. We all saw what could happen when Wentz had an option that could get open 25 yards plus, and catch the ball. In particular, the two plays that we all remember from Wentz to Jackson last year were the two touchdowns in week 1. Both of those plays were 50 yards or more (51 and 53 yards to be exact). Even with two 25+ yard touchdowns in one game, Wentz went on to only have three more in the other 15 games of the season. So it’s clear that the Eagles needed speed.

“But we already knew that!”

Yet there is a pattern to Wentz’s performance to the amount of TDs’ of 25 yards or more he has per season. Wentz had five touchdowns that met that criteria in 2019, three in 2018, eight in 2017, and three in 2016. It makes sense, the more big plays you have, the better your team will be.
Wentz’s best year was in 2017 when he was arguably on his way to win the MVP award. It makes sense that his most “big plays” came in that year. For 2019, arguably his second most impressive year, and then 2016 and 2018 follow behind. The Eagles investing a first-round pick in Jalen Reagor, trading for Marquise Goodwin, and drafting John Hightower and Quez Watkins in the later rounds was an attempt to give Wentz more speed.

In the games when Carson Wentz throws 25 yards or more for a TD, the Eagles are 10-4 in those games. For games when he throws 30 yards or more and it results in a touchdown, the Eagles are 9-2 in those games. 40 yards or more 6-1. The outlier in the last one was the Titans game from 2018, so that really doesn’t count.

All those statistics are just evidence to show that Wentz with speed, equals wins. With all of this speed, the Eagles are trying to build a foundation that gives the teams weapons down the field. With Ertz, Godert, Jeffery, and whoever 25 yards and in placing options for Wentz, Jackson, Reagor, and Goodwin will cover everything else.

No Eagles fan will question the method of getting speed for the Eagles, now the players that they acquired to do so, maybe.

“Are Reagor’s hands good enough?”

“Can Jackson or Goodwin play a 16 game season?”

“Why did they draft Jalen Hurts?”

Okay the last one might be for a different matter, but nevertheless before you blast Howie Roseman for having the worst draft ever, evaluate. The Eagles did get faster, Wentz now has speed. We don’t know right now if Reagor over Jefferson was a mistake, or spending two later round draft picks on players with the same skillset was the right decision.

In conclusion, Howie Roseman addressed the speed aspect for Carson Wentz. The players we can debate, but the fundamental ideas were addressed. I’m not saying Roseman has given Wentz everything he has ever wanted, nevertheless, the Eagles have answered on speed end for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

6 Eagles Breakout Candidates for the 2020 season

We’re slowly witnessing a new page being turned in the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Jason Peters and the Eagles have parted ways, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are bound to departure, Darren Sproles has retired, and it’s time for new players to step up and fill the void that these talented players are leaving. The Eagles could quickly find themselves in a rebuilding stage if young players fail to perform at a high level. It’s absolutely imperative that Eagles have a number of breakout players in 2020.

1) Andre Dillard

Dillard is now in the spotlight after the news of Jason Peters and is left with one of the most important roles in football. To put it in perspective as to how important left tackle really is, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, (yes, I had to google how to spell that) our current backup tackle, is in the market for $12 million/year. The importance of protecting a quarterback’s blind side cannot be stressed enough. And considering we’ll play Chase Young, Demarcus Lawrence, and many other talented pass rushers two times a year, Dillard needs to step up. And I really think he will. He showed flashes of excellence last year and is one of my favorite draft choices in recent memory. He has quick feet, a long reach, and has a beautiful kick-slide. He has the talent to fill Jason Peters’ shoes, but it’s always hard to follow up such an accomplished player such as Peters.

2) Dallas Goedert

When Ertz was struggling with injuries last year, Goedert assumed the role of TE1 and proved his value to the Philadelphia Eagles for years to come. I believe his play opened the eyes of some of the coaches and now more than ever, an emphasis will be put on 2 TE sets. And when the Eagles bolster their WR core, the middle of the field will open up for Goedert and Ertz. You have to remember that last year, teams were doubling Ertz and Goedert because of the lack of offensive firepower and they still managed to produce. I expect defenses to gameplan for Ertz, leaving the door open for Goedert to have a career year.

3) Nathan Gerry

The Eagles declined Bradham’s team option are now in a bit of a limbo at the linebacker position. With no proven players, it has become a hole in our roster and is a position of need. Joe Schobert and Blake Martinez highlight some of the free agent linebackers, but if history tells us one thing, it’s that the Eagles likely won’t sign a free agent linebacker. Gerry and Grugier-Hill both are candidates to break out, but I gave Gerry the edge because of his speed. Sideline to sideline linebackers are becoming more and more popular in today’s pass happy league and Gerry fits that prototype. If he can improve his tackling and physicality, the former safety from the University of Wisconsin can truly break out in the 2020 season.

4) Miles Sanders

This one is a bit of an anomaly on this list because unlike everyone else, Sanders has already proved himself among Eagles fans and coaches. The next step for Miles Sanders is proving himself to the world. His combination of running and pass catching is second to none and he has the ability to become a top 5 all around back in this league. A full season as a starter will only boost his stats, and I can’t wait to see what he can do next year.

5) Derek Barnett

Aside from a strip sack recovery, Barnett has underwhelmed as a high first round pick and has many people questioning his future in Philly after his rookie deal expires. One thing I love about him is that he was able to perform well in college without insane physical talent; he is just a very crafty and skillful player who knows how to get to the quarterback. He has experienced a plethora of small and persisting injuries throughout his young career, and a healthy 2020 campaign is crucial.

6) Josh Sweat

I must preface this by admitting my bias towards Josh Sweat. For whatever reason, I am a HUGE fan of Josh Sweat. I love how tall he is, how imposing he is, and how diverse his bag of tricks is. As a pass rusher, it’s important to have a mix between power and finesse and Sweat has both of those boxes checked. He played a limited amount of snaps last year and was able to sack the quarterback four times. With more snaps, I truly believe Sweat can break out in the 2020 season. The issue is that it’s going to be tough for him to get those snaps. The depth at defensive end is a good problem to have and Schwartz has done a good job at rotating all of his pass rushers to keep them fresh, but Sweat deserves more of an opportunity. However, if Barnett fails to stay on the field, Sweat could vulture some of his snaps and potentially “Wally Pipp” him.

Did I forget anyone? Let me know in the comments!