Friday, November 30, 2007

No Time to Panic, but Flyers Show They Have Long Way to Go

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Forget the fact that the Flyers and Rangers are dueling for top spot in the Atlantic Division two months into the season.

Forget that Mike Richards is turning into a phenom, leading the club with 14 goals and 30 points, or that Lasse Kukkonen is a shot-blocking machine. Forget that Danny Briere looks like a super ball whenever he senses he can take over a game.

This year’s orange and black model has a lot of growing to do, and may turn out to be slightly more disappointing than even expectations within the city.

Exhibit A is their wildly inconsistent home play.

After reeling off six straight wins to open the season, the team has dropped four home games in a row. Two of them were key division matchups, to the Devils and Rangers. In the following two (Washington and Boston) the team skated like zombies, and found themselves down by three goals before waking up both times.

Exhibit B is their wildly inconsistent home play sandwiched around some inexplicably crucial road wins.

Even head coach John Stevens is at a loss to explain how the club loses by four to the Devils, then goes to a vastly-improved Carolina and scores a three-goal win, then plays a stinker against the Caps, only to wake up and skate 60 excellent minutes in a win over Ottawa, only to play so catatonically through the majority of the Boston game – only to recover by playing a solid defensive contest to win again in Raleigh.

Exhibit C is the goaltending situation, also wildly inconsistent.

Martin Biron looked almost unbeatable early, then turned in stinkers in Montreal and Jersey, then against the Devils and Bruins here, where he almost appeared distracted. Antero Niittymaki, thankfully bailed himself out of a jam in Ottawa, but not before stopping zero-of-two shots in relief in that 6-2 loss to New Jersey on November 17.

Exhibit D is the defense, which seems a bit too old and too young at the same time.

At least that relationship shows signs of mending as the year pushes on, but it’s hard not to figure that the likelihood of either netminder letting in an avalanche of goals won’t increase when the club is allowing more than 30-shots-per-game, and has the largest negative shot differential in the NHL.

This coming week features three out-of-conference games. All three will depend on the cohesiveness of the defense and the steadiness in net. The Stars’ Marty Turco, Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom and Peter Budaj of Colorado all can steal games when needed.

Dallas and Minnesota are still believers in the defense-first philosophy, while the Avalanche may best the Flyers in a track meet.

As of Friday, Philly is 14-8-2 for 30 points, but with a goal differential of just plus-nine. They are 6-6-2 since an 8-2-0 start, and have already dropped two games to the Rangers and Devils, and suffered three other conference losses which will loom larger as the season winds down.

The hope is that Stevens, while still learning on the fly, doesn’t simply force the team into a defensive shell at home to prevent the possibility of more embarrassing defeats, then let the club loose on the road without the “pressure” of “having to perform” with the local crowd.

There are 58 games remaining, and only one road trip longer than three games. After a six-game swing around the holidays, the Flyers get a reward with a six-game homestand from January 20-Febrary 2.

And speaking of long ways to go, the NHL Board of Governors approved a scheduling change at their meeting in Pebble Beach, California on Thursday.

The regular season will remain at 82 games. Starting next season, each team will play division rivals six times (three home, three road), their 10 conference opponents four times (two home, two road), and each of their out-of-conference foes 18 times (all 15 teams once each, three home-and-home matchups to be determined according to a wild card draw).

With so much emphasis placed on what the fans want, it’s no shock that the head office decided not to overthink things. In other words, and with apologies to Pete Townshend: Meet the new sked, same as the old sked.

It’s worth noting, however, that while NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman crowed about the change as a response to the fans, the NHLPA had a different take.

New Players’ Association boss Paul Kelly revealed Thursday after the meeting that the players prefer an 84-game slate, where each team played 24 division games, 30 conference matchups, and two games against each out-of-conference opponent.

I wonder why the players did an abrupt about-face on the issue, when, over a decade ago (when there was much less wear and tear game-to-game and over the course of a season) coming out of the 1995 lockout year, they shot down an 84-game regular season as being too long.

Penn State headed to Alamo Bowl

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Penn State University has accepted an invitation to the 2007 Alamo Bowl.

The Nittany Lions will face a Big 12 Conference opponent -- likely Texas A&M or Texas Tech -- to be announced on Sunday evening.

The Alamo Bowl will be Joe Paterno's 500th game as head coach of the Nittany Lions and Penn State's second appearance in the San Antonio, Texas based-bowl.

The Nittany Lions whitewashed Texas A&M, 24-0, in the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

"We're delighted to have the opportunity to return to the Alamo Bowl," said Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. "Everyone from Penn State had a wonderful experience during our previous trip to San Antonio. The hospitality extended to our team and fans was outstanding. This will provide a chance for some of our alumni in the Southwest to see our team play in person. The Alamo Bowl has been a great partner with the Big Ten and all the Conference schools and we're excited about returning to San Antonio."

The Nittany Lions will be making their 34th post-season trip under Paterno, who is the all-time leader in bowl wins (22-10-1) and appearances.

"We are looking forward to playing in the Alamo Bowl and meeting a very good team from the Big 12 Conference," said Paterno. "This team has worked hard all season and has been a great group to work with. I'm happy for the squad that their efforts will be rewarded with an opportunity to go to San Antonio, where we had a great experience the last time, and be involved in a good, tough game."

Milledge shipped to Nats for Schneider, Church

Two of Philadelphia's rivals in the National League East pulled off a trade Friday with a pair of Phillie killers coming to Flushing. The Phanatic Magazine has learned that the Mets have traded outfielder Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church.

More details to follow...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rutgers headed to International Bowl

TORONTO, Ontario (November 29, 2007) - For the first time in school history, Rutgers will appear in a bowl game for the third consecutive season as the Scarlet Knights officially accepted a bid to the International Bowl Thursday. Rutgers will face a Mid-American Conference opponent, January 5, 2008 at Rogers Centre in Toronto with live television coverage on ESPN2.

"Rutgers is a great addition to our game," International Bowl Executive Director Ken Hoffman remarked. "We're proud to have such a celebrated school add to the history of the International Bowl. They have a large alumni following and will bring many fans into the city for bowl week."

The Scarlet Knights (7-4, 3-3 BIG EAST) close out the regular season tonight at Louisville. With a win over the Cardinals and a victory in the International Bowl, Rutgers could finish with 20 victories combined over the last two seasons. Two victories to close out the 2007 season would also give the Scarlet Knights an average of nine victories per season over the last three years.

“We’re thrilled to accept this invitation to play in the International Bowl and I know our team is excited about the opportunity to play in a bowl game for the third consecutive year,” said Rutgers Athletic Director Robert E. Mulcahy III. “Toronto is a wonderful city and our alumni and fans are sure to have a great time there.”

The International Bowl is the only NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision game played outside of the United States. This year the game kicks off at noon on Saturday, January 5, 2008.

Tickets are available online (, by phone (1-866-445-GORU) and in-person at the Rutgers Ticket Office. Tickets are priced at $40. Travel information will be available soon at

Marquez - Pacquio set for March 15

Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, in association with Romanza Boxing Productions and MP Promotions, announced that on Saturday, March 15, 2008, Juan Manuel Marquez will defend his WBC Super Featherweight Title against number one contender Manny Pacquiao at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Phils unveil altenate home uni's

A new alternate home uniform will be worn by the Phillies during the 2008 season in a tribute to the team’s 125th anniversary.

For all home day games, starting with the April 3 Citizens Bank Businessperson’s Special, the Phillies will wear an alternate uniform, styled after the one the team wore in the 1940s.

“It’s a throwback uniform with a modern touch,” said David Buck, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Advertising Sales. “It has been a while since we wore a uniform at home that didn’t feature pinstripes. We believe the fans will love them.

“Additionally, the alternate jerseys will be made out of a ‘cool base’ fabric that provides for better comfort for our players.”

The uniforms are manufactured by Majestic Athletic. New Era manufactures the red, white and blue caps.

From 1946 through 1949, the Phillies wore a similar-styled uniform. Since 1950, the team has had red pinstripes as part of their home uniforms.

Two Phillies Hall of Famers, Robin Roberts and the late Richie Ashburn, made their debuts 60 years ago wearing the cream-colored uniform.

“It is fitting that we bring back a uniform style from their rookie season because they have been two giant icons in our history,” added Buck.

Ashburn made his debut on April 20, 1948, going 1-for-5 against the Boston Braves in the season opener at Shibe Park. Roberts’ debut came on June 18, also at Shibe Park, a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Rutgers' Rice named first team All-American by Rivals

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 29, 2007) – Rutgers junior running back Ray Rice (New Rochelle, N.Y.) was named a First Team All-American by Rice, who is third in the nation with 1,612 rushing yards, was one of seven Scarlet Knights also named to All-BIG EAST teams.

Joining Rice on All-BIG EAST First Team were senior offensive tackle Pedro Sosa (Union City, N.J.), senior offensive guard Mike Fladell (Howard Beach, N.Y.) and senior place-kicker Jeremy Ito (Loma Linda, Calif.).

Three additional Scarlet Knights earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors by Sophomore wide receiver Kenny Britt (Bayonne, N.J.), senior defensive tackle Eric Foster (Homestead, Fla.) and senior offensive tackle Jeremy Zuttah (Edison, N.J.) were named to the second team.

The Scarlet Knights return to action Thursday, Nov. 29 at Louisville in the regular-season finale. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. First Team All-America
Ray Rice, RB All-BIG EAST First Team
Mike Fladell, OG
Jeremy Ito, PK
Ray Rice, RB
Pedro Sosa, OT All-BIG EAST Second Team
Kenny Britt, WR
Eric Foster, DT
Jeremy Zuttah, OT

2008 NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft ’08 - First Round Mock Draft
November 28, 2007 * underclassmen
-Courtesy of
1st Round
1. Miami - Brian Brohm - QB - Louisville
2. NY Jets - * Darren McFadden - RB - Arkansas
3. St. Louis - Chris Long - DE - Virginia
4. New England (San Fran) - Antoine Cason - CB - Arizona
5. Oakland - Glenn Dorsey - DT - LSU
6. Cincinnati - * James Laurinaitis - LB - Ohio St
7. Atlanta - Jake Long - OT - Michigan
8. Arizona - * Kenny Phillips - FS - Miami
9. Minnesota - Andre' Woodson - QB - Kentucky
10. Philadelphia - * Malcolm Kelly - WR - Oklahoma
11. Denver - Sedrick Ellis - DT - Southern Cal
12. Chicago - Early Doucet - WR - LSU
13. Houston - * Malcolm Jenkins - CB - Ohio St.
14. Seattle - * Vernon Gholston - DE - Ohio St.
15. New Orleans - Keith Rivers - LB - Southern Cal
16. Baltimore - * Michael Oher - OT - Mississippi
17. Kansas City - * Reggie Smith - CB - Oklahoma
18. Buffalo - Gosder Cherilus - OT - Boston College
19. Carolina - Dan Connor - LB - Penn St
20. San Diego - Frank Okam - DT - Texas
21. Tampa Bay - * Calais Campbell - DE - Miami
22. Dallas (Cleve) - * Steve Slaton - RB - West Virginia
23. Washington - * DeSean Jackson - WR - California
24. Detroit - Matt Ryan - QB - Boston College
25. Jacksonville -* Derrick Harvey - DE - Florida
26. Tennessee - * Justin King - CB - Penn St.
27. NY Giants - * Ryan Clady - OT - Boise St.
28. Pittsburgh - * Brandon Flowers - CB - Virginia Tech
29. Green Bay - * Tyson Jackson - DE - LSU
30. San Fran (Indianapolis) - * Mario Manningham - WR - Michigan
31. Dallas - * Rashard Mendenhall - RB - Illinois
32. New England (forfeited pick)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Phils claim P Youman

Lefthander Shane Youman was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh, the Phillies announced today.

Youman, 28, split this past season between Pittsburgh and triple-A Indianapolis. With the Pirates, he went 3-5 with a 5.97 ERA in 16 games (8 starts). In 10 career relief appearances, he is 1-0 with a 3.54 ERA. Youman earned his first major league win in his first start of the season on July 3 vs Milwaukee. In 15 starts for Indianapolis, Youman was 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA and earned International League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of June 11.

Selected by Pittsburgh in the 43rd round of the 2001 draft, Youman is 3-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 21 major league games (11 starts), all with the Pirates. His addition brings the Phillies to 39 players on the 40-man roster.

A native of New Iberia, La., Youman pitched at Louisiana State University (1999-2001) where he was a member of the Tigers’ 2000 College World Series championship team.

Penn State's Evans among finalists for Ted Hendricks award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 28, 2007 –- Penn State sophomore Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has been selected finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award.

The Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award is named in honor of the former University of Miami, Baltimore Colts and Oakland Raiders standout. The Ted Hendricks Foundation will announce the winner in early December.

The other finalists for the sixth annual Hendricks Award are: Eric Bakhtiari (San Diego), Vernon Gholston (Ohio State), Chris Long (Virginia), Greg Middleton (Indiana), Nick Reed (Oregon), Jonal Saint-Dic (Michigan State) and George Selvie (South Florida).

Penn State All-Americans Tamba Hali (2005) and Michael Haynes (2002) also have been finalists for the Hendricks Award since its inception in 2002.

Evans has had a superlative campaign in his first year as a starter. A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and coaches, he leads the Nittany Lions with 21.5 tackles for losses and 12.5 sacks (minus-94). He has 48 tackles (27 solo) to rank fifth on the team, has forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and has three pass break-ups.

One of top defensive linemen in the nation, Evans is second in the Big Ten in TFL (No. 6 in the nation), third in sacks (No. 7 nationally) and tied for fifth in the conference in forced fumbles.

A U.S. Army All-American at Christ The King High School, Evans needs 1.5 TFL in Penn State’s bowl game to move into a tie for second in season minus yardage plays at 23. He needs one sack to move into a tie for third with Courtney Brown on the school season list at 13.5.

Evans was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after a superlative effort in the Nittany Lions’ win at Indiana. He recorded six tackles (five solo), setting career-highs with 4.5 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks for minus-36, two forced fumbles, a 55-yard fumble return and a pass break-up against the Hoosiers.

Late in the third quarter, Evans made the play of the game. Indiana had a first down at the PSU 19, trailing 23-17, when Evans sacked Kellen Lewis, forcing a fumble at the PSU 32, which he picked up and returned 55 yards to the IU 13, losing one of his shoes along the way. Kevin Kelly made a 21-yard field goal to extend the lead to 26-17.

Evans continued his torrid play on IU’s next possession. He grabbed Lewis’ jersey and swung him around, forcing a fumble that DT Phil Taylor recovered at the IU 7. Kelly connected on a 20-yard attempt to push the lead to 29-17 with 12:30 to play.

He also recorded 4.0 TFL at Michigan and had two sacks in Penn State’s wins over Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue.

Evans has played a significant role in the success of the Penn State defense, which is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in five categories. The Nittany are No. 2 nationally in sacks (45), No. 6 in rushing defense (87.9 ypg), No. 7 in scoring defense (17.6 ppg), No. 10 in total defense (306.5 ypg),) and No. 10 in tackles for losses (96)).

The Nittany Lions are No. 2 in the Big Ten in all the above categories other than sacks (first).

Flyers extend D Coburn

By Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Flyers granted defenseman Braydon Coburn a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday.

"Braydon is a good young defenseman that we believe will continue to get better," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the extension will last two years and is worth $2.6 million, paid out over the next two seasons as $1.2 million and $1.4 million, respectively. The salary cap hit to the club will be $746,100.

Coburn, 22, has eight assists in 23 games for the Flyers this season. The young blueliner came to Philadelphia in a February 24, 2007 trade from Atlanta for veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Calgary, Alberta was the eighth-overall pick of the Thrashers in 2003. He has recorded three goals and 12 assists in 43 games for Philadelphia, and registered three goals and 20 points in 81 career games over parts of three seasons with the Thrashers and Flyers.

"It feels good, absolutely," Coburn said. "This really was not planned. The Flyers just contacted my agent and said that they were interested in getting a deal done right now and so that is what we did. I'm excited."

McCarthy rejoins Phils broadcasting team

Tom McCarthy, who spent the last two seasons as a play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets on WFAN, is returning to his roots as a member of the Phillies broadcasting team, Rob Brooks, Manager, Broadcasting announced today.

The New Jersey native broadcast Phillies games from 2001 through the 2005 season. In addition to play-by-play on radio, McCarthy also hosted the Phillies’ pre- and post-game shows. His contract is five years in length.

“Tom is an exceptional announcer and a great person. We are thrilled that we can bring him back to work on our telecasts,” said Brooks. “He will do play-by-play for three innings when Hall of Famer Harry Kalas is not on television. Harry will continue to provide play-by-play for six innings on TV while also doing the fourth inning on radio as he’s done in years past.

“With Harry, Scott Franzke and Tom, we have some of the best play-by-play talent in baseball. We also have three solid color commentators in Larry Andersen, Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews.”

Jim Jackson will return handling pre- and post-game shows on WPHT The Big Talker 1210 AM and the Phillies radio network.

“I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia,” said McCarthy. “I enjoyed my two years with WFAN and the Mets. Both are first-class as are the Phillies. I’m looking forward to returning and can’t wait for spring training to get here.”

McCarthy has had an extensive broadcasting career: six seasons as the play-by-play announcer for the Class AA Trenton Thunder, a frequent host of national ESPN Radio shows, drive-time host on ESPN Radio 1680 AM and 920 AM, play-by-play on CN8 and College Sports Television (CSTV). He’s also broadcast Princeton University football and basketball, Rutgers University football and St. Joseph’s University women’s basketball. He’s currently doing college basketball on CSTV and St. Joseph’s University men’s basketball.

In 2002, he won the Achievement in Radio award for best sports reporting for the Phillies pre-game show. Two years later, he won the same award for best local sports coverage for his baseball play-by-play. Last January, he was honored with the Radio/TV Excellence Award from the New Jersey Sportswriters. In addition, he won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for his work on CN8 in 2000.

Eagles sign LB to practice squad

The Philadelphia Eagles signed linebacker Kyle Shotwell to the practice squad Wednesday. Shotwell replaces LB William Kershaw, who was signed off the practice squad by the Houston Texans.

The 6-1, 240-pound Shotwell was signed as a rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2007 draft. Shotwell was a college teammate of Eagles LB Chris Gocong at Cal Poly SLO, where he finished his career ranked second in school history with 392 tackles and eighth with 17 sacks. The Santa Barbara, CA, native was selected as the Buck Buchanan Award winner, given to the top defensive player in Division I-AA, as a senior in 2006.

NFL on Sean Taylor's death

-Eagles coach Andy Reid:
“We are saddened by the news about Sean Taylor’s death. Although I did not know Sean personally we have competed against him for the last several years," Redid said. "He was a good football player who played the game with great energy and passion. I listened to the respect and remorse that Coach Gibbs and James Thrash had and felt for Sean. These are two people I know and respect greatly. Sean’s passing will have an impact on the Washington Redskins organization and the entire NFL community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sean’s family, friends, and teammates, including our own Jerome McDougle, who played with Sean at the University of Miami.”

-NFL commissioner Reoger Goodell
"The entire NFL is deeply saddened by the death of Sean Taylor. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Sean's family, friends, teammates,and the Redskins' organization. This is a terrible tragedy involving the loss of a young man who leaves behind many people struggling to understand it. Our office is staying in close contact with the Redskins to provide all appropriate support to the club and Sean's family. We also are working to determine the facts surrounding this tragic event. We will honor the memory of Sean Taylor at all games this weekend. "

-Redskins QB Jason Campbell:
"Sean was a dear friend to all of us. We're all like a family and it's like we lost a family member. Due to this tragedy, we all have to try to pull together to stay strong for each other."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hartnell, Stevens React to Hit, Suspension

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers

“If you look at the video and the time of the game, I wasn’t trying to hurt the guy,” Hartnell said. “I pulled up and did just try to rub into the guy, but his head was right on that dasher board there. It was unfortunate. It was a split decision to make a play, and unfortunately he was down.”

“You can’t worry about repercussions when you’re finishing a check like that," Hartnell added. "Obviously, looking back on it, I guess I could have skated away and not finished my check, but that’s part of my game. Everyone in here finishes their check every time you’re out there. All of that kind of stuff wears on the other team and gives your team an advantage.”

“The puck just looked like it was bouncing, and normally you would take it with your foot or your hand, but he just chose to drop down in front of it,” said Flyers head coach John Stevens of Alberts’ unconventional maneuver. “All of a sudden a player goes from his feet to his knees.

“In Scott’s case last night, he’s probably five or eight feet away to go make contact and the guy drops to his knees. It looked like [Hartnell’s] skates were turned and he tried to let up, but he didn’t totally let up.

“I think his whole idea was to go get the puck back, and if you’re going to defend at all, you’ve got to be able to use body position and make physical contact to get the puck back.”

Hartnell Suspended for Two Games

Courtesy of

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has been suspended for two games, without pay, as a result of being assessed a game misconduct during NHL game #342 against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 26, the National Hockey League announced today.

"It appears that Mr. Hartnell was attempting to let up on delivering a check to an opponent that was in a vulnerable position," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "However, at the point of contact, he did deliver a blow to the head of Mr. Alberts that resulted in an injury."

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Hartnell will forfeit $44,919.78. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Hartnell was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for a hit on Boston defenseman Andrew Alberts at 14:22 of the second period.

Hartnell will miss Wednesday's game at Carolina and Dec. 1 against Dallas. He will be eligible to return Dec. 5 at Minnesota.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Puzzling Flyers Drop Another Home Game

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Marc Savard's goal and three assists, and a pair of goals from Glen Murray paced Boston over Philadelphia, 6-3, at the Wachovia Center.

Glen Metropolit, Peter Schaefer and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Bruins, who have won three of four. Zdeno Chara chipped in two helpers while Tuukka Rask needed just 20 saves to win his second NHL contest.

Mike Richards notched a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who have lost two of three. Mike Knuble and Scottie Upshall also hit the net.

Starter Martin Biron had a rough game, allowing three goals on 14 shots in almost 24 minutes of action. Antero Niittymaki surrendered two goals on 17 shots over the remainder of the contest to take the loss.

After beginning the season with six straight wins as the host, the Flyers have lost their last four home games by a combined 20-11 score.

"The whole team is just trying to figure out as the games progress, what's happening," Flyers head coach John Stevens said. "We go into Carolina and Ottawa playing like an underdog, and we come home and I don't know what happens."

This was the first meeting between the teams since October 27 in Boston, when Flyers defenseman Randy Jones leveled Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron with a hit from behind early in the game.

Jones was given a two-game suspension, while Bergeron is out indefinitely recovering from a broken nose and a Grade 3 concussion.

Things got ugly with 5:38 left in the second period, and the Flyers trailing 5-2, when Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts left the game after absorbing a hit at center ice. Alberts, who was kneeling near the boards, had his head driven into the dasher by Flyers forward Scott Hartnell's elbow and shoulder. Hartnell was given a major for boarding and a game misconduct.

"I don't know. I had a brief look at it among some other things between periods," said Stevens about the hit. "He looked like he was trying to let up and he didn't. It was kind of an awkward situation, and I'll have to take a longer look at it before I make any judgment."

Boston was unable to cash in on the five-minute power-play, but still led by three at intermission.

Upshall's wrister with a little more than four minutes gone in the third period made it a 5-3 contest. The goal was a power-play tally, as Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward was off for a tripping penalty.

The Flyers put an extra attacker on the ice with 1:33 to play. Despite a brief burst on Rask, the Bruins closed off passing and shooting lanes. Kobasew then hit the empty net with six seconds left to ice the victory.

Murray's fifth of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 4:06 into the contest, as he one-timed Savard's feed from the slot high and inside the left post.

Savard let one rip from the right circle and the puck deflected off Jones' stick and whizzed by Biron's glove, and Boston had a 2-0 edge at 7:34.

Murray's second of the game, a 45-foot laser from the right wing, got through Biron 1:43 into the second and the Flyers stared at a 3-0 hole for the second consecutive home contest.

Niittymaki entered the game nearly two minutes later to spell the embattled starter, but Boston continued to pour it on. Metropolit's knuckling shot from the low slot made it 4-0 at 7:35.

Knuble's power-play trickler midway through the period put the Flyers on the board, and Richards' blast from the bottom of the right circle in a 4-on-3 situation brought the home team back within two with 7:28 left in the stanza.

However, Schaefer banged home the rebound of Alberts' initial shot and the Bruins took a 5-2 lead just over a minute later.

(Overused) words with a purpose

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Two words.

Two words, seemingly branded with optimism, but, upon further scrutiny, riddled with pain. And it’s the catch phrase we’ll be hearing all week.

Moral victory.

When does something that comes up short of a win qualify as a moral victory?

The answer, if you’re a player or coach, is simple: Never. Ever-ever.

A defeat is something that, in their position, should not and cannot be justified, excused or accepted. Because the moment they allow those thoughts to sink in, so does complacency.

But as a fan, it’s different. We’re not in control of our team’s destiny, but we are in control of how we feel about the team at any given time. It’s always difficult to accept or condone a tough loss, but it’s even more difficult to come to a point where we give up hope.

Therefore, justifying last night’s game could be somewhat of a process of mourning – accept the past, embrace the future, as life – and, in fact, this season – goes on.

Therefore, let’s chalk up last night to a, gulp, moral victory…in the hopes of a catharsis of sorts…in the hopes that it’ll be quite some time before we have to use that catch phrase again.

And now, for the purpose of filling space and cleaning out my notes, an installment of “Did You Notice?” (Eagles Version):

Did you notice…

- That the game had an eerily similar feel to the Super Bowl?

A random possession receiver who methodically killed them (last time = Deion Branch; this time = Wes Welker). Three INT’s, including a couple back-breakers at the end of the game. A late lead, only to lose by three. Misuse of the clock at the end, including a couple irresponsible timeouts blown earlier on. One thing you can say about Andy Reid: He’s consistent.

- That Greg Lewis seems to work on three modes: Outstanding, horrendous, or non-existent?

- That any time the Eagles seem to get inside the opponents’ 25-yard line this season, the play calls seem to lose brain cells instantaneously?

- That, through 11 games, fourth-string wideout Jason Avant has more TACKLES than alleged “big” free agent signing Darren Howard?

I might feel better about this if Howard had more receptions than Avant, but sadly, this is not the case. Meanwhile, Jevon Kearse was a healthy scratch last week and played sparingly last night. Have no fear: Next year, we can still put our faith back into…Jerome McDougle??

- That no one seems to be talking about how David Akers is quietly having a very mediocre season?

His once-powerful foot is currently 2 for 7 from 40-plus yards out, and his kickoffs are routinely dropping outside the five-yard line, sometimes by a significant amount, giving his bend-but-don’t-break ‘D’ even less wiggle room to bend.

- That the Eagles remain undefeated when Westbrook carries the ball 25 times (2-0)?

It’s hard to complain when the offense worked – for the most part- as well as it did, but why not test this statistic against the Pats? It would have been a win-win for Reid: Fans expected a loss to begin with, and at least that way, it couldn’t be blamed (yet again) on an inexplicably pass-heavy offense. That way, Reid could have simply told everyone to stick it (which you KNOW he thinks, anyway) – he finally heeded popular request, and look what happened.

In hindsight, just one more running play would have sufficed – one on 2nd and four with less than four minutes to play inside the Patriots’ 30 yard-line down by three with the opportunity to run the clock out and, at the very minimum, almost assuredly get to overtime with momentum on their side.

But that’s just me. And most others in this region who don’t get paid to make that decision. What do we know?

Ruiz makes Topps rookie All-Star team

New York, NY - Nov. 26, 2007 - The Topps Company announces the 49th annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team following balloting by Major League managers.

This year’s team, which powered for a combined 149 home runs, features five unanimous selections including N.L. ROY Ryan Braun (Brewers), Delmon Young (Rays), Chris Young (Diamondbacks), Hunter Pence (Astros) and James Loney (Dodgers). The World Series Champion Boston Red Sox have two players named to the team including A.L. ROY Dustin Pedroia and Hideki Okajima.

The Summary:
1B James Loney, Los Angeles (N.L) (98 games, 15 HR, 67 RBI, .331) – Unanimous selection
2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston (139, 8, 50, .317)
3B Ryan Braun, Milwaukee (113, 34, 97, .324) – Unanimous selection
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (155, 24, 99, .291)
OF Delmon Young, Tampa Bay (162, 13, 93, .288) – Unanimous selection
OF Chris Young, Arizona (148, 32, 68, .237) – Unanimous selection
OF Hunter Pence, Houston (108, 17, 69, .322) – Unanimous selection
C Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia (115, 6, 54, .259)
RHP Brian Bannister, Kansas City (165 IP, 12-9, 3.87, 77 K, 44 BB)
LHP Hideki Okajima, Boston (69 IP, 3-2, 2.22, 63 K, 17 BB)

The Topps Major League Rookie All-Star team began in 1959 with Willie McCovey being the first of 15 future Hall of Famers named to the squad (others include Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken, Ryne Sandberg, Tom Seaver, Ozzie Smith and Billy Williams). The Rookie All-Stars will each have a trophy on their 2008 trading card in Topps Baseball, with Series One due out on January 28th.

City of Philadelphia to honor Jimmy Rollins

Mayor John F. Street and the City of Philadelphia will honor newly named National League MVP Jimmy Rollins at a celebration at City Hall Monday at noon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John Gottlieb Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (et) for another edition of Johns on Sports, coming to you live from WTBQ 1110 AM in New York.
John McMullen is still recovering from the holiday festivities and will be out of commission...but the show must go on.

Harvey Frommer, baseball historian and author of nearly 40 sports books, will be on at 6:15 to talk about his latest release Five O'Clock Lightning: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Greatest Team in Baseball History, The 1927 New York Yankees.
Despite the mounting losses and the jeers Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury neither seems to be bothered about their respective job securities.
Also, will Adrian Peterson suit up this weekend against the Giants? How will they deal with the loss of Mathias Kiwanuka? Ken Palmer from The Giants Insider will join the program at 6:45.
I'll have a review from last week's UFC 78 Validation in Newark and I'll talk about the big day in college football all on at 5:00 pm during Johns on Sports.

You can join the program by logging on to, calling in at (845) 651-1110, or writing an e-mail to

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Eagles honor Reagor with Ed Block Courage Award

The Philadelphia Eagles named defensive tackle Montae Reagor as the team's Ed Block Courage Award recipient of 2007.

Each year, the Ed Block Courage Award honors those National Football League players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. They are selected in a vote by their teammates for team effort as well as individual performance.

Reagor joined the Eagles in 2006 after a productive eight-year career in Denver (1999-2002) and Indianapolis (2003-06). The nine-year veteran was more anxious to return to the field this season than ever, after missing most of 2006 with facial and head injuries suffered in a serious car accident prior to a game on October 22. His injuries were so severe that he was later placed on the Non-Football Injury list while his teammates enjoyed their magical ride to a Super Bowl title.

Although unable to compete on the field in 2006, Reagor could not be stopped from contributing to the Colts success in some manner, as he aided the coaching staff by breaking down film of their opponents during the playoffs. Since joining the Eagles in the spring of 2007, Reagor has been a tremendous veteran influence to a young group of defensive linemen. A coach on the field in many ways, he is equally influential in the locker room and with the media.

Said Reagor of what the car accident has made him realize, “Life is wonderful. It made me appreciate every day, every minute, every second I have on this earth because it can be taken from you at any moment. You need to appreciate life and live it to the fullest.”

This season, the 31-year-old Reagor has appeared in six games and has recorded two tackles and one sack. In his nine-year career, he has posted 227 tackles and 17 sacks in 98 regular season games (46 starts). Reagor was originally a second round draft choice of the Broncos in 1999, and ranked fourth among NFL defensive tackles with 10.5 sacks from 2004-05.

Current Eagles that have received the award:

DE Jerome McDougle, 2006
LB Takeo Spikes, 2006 (while with Buffalo)
RB Correll Buckhalter, 2003
DE Darren Howard, 2003 (while with New Orleans)

Reagor, along with one player from each of the other 31 NFL teams, will be honored at the Ed Block Courage Award Banquet the weekend of March 9-11, 2008, in Baltimore, MD.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Phils acquire OF Chris Snelling

Outfielder Chris Snelling was acquired today from Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations, Assistant General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Snelling, 25, hit a combined .246 with one home run and seven RBI in 30 games with Washington and Oakland this past season. He missed the majority of the season with a left knee contusion. A left-handed hitter, Snelling has a .311 career minor league average with 46 home runs in 493 games.

“Chris has always had a great bat, but he has battled some injuries in the past,” said Amaro. “We feel he will be healthy this coming year and adds a left-handed hitter and some depth to our outfield.”

Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Mariners in 1999, Snelling has hit .240 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 89 major league games with Seattle (2002, 2005-06), Washington (2007) and Oakland (2007). His addition brings the Phillies to 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Rollins wins NL MVP

-Courtesy of the BBWAA

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the offensive and defensive catalyst for a club that reached post-season play for the first time in 14 years, was elected the National League Most Valuable Player in a tight race against Colorado Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday in balloting by the BBWAA.

Of the 32 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, Rollins was listed first on 16, second on seven, third on four, fourth on four and fifth on one for a total of 353 points, based on the tabulation system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th. Holliday’s breakdown was 11 first-place votes, 18 seconds, one third, one fourth and one sixth for 336 points.

The 17-point differential between Rollins and Holliday made the 2007 election the 20th closest overall and ninth in the NL since the current format was adopted by the BBWAA in 1938, seven years after taking over the awards. Prior to then, one writer from each league city voted. The only MVP tie was in the NL in 1979 when first basemen Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates each received 216 points.

Other tighter NL elections: 1944 (Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion over Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson, 190-189), 1955 (Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella over Dodgers center fielder Duke Snider, 226-221), 1962 (Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills over San Francisco Giants center fielder Willie Mays, 209-202), 1957 (Milwaukee Braves right fielder Henry Aaron over Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial, 239-230), 1966 (Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Roberto Clemente over Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, 218-208), 1952 (Cubs left fielder Hank Sauer over Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts, 226-211) and 1991 (Atlanta Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton over Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds, 274-259).

Rollins, 28, who batted .296 and scored 139 runs, was the first player in history with 200 hits (212) and 20 doubles (38), triples (20), home runs (30) and stolen bases (41) in one season. He set a league record for shortstops with 380 total bases, breaking by one the previous mark of the Cubs’ Ernie Banks in 1958.

Holliday led the league in batting (.340), RBI (137), hits (216), total bases (386), doubles (50) and extra-base hits (92), including 36 home runs, for the wild-card Rockies, who eventually reached their first World Series. Voting is conducted prior to the start of post-season play.

The other four first-place votes went to Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (.288, 50 HR, 119 RBI, 109 R), who finished third with 284 points. Rollins, Holliday and Fielder were the only players on every ballot.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (.268, 47 HR, 136 RBI), the 2006 winner, placed fifth this time behind New York Mets third baseman David Wright (.325, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 R). Rounding out the top 10 were Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (.337, 29 HR, 102 RBI, 108 R), San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy (19-6, 2.54 ERA, 240 K in 223⅓ IP), Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (.332, 22 HR, 103 RBI, 104 R), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (.327, 32 HR, 103 RBI) and Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.332, 29 HR, 81 RBI, 212 H, 125 R). In all, 26 players received votes.

Rollins and Howard are the 11th set of teammates to win the NL award in consecutive seasons and the first since the Giants’ Jeff Kent (2000) and Bonds (2001). Cincinnati had three teammates win successively in 1938 (Ernie Lombardi), 1939 (Bucky Walters) and 1940 (Frank McCormick), as did the Cardinals in 1942 (Mort Cooper), 1943 (Stan Musial) and 1944 (Marty Marion). Other back-to-back, MVP-winning teammates were the Dodgers’ Campanella (1955) and Don Newcombe (1956), Wills (1962) and Koufax (1953), the Cardinals’ Orlando Cepeda (1967) and Bob Gibson (1968), the Reds’ Joe Morgan (1976) and George Foster (1977) and the Pirates’ Dave Parker (1978) and Stargell (1979).

It marked the seventh time a Phillies player won the award with Rollins joining Howard, three-time winner Mike Schmidt (1980-81, ’86), Chuck Klein (1932) and Jim Konstanty (1950). It was the seventh MVP for an NL shortstop, a list that includes Banks, a two-time winner (1958-59), Marion, Wills, Dick Groat (1960) and Barry Larkin (1995). Shortstops have won in the American League eight times.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Five Penn State players earn Big ten honors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., November 19, 2007 -- Five members of Penn State football team have earned first team All-Big Ten honors, the second-highest total among all conference schools. A total of seven Nittany Lions earned all-conference recognition.

Penn State’s five first team honorees were second only to Ohio State's six and the fourth-highest total in the Nittany Lions' 15 years of Big Ten competition. The only others years Penn State had more first team selections were in 1994 (7), 1998 (6) and 2005 (6).

Senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford) and junior cornerback Justin King (Pittsburgh) were selected first team All-Big Ten after earning second team all-conference honors in 2006. Connor leads the league with 136 tackles and King leads the Big Ten with 17 passes defended. A finalist for the Butkus and Bednarik Awards, Connor is Penn State’s career tackle leader.

Also garnering first team all-conference honors were redshirt freshman punter Jeremy Boone (Mechanicsburg), sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and junior center A.Q. Shipley (Coraopolis). Boone led the Big Ten in punting most of the year, finishing the regular season with a 42.2 yard average to rank No. 2. Evans is second in the league with 21.5 tackles for losses and third with 12.5 sacks, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both categories. A two-year starter, Shipley anchors an offensive line that has been instrumental in the Lions averaging 399.0 yards per game and leading the Big Ten in Red Zone success at 89.5 percent (51 of 57).

Boone, Connor, Evans and King were first team selections by the media and coaches and Shipley was a first team choice by the coaches.

Earning second team All-Big Ten honors by the media and coaches were junior linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh) and junior guard Rich Ohrnberger (East Meadow, N.Y.). Lee, like Connor, was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honoree this season. He is No. 3 in the conference with 124 tackles. A two-year starter, Ohrnberger has been instrumental in helping tailback Rodney Kinlaw rush for 1,186 yards this season, the 10th-highest total in Penn State history.

Five Nittany Lions earned honorable mention all- conference recognition: junior tackle Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio), junior defensive end Josh Gaines (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), junior placekicker Kevin Kelly (Langhorne), senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw (Goose Creek, S.C.) and junior safety Anthony Scirrotto (West Deptford, N.J.).

Senior quarterback Anthony Morelli (Pittsburgh) was selected Penn State’s Sportsmanship winner.

Phils add Harman, Jaramillo to 40-man roster

Infielder Brad Harman and catcher Jason Jaramillo were both added to the Phillies' 40-man roster, the club announced today. Their additions bring the roster to 37 players.

Harman, who turns 22 today, hit .281 with 26 doubles, 13 home runs and 62 RBI in 122 games for single-A Clearwater. He played 111 games at second base and 11 at shortstop. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Harman played for his home country in the just-completed World Cup tournament where he hit .357 (10-28) with four doubles and two RBI. He was originally signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2003.

Jaramillo, 25, hit .271 with six home runs and 56 RBI in 118 games for triple-A Ottawa this past season. A switch-hitter, Jaramillo was a second-round selection by the Phillies in the 2004 draft. He spent this fall playing for Team USA and hit .250 (3-12) with one home run and three RBI in exhibition play against Arizona Fall League clubs. In the World Cup tournament, he batted .316 (6-19) with a double and two RBI. He drove in two runs in Team USA's 6-3 tournament win over Team Cuba, helping Team USA to its first World Cup title since 1974.

La Salle drops football

PHILADELPHIA, PA - La Salle University has announced that it will discontinue its football program effective immediately.

"This was a very difficult decision, and I announce it with a real sense of disappointment," stated Director of Athletics, Dr. Thomas Brennan. "La Salle instituted a non-scholarship football program in 1997 and subsequently joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Football League. However, the steady dissolution of the MAAC Football League and the changing landscape of collegiate football have negatively affected our program and led us to this decision."

"It is important to note that this decision was not the result of the performance of our team, nor is it a reflection on the team and the young men who have competed for La Salle," Brennan added. "We admire the dedication and manner with which our football players represented La Salle University. We are proud of the hard work these student athletes have exhibited on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Their passion and dedication to La Salle football only makes this announcement that much more difficult to make."

In a statement to the University community, La Salle President Br. Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C. said: "I assure you that we will do everything possible to help the coaches and student-athletes affected by this decision. They are valued members of the La Salle family."

Football was brought back to La Salle in 1997 after a 56-year hiatus. Two years later, La Salle joined the MAAC Football League which consisted of 10 schools with similar academic and athletic profiles. Over the last eight years, Georgetown decided to change conferences, while
Fairfield, Canisius, Siena, St. John's, and St. Peter's dropped their football programs.

Last spring Duquesne announced plans to compete at the limited scholarship level by joining the Northeast Conference effective with the 2008 season. This would leave only three remaining teams for 2008--Iona, Marist and La Salle, not enough for a league.

Connor Named a Bednarik Award Finalist

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; November 19, 2007 -- Penn State All-America linebacker Dan Connor has been selected a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.

Connor, the Nittany Lions’ career tackle leader with 410 hits, also was one of three finalists for the 2006 Bednarik Award, which was captured by teammate Paul Posluszny for the second consecutive year. The award was first presented in 1995 in honor of former Philadelphia Eagles standout Chuck Bednarik.

Connor is joined by LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis as finalists for the Bednarik Award. The winner will be announced during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. The award will formally be presented at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Dinner on March 7, 2008 at Harrah’s Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.

Last year, “Linebacker U” became the first school to have a pair of Bednarik Award finalists in the 12 years the honor had been presented. Former Nittany Lion All-America linebacker LaVar Arrington also won the Bednarik Award in 1999.
A native of Wallingford, Pa., Connor previously was named a finalist for the 2007 Butkus Award and a semifinalist for Walter Camp Player of the Year. He also was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy.

The former Strath Haven High School All-American leads Penn State and the Big Ten with 136 tackles (66 solo) for an 11.3 per game average that ranks No. 9 in the nation. He is second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten with 14.0 TFL for minus-61 yards. Connor is second on the team and 10th in the conference with 6.5 sacks (minus-50). He also has one interception, one fumble recovery and six pass break-ups.

Connor's 136 tackles rank No. 4 on the Penn State season list. He has 20 career double digit tackle games, including eight this season. He became the Nittany Lions’ career tackle leader against Purdue on Nov. 3, passing Posluszny, who made 372 stops from 2003-06.

Connor made a career-high 18 tackles against Ohio State on Oct. 27, the most by a Nittany Lion since Posluszny had 22 hits at Northwestern in 2005. He also grabbed an interception in Penn State territory and made one tackle for loss vs. the Buckeyes.

Playing near his hometown on Nov. 10, Connor tied his career-high with 18 stops in Penn State’s 31-0 win over Temple. He recorded 10 tackles in the first quarter alone and had 1.5 sacks to earn Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. The Big Ten honor was the fourth of Connor’s career. He also earned both honors after recording 12 hits in Penn State’s 31-10 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 8.

McNabb day-to-day with ankle, thumb injuries

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is being listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle and injured thumb.

McNabb exited Philadelphia's 17-7 win over Miami in the second quarter after he hurt his right ankle. X-rays during the game were negative and McNabb spent the second half on the sidelines after jogging out of the locker room.

An MRI on Monday confirmed no serious damage.

Eagles coach Andy Reid also said McNabb injured his right thumb earlier in the game.

"I'm as worried about the thumb as the ankle because that's how he grips the football," Reid said at his Monday press conference.

Backup A.J. Feeley led the Eagles to a comeback win over the 0-10 Dolphins and will start against the unbeaten New England Patriots (10-0) if McNabb is unable to go.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here it comes...quarterback controversy

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - A backup quarterback is like the new kid in the neighborhood that manages to hoodwink everyone with a nice outfit, a great car or an embellished story.

Problem is...once you get to know him, you realize the new kid just another one of the guys. Some good traits...some bad.

Reserves in the NFL tend to be riding the bench for a reason and A.J. Feeley is no different. It's not like the NFL is overflowing with talent behind center right now... Feeley was carrying the clipboard because he flamed out in Miami and San Diego. More >>

Evans takes lackluster main event in Newark

Newark, NJ (The Phanatic Magazine) - Rashad Evans outwrestled England's Michael Bisping to win a split decision in the lackluster main event of UFC 78 "Validation" at the Prudential Center on Saturday.

Evans (16-0-1) used his superior ground skills to take down Bisping (15-1) at will, although the Englishman seemed comfortable in the guard.

Evans won 29-28 on two of the three scorecards. The Phanatic Magazine also had Evans winning 29-28.

"I have to credit Michael Bisping. He fought a great fight. My hat's off to him," Evans said.

Evans won Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality TV show while Bisping was on top in Season 3 but neither looked ready for the main event status thrust upon them. More >>
Eagles inactives: QB Kevin Kolb (3rd QB), RB Tony Hunt, DB Marcus Paschal, G Max Jean-Gilles, DT Kimo von Oelhoffen, G Scott Young, DE Jevon Kearse, DE Montae Reagor.

Dolphins inactives: WR Kerry Reed, RB Samkon Gado, DB Jereme Perry, LB Zach Thomas, DT Anthony Bryant, DE Rob Ninkovich, DE Matt Roth.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Join us on the radio

Join The Phanatic Magazine's John Gottlieb and John McMullen Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (et) for another edition of Johns on Sports, coming to you live from WTBQ 1110 AM in New York.

There's plenty to talk about as we dish out opinions on Barry Bonds, Stephon Marbury, Mariano Rivera, and the return of Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick will join the program to talk indictments, the free-agent frenzy, and what we can expect from the Winter Meetings in early December.

And how will the Giants respond after handing the division to the Dallas Cowboys? Can the G-men get back on the win column against Detroit (6-3)...we'll let you know.

Johns on Sports will also get its first look at the brand new Prudential Center as we head to Newark to cover UFC 78 Validation, featuring a pair of Ultimate Fighter champions as Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping go toe-to-toe.

You can join the program by logging on to, calling in at (845) 651-1110, or writing an e-mail to

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanks for killing baseball, guys

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Barry Bonds was indicted yesterday, perhaps putting the process in motion for his inevitable epitaph as a cheater. By no means a victim, if allegations – as expected – are proven to be true, he should also not have to be the fall guy. Bonds did not initiate this fiasco, nor did he conclude it.

Instead, the real blame lies on two gentlemen in particular, neither of which – judging by their physiques and the fact that they’re both cowards – have ever even used performance-enhancing drugs.

Yes, a hearty congratulations goes out to Commissioner Bud Selig and Union boss Donald Fehr.

By the results of your duplicity, you’ve both created a circus.

By the results of your cover-ups and willingness to look the other way, you’ve turned the nation’s pastime into a farce.

By the results of your compliance to let these scandals linger for so long, you’ve created a mockery of some of the most sacred records in the history of sport.

By the results of your hypocritical statements, a modern-day witch hunt will soon commence, ensuing in the presumed vilification of many of this generation’s greatest stars. Yes, it’s true you did not force them to break the rules of the game and the rules of the law, but you did not stop them, either. They are merely convenient scapegoats in the grand scheme of this, whereas the two of you served as the gas to the flame.

By the results of this, an instinctive paranoia will be created any time a player’s statistics look too good to be true. There will be no such thing as the benefit of the doubt.

By the results of more than a decade of careless actions, you’ve created a lasting black mark on the game, anointing an era which will be looked back upon in disgrace.

By the results of your greed and selfishness, you’ve alienated a generation of fan and disenfranchised a future one.

By the results of your sheer ineptitude, the sport you represent has become the epitome of all that’s wrong with sport in general and American society as a whole.

Again, congratulations to both of you, for your years of contributions toward denigrating the legacy of Major League Baseball, all in the name of saving face, gaining revenue and preserving vanity.

I hope it was worth it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bonds indictment excerpts.

Read the entire indictment

On or about December 4, 2003, in the Northern District of California, the defendant, Barry Lamar Bonds, having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the Northern District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did make false material declarations, that is, he gave the following underlined false testimony.

Q: I know the answer -- let me ask you this again. I know we kind of got the into this. Let me be real clear about this. Did he (Anderson) ever give you anything that you knew to be a steroid? Did he ever give a steroid?

A: I don't think Greg would do anything like that to me and jeopardize our friendship. I just don't think he would do that.

Q: Well, when you say you don't think he would do that, to your knowledge, I mean, did you ever take any steroids that he gave you?


Q: Okay. So, I got to ask, Mr. Bonds. There's this number associated on a document with your name, and corresponding to Barry B. on the other document, and it does have these two listed anabolic steroids as testing positive in connection with it. Do you follow my question?

A: I follow where you're going, yeah.

Q: So, I guess I got to ask the question again, I mean, did you take steroids? And specifically this test the is in November of 2000. So, I'm going to ask you in the weeks and months leading up to November 2000, were you taking steroids --

A: NO.

Q: -- or anything like that?

A: NO, I WASN'T AT ALL. I've never seen these documents. I've never seen these papers.

Q: So, starting in December 2001, on this page, again, there's BB here, which obviously are consistent with your initials; correct?

A: He could know other BBs.

Q: Correct. But BB would also be your initials; is that correct.

A: That's correct.

Q: Okay. Were you obtaining testosterone from Mr. Anderson during this period of time?


Q: In January 2001 were you taking either the flax seed oil or the cream?

A: No.

Q: And were you taking any other steroids?

A: NO.

Q: All right. did Greg ever talk to you or give you anything called human growth hormone?

A: NO.

Q: And, again, just to be clear and then I'll leave it, but he (Anderson) never gave you anything that you understood to be human growth hormone? Did he ever give you anything like that?

A: NO.

Q: And were you obtaining growth hormone from Mr. Anderson?


Q: In January of 2002, then, again, just to be clear, you weren't getting any testosterone or growth hormone from Mr. Anderson during that period of time?

A: NO.

Q: Let me ask the same question about Greg at this point, we'll go into this in a little bit more detail, but did you ever get anything else from Greg besides advice or tips on your weight lifting and also the vitamins and the proteins that you already referenced?

A: This year, in 2003 -- at the end of 2002, 2003 season, when I was going through -- my dad died of cancer, you know, and everyone knows that.

Q: Yes. I'm sorry about that.

A: And everyone tries to give me everything. You got companies that provide us with more junk to try than anything. And you know that as well. I was fatigued, tired, just needed recovery, you know. And this guy says: "Try this cream, try this cream." And Greg came to the ballpark and he said, you know: "This will help you recover," and he rubbed some cream on my arm, like, some lotion-type stuff, and like, gave me some flax seed oil, that's what he called it, called it some flax seed oil, man. It's like: "Whatever, dude." And I was at the ballpark, whatever, I don't care. What's lotion going to do to me? How many times have I heard that: "This is going to rub into you and work." Let him be happy. We're friends. You know?

Q: When did that happen for the first time?


Q: And -- all right. So, how many times approximately do you think you got these tubes with what Mr. Anderson told you was flax seed oil?

A: Maybe once a home stand or something, if that. Greg didn't travel with me on the road. So, I was at home, when I came home.

Q: And the first time was the beginning of this year's season, in 2003?

A: YES, 2003, because I was battling with the problems with my father and the -- just the lack of sleep, lack of everything."

Barry Bonds indicted on perjury charges

By John McMullen and Greg Wiley
The Phanatic Magazine

Major League Baseball's all-time home run king, Barry Bonds, was indicted Thursday on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California indicate that Bonds was hit with a five-count indictment -- four counts of perjury and one for obstruction of justice -- after one of the longest federal grand jury investigations in Northern California history involving the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

The charges against Bonds stem from his December 4, 2003 grand jury testimony when he testified that he did not knowingly take performance enhancing drugs supplied by BALCO and his personal trainer Greg Anderson.

The indictment says that during the investigation evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and other professional athletes.

But, Bonds denied any usage.

"Let me be real clear about this," Bonds was asked in the Grand Jury. "Did he (Anderson) ever give you anything that you knew to be a steroid? Did he ever give you a steroid?"

"I don't think Greg would do anything like that to me and jeopardize our friendship," Bonds answered. "I just don't think he would do that."

If convicted Bonds could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each perjury charge and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for the obstruction of justice charge.

"All you need to know about the government's case is that they leaked an official indictment to every media outlet in America and withheld it from Barry, his lawyer, and everyone else who could read it and defend him," Bonds' attorney Mike Rains said in a statement released on Thursday.

"Now that their biased allegations must finally be presented openly in a court of law, they won't be able to hide their unethical misconduct from the public any longer. You won't read about those facts in this indictment, but now the public will get the whole truth, not just selectively leaked fabrications from anonymous sources. Every American should worry about a Justice Department that doesn't know if waterboarding is torture, and can't tell the difference between prosecution and persecution.

"What we want to know is whether the media will spend as much time repairing Barry’s reputation as they have destroying it after he is proven innocent by a fair and impartial jury."

Others have allegedly testified to the grand jury that Bonds had admitted to using steroids produced by BALCO, including the slugger's former mistress Kimberly Bell and a former childhood friend, Stevie Hoskins.

"I have yet to see the details of this indictment and while everyone in America is considered innocent until proven guilty, I take this indictment very seriously and will follow its progress closely," Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "It is important that the facts regarding steroid use in baseball be known, which is why I asked Senator Mitchell to investigate the issue.

"I look forward to receiving his report and findings so that we can openly address any issue associated with past steroid use. We currently have a testing program that is as good as any in professional sports, and the program is working. We continue to fund research to find an efficacious test for HGH and have banned amphetamines from our sport. We will continue to work diligently to eradicate the use of all illegal performance-enhancing substances from the game."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, 14-time All-Star and two-time batting champion owns seven single-season major league records, most notably a 73-homer season in 2001 with the Giants.

"This is a very a sad day," the Giants said in a statement. "For many years, Barry Bonds was an important member of our team and is one of the most talented baseball players of his era. These are serious charges. Now that the judicial process has begun, we look forward to this matter being resolved in a court of law."

Bonds' last years in San Francisco were littered with controversy. In December 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported Bonds used a clear substance and a cream given to him by Anderson during the 2003 baseball season.

Under intense scrutiny in 2007, Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record with his 756th home run on August 7.

Bonds currently stands at 762 home runs, with a career average of .298 in 22 seasons with Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The 43-year-old has 2,935 hits, 2,227 runs scored (third all-time), 601 doubles, 514 stolen bases and 1,996 RBI (tied for second all-time). He is the lone member of baseball's 500 homer - 500 steal club and also holds the major league record for walks (2,558).

"I was saddened to learn this afternoon of the indictment of Barry Bonds," Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Donald M. Fehr said. " However, we must remember, as the US Attorney stated in his press release today, that an indictment contains only allegations, and in this country every defendant, including Barry Bonds, is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until such time as he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Bonds was informed a few weeks ago before the 2007 season ended that the Giants would not bring him back for the 2008 campaign. He is currently a free agent.

Bonds is scheduled to make an initial appearance in front of Judge Maria-Elena James on December 7.

Penn State issues statement on HUB fight

In early October, several players had been demoted and/or lost playing time based upon our initial understanding of the facts regarding the HUB incident. Based upon today’s information, Chris Baker, Navorro Bowman and Knowledge Timmons will not travel with the team to East Lansing.

Nittany Lion Basketball Team Adds Oliver In Early Signing Period

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., NOV. 15, 2007 – Penn State coach Ed DeChellis announced the first member of the Nittany Lions’ 2008 recruiting class as New Jersey forward Billy Oliver (Chatham, N.J.) signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. Oliver made the announcement and signed the letter in a press conference at Chatham High School.

“I just felt like Penn State was the place for me,” Oliver said following the press conference. “It was just a perfect fit academically and athletically for me. The overall atmosphere there is great. There are so many Penn State people around here and everything I’ve ever heard is 100 percent positive about Penn State. You just can’t go wrong going there.”

The 6-8, 210-pound Oliver brings good perimeter shooting and ball-handling skills, three-point range and shot blocking ability to the Nittany Lions. A quick leaper who plays with a high energy level, Oliver is expected to be able to play either the small or power forward position for the Nittany Lions.

“We are very excited to have Billy join our program. He is a versatile player and a good athlete with a lot of bounce off the floor who can play the post or the perimeter,” DeChellis said. “He is a great passer, can shoot the outside jump shot and can take you off the dribble. He is very active on the floor.

“Billy’s a very competitive kid. All summer, every time we saw him he had bruises all over his knees and elbows from diving on the floor after loose balls. He’s also the kind of kid that rises to the occasion and plays big in big games.”

He averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game as a junior at Chatham High School helping lead the team to a 31-2 record and New Jersey state Group 2 championship. Oliver, who shot 39 percent from behind the three-point line, was named Morris County Player-of-the-Year as his team won Iron Hills Conference and Morris County titles. He posted 25 points, seven boards and 10 blocks in the MCT title game.

“He had some monster games for us down the stretch in the county tournament and state tournament,” Chatham coach Todd Ervin said. “He is the nicest kid in the world off the floor, but when he steps on it he is a real competitor and gets after it.”

A third team all-state selection by the Associated Press and New Jersey Hoops, which also ranked him among the top 20 seniors in the state, Oliver was named the MVP of the county tournament and was also the Player-of-the-Year in the conference. He is in his third year as a captain for the Cougars.

“He is real long, has long arms and is real athletic and plays other sports,” Ervin said. “He is just touching the tip of the iceberg in his development.

“He just started to play on the outside for us last year and played all summer on the outside in AAU ball, so he’s getting a lot more comfortable out there. He’s always been a very good post player for us. He has a good left hand and shoots the three real well. One of his strengths is certainly his ability to press and run the floor and play that style.”

The right-handed Oliver played in a fast-paced, pressing system under Ervin at Chatham last season, which helped the team win 30 straight games and earn an invitation to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions. The Cougars led Seton Hall Prep until the fourth quarter in the first round of the T of C before falling as Oliver posted 15 points, eight boards and four blocks in the game. The Cougars return three seniors this year including Oliver, and Ervin plans to continue to play a fast paced pressing style. Oliver carries over a 3.0 grade-point-average and was voted Homecoming King. He plans on majoring in business or music – he plays the piano – at Penn State.

Penn State has two more scholarships available in the class of 2008.

Going Down Fighting

By Jared Trexler
The Phanatic Magazine

Penn State football, especially in the half century since head coach Joe Paterno stepped foot on campus, has been a model program with victories piled high and graduation rates stacked to the steps of Old Main.

It has done so much right. And for that, a book of statistical greatness gives the program its just due. I'm thinking -- in the journalistic service of full disclosure -- that a damning sequel may need to follow.

A pat on the back followed by a swift kick in the ass. At Penn State, such vulgar representation used to be frowned upon, yet in a day where Nittany Lion football players are practicing pigskin technique against non-scholarship students in places far removed from Beaver Stadium, a second book is needed to tell the whole story.

Accolades are wonderful promotional tools. Recruiting directors and SIDs can take copies of the paperback praise and shove them in the faces of high school football stars throughout the country.

Afterward, maybe they should invest in the whole story. A 180-page dissertation on Penn State's accomplishments followed by an equally long, riveting tale of an agitated old man and the asylum he can no longer adequately run.

At least as well as he used to. The numbers and stories that molded a college football powerhouse wouldn't have been possible unless Paterno had control of his football team. And while it can be argued that he no longer even has such power for its play on the field, it can't be refuted that he has lost complete control of each individual member's actions off it.

Chris Baker and Navorro Bowman are now in trouble, stemming from an assault at the on-campus HUB on October 7. Baker was charged for other offenses, along with safety Anthony Scirotto, for their roles in an off-campus brawl at Gateway Apartments back in early April.

Both face trial on those charges. But when will Paterno? When will he -- despite the millions of dollars he has generated for Pennsylvania's landmark institution -- have to sit in front of President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and the Broad of Trustees and explain why his players are in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Penn State's pub circa 2007 is more related to aggression in public places than the controlled variety between the white lines. The latter is what the Sports By The Numbers novel hopefully will represent, the former is a story presently missing the inevitable conclusion.

Whenever Paterno walks away, one has to wonder if he did so several years too late. If his legacy -- well represented in many novels written throughout the years -- will be tarnished by his grumpy and sometimes combative demeanor in front of the press and his players' likewise demeanor in public.

Perhaps, the power of words has idolized Joe and his legion of Nittany Lions to the point of untouchable status. Whatever the case, a title for the sequel has already been formed.

Paterno won't leave without "Going Down Fighting".
Jared Trexler is the author of the upcoming novel "Penn State Football: An Interactive Guide to the World of Sports", a book in the Sports By The Number Series. It will be published by Savas Beatie and released in August 2008.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rutgers' basketball signs three

The Rutgers University Men’s Basketball Program, under the leadership of second-year head coach Fred Hill, today announced that Mike Rosario (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony’s), Christian Morris (Bronx, N.Y./South Kent School) and Patrick Jackson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Boys & Girls) have signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the Scarlet Knights. All three signees are rated among the top 25 prospects at their respective positions nationally, including Rosario, who was cited as the country’s 19th overall player by both ESPN and Hoop Scoop.

“We are very excited about this year’s recruiting class,” said Hill. “To sign three young men of this caliber out of strong, national programs in the region, goes directly to our philosophy of bringing in the best student-athletes in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia to build the Rutgers program. We are extremely pleased to welcome them into the Rutgers basketball family.

“Our three signees definitely bring a lot to the table. They all bring something different, but are all high-energy players that have an opportunity to have an impact in our program right away.”

The three recruits all hail from the Metro area and will arrive “On The Banks” after competing at some of the nation’s most successful and storied programs. St. Anthony’s has captured two national championships (1989, 1996), 24 state championships, and nine Tournament of Champions titles under head coach Bob Hurley, Sr. South Kent (Conn.), under the leadership of Raphael Chillious, is ranked No. 6 nationally in the 2007-08 preseason prep poll and has produced current NBA players Andray Blatche and Dorell Wright. Boys and Girls, under the direction of Ruth Lovelace, advanced to the PSAL Class AA Championship last year and produced legendary players Lenny Wilkens, Connie Hawkins and Pearl Washington.

“It is significant to bring in players that are extremely well-coached and that have competed against top competition in big games,” said Hill. “Young men that play at an elevated level in high school or prep school gain valuable experience that enables them to be more prepared for the BIG EAST.”

The signings complement Hill’s first recruiting class at Rutgers in 2007, which also had a regional flavor and an abundance of national accolades. Newark native Corey Chandler was rated nation's 10th-best guard prospect by Rivals, Mount Vernon (N.Y.) High School alum Mike Coburn was cited as the country’s No. 12 point guard recruit by, Philadelphia native Earl Pettis was the 37th-ranked small forward nationally by and West Milford product Justin Sofman was rated as the nation's 21st-best fifth-year player by Hoop Scoop. Chandler scored 16 points in the season opener versus Tennessee Tech, the most by a Rutgers freshman in a season opener since 1993, and enters Saturday’s game at Florida as the first Scarlet Knight rookie since 1996-97 to score in double-figures in his first three career games.

The Scarlet Knight are a perfect 3-0 after defeating Tennessee Tech (70-64), North Dakota State (79-67) and North Carolina Central (73-48) at the RAC as part of the Blue Ribbon Challenge. Rutgers final game of the tournament will take place Saturday evening (7:00 p.m.) against the two-time defending national champion Gators in Gainesville.

Guzman - Soto, Mares - Marchiano press conference

A pair of title fights emanate from Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on Saturday night and will be televised on HBO's Boxing After Dark.

(From Left to Right): NABO Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares, Golden Boy East President Bernard Hopkins and challenger Damian Marchiano pose for photographers today at the New York press conference for their NABO Bantamweight title fight on Saturday, November 17th. Photo by Teddy B. Blackburn/Golden Boy Promotions.

From Left to Right): WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Joan Guzman stares down his opponent Humberto Soto today at the New York press conference for their title fight on Saturday, November 17th. Photo by Teddy B. Blackburn/Golden Boy Promotions

From Left to Right): Golden Boy East President Bernard Hopkins, WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Joan Guzman, challenger Humberto Soto and President of Top Rank Todd duBoef pose for photographers at the New York press conference for their title fight on Saturday, November 17th at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City to be televised on HBO's Boxing After Dark. Photo by Teddy B. Blackburn/Golden Boy Promotions

Beck to start for Dolphins; Williams reinstated

Rookie John Beck to start at quarterback for Dolphins; Williams reinstated by NFL

Miami coach Cam Cameron quotes:

(Opening Statement) – “We will start John Beck at quarterback in this game. I thought today’s practice went extremely well. You’ve also heard the news about Ricky Williams. He has been reinstated by the league and the minute he was reinstated he and I had a phone conversation of probably five or six minutes, and he’ll be here tomorrow and he and I will visit tomorrow. There’s nothing to visit on today further until he and I sit down and talk one-on-one. I will, as you know I always do, I will update you on that discussion and the direction that we’ll be headed with him. Injury-wise, I think there are three updates. Paul Soliai was out today with an illness. J.T. (Jason Taylor) did not practice, and Matt Roth did not practice. Everything else is the same. [Zach Taylor and Keith Traylor] are the same. Those are the same as they’ve been.

Our focus, as you can imagine, even with the announcement, is on Philadelphia. That’s not going to change. That’s not going to change any time today. That’s not going to change tomorrow. That’s not going to change through this game. That’s the challenge for our team, to continue to improve. Obviously we’ve been close the last couple of weeks. We need to build on that and go to Philadelphia and play better than we’ve been playing. Again we’re close so we’ve got to make some improvement and make some adjustments and win a football game. That’s our focus.”

(On meeting with Ricky Williams tomorrow) – “We’re going to meet tomorrow, and that was the plan all along. As you know, if in fact he was reinstated, in my mind, ‘OK he’s reinstated, OK, let’s sit down and talk.’ There was no guarantee that he was going to be reinstated, so I can tell you I spent time looking at Brian Westbrook to be honest with you. There’s a heck of a football player. There’s been the focus. But now he’s reinstated. We make the phone call and he’ll be here and he and I will sit down and visit.”

(On if Ricky Williams expressed his desire to return to the team when the two spoke on the phone) – “We didn’t go through any of that. I think it’s important you sit down with a guy one-on-one and look each other in the eye. I think phone conversations can be very misleading and why go down that road when you don’t need to? I just said ‘hey, we’ll make arrangements to get you down here and we’ll talk tomorrow.’”

(On if the conversation with Ricky Williams was more logistical in nature) – “You can imagine how conversations can be interpreted. It was positive. He’ll be here tomorrow, we’ll talk, and I’ll update you.”

(On what he wants to take away from tomorrow’s meeting with Ricky Williams) – “I think it’s pretty obvious that I want to see where he is and also let him know where we’re headed and we’ll go from there because as I told him, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow, our focus is on Philadelphia.’ And that’s my job, to make sure that I’m focused on Philadelphia. He will not play in the game in Philadelphia. Obviously we’ll have a little meeting, but my focus is on Philadelphia just like the rest of our football team.”

(On if he plans to take the entirety of the two week roster exemption to decide whether or not to activate Ricky Williams) – “The only thing I would say, and I can update you on that we haven’t made that decision yet. I’ll visit with him. Then we can have a two-week window. We can start it immediately if we’d like. We can start it no later than Monday. I think that’s my understanding. We’ll make that decision and then we’ll go from there.”

(On what was the determining factor in his decision to start John Beck at quarterback) – “I think John has made tremendous progress the last month. I think he would be the first to agree. I thought he was well-prepared, the most prepared to play, even against Buffalo. I saw that early in the game in the warm-ups. I just sensed that had he gotten an opportunity to play in the Buffalo game he would have played well. I just think the timing is right. Obviously, Cleo (Lemon) and I talked and when we haven’t won a football game you make a change. John gives us a chance to win a football game. I believe that. This is about this year. I think he’s earned the right to play. I think you know how I believe that. It’s not about next year. It’s about us doing everything we can to win this year. There will be some other guys that will be out there potentially in this game, the guys that can help us win this year. We’ve got a lot of football left in this season and I think that’s critical.”

(On if John Beck made so much progress, then why did he not start last week at home) – “I guess I didn’t really mean to define it that – he wasn’t quite ready in my view. I think I shared last week that sometimes you think there’s this perfect scenario. I’ve just been through it enough to know that that perfect scenario against this team at home doesn’t necessarily correlate because there were situations when we went on the road with a rookie in a tough environment and won the game. To me, there’s no perfect way. I felt Cleo (Lemon) gave us a great opportunity to win that game and he did. We didn’t win the game, however. I think now is the time to make that change and that’s what we’re doing.”

(On if John Beck will start the rest of the season, barring injury) – “That’s the plan at this point.”

(On if John Beck took all the reps with the first-team offense in practice today) – “Over 80 percent. We’ve gone away from the 50-50. Again, I communicated with the quarterbacks on Monday and they came in Tuesday. As I told you that I would, I visited with them and told them what the plan would be and then gave them the final decision this morning and how we’re going to go about it. Obviously Cleo (Lemon) will handle it professionally and he’ll be ready to play because now he’s one play away. That doesn’t change for the backup.”

(On what he’s looking to see from John Beck) – “Obviously, number one is taking care of the football. That’s probably number one with our quarterbacks or any quarterback for that matter. Take care of the football, execute our offense, play within the offense, realize that you’re not out there by yourself, and don’t try to do too much. I think you know I believe it’s a leadership position, and young guys can lead. Go out and just play the best football that you can play. This is a young man. This is a guy in his mid 20s. This isn’t a 21- or 20-old guy. This is a mature guy and I think he’s going to maximize his opportunity.”

(On John Beck’s reaction to the decision that he will start) – “He would be like any other guy that I’ve dealt with. They’re excited, but they know it’s about preparation. That’s why you put them in a starter’s mind all of the time, so their preparation schedule doesn’t change time-wise. However, it takes on a little different meaning.”

(On when he made the decision to switch quarterbacks) – “You just sense a guy growing. You’ve been there, you’ve seen it before and you know what it feels like. You know when a guy is starting to get that command, and you know he’s ready for an opportunity. At the same time, we had opportunities to win the Buffalo game, and there was an opportunity, I think Cleo (Lemon) would agree, to play extremely well. Those things played into it. It all played into it. The bottom line is we didn’t win the game, and now we’ve made a move.”

(On if he made the decision to switch quarterbacks this morning) – “I was leaning in this direction, obviously, as soon as the game was over.”

(On if he needs to scale back the offense at all for John Beck) – “I would say this because that’s a good question: There is nothing mentally that you have to scale back for John Beck. But at the same time, there is a growth process there. We’ll go into the game with the things we know he’s most familiar with that fit the defense that we’re going against.”

(On if John Beck has full autonomy to make audible calls) – “Absolutely. Guys have been making audibles now in most cases since they were about 10 years-old, that’s the reality of it. Guys today know this game, they can play this game, they can do those kinds of things and those are the kind of guys you are looking for. We’ll get the plays in quickly and do a lot of things, but this guy can handle that.”

(On if the offense has certain capabilities with John Beck at quarterback that it did not have with Cleo Lemon) – “I think we’ll find out. The bottom line is we would like to think that we’re a high completion percentage team and we’re a team that doesn’t turn the football over. Those are things that we want to head toward. That’s been his history. His history has been high percentage, and that doesn’t mean high percentage underneath throwing. He’s been very accurate throughout his career prior to the National Football League. He hasn’t been a guy that’s turned the ball over, so we’ll see if he can continue those because those are two things that we need.”

(On how John Beck has developed since the final preseason game against New Orleans) – “I think that the majority of the guys that were in there with him aren’t with us now – that would be my guess. Guys grow a lot from then to now, and that’s what he’s done.”

(On if he will devote more time to mentoring his quarterback this week) – “I’ve been doing that, and I think you’re always interacting, especially when you’ll be interacting during the game. You’re continually doing that. That’s obviously something I enjoy, something that I feel good about and I’m looking forward to it.”

(On if he has already decided whether Ricky Williams will join the team) – “One thing, let’s just get [Ricky Williams] here. We’re focused on Philadelphia, and he’s been reinstated. Let’s get here and let’s you and I sit down. We don’t know each other, so let’s have that conversation and then we’ll just go from there. He doesn’t know anything about how we go about our business here. I think, you guys know, he doesn’t know my philosophy as it relates to the team. Let’s see where he’s at and let him know where we’re coming from, and we’ll just kind of go from there.”