Monday, August 31, 2009

The charade continues; Kolb to start

Kevin Kolb will start Thursday in the Eagles' preseason finals and Michael Vick will work in with the offense during the first half, and start at QB in the third quarter.

Former Soul player Bibla finds new home

Martin Bibla, an All-AFL offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Soul, has signed with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the fledgling UFL. Bibla, a Mountain Top, Penn. native, played two seasons with the Soul before the AFL ceased operations in 2009.

UFC 101 tracking at 850,000 buys

Cable industry estimates have UFC 101 in Philadelphia tracking at at 850,000 pay-per-view buys, a huge success.

McNabb calls "Vick experiment" a gimmick

Donovan McNabb spoke to the media today and addressed his sideline conversation with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and his problem getting into the rhythm of his offense with Michael Vick getting snaps under center.

"I remember the conversation," McNabb said when asked if he remembered speaking with Mornhinweg on the sidelines and asking him to "kill" Vick's snaps. "That’s kind of the talk of everything now. I thought the conversation was very productive and very important. It’s the communication between the quarterback and coordinator that we came up with the answers and we were able to go out and be able to execute. As far as everything else, I don’t remember any of that but I remember the conversation and everything else."

When queried on whether he and Mornhinweg have figured out how to make the situation better, McNabb was diplomatic.

"Just play football," the signal caller said. "That’s over. You have to understand with everything that’s going on right now, everyone is making a big deal out of our whole situation. We communicate every game. We communicate out at practice. We communicate here in the building. It’s no different than what we’ve done in the previous years. I know with everything that is going on right now people are searching to try and find something. With the whole situation, the whole issue, it’s blown way out of proportion and we’ve just all moved on."

McNabb then went on to say leaving the game wasn't a problem.

"It’s not challenging at all," McNabb said. "Other quarterbacks have done it and there’s really no problem with it because if you look at the whole situation, it’s another opportunity for us to present pressure on the defense.

"Like I said, I may line up at receiver, tight end, running back, you never know where I may line up but if I come out for a play, I’ll be right back in the next play. It’s whatever we can do to try and confuse the defense, or confuse the defensive coordinator to try to come up with some sort of scheme to try to stop it. But it’s important for the offense to be able to execute the plays to continue the drive on, continue to score, continue to put pressure on the defensive coordinator so now they have to prepare for a so-called Wildcat or when he comes out, they have to prepare for when we’re out there as well."

McNabb was pressed further and couldn't help himself, in essence calling the Vick experiment a "gimmick:"

"I always believe that before you can come up with gimmicks or come up with something else, you’ve got to get your base offense going," McNabb said. "I think in game three of the preseason, that’s something that teams take very important because that’s really the last time that the ones get an opportunity to kick off the rust and ready for the regular season. There a lot of instances that it seemed like we were forcing a lot of different things just to say that we ran it, instead of just running our offense and running how things may go as far as during the year or if we decide to do it. I thought our offense continued to get things going as the game continued on and we got that rhythm that we wanted."

Howard is NL Player of the Week

Ryan Howard has been named the NL Player of the Week.

Eagles cut OT Patrick

The Eagles have released offensive tackle Chris Patrick.

Patrick spent the majority of last season on the practice squad and was running third on the depth chart at left tackle behind Jason Peters and King Dunlap.

The roster now stands at 79 players. The Eagles have until Tuesday at 4 PM (et) to get to the league-mandated roster limit of 75. The cut down to 53 is Saturday, Sept. 5.

Phils put P John Ennis on 40-man roster

The Phillies have selected the contract of pitcher John Ennis from Lehigh Valley. Ennis, who had Tommy John surgery in April, was immediately placed on the 15-day DL, however. To make room for the right-hander on the 40-man roster, infielder Brad Harman was designated for assignment.

The move is largely procedural. By bringing Ennis up and DL-ing him, the Phillies can now put any pitcher in the organization on the postseason roster.

Vick jersey is No. 4 on NFL's best seller list

Michael Vick's No. 7 Eagles jersey is the fourth best seller on for the period between April 1-August 28.

No. 4 is No. 1. Not surprisingly Brett Favre's Vikings jersey is the top seller.

Here's the top 20:

1. Brett Favre, Vikings
2. Jay Cutler, Bears
3. Troy Polamalu, Steelers
4. Michael Vick, Eagles
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
6. Tony Romo, Cowboys
7. Mark Sanchez, Jets
8. Tom Brady, Patriots
9. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
10. Eli Manning, Giants
11. Terrell Owens, Bills
12. Peyton Manning, Colts
13. Hines Ward, Steelers
14. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
15. Jason Witten, Cowboys
16. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
17. Joe Flacco, Ravens
18. Matt Ryan, Falcons
19. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
20. Michael Crabtree, 49ers

Former Eagles CB Rod Hood released

Former Eagles cornerback Roderick Hood was released by the Browns today.

Flyers get new affiliate

The Flyers have entered into an affiliation with the Quad City Mallards of the IHL.

"The Mallards are an exceptional organization and we look forward to working closely with them in helping them develop a competitive team," said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter A. Luukko.

“The Flyers are pleased to add QuadCity as one of our affiliates,” added General Manager Paul Holmgren. “The Mallards have a great tradition of success in their market on and off the ice, and we look forward to a great working relationship.”

The Mallards join the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers’ primary affiliate of the American Hockey League, and the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL, as the Flyers’ minor league affiliates. Terms of the affiliation agreement allow the Flyers to assign a limited number of players to the Mallards’ roster at any time during the 2009-10 season.

“On behalf of all of the stakeholders in the Quad City Mallards success – the fans, the sponsors the cities of Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline, Davenport and Rock Island as well as the administration at the i wireless center and of course the entire Mallards organization, we are very proud to announce this relationship,” said QCHT, LLC Managing Member Christopher Lencheski. “To align with the great traditions both on and off the ice that the Philadelphia Flyers have established is an honor for every Mallards fan. Tough, physical hockey is the backbone of the Flyers tradition and it serves us well to emulate their style of play as we hope to emulate their successes.”

Garciaparra may be Philly bound

With the waiver-trade deadline looming the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Oakland Athletics utilityman Nomar Garciaparra cleared waivers and could be traded today with the Phillies as the leading candidate.

The Phils are in desperate need for pinch-hitting help since Matt Stairs is 0 for his last 27 and now hitting a miserable .195.

The Phillies were interested in Garciaparra last winter and recently had some scouts watching him, according to the newspaper.

The veteran is batting .264 with two homers and 13 RBI in 129 at-bats for the A's this season.

Pats interested in Feeley?

The Patriots caught a lot of people by surprise Sunday when they waived goodbye to backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell, a former third round pick

But, New England is one of several teams looking for a veteran option with the Eagles' A.J. Feeley and Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson are at the top of their list.

A lot depends on Michael Vick's status. If Roger Goodell OK's Vick for Week 1, the Birds will want to move Feeley.

Despite what the Birds might say, keeping four QBs on the roster is untenable since the team lacks credible depth at both tight end and linebacker.

Irvin says QB controversy is brewing with Eagles

Former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin is expected to be named ne of the lead Sunday analysts for the NFL Network on Monday and the Hall of Famer is already doing the media rounds, telling USA Today that he sees a quarterback controversy brewing with the Eagles.

We beat him by a couple days...

Murphy gets full-time gig at CSN

Gregg Murphy has been hire full-time by Comcast SportsNet. Murphy had been freelancing since CN8 turned into the Comcast Network last year and dropped Out of Bounds.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gaither to start at MLB

Conventional wisdom said Omar Gaither would move back to middle linebacker after Stewart Bradley went down with a season-ending ACL injury but the Eagles tried to sell you on second-year player Joe Mays.

Problem is, after watching Mays play, the Eagles couldn't sell themselves and Gaither will be back in the middle taking all the first team snaps in practice this week.

"I want to see Omar come out and handle the reins of the defense in terms of the leadership, make the huddle call, get us lined up, quarterback the defense and then from a health standpoint that he has confidence in his leg," Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott told the team's Web site.

A chink in the UFC armor

Saturday's UFC 102 in Portland, Ore., ended up drawing over 16,000 fans for a gate of $1.92 million gate but it didn't sellout and was unable to break the Rose Garden record, something the company has gotten used to when invading a market for the first time.

"I'm my own worst critic, and I got a lot of [expletive] critics, believe me," UFC president Dana White said. "I'm a little disappointed that we missed the mark on this thing. I think as great as we did, we could have done better."

The $1.92 gate, while impressive by most standards, was the smallest U.S.-based pay-per-view event since March's "UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine" event netted only $1.8 million.

"I'm pissed off that we're not the No. 1 gate in the history of this place," White said. "That bums me out because I think we could have done it had we dialed it in right. But we're going a million miles an hour, jumping on all these things. "I've got this thing priced, ticket-wise, for the same price I've got L.A. priced for. [Expletive] stupid. We messed up here. I'm a little bummed out about that."

UFC 101 officially drew 17,411 to the Wachovia Center for a Pennsylvania combat-sports record gate of $3.55 million.

Couture signs 6-fight extension

UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture confirmed he signed a six-fight, 28-month contract extension prior to his main-event loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Portland, Ore. Saturday night.

"I think the opportunity to stay with the organization was my motivation," Couture (16-10 MMA, 13-7 UFC) said. "I think with things being the way they are, this is the place to be. I intend to finish my career here in the UFC."

The 46-year-old Couture had one fight remaining on his old deal and has had contract problems in the past, leading to a 14-month layoff less than two years ago.

If Couture were to complete the new deal, he would finish the contract at 48 years old but most UFC contracts give the company the right to jettison a figter after a loss. There is always the chance Couture could call it quits also.

"I'm going to take it one fight at a time as I did 12 years ago when I started this thing," Couture said. "I'll see where that goes. "I didn't have the outcome that I wanted (against Nogueira), but I still had a good performance, overall. I did a lot of things that I trained to do for this fight. We'll evaluate that, evaluate the training and see what fight is next and take it one at a time."

Couture certainly remains competitive but has dropped his two fights since returning to UFC, including an overwhelming loss to UFC heavyweight king Brock Lesnar. A return to the light heavyweight division could be an option.

"He's proven that he can stay in there and hang with the heavyweights if that's what he wants to do," UFC president Dana White said. "I think he's a beast at 205 pounds."

With a rematch with Lesnar out after the loss to Nogueira, Couture, who is still a drawing card, could be in the mix to fight current light-heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida.

"I'm interested in interesting fights," Couture said. "There's a lot of guys in both divisions that are interesting to fight."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reid talks injuries

Andy Reid updated the media on the Eagles injury situation before practice today:

"Kevin Curtis, he has a little bit of knee inflammation, and so we’re just going to try and get the swelling out of there. It doesn’t look like it’s anything serious," the coach said.

"Todd [Herremans] did have a surgery. The surgery went well. Now it’s just a matter of time to see how things heal up there.

"Darren Howard went through the eight-on-eight this morning but is still recovering from the groin strain.

"[LB Charleston] Hughes has a foot contusion [and didn't practice].

"Max [Jean-Gilles] has a strained shoulder. Again, it doesn’t seem to be too serious but we’re going to give him a couple of days here for that thing to settle down. Then he’ll be back.

"Rob Myers has a groin strain. He’s having an MRI as we speak.

"Shawn Andrews will practice today. It’ll be good to get him back out there. He’s going to start out with the scout team and just kind of test it and take it real slow here. He hasn’t been able to do any football-related drills or anything, so we’re just going to take it nice and easy here and see how he does here. He went through the eight-on-eight and it looked like he made it through there okay. We’ll just take it day by day here and see how everything works out."

Uncle Andy's self-induced quarterback controversy

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phan) - The signing of Michael Vick was strange on so many levels for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ray Charles could have seen the obvious, things like the public relations mess, the blatant hypocrisy coming from the team's head coach, and the fact that Vick is a proverbial square peg to the round hole that is the west coast offense.

Then there were the more subtle pot holes littered all over the road, things like Donovan McNabb's fragile ego.

Let's play devil's advocate and buy McNabb's assertion that he lobbied Andy Reid to sign Vick. Reid should have known better, He's been with McNabb since Day 1 when Angelo Cataldi and his band of idiots made the bus trip to New York on draft day and booed DMac out the building.

So, despite his contrived fawning over Vick, "Big Red" should have understood more than anyone that McNabb is the most sensitive big-time quarterback in the game, a player that was quickly going to tire of Vick's presence.

Even I didn't know how quick.

Perhaps it was the ovation that Vick received when entering Thursday's preseason game against Jacksonville on the second play. Most expected a mixed reaction for the most reviled athlete in sports. Instead the Philly fans assembled accepted Vick with no questions asked, not exactly the kind of welcome Donovan remembers.

Each time Vick was shuttled into the game, the fans perked up and McNabb got more and more frustrated before finally making a one-handed "kill it" gesture to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, muttering something about "got no rhythm."

Of course, Reid denied that McNabb asked Marty to pull the plug despite all the visual evidence to the contrary that ran on ESPN ad nauseam.

Even WIP's Howard Eskin, the sideline reporter for the game and a guy who usually bends over backwards for Reid, claimed multiple players confirmed McNabb was upset with the way things were going.

"It was tough," McNabb said after the game. "I think in any situation, honestly, when you're trying something new, it’s important that you get into a rhythm first and then try to work it and work it in there in the offense.

"Offensively, we just can't really get that going consistently and I thought we did some great things that presented some pressure to the defense, but at some point you have to get into a rhythm and get things going down the field and move the chains.

"Then you kind of show them something, but this was the first time. That’s what preseason is for- trying some different things and seeing if you want to run them during the year or eliminate them in the offense. We got that out of the way and now we can move on."

Trust me, no one is moving on.

A second string quarterback is almost always the most popular player on any NFL roster, at least until the fans actually get a long, hard look at him.

I'll never forget covering the border battles between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers during Brett Favre's prime. Now understand, this was wheelhouse Favre, the three-time Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl winner, the guy who was one of the five best signal callers to ever play the game.

Well, the Metrodome used to be a House of Horrors for Favre, a gunslinger apt to make two of three bad throws a game even then. Inevitably, one of those tosses would cost the Pack in Minny, sending thousands of fans back to Wisconsin with their tails tucked into their Cheeseheads, griping about Favre.

It was a vocal minority but dozens of fans assured me Ty Detmer could do a better job.

Ty Detmer!

Which brings us back full circle to McNabb. Even during his solid seasons, DMac always goes through a poor stretch where he spends a week or two throwing ground balls to his receivers.

In the past, struggles like that have had Eagles fans clamoring for A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb, quarterbacks Detmer would have chuckled at.

Now, there is actually an option with talent, an option that has superior physical skills to McNabb. And, an option that wants to play quarterback.

"Down the road I'll be back at the QB position full time, but as of right now I just have to do what I can to win," Vick said.

Enjoy your quarterback controversy.

Strange sight at Eagles practice

The one guy who hates practice more than Allen Iverson is supposed to be back at...drum roll please...practice today.

Eagles right tackle Shawn Andrews is scheduled to work with the scout team according to coach Andy Reid. The team will then monitor his progress from there.

Andrews' back tightened up during the conditioning run at the start of training camp and he has not participated in practice since.

Why do I get the feeling, Andrews back will tighten again very quickly?

Meanwhile, wide receiver Kevin Curtis will not practice due to knee inflammation,

Curtis just hasn't been the same player since his sports hernia.

UFC 102 weigh-ins

Here are the results from Friday's weigh-ins for UFC 102 at the Rose Garden in Portland.

Preliminary matches

Marcus Aurelio (156) vs. Evan Dunham (155)

Nick Catone (185.5) vs. Mark Munoz (185.5)

Tim Hague (263.5) vs. Todd Duffee (251)

Mike Russow (260) vs. Justin McCulley (238)

Gabriel Gonzaga (259) vs. Chris Tuchschrrer (258)

Ed Herman (185.5) vs. Aaron Simpson (185)

Live matches

Jake Rosholt (185) vs. Chris Leben (185)

Krzysztof Soszynski (205) vs. Brandon Vera (205)

Nathan Marquardt (185) vs. Demian Maia (185)

Keith Jardine (205) vs. Thiago Silva (205)

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (231) vs. Randy Couture (220)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hank may want to concentrate on making the team

Eagles WR Hank Baskett is behind Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and possibly Reggie Brown on the team's depth chart but he is married to Kendra Wilkinson and Hank just did a pregnant photo shoot with his better half. You can check out the pics at Kendra's site by banging the link...

Video: Iverson working out with Eric Snow

Find more videos like this on Allen Iverson Official Fan Club

Broncos suspend WR Marshall

The Denver Broncos have suspended disgruntled WR Brandon Marshall for conduct detrimental to the team.

For now, Marshall will sit out for the rest of the preseason, but its unlikely he and headstrong coach coach Josh McDaniels will ever be on the same page.

Marshall was shown walking when the rest of his teammates were running during Wednesday's practice, as well as punting the ball instead of handing it to a ball boy and swatting away a pass that was thrown to him.

Basically, the kind of immature stuff he's now famous for. For what it's worth, Marshall says some of the practice video was taken out of context but does admit his frustration boiled over at times.

A Worldwide Schism

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phan) - Jay Glazer is sort of like the national version of Howard Eskin. He kisses ass but he breaks stories.

That isn't going over well with The Worldwide Leader.

ESPN digs deep into its seemingly limitless pockets to hire every "big time NFL insider" not named Glazer, but still are beaten to the punch time and time again by Jay.

Of course, that doesn't stop the Mothership from taking undeserved credit. Often you will see the phrase "Chris Mortensen reports such and such" on ESPN's bottomline long after Glazer or Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio first broke the story.

It seems like Mortensen and his compatriots like John Clayton, Sal Pal and Adam Schefter are under some serious pressure.

So, why not make up some news?

Schefter is the new kid on the block, having moved over from the NFL Network. Clearly he needed to earn his bones and "broke" the Brett Favre "schism" story earlier this week.

In case, you missed it, little more than a week after Favre ended his latest retirement, Schefter posted a story on ESPN's Web site Wednesday afternoon, citing the ever present anonymous source, saying there was a "schism" in the Vikings' locker room over who should start at quarterback and that Favre has "little support" among his new teammates.

Wow, a narcissist like Favre isn't liked by all 80 of his teammates...stop the presses!

Pick two of your friends and then gather 80 people that know both. Then ask all 80 who they like best and what do you think the outcome will be?

Do you have a schism in your circle of acquaintances?

I hate to pick on Adam put that report was the most ridiculous piece of journalism I've ever seen.

At practice on Thursday, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took a not-so-veiled dig at Schefter's report saying there was a "schism in the camera crew" as various photographers stumbled around.

Few remember when ESPN launched in 1979, the letters were actually an acronym for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Yep, the fledgling ESPN actually ran movies, business shows and exercise videos in between SportsCenter.

Needless to say it wasn't a great mix and the station slowly evolved into the juggernaut it is now. Today, however, they are closer than ever to their original acronym.

Schefter's report was pure entertainment, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Real world news outlets may be even worse. Last night, FOXNews' Glenn Beck had over three million viewers, second only to Bill O’Reilly for the night despite airing during the afternoon. And, Beck actually had more viewers in the all important 25-54 age bracket than O’Reilly (888K to 876K), a stunning accomplishment for a 5 p.m. (et) program.

More entertainer than political pundit, Beck at least has the courtesy to call his show a "fusion of entertainment and enlightenment."

I can't wait for ESPN to admit they have sold out and gone strictly entertainment.

They can put all the "insiders" on an island. We can have challenges and immunity on the way to the big prize...

A spot on the bottomline, stealing one of Glazer's stories.

WWE suspends Mysterio

World Wrestling Entertainment has suspended Oscar Gutierrez (Rey Mysterio) for 30 days after he violated the company's Wellness Program.

The suspension starts on Wednesday, September 2, presumably so Gutierrez can drop his Intercontinental Title in the ring at the company's television tapings a day earlier.

In the past Gutierrez has been linked to the Signature Pharmacy investigation as well as Chris Benoit's doctor, Phil Astin, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May for illegally distributing prescription drugs to patients.

"I was hugely disappointed to hear of Rey Mysterio being suspended for violation of the WWE Wellness Policy," Former WWE talent relations chief Jim Ross wrote. "That's a real head scratcher but it will open the door for some young lions to take their game and the perception that goes with it to the next level including Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison just to name a couple."

Gutierrez almost left WWE earlier this year over concerns with his push and travel schedule.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vick's debut is another black eye for Philly

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phan) - Obviously the big story involving the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night had nothing to do with football.

Sure, the self-inflicted soap opera that is Michael Vick was scheduled to make his Eagles debut in a preseason affair with Jack Del Rio's Jacksonville Jaguars but it was the circus off field that enveloped Philadelphia.

First, Vick had to jet down to Virginia to take care of a little bankruptcy thing before retuning to the City of Brotherly Love for the actual game. Then we all waited with bated breath to see which advocacy groups would scream the loudest when the Action Cam was in sight.

J. Wyatt Mediawhore (Mondesire), the head of the Philadelphia NAACP who is most famous for his Donovan McNabb isn't playing "black" enough column a few years ago, promised to bring his band of merry men for a "massive demonstration" to offset the animal rights folk that surely had Vick in their cross hairs.

Mondesire arrived about an hour before game time with about a dozen people so now we know the definition of "massive."

I've been around long enough to know advocacy groups, whether they lean left or right, are ruled by ideology, not common sense. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of individuals who join these things with the right intentions but the are quickly overrun by the groupthink mentality, usually based in a rather selfish ends justify the means objective.

Take Mondesire. His explanation for wanting to "help" Vick was as self-serving as it gets.

"We believe Michael Vick has served his time, paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance and the animal rights groups want to hold him hostage for the rest of his life," Mondesire said earlier in the week. "We think that's patently unfair. It denies Michael Vick's basic civil rights, denies him his ability to make a living."

Hmmm... don't deny Vick's civil rights but deny the First Amendment rights of the people who truly have a problem with what he did. Makes perfect sense.

I'm not a big fan of litmus tests but let's play Congress and give Mondesire one. Imagine a famous Caucasian quarterback (or McNabb) was found guilty of the same heinous things Vick did. The animal rights people surely would still be out in force. Mondesire? Well, we all know what NAACP stands for.

This isn't a black or white issue but Mondesire is quick to trot out the "R" word (racism) as often as possible on his bully pulpit, a powerful accusation that I'm sure usually works for him. In fact, Mondesire brought up a "one-sided dialogue" on talk radio, presumably his chat with Mike Missanelli, that was "tinged with racism."

Still, I can't figure out why defend someone that has stained your own culture and you clearly didn't take the time to vet?

To make matters worse for Mondesire, understand Vick has already received his "second chance," rendering his original point moot. Meanwhile, where is he when a less famous African-American is truly being denied a second chance?

I would guess looking for the next camera or microphone that will give him 15 more minutes of fame.

Before the animal rights people rise up and cheer, I'm taking aim at you too. Sure, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals threw a competing tailgate party away from the Linc but most of the other groups have already thrown in the towel with dollar signs in their eyes.

The Eagles offered to open the checkbook earlier in the week when they hosted a discussion with a number of animal rights groups. Tom Hickey Sr., the founder of the Pennsylvania advocacy group DogPAC, presented the Eagles with 5,000 signatures on a petition asking the team to spend the equivalent of Vick's salary -- $1.6 million -- to establish a rehabilitation and training
center for dogs.

Eagles senior vice president Pamela Browner-Crawley told reporters after the meeting that "financial support is on the table." After all, if Ted Dibiase taught us anything -- everyone has their price.

"We can make use of the power and influence of the Eagles to make a positive difference," Karel Minor, executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, wrote on the agency's Web site. "We can challenge them to make good on their promise to help us end dogfighting and maybe even more."

Nothing like a great rationalization.

On the field, Vick's debut was anti-climatic. It almost had to be. As we reported earlier in the day, he did in fact take his first snap as an Eagle on the second play of the game, throwing a little shuttle pass to LeSean McCoy. There were no audible boos whatsoever...just cheers.

Another black eye for Philly.

It wasn't a surprise. About a dozen "independent" Vick protesters did show and had to endure insults from Eagles fans driving to the game

"I never envisioned myself coming out in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform," Vick said. "So it was kind of surreal feeling coming out of the tunnel. I see Eagles on these big guys' jerseys, and I kind of pinched myself to remind myself that it was real. It was something that I'd been waiting for for a long time. Regardless whether it was the preseason or the regular season, it's been a long journey for me, and I just want to do it right this time around."

I couldn't help but think of Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, the 1998 American war film set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. In the film, Hanks as Captain John H. Miller and several of his men search for paratrooper James Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last surviving brother of three fallen servicemen.

A general discovers that the Ryan's mother will receive all three death notices on the same day. He learns that the fourth son is missing in action somewhere in Normandy and orders that Miller and his men find Ryan and get him home. Miller and his men do their job, some of them laying down their own lives in the process. In fact, Ryan is with Miller as he dies, hearing his last words,

"James... earn this. Earn it."

Michael Vick hasn't "earned" anything but the Eagles, their fans and Mondesire have given him everything.

Game Notes:

* A very sloppy game with the Eagles coming out on top, 33-32, thanks to a 34-yard David Akers field goal with 15 seconds left.

*Vick played a total of five plays in the first quarter.

"Good to see Michael get back and get a few snaps in the offense," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "We're just trying to get his feet wet and get him used to the speed of the game. We'll continue to work with him. We'll evaluate the film and talk to him and see how he feels and go from there."

His shovel pass to McCoy went for five yards. He came in again for the second play of the second series, running to his left out of the shotgun and gaining a yard. Later in the same drive, Vick completed his first pass, a 13-yarder to Hank Baskett. He also lined up in the slot with Donovan McNabb as QB. Vick finished the half 4-for-4 for 19 yards and didn't play again. Who said he's not accurate?

"I'm only about 70 percent (physically), so now I'm just going off my natural ability," Vick said. "Once I get in tip-top shape, the sky's the limit. I just want to use my abilities to help this team win."

"We were just showing different looks in a situation where other teams now have to prepare for it," McNabb said of Vick's performance. "There’s a lot more [that goes] into it but we didn't want to show it tonight. Offensively, when we get back to our fundamental offense, that’s where we have to be consistent and be able to execute."

*Here was the Eagles M*A*S*H unit for the game: CB Sheldon Brown, RB Brian Westbrook, FB Leonard Weaver, LB Charleston Hughes, LB Tracy White, LB Stewart Bradley, OL Shawn Andrews, OG Todd Herremans, TE Tony Curtis, TE Cornelius Ingram, DE Darren Howard and LB Omar Gaither didn't suit up. Westbrook was originally scheduled to play.

*Andy Reid announced after the game that Herremans will have surgery to repair a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot on Friday. Herremans will miss “obviously a couple of games,” according to Reid. “We’ll see how it goes after the surgery with what the doctor says,” Reid added. Herreman's injury was initially diagnosed as a stress reaction.

*Rookie defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a Temple product, was back at the Linc starting in place of the inactive Rob Meier for the Jags.

*Jags starting QB David Garrard suffered a neck stinger in the first quarter but did return.

*Anyone who thinks McCoy is ready to step in for Westbrook is a lot more unstable than Shawn Andrews. McCoy dropped a tough lateral pass from Donovan McNabb and failed to jump on the ball, resulting in a 92-yard fumble return TD by Brian Iwuh for Jacksonville.

"It felt really good,"Iwuh said. "That is an awareness play that we are always practicing and we always practice scooping and scoring, not just scooping it up."

*A bad first half ended on a high-note when McNabb set an Akers field goal by hitting Jason Avant on a beautiful seam pass. Avant had five catches for 92 yards in the first half.

*Ex-Eagle Sean Considine started at strong safety for the Jags and broke up a possible TD by batting the ball away from Brent Celek late in the first half. Two plays later, Mr. Kendra Wilkinson dropped a sure TD pass from McNabb on a fade. Meanwhile, Tra' Thomas started at left tackle for Jacksonville. I know Jason Peters is younger and has a better rep but I would still feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with Tra' guarding my blindside.

*McNabb played deep into the third quarter and finished 21-of-36 for 244 yards with a TD and an interception. Kevin Kolb took over from there and was called for an intentional grounding in the end zone on his first play. Anyone who thinks Vick won't be the No. 2 QB on this team is fooling themselves. If Andy Reid were being truthful with himself, Kolb would be No. 4 behind A.J. Feeley.

"I think overall we have a lot of things to work on," McNabb said. "There were a couple of mistakes that were in the game that really shouldn't have happened. It was a collective effort, and I think, for all of us, we have to be able to clean that up and get things together when the time comes, because Carolina is right around the corner."

*Rookie CB Macho Harris went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return.

*The Eagles had a chance to win it when DE Brian Smith picked off a deflected pass in Jacksonville territory but Kolb led the Birds to negative-3 yards in four plays and the team was forced to settle for a third Akers field goal to make it 32-30.

*Kolb rebounded on the final drive when Reid went more conservative and set up Akers' game-winner. Rookie tight end Eugene Bright had a pair of catches on the drive, while Eldra Buckley got the team into field goal position on a screen pass.

*Rookie LB Moise Fokou, who was moved to the middle to compete with Joe Mays, was very active against the Jags reserves. Meanwhile, Mays didn't standout again. It would be nice if Fokou, who led the Birds with six tackles, got a few more reps with big boys.

"We took a step," safety Quintin Mikell said of the defense. "Obviously, we're still not there. We've got some things, as I said, that we need to get better at. We're taking strides. We're taking steps in the right direction and we'll go from there."

*Last year's HBO Hard Knocks star, WR Danny Amendola, is buried on the Birds depth chart.

* Feeley and recently signed LB Curtis Gatewood were the only Eagles in uniform that did not play.

*Our roster predictions:

QB (3) - McNabb, Vick, Kolb -- Feeley is a better player than Kolb but Eagles don't want to admit the mistake.

RB/FB (5) - Westbrook (if healthy), McCoy, Eldra Buckley, Leonard Weaver, Kyle Eckel -- Lorenzo Booker hits the unemployment line.

WR (6) - DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Reggie Brown if he is not traded to the Jets.

TE (3) - Brent Celek, Matt Schobel and I guess veteran Tony Curtis or someone that currently inhabits another roster. Very, very thin here.

OL (9) - Jamaal Jackson, Todd Herremans, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews (if he is not in the straight jacket), Jason Peters, Nick Cole, Max-Jean Gilles, Mike McGlynn and yes Winston Justice.

Specialists (3) - Sav Rocca, David Akers, Jon Dorenbos

DL (9) - Trent Cole, Victor Abiamiri, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Juqua Parker, Trevor Laws, Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, Brian Smith

LB (6) - Chris Gocong, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Omar Gaither, Moise Fokou, Tank Daniels (awful unit)

DB (9) - Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown, Mikell, Quintin Demps, Joselio Hanson, Ellis Hobbs, Sean Jones, Jack Ikegwunou, Macho Harris.

-You can reach John McMullen at

Vick in on second play

As we reported earlier Michael Vick did in fact take his first snap as an Eagle on the second play of the game, throwing a little shuttle pass. No audible boos whatsoever.

Don't be late; Vick to play early

A well placed source says Michael Vick will enter tonight's game on the second play in the Wildcat formation.

Judge OKs Vick bankruptcy

A judge has approved Michael Vick's plan to repay creditors.

According to The Associated Press, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro said while Vick is "at the pinnacle of his profession," he has proven unable to manage his finances in the past and ordered him to retain a financial planner as a condition of the plan.

Vick quickly left the proceedings to catch a flight back to Philadelphia in order to play in tonight's preseason game.

"I'm happy it's over. I can move on with my life," Vick told the AP.

So who's is protesing Vick?

Let's take a look at the scorecard...

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will be throwing a competing tailgate party away from the Linc for the 2nd Chance Dogs campaign to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls.

"As a lot of people have pointed out, (Michael Vick's) animals never got a second chance," SPCA chief executive Sue Cosby told CBS3. "We need to speak for them. "For us, this whole thing has just reinforced how hard we have to work at the work we're doing every day."

Meanwhile, J. Whyatt Mediawhore...err. Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, told The Associated Press on Wednesday evening that his group and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia had decided to proceed with their march.

Mondesire said the groups recognize Vick committed serious crimes but they are supporting his right to a second chance.

Other local animal advocates seem to be taking a more tempered approach, content to raise money and awareness rather than engage Mondesire's publicity stunt.

The Eagles already attempted to diffuse the situation earlier in the week by hosting a discussion with a number of animal rights groups.

Tom Hickey Sr., the founder of the Pennsylvania advocacy group DogPAC, presented the Eagles
with 5,000 signatures on a petition asking the team to spend the equivalent of Vick's salary -- $1.6 million -- to establish a rehabilitation and training center for dogs.

Eagles senior vice president Pamela Browner-Crawley told reporters after the meeting that "financial support is on the table."

After all if Ted Dibiase taught us anything -- everyone has their price.

"We can make use of the power and influence of the Eagles to make a positive difference," Karel Minor, executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, wrote on the agency's Web site. "We can challenge them to make good on their promise to help us end dogfighting and maybe even more."

Changes at Comcast SportsNet

Comcast SportsNet is changing its daily lineup.

Beginning Monday, September 8, Daily News Live will be cut from 90 minutes to an hour, airing from 5 - 6 p.m., SportsNite will air at 6 p.m., and a pregame show will air at 6:30 p.m. for 7 p.m. Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers games.

There will be no talent changes. Michael Barkann will continue to host Daily News Live and Neil Hartman and Leslie Gudel will be the primary anchors for SportsNite. Post Game Live will also continue to air after games.

The feeling is since games are by far the highest rated shows on the network and DNL is...well DNL, expanded coverage of actual events will help. Of course, the difference between DNL and a pre-game show will likely mean changing sets and being more focused on one topic.

In other words there is no real change since DNL served as a sort of de facto pre-game show anyway. But, management types need to prove their worth, especially in this economy.

Kensington's Alvarez on MTV's Bully Beatdown

The second season of MTV's "Bully Beatdown," kicks off tonight at 9:30 p.m. (et).

In the reality show, Jason Miller helps bullied victims pit their tormentors against actual MMA fighters.

Kensington's own Eddie Alvarez, the Bellator lightweight champion, is tonight's fighter.

Vick bankruptcy plan approved

According to the the Associated Press, nearly all of Michael Vick's creditors have endorsed his proposed bankruptcy plan.

One set of creditors, who hold $132,743 in debts, balked and the plan still must be approved by the court.

"I think the court is going to independently consider, as it must in every case whether you're a pipefitter or an NFL player or a G.M., whether the plan is feasible," Ross Reeves, attorney for a committee representing Vick's unsecured creditors, told the AP.

Fedor fights

Fedor Emelianenko took a bite out of the Big Apple Wednesday as hundreds of fans showed up to watch the mixed martial arts superstar and universally recognized No. 1 heavyweight in the world at a free open workout in New York City.

Later, it was announced that Fedor (30-1) would meet the undefeated, hard-hitting Brett Rogers of Minneapolis on SHOWTIME® this fall. It will be Fedor's first start since M-1 Global and STRIKEFORCE signed an agreement to co-promote major events.

Photo: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

MLBPA feels vindicated

The MLBPA released a statement on Wednesday and as usual seemed a little haughty considering so many of its members are drug abusers, as least according to U.S. law.

"Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled in favor of the Players Association in the litigation regarding the government's seizure of the 2003 testing records," Donald Fehr and Michael Weiner said in a joint statement.

"The Court has affirmed lower court rulings that the seizure of individual 2003 testing records violated the constitutional rights of the Players and of the Players Association. Anyone who leaks information purporting to contain those 2003 test results is committing a crime.

"We are very gratified by this decision, and hope that this will finally bring this long
litigation to a close."

No question leaking the names is against the law. Of course, so is taking the steroids in the first place but now we are just being picky right guys?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Phillies rehab update

Clay Condrey is scheduled to throw a simulated game tomorrow, J.C. Romero will throw a bullpen seasion tomorrow, Antonio Bastardo will hurl in a GCL game tomorrow and Brett Myers will pitch two innings in Double-A Reading tonight.

Mondesire, NAACP to march for Vick

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and a number of other local civil rights groups are planning a "massive" demonstration to support Michael Vick at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday.

"We believe Michael Vick has served his time, paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance and the animal rights groups want to hold him hostage for the rest of his life," J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, told SalPal on Wednesday. "We think that's patently unfair. It denies Michael Vick's basic civil rights, denies him his ability to make a living."

This is not the first time Mondesire has gotten mixed up with the Eagles. He wrote a ridiculous column in 2005 criticizing Donovan McNabb's leadership skills and accusing McNabb of "playing the race card" in explaining why he no longer runs the ball.

Mondesire wrote that McNabb's tendency to run the ball early in his career "not only confused defenses, it also thrilled Eagles fans," but that abandoning that element "by claiming that'everybody expects black quarterbacks to scramble' not only amounts to a breach of faith but also belittles the real struggles of black athletes who've had to overcome real racial stereotypcasting inaddition to downright segregation."

McNabb was stunned by the remarks.

"Especially being the same color I am," McNabb told the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time. "Obviously if it's someone else who is not African American, it's racism. But when someone of the same race talks about you because you're selling out because you're not running the ball, it goes back to: What are we really talking about here?

"If you talk about my play, that's one thing. When you talk about my race, now we've got problems. If you're trying to make a name off my name, again, I hope your closet is clean because something is going to come out about you ... I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn't talk bad about them. Now you learn a little bit more."

Penn State to play at FedEx Field in 2010

Penn State will play Indiana next season at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The game, which is scheduled as an Indiana home game, will take place on Nov. 20.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to play the 2010 Indiana football game at FedExField, one of the nation's premier sports facilities," Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. "This game will provide a great chance for some of our players to play close to home and for our fans and the more than 40,000 Penn State alumni in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C. to see the Nittany Lions play in person."

Flyers open rookie camp on September 7

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that their Rookie Camp at The Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, will open on Monday, September 7 with 29 rookies and prospects expected to be in attendance.

The camp will run a total of five days and conclude with a game between the Flyers rookies and the Washington Capitals rookies set for Friday, September 11, at 3 p.m.

Among the players participating in this Rookie Camp are first-round draft pick James van Riemsdyk (2007) and defensemen Kevin Marshall, who signed an NHL entry level contract in July of 2008, and Marc-Andre Bourdon, who signed his NHL entry level contract back in July of this year.

The following is a complete list of players that are scheduled to attend the Rookie Camp

2008-09 TEAM
Phila. (AHL)
5th Round (152nd overall) in 2005
Phila. (AHL)
3rd Round (92nd overall) in 2004
Phila. (AHL)
7th Round (215th overall) in 2005
Iowa (AHL)
From Anaheim, along with Chris Pronger, in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, a first round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, a first round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional third round pick in 2010 or 2011
KALINSKI, Jonathon
6th Round (152nd overall) in 2007
KLOTZ, Garrett
Phila. (AHL)
3rd Round (66th overall) in 2007
Shawinigan (QMJHL)
6th Round (153rd overall) in 2009
Phila. (AHL)
4th Round (124th overall) in 2004
MAROON, Patrick
Phila. (AHL)
6th Round (161st overall) in 2007
Phila. (AHL)
3rd Round (79th overall) in 2006
NODL, Andreas
2nd round (39th overall) in 2006
London/Mississauga (OHL)
6th Round (178th overall) in 2008
Saint John (QMJHL)
Try Out
TPS Turku (FNL)
Try Out
van RIEMSDYK, James
Phila. (AHL)/New Hampshire (HE)
1st Round (2nd overall) in 2007
Windsor (OHL)
6th Round (172nd overall) in 2009

2008-09 TEAM
Phila. (AHL)
3rd Round (91st overall) in 2005
BOURDON, Marc-Andre
Rouyn-Noranda/Rimouski (QMJHL)
3rd Round (67th overall) in 2008
Erie (OHL)
Try Out
Ilves Tampere (FNL)
4th Round (101st overall) in 2006
Quebec (QMJHL)
2nd Round (41st overall) in 2007
Phila. (AHL)
2nd Round (42nd overall) in 2006
Colgate (ECAC)/Phila. (AHL)/FLYERS

Signed on Aug. 11, 2009

Lethbridge (WHL)
Try Out

2008-09 TEAM
Seattle (WHL)
3rd Round (84th overall) in 2008
Mississippi/South Carolina (ECHL)
4th Round (119th overall) in 2005
Saskatoon (WHL)
3rd Round (81st overall) in 2009
Moncton (QMJHL)
5th Round (142nd overall) in 2009
TESLAK, Michael
Phila. (AHL)/Mississippi/Elmira (ECHL)
Signed on March 19, 2008

On-Ice practices during Rookie Camp are scheduled in two sessions. The first session will run from 9 a.m. to noon, while the second session will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day from September 8 through 10. Both sessions are open to the public and free of charge.

The Flyers open training camp at The Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey on Saturday, September 12. An official press release with ice times will be announced at a date in the near future.

The Flyers home opener for the 2009-10 National Hockey League regular season is Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m. when they host the Washington Capitals at the WachoviaCenter.