Sunday, April 29, 2012

Danny Double: Briere's second chance OT score allows Flyers to get jump on Devils

Special to the Phanatic

A 14-year NHL pro, Danny Briere says he doesn't feel pressure in the playoffs.

Instead, the overriding feeling is of excitement.

"When I have the opportunity like I have this year, like I've had the past few years in the playoffs, you try to make the best of it and enjoy it as much as possible," said Briere, now in his fifth season with the Flyers.

The 34-year-old scored his second goal of the game 4:36 into overtime Sunday afternoon and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Briere's game winner came moments after he had an earlier potential game-deciding goal disallowed because it was clearly kicked in with his left skate.

The fifth-seeded Flyers, after a slow start, peppered Martin Brodeur with 36 shots and took a 1-0 lead in the series despite allowing the Devils to tie the game twice in the last two periods.

James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux also scored and Ilya Bryzgalov made four of his 23 saves in OT for the Flyers, who were playing for the first time in a week after knocking off the Penguins in six games.

Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora scored for the sixth-seeded Devils, with Sykora's goal tying the game 11:22 into the third period.

Brodeur gave up all four goals, including the game-winner on Philadelphia's seventh shot of the extra period.

The Devils, after beating Florida on the road in double-overtime Thursday to win Game 7 of their Conference Quarterfinal series, will try to even this series in Game 2 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

"We were able to erase a couple of leads and stayed in the game. I wish we could have kept that pace up that we had in the first period," said Parise. "We didn't really give them much room out there, but I thought we played a pretty solid game all around."

Briere's disallowed goal touched off a muted celebration by the Flyers, most of them realizing he had directed the tipped pass into the net with his skate.

But there was no doubt about his next shot, a hard, low blast from the point that made it through a van Riemsdyk screen and past Brodeur for Briere's seventh goal of the postseason.

It gave him 26 goals in his last 41 playoff games dating back to 2010 and 49 in 104 career postseason games.

"When he gets the puck on his stick, something is going to happen. That's why he's so dangerous," said Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who had an assist. "He's money in the playoffs."

Earlier, Giroux also got his seventh goal of the playoffs on a hard one-timer from the middle of the left circle that beat Brodeur over his shoulder 4:19 into the third period to make it 3-2 Flyers.
Giroux won a faceoff on the right side to set up the play, then shifted across the ice for Timonen's pass.

Sykora's tying goal came just over seven minutes later and followed a Flyers giveaway inside the New Jersey zone. Sykora ended up behind a Philly defender and slipped a shot through Bryzgalov's legs from the left side to make it 3-3.

After Sykora's goal, Brodeur made a blocker save on van Riemsdyk as he went to the ice in the crease.

It was one of 15 shots by the Flyers in the third. Van Riemsdyk had another good chance with around 3:15 remaining in regulation on an open shot in the slot, but Brodeur stopped him again.

Early in the first period, Flyers rookie forward Matt Read turned the puck over behind his own net and Patrik Elias passed to Parise in the left circle for a one-timer and 1-0 Devils lead just 3:16 in.

New Jersey took advantage of the hosts' week-long sabbatical, rolling up 11 shots before the Flyers got their first and ended the opening period with a 15-6 advantage.

That caused the sellout crowd to make its half-hearted, but audible and not totally undeserved displeasure known. After all, the Orange and Black scored a combined nine goals in the first period of their three home tilts against the Penguins in the opening round.

"That was embarrassing. We can't come out like that," said Giroux. "It's unacceptable and we are lucky enough to have 'Bryz' shut the door and he made some huge stops for us."

The Flyers finally found their legs following intermission, and the sudden jolt allowed them to take the lead with goals 37 seconds apart in the middle period.

Jakub Voracek hit Briere with a long pass behind two defenders, and the veteran netminder guessed wrong by trying to anticipate a low shot, needlessly flopping towards the right post while the French-Canadian sniper chipped the puck in the opposite direction.

Moments later, Brodeur threw his left pad into the air to stop a point shot from Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson, but was unable to scramble to stop van Riemsdyk's high rebound chance from the low left side, which made it 2-1 at the 8:44 mark.

The Devils tied the game 31 seconds into a Matt Carle hooking penalty when Parise slid a pass all the way from the left boards to Zajac on the other side of the net for a tip-in that squeezed through Bryzgalov's legs and trickled over the line.

Notes: With the victory, the Orange and Black improved to 14-10 all-time in postseason games against the Devils, and upped their OT mark against New Jersey to 3-0, and have taken all four overtime playoff games against the franchise...Van Riemsdyk picked up his first playoff tally sincce scoring both in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern semifinals on May 2, 2011...The Atlantic Division rivals finished one point away from each other in the regular season...The Flyers and Devils have met four other times in the playoffs: the Devils won the 1995 and 2000 Eastern Conference finals, while the Flyers captured quarterfinal series in 2004 and '10...New Jersey has participated in three straight overtime contests.

Seven Temple players sign as UFA

PHILADELPHIA  – Seven Temple Owls have signed rookie free agents contracts with NFL teams, bringing the Owls’ total NFL signees for 2012 to 10, tying the largest class in school history.

The following have reportedly signed:

                OL - Pat Boyle (Towson, Md.), Detroit Lions
                DE - Morkeith Brown (Harrisburg, Pa.), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
                OL - Derek Dennis (Peekskill, N.Y.), Miami Dolphins
                LB - Stephen Johnson (Norristown,?Pa.), New Orleans Saints
                DE - Adrian Robinson (Harrisburg, Pa.), Pittsburgh Steelers
                WR - Rod Streater (Burlington, N.J.), Oakland Raiders
                OL - Wayne Tribue (York, Pa.), Denver Broncos

All were a part of the winningest four-year class in school history.  They became the first class in school history to be bowl eligible in three consecutive years. They won more conference games than any other class in school history. They recorded three consecutive winning seasons and out-scored opponents in four straight seasons.  These 19 seniors were also the first Owls in school history to participate in two bowl games and became the first class to win a bowl game in 32 years.

Temple’s 2012 class of signees—three Draftees and seven rookie free agents—ties the school record class of 10 set in 2011.

During the 2012 NFL Draft, RB Bernard Pierce (Ardmore, Pa.) was selected in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens, TE Evan Rodriguez (North Bergen, N.J.) was selected in the fourth round by the Chicago Bears, and LB Tahir Whitehead (Newark, N.J.) was selected in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions.

The trio ties the school record for the most Owls drafted in a single year.  Three Temple Owls were also drafted in 1946, 1975, 1980, and 1987.

Temple opens the 2012 season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple football season tickets are on sale now for as low as $99 and can be purchased by calling the Temple Ticket Sales Office at 215-204-8499 or visit

Last call for B-Hop

By John McMullen

ATLANTIC CITY (The Phanatic Magazine) - Chad Dawson is bigger, stronger, faster and certainly younger than Bernard Hopkins.

Eventually age takes everything from all of us. Hopkins, however, has been able to cheat Father Time longer than perhaps any other athlete in history.

B-Hop's Fountain of Youth finally ran dry on Saturday when Dawson defeated Hopkins by 12-round majority decision to win the WBC light heavyweight title.

The bout, of course, was a rematch of the controversial October 2011 match where Dawson was originally awarded a TKO win over Hopkins and the WBC 175-pound title when the aged champ couldn't continue after taking a Dawson-induced tumble to the canvas in the second round of their bout at Staples Center.

It's been nearly seven years since Hopkins lost the first of back-to-back middleweight fights to Jermain Taylor.

Considering that the Philadelphia native had just turned 40 back then, it wasn't exactly a stretch to consider that the end of the line for the legendary pugilist. Heck, people had been predicting his imminent demise years earlier.

"They were calling me old when I beat (Felix) Trinidad 11 years ago," Hopkins said.

Instead of walking away after failing to solve Taylor, B-Hop took six months off, moved up to light heavyweight and started picking people off.

First it Was "Rocky 6" star Antonio Tarver. Then it was former flavor of the month Winky Wright. A controversial 12-round split-decision loss to Joe Calzaghe was answered with near shutouts against the highly-regarded Kelly Pavlik and Enrique Ornelas.

By 2010, it wasn't the 45-year-old Hopkins that was washed up, it was former pound-for-pound mythical titlist Roy Jones Jr. Then, A draw against Jean Pascal was avenged with a 12-round decision before Chad Dawson entered Hopkins' life in October of 2011.

Hopkins detractors think the veteran fighter at the very least embellished his injuries back in October after realizing he couldn't stay with Dawson, who will turn 30 in July. The conspiracy theories really started to fly when the California State Athletic Commission later ruled the bout a no-decision and handed the championship back to Hopkins.

If any of you are familiar with the wrestling world, it was almost a "Dusty finish."

"Chad Dawson can say whatever he wants, but I am not going to trash talk this one," Hopkins said before the rematch. " Everyone knows what I am capable of in the ring. They have seen it over 50 times before in the last 20 years."

Well, we didn't see it Saturday night.

Hopkins has changed over the years. It's not like he hasn't adapted to losing certain skills to age but he's no longer a feared fighter -- "The Execitioner" hasn't stopped anyone since Oscar De la Hoya in September of 2004.

He's basically a defensive fighter these days that gets by on guile and an ability to get under his opponent's skin with a pesky style. He's always trying to get in his rival's head and only those who don't take the bait have a chance.

Dawson stay disciplined on Saturday, never skewed from a solid game plan and easily outpointed the veteran with two judges scoring it 117-111. A third, who evidently wasn't watching the bout had it at 114-114.

Defensive fighting is never popular with even long-time "boxing experts" having trouble wrapping their heads around the concept since boxing is at its nature a a violent sport with the winner usually battering the loser.

There is more than one way to win a fight, however, and outpointing your opponent with solid defensive skills is every bit as valid as knocking him out. Simply put, Hopkins may be the best defensive fighter of all-time, a style that's not exactly well-liked by most outside of the Philadelphia-area.

"I've got to give him a lot of credit. He's a future Hall of Famer, he's a hell of a fighter," Dawson said. "But he's a dirty fighter. But if you can get through 12 rounds with him, you can get through anything."

Whether it's right or wrong, that Hopkins' rep now -- a dirty fighter. And since he's no longer a draw, this should be the end for him.

Hopkins certainly has nothing left to prove. His 10-year reign as middleweight king is still one of the most dominating periods of any boxer in history and he was already the oldest man to win a world title.

He's a 47-year-old that was competitive against Chad Dawson, a skillful, top-tier  fighter nearly 20 years his junior.

"I'm a throwback," Hopkins said before dismissing his critics. "I live in a time where it is so microwavable that there is no time to cook, season, chop or marinate any more. I'm the last of a dying [expletive] breed."

Review: Tiger Woods 13 Puts it Right on the Green

By J.J. Miller

With the fallout of Tiger Woods’ sex scandal still relatively fresh, EA Sports stood beside the iconic golfer and kept his name on the title of last year’s edition of its well-received golf game. However, the disgraced star did not appear the cover and instead the company used the allure of the Masters’ debut in the game to move product.

Well, not only is Tiger back on the cover of the ’13 edition, but the integration of the Xbox 360’s Kinect system gives an exciting and fresh new spin on Tiger Woods PGA Tour.

While last year’s version of the game did give Nintendo Wii and Playstation users (via the Move) the ability to use the controller as a simulated golf club, the latest edition for the Xbox takes it one step further by becoming the first-ever sports simulation to harness the power of the motion- and voice-capturing Kinect. Players use their entire body to simulate the mechanics of a swing and use voice command to change clubs, aim their shots and even pause the game. Players also use motion to navigate through the redesigned menus and in-game swing recognition is based on more than 1,000 data point scans according to EA Sports.

Of course, with the Kinect having been on the market for about a year-and-a-half, there are still some flaws, though none have to do with the swinging itself.

Instead, menus are still easier navigated by the controller and both aiming a shot and changing the stance of the swing can be very annoying due to the sensitivity of the Kinect. So much so that I often found myself not bothering to go through the hassle of doing so at my caddie’s recommendation just to avoid the two minutes of impending frustration.

Hopefully EA can find some ways to make altering the shot less frustrating especially since the ability to alter the stance (opening and closing of the feet) and type of shots (full, flop and punch) adds another layer of realism.

Outside of that, the Kinect certainly boosts the value and enjoyment of the game.

Those without the Kinect will still find a new swing mechanic that is easily picked up and as authentic as using your finger to swing can get. In PGA Tour 13, players use the left analog stick to both create the tempo and speed of a swing. Tempo is created on the back swing and can result in both over- and under-hitting a shot. The speed of the swing comes on the forward flick of the analog and a faster push can alter the trajectory for the worse.

The game also features a new Strike Meter that allows you to aim for the center of the ball, or adjust to hit it high or low.

While the ability to use the Kinect game is the main reason players may want to upgrade to the latest edition, the makers certainly didn’t forget those without the motion sensor and did a great job in creating a fun and challenging way to still swing the club with the controller.

Not only is Tiger back on the cover, but in addition to the usual career mode (where you can create year own golfer and take him or her through a career that begins at either the American, United Kingdom or World Amateur Tours and continues through the quest for the green jacket) EA Sports created an entertaining Tiger Legacy Challenge.

I’m not usually one for gimmick modes, instead opting to focus on career modes, but I have to say there is something entertaining about taking hacks at a golf ball as Toddler Tiger. In the new mode, a player will relive Tiger’s most memorable moments on and off the course, beginning with his appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show” as a 2-year-old and ending with a futuristic quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ championship record. That could be as close as Tiger ever gets to passing Nicklaus given his current real-life struggles on the course.

The mode also features a look at Tiger through video and sound. Jim Nance offers commentary as you go through 10 different stages of Tiger’s career and the golfer himself also gives brief interviews.

One reward for completing some of the challenges is the ability to use Toddler Tiger in the online mode, a great way to try and humble other players.

Of course, every addition of the game also offers new courses and golfers. Some returning favorites include Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Royal Melbourne, St. Andrews and Torrey Pines, while Crooked Stick, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Royal Birkdale, Royal Country and Valhalla golf courses all make their digital debuts.

 Along with Woods, 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, ’11 winner Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Jim Furyk are among those playable golfers that return to the game, while new additions include Ben Crane, Ross Fisher, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, and Graeme McDowell. Like McIlroy, Luke Donald also returns to the game after a brief hiatus.

Female fans are unfortunately left with only two playable options: Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis and unfortunately tiny list.

Another bonus is that EA used an animation system to capture the authentic swings of many of the golfers.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 has very few flaws and overall is an enjoyable product, and the addition of the Kinect compatibility makes it a must own for any golf fan.

Soul roars back to top Orlando

ORLANDO  – The Philadelphia Soul (6-1) used a 28-0 run, powered by the defensive front, to start the second half as they defeated the Orlando Predators (1-6), 69-53, in front of 12,385 fans at the Amway Center on Saturday night.

“It wasn’t a pretty start to the game, but we overcame the adversity,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “Defensively, we made the adjustments needed and the offense got into a groove in the second half.  We finished as a complete team and this proved to be a great character-building victory for us.”

Philadelphia’s QB Dan Raudabaugh finished by connecting on 26-of-38 passes for 291 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.  AFL Playermaker of the Game, Tiger Jones had 11 receptions for 156 yards and three touchdowns, while Jeff Hughley had eight receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  Emery Sammons added six receptions for 64 receiving yards and Melik Brown, who filled in for the injured Derrick Ross, added two rushing touchdowns.  

Leading the way defensive were Rayshaun Kizer with 3.0 total tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery that was returned 45 yards for a touchdown.  Micheaux Robinson finished with 9.0 total tackles and a fumble recovery, while Joe Goosby had 6.5 total tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.  Bryan Robinson added two sacks.

The Predators jumped out to an early lead when Justin Roper connected on three touchdown passes – two to Bobby Sippio and one to T.T. Toliver to take a 21-7 advantage after the first quarter.

The Soul outscored the Predators 21-20 in the second, but still trailed 41-28 at the half.

Philadelphia opened the second half with 28 unanswered points, as the defense made two stops on downs and a fumble recovery to swing the momentum to the Soul and held the Predators scoreless in the third quarter.  Philadelphia capped the game by outscoring Orlando, 34-12, in the final quarter.

The Soul will open up a two-game home stand next weekend when they face the Milwaukee Mustangs next Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Lenhart lifts Earthquakes over Union

Chester, Pa. – Playing under the lights at PPL Park for the first time this season, the Union fell to the San Jose Earthquakes by a score of 2-1 Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 18,581. Gabriel Gomez scored his club-leading third goal of the season, but a 93rd minute goal from Steven Lenhart, his second of the half, gave the visitors all three points.

The Earthquakes entered the match on a five-game unbeaten run and controlled the tempo early on. Zac MacMath was forced into action just six minutes in, diving to his right to push away a strong 18-yard effort from Rafael Baca.

Six minutes later, Khari Stephenson threatened to open the scoring, firing on goal from the edge of the box. MacMath was up to the task once again, getting down quickly to his left to steer the attempt away.

As the first half wore on, the Union defense settled in, with rookie Raymon Gaddis making his third consecutive start at right back. Buoyed by the return of captain Danny Califf, who made his first start since March 31, the back four helped keep early season Golden Boot contender Chris Wondolowski under wraps.

The Philadelphia attack struggled to create opportunities early on but nearly found a spectacular breakthrough by way of Michael Farfan in the 30th minute. The second-year midfielder attempted to chip Earthquakes goalkeeper John Busch from 25 yards out, but his attempt bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Making his first start of the 2012 season, Amobi Okugo added defensive bite in the midfield, filling in for an injured Brian Carroll (hamstring).

In the final minute of the first half, a knuckling Stephenson free kick from 35 yards out gave MacMath some trouble, with the former Maryland standout spilling the shot after diving to his right. He quickly recovered, though, sweeping the loose ball to safety.

The second half began brightly for the Union, with greater possession in the attacking half leading to several shooting opportunities.

New acquisition Kai Herdling, making his MLS debut just days after arriving from Germany, nearly found the back of the net in the 54th minute. A well-struck corner kick from Freddy Adu found Herdling's head at the edge of the six-yard box, but his open look bounced wide of the near post.

The Union continued to press for a goal, with a clever scoop pass from Okugo finding Lionard Pajoy behind the San Jose defense. Busch, however, was quick off his line, pulling the ball off the Colombian’s foot.

In the 76th minute, the Earthquakes broke the deadlock, with substitutes Marvin Chavez and Lenhart combining to snap the Union’s shutout streak at 407 minutes. Lenhart latched onto Chavez's cross with a diving header at the back post to give the visitors the game's first goal.

Philadelphia were quick to respond, with second half substitute Danny Mwanga providing the spark. The 2010 first overall pick received the ball inside the box with his back to goal in the 83rd minute, holding off a defender before laying off a pass to an oncoming Gomez. The Panamanian midfielder made no mistake with his first time effort, finding the lower left hand corner to level the score. The goal is Gomez’s first from the run of play.

With both teams pushing for the game-winner, the match looked destined to finish all square going into stoppage time. In the dying moments of the match, however, a deep Chavez cross found Lenhart at the back post, with the forward’s header bouncing into the upper corner beyond the outstretched arms of MacMath.

Referee Baldomero Toledo blew the final whistle just seconds later, extending San Jose’s unbeaten run to six matches. The 2-1 result was the Union’s first loss in four matches.

The Union will travel to take on the Seattle Sounders next Saturday, looking to rebound from the loss and win their second straight match at CenturyLink Field after last year’s 2-0 road victory.

Temple's Rodriguez and Whitehead selected in NFL Draft

NEW YORK (4/28/12) – The Chicago Bears selected Temple TE Evan Rodriguez (North Bergen, N.J.) with the 16th pick of the fourth round (111th pick overall), while the Detroit Lions selected LB Tahir Whitehead (Newark, N.J.) with the third pick of the fifth round (138th pick overall) of the 2012 National Football League Draft on Saturday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall.

The duo brings Temple’s draftees to three selected in 2012 and the 64th Temple University football player to be selected in the NFL Draft since 1937.  They join RB Bernard Pierce (Ardmore, Pa.) who was selected in the third round last night.

Rodriguez, who played in the East-West Shrine Game, is a two-time first-team All-MAC selection. He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at tight end in 2011. Named to the Mackey Award Watch List, he led the Owls with 479 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions. In the win at Maryland, Rodriguez had a career-high 96 yards on five receptions en route to National TE of the Week honors from the National Football Performance Awards.

Rodriguez is the fifth Owl drafted by the Chicago Bears since 1940.

Whitehead, a team captain, was a second-team All-MAC honoree in 2011 and the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.  He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at Sam linebacker. Named to the Butkus Award Watch List, he finished third in team tackling with 70 tackles, a team-best 13.5 TFL for a loss of 66 yards, five sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

Whitehead is the just the second Owl drafted by the Detroit Lions since 1945. Tackle Mike Jarmoluk was a seventh round pick (62nd pick overall).

The trio ties the school record for the most Owls drafted in a single year.  Three Temple Owls were also drafted in 1946, 1975, 1980, and 1987.

Temple opens the 2012 season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple football season tickets are on sale now for as low as $99 and can be purchased by calling the Temple Ticket Sales Office at 215-204-8499 or visit

Year        Rd.      Pick     Player          Name                                          Team                         Pos.
2012            3         21             84          Bernard Pierce                        Ravens                     RB
                      4         16           111          Evan Rodriguez                       Bears                         TE
                      5            3           138          Tahir Whitehead                   Lions                         LB
2011            1         30             30          Muhammad Wilkerson        Jets                            DT
                      2         22             54          Jaiquawn Jarrett                     Eagles                       DB
2008            3            8             72          Terrance Knighton                 Jaguars                     DT
2005            5         30           166          Rian Wallace                             Steelers                   LB
2003            4         20           117          Dan Klecko                                Patriots                    DT
                      7         23           237          Dave Yovanovits                     Jets                            OT
2002            7         27           238          Raheem Brock                         Eagles                       DE
2001            4         16           111          Mathias Nkwenti                   Steelers                   OT
1997            4         32           128          Alshermond Singleton         Buccaneers             LB
1996            2         27             57          Lance Johnstone                    Raiders                     LB
                      6         20           187          Jon Clark                                    Bears                         OT
1994            2            2             31          TrĂ© Johnson                             Redskins                  OL
1989            8         25           220          Todd McNair                            Chiefs                       RB
1988            3         23             78          Ralph Jarvis                               Bears                         DE
                      8         18           211          Mike Hinnant                           Steelers                   TE
1987            1         19             19          Paul Palmer                              Chiefs                       RB
                      6            5           145          Willie Marshall                         Packers                    WR
                   11         24           303          Larry Brewton                         Browns                     DB
1986            1            9                9          John Rienstra                           Steelers                   OG
                      6         20           158          Lloyd Yancey                            Cowboys                 OG
1985            3            5             61          Anthony Young                       Colts                          DB
1984            7            5           173          Kevin Ross                                Chiefs                       DB
1983            8         13           209          Mike McClearn                       Browns                     OG
1982          10            9           260          Gerald Lucear                          Vikings                      WR
1981          12         26           330          Mark McCants                         Falcons                     DB
1980            8         25           218          Mike Curcio                              Eagles                       LB
                      9            6           227          Mark Bright                              Colts                          RB
                   12         23           328          Wiley Pitts                                 Oilers                        WR
1979            8         26           218          Robert Brewer                        Chiefs                       OG
                   11         22           297          Zach Dixon                                Broncos                    RB
1977            6            5           144          Joe Klecko                                 Jets                            DT
                      6         25           164          Jim Cooper                               Cowboys                 OT
1976            3         32             92          Don Bitterlich                           Seahawks                K
1975            6         24           154          Harry Hynoski                          Browns                     RB
                      7            4           160          Steve Joachim                         Colts                          QB
                   17         13           429          Garry Webb                             Eagles                       DE
1973            4         19             97          Bill Singletary                           Chargers                  LB
                   10         14           248          Nick Mike-Mayer                   Falcons                     K
1970            9         15           223          Chris Fletcher                          Chargers                  DB
1969            8            3           185          Jim Callahan                             Falcons                     WR
1967          14         11           352          Mike Stromberg                     Jets                            LB
1966          20         13           303          Joe Petro                                   Browns                     QB
1958          30            2           351          Jim Thompson                         Eagles                       E
1955          18            7           212          Joe Stout                                   Giants                       B
                   29         12           349          Ted (Tex) Robinson               Browns                     B
1954          19         10           227          Bob Edmiston                          49ers                         T
1953            9            4           101          Pat Sarnese                              Steelers                   T
1952          24            4           281          Joe Tyrrell                                 Eagles                       G
1948            6            4             39          Phil Slosburg                            Yanks                        B
1946          15            4           134          Johnny Timko                          Bears                         C
                   19            2           172          Jack Burns                                 Yanks                        B
                   19            3           173          Bill Cloud                                    Steelers                   T
1945            7            8             62          Mike Jarmoluk                        Lions                          T
1944          19            9           195          Jimmy Woodside                   Steelers                   C
1943          22            4           204          George Sutch                          Cardinals                  B
                   27            3           253          Al Drulis                                      Cardinals                  G
1942          16            1           141          Andy Tomasic                          Steelers                   B
1940            5            7             37          Ed Kolman                                 Bears                         T
                   12         10           110          Ed McGee                                 Giants                       G
1937            9            6             86          Bill Docherty                             Redskins                  T

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wilted Rose stuns Chicago

PHILADELPHIA - Game 1 of the Eastern Conference
quarterfinals was proceeding exactly as planned for the Chicago Bulls.

The East's top seed was dominating overmatched Philadelphia but with 70
seconds remaining, the storyline suddenly changed.

Derrick Rose, who fought through a litany of injuries during the regular
season, had to be helped off the court after driving to a jump-stop in the
lane and throwing a pass out to the right during the Bulls' 103-91 victory.
He crawled slowly to the floor and was lying on his back, grasping at his
knee, for several minutes near the baseline before he was removed.

What had been a party atmosphere at the Madhouse on Madison turned into a
library. The crowd was stunned and silent, fearing the worst.

Those of us who have been around sports have seen far too many of these
injuries to not immediately play WebMD and quickly come up with the three
letters that send a chill up any athlete's spine  -- ACL.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau hoped for the best after the game but everyone
already knew.

Chicago confirmed the worst fears with a short press release revealing that
Rose had indeed torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament and will miss the
remainder of the playoffs. When Bulls public relations maven Matt Yob pressed
the send key on that e-mail, he was also signaling the end of Chicago's
championship aspirations.

The reigning NBA MVP, who missed 27 games during the regular season with a
litany of injuries, had shown signs of regaining his dynamic form against the
Sixers, nearly putting up a triple-double with 23 points, nine rebounds and
nine assists. Now the Bulls will have to continue their playoff run without
their superstar.

"It's part of the game. There are going to be injuries. A guy could get hurt
in practice, a guy could get hurt in the first five minutes of the game, he
can get hurt at the end of the game. He can get hurt any time, and you've got
to deal with it," Thibodeau said.

Chicago will deal with it against the offensively-challenged 76ers. C.J.
Watson started 25 games in place of Rose during the regular season and has
already outplayed Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday on a couple of occasions.
Meanwhile, John Lucas and Mike James can certainly provide enough capable
minutes in reserve to get Chicago to the second round.

With or without Rose the Bulls will beat Philadelphia, and heck, it's
conceivable that they could take a semifinals matchup with either Boston or
Atlanta but that's the end of the line.

This Chicago team is built around the talents of Rose, and it's just not
capable of making a championship run without him.

Carlos Boozer may be able to play with an Elton Brand who has little lift and
explosion these days but the lengthy Chris Bosh looms in South Beach. Rip
Hamilton can make Jodie Meeks look foolish but Dwyane Wade is warming up. Luol
Deng can force Andre Iguodala into a horrible shooting effort but LeBron James
is on the horizon.

Thibodeau is probably going to get killed in the Second City for keeping Rose
in during the waning moments of a rout but that's specious thinking. Rose
needed the minutes to shake off the rust and at the end of the day, no one
even touched the star-crossed point guard.

He just collapsed -- just like the Bulls season.

Rutgers' Sanu drafted by Bengals

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 27, 2012) –Rutgers junior All-America wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N.J.) was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft Friday evening. The Bengals drafted Sanu with the 83rd overall pick.

“There really isn’t anything Mo can’t do on the football field,” said Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood. “He embodies what our players are all about – he is smart, fast and tough. For all the reasons the NFL loves Ray Rice, they will love Mo. The Cincinnati Bengals are getting a terrific person – and player – in Mo Sanu.”

Sanu joins a Bengals squad that features former Rutgers All-America running back Brian Leonard on its roster. The last third round draft pick for the Scarlet Knights was OL Jeremy Zuttah (Tampa Bay) in the 2008 NFL Draft. The Bengals drafted a Rutgers player for the first time since selecting consensus All-America TE Marco Battaglia in the 1996 NFL Draft.

Sanu, who left Rutgers a year early, is the fourth Scarlet Knight to forego his final year of eligibility since 2007. The three Scarlet Knights prior to Sanu who elected to forego their final year of eligibility under Schiano’s watch have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success at the next level. Ray Rice left Rutgers following his junior season in 2007 and was a second round draft selection of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft. Kenny Britt declared for the 2009 NFL Draft and was a first round pick of the Tennessee Titans while Anthony Davis was selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

Sanu finished his career as Rutgers’ and the BIG EAST’s all-time leader in career receptions with 210 after he moved past current NFL running back Brian Leonard (204) in Rutgers’ 27-13 victory over Iowa State in the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Sanu was part of two Rutgers’ bowl victories as the Scarlet Knights own the nation’s longest current bowl winning streak at five games with Mississippi State.

The 2011 Maxwell Club Tri-State Player of the Year, Sanu ended the 2011 season with 115 receptions (school and BIG EAST record) for 1,206 yards. The 1,206 yards receiving place Sanu third in RU single-season history and eighth in BIG EAST single-season history. He is currently fourth nationally with 115 receptions and 69 of his receptions in 2011 went for first downs.

A unanimous All-BIG EAST selection in 2011, Sanu was named a Fourth Team All-America selection by Phil Steele and an honorable mention All-America pick by Sanu won two major team awards in 2011 as he was named the team’s most valuable offensive player in addition to winning the Homer Hazel Trophy as the team’s most valuable player.

A Freshman All-America selection in 2009 by, Sanu set a new BIG EAST record for receptions in a game with 16 in Rutgers’ victory over Ohio in September of this season. 

Temple's Pierce goes in 3rd round to Ravens

NEW YORK (4/27/12) – The Baltimore Ravens selected Temple All-American RB Bernard Pierce with the 21st pick of the third round (84th pick overall) of the 2012 National Football League Draft on Friday evening at Radio City Music Hall.

Pierce is the first Owl selected in 2012 and the 62nd Temple University football player to be selected in the NFL Draft since 1937. 

Pierce is the first Temple player to be selected by the Ravens (since 1996) in school history and the fourth Owl to be selected by a Baltimore NFL team, joining Colts’ selections DB Anthony Young (1985), RB Mark Bright (1980) and QB Steve Joachim (1975).

As a junior in 2011, Pierce became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), total TDs (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (9), while setting game records for rushing TDs in a game (5 at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland). The communications major intends to return to Temple to complete his degree.

Pierce is a three-time first-team All-MAC honoree, the 2011 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, and the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year.

Eagles have productive second day

The Philadelphia Eagles made the following moves last night:
·         Selected LB Mychal Kendricks (2nd round - 46th overall)
·         Traded the 51st pick to the Green Bay Packers for the 59th and the 123rd picks
·         Selected DE Vinny Curry (2nd round – 59th overall)
·         Selected QB Nick Foles (3rd round – 88th overall)

The Eagles now have five remaining selections in the 2012 NFL Draft:
Round       Overall       Notes         
4                  123               from Green Bay
5                  153               own selection
6                  194               from Denver
6                  200               from New England
7                  229               from Atlanta

LB Mychal Kendricks Conference Call

On whether he had any sense that the Eagles were interested in him:
“No, I knew they were interested a little bit, but I didn’t know they were going to pick me up.”

On how he knew they were interested in him a little bit:
“I just know that they were talking about it and they brought me in for a formal meeting and that was it pretty much. That’s it, I knew that they wanted to have a meeting with me at the [NFL] Combine and from there, that was pretty much it.”

On whether the team explained to him on where he might project at the linebacker position:
“No, not at all.”

On whether he feels like he has the tools to play either weakside or strongside:
“Yeah, I can play anywhere I need to play. I feel like I’m versatile and I’m going to do what I need to do. It doesn’t matter where I play, I’m up for the job.”

On what position he played as a senior at California:
“I played inside linebacker. In my last year I played inside linebacker.”

On what his game is like and what he brings to the Eagles:
“I have a lot of energy and I don’t take plays off. I’m strong on the attack and I’m a great tackler, too.”

On whether he has followed the Eagles:
“I know that your cheesesteaks are pretty good.”

On whether he is familiar with the team’s defensive schemes:
“Not yet.”

On how he knows that the cheesesteaks are good:
“I have a friend from Philly.”

On how his shoulder is and whether he had surgery on it:
“Yeah, I had labrum surgery.”

On whether he would be able to attend offseason camps:
“Yeah, for sure, I’m fine. Everything’s fine. I’m one hundred percent and ready to go.”

On dealing with the criticism of him not being tall enough:
“I just play big, that’s all I do. I just play big and shut them up that way. It’s never been an issue for me, so I don’t know why it would be an issue for anyone else.”

On whether he patterns his game after anyone in the NFL:
“I did before, but now I’m an Eagle. I’m ready to play.”

On whether he knows anyone on the team:
“I know [linebacker Casey] Matthews.”

On whether he knows fellow Cal alums CB Nnamdi Asomugha or WR DeSean Jackson:
“I know Nnamdi and I know DeSean, but I don’t know them [personally]. It’s going to be good playing next to them. I’m so juiced. I’m juiced, man, I’m excited. It’s going to be fun, oh my gosh.”

DE Vinny Curry Conference Call

On where he grew up in New Jersey and on being an Eagles fan:
“I’m from Neptune, New Jersey, and I’ve always been an Eagles fan ever since I started watching football.”

On how he became a fan of the team despite not living in Eagles country:
“You know, it’s central Jersey.”

On whether he expected to be drafted a little earlier:
“Oh yeah, I was expecting to go in the first, but you know, things happen and God has a plan for all of us. This is where God wanted me to be at and this is where I wanted to be. Only thing that I have to do is get ready to suit up for camp and prove my case.”

On what he thought happened as a result of dropping to the second round:
“I have no idea. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled. It’s the draft nature, you never can predict the draft.”

On making a dramatic improvement on his 40-yard dash time from the NFL Combine to his Pro Day:
“If you watched the Combine I kind of tripped over myself towards the back end of the 40.”

On how he describes his game:
“I’m just a natural pass rusher. The first thing to my game is get off, and I just pride myself on everything I do. I really hustle to the ball.”

On working his way into the defensive end rotation and on learning the system:
“Oh, yes sir, I plan to do that right away. Trust me when I say right away.”

On whether not being selected in the first round puts a chip on his shoulder:
“Oh yeah, most definitely, most definitely, most definitely. You  know, right after that, [defensive line] coach [Jim] Washburn hand-picked me and I can promise you that I won’t let him down.”

On whether he knows anyone on the team personally:
“No sir, I don’t.”

On whether he watched the NFL Draft last night:
“I’ve been watching it all day.”

Eagles QB Nick Foles Conference Call

On whether he knew he was on the Eagles radar:
“I met with them at the Senior Bowl and I met with them at the Combine. They came and worked me out in Austin [Texas]. I could definitely sense a lot of interest, and when I met with the coaches, I felt really comfortable and knew that was a place that if I had an opportunity to play, I’d be really happy. Throughout the draft, that was a team that every time they came up to pick the last couple of rounds, I knew it was a possibility. The power actually went out in my house five, ten minutes before the actual pick and then my actual phone rang and it was a Pennsylvania number. I was pumped.”

On his pre-draft meetings with the Eagles:
“I did get a sense that they were interested, and I met with pretty much every single coach on the offensive staff. I met with [head] Coach [Andy] Reid, and he was the greatest as far as meeting with him and he’s a guy you can just sit down and talk to. He’s just such a successful coach and such a great person throughout his career. With meeting with the other coaches, everyone just wants to find out everything about you with transferring and everything throughout college. They found out what I was about and I loved the organization.”

On his mentality as to where he fits in with three quarterbacks already on the roster:
“It’s get in there early, leave late, work my butt off like I’ve done my whole career, and learn. I know it’s such a great opportunity to learn from such a great staff. I know that Mike Vick is the starter there and he’s a guy that’s a heck of a player and an amazing athlete. He’s a guy to learn from. As far as the other quarterbacks with [Mike] Kafka and [Trent] Edwards, I’ve gotten to know Trent throughout the years and have a lot of respect for those quarterbacks, all three of them. It will be a great opportunity to go in there and learn and work my butt off like I’ve always done and just continue to progress as a player.”

On whether he has been told what role he will play:
“It’s way too early for that. I just got drafted and became a part of the Eagles. I have to go in there and learn a whole offense, earn my stripes, work my butt off, and prove to them that I’m a winner and what kind of player I am. That’s going to take a lot of work. I’m going to go in there and work my butt off and just be the best quarterback I can be and the best teammate possible.”

On scouting reports that say he is slow footed:
“I’m an athlete. I’m a basketball player, too, and I feel that I can play against anyone in basketball. Football-wise, watch film – I’ll break tackles, throw on the run, show escapability. I’m not a Mike Vick by any means but I’m able to extend plays on my foot and throw from awkward angle. I’m not a track athlete if that’s what you’re asking me. You’re not going to put me on the track and I’m going to blow by you in a 100-yard sprint or even a 40. I have functional speed where I can move around and make plays with my feet and extend plays with my feet. I think that’s important to get the ball into the playmakers hands like the running backs and the wide receivers and help the o-line out by moving around and working their pocket. I’m going to continue to do that and work on that every single day and get better at that as long as I play this game.”

On how being a basketball player translates into quarterbacking:
“I think just the ability to move around and extend plays with my feet. In basketball, and even in basketball passing, I’d be able to grab a rebound, go full court, and gun it. Then, you’re moving around finding seams. When you’re scrambling around, you find the running back and throwing from different angles. In basketball, you’re moving around running, jumping, shooting, doing all sorts of things. Just the functional movement of playing a sport. When you’re playing football as a quarterback, you’re dropping back and passing but sometimes the pocket breaks down and you have to make a play. That’s why I look at being an all-around athlete comes in handy in just moving around and moving the chains and making plays.”

On the process of staying positive playing in front of an inexperienced offensive line:
“We had a young o-line and I knew that going in. My junior year we had all seniors and it was a group I was with for two seasons and they were a great line. We were rebuilding the line the next season and we had a couple of redshirt freshman and some sophomores and two juniors on the line. Between five guys, there was one guy who was in our bowl game the previous season in our center Kyle Quinn. I knew it was going to be a re-doing year and that came during the workouts in the summer. We did different things to excel them right along. They did a good job and we started the season with 3-4 games against top 10 opponents and those were those o-linemen’s first time being in a college game, so it took for them to learn the speed of it and it was different for them. Sure, I was hit a few times but when you look at the film, those guys worked their butt off and they picked me up off the ground. Every game they excelled and by the end of the season, they were doing a really solid job. I couldn’t have been more proud, and they did a really solid job. They hated when I got hit and they really did grow throughout the year, and they’re going to be a heck of a line next season.”

On how much he has seen from WR DeSean Jackson and RB LeSean McCoy:
“Just watch ESPN. I’ve watched those guys all the time on the highlight reel. I know they are some explosive players and the Eagles have such a great tradition. [LB] Britt Hager who played for the Eagles several seasons ago is a great family friend of mine. I grew up with his son so I know all about the Eagles tradition. Then with [TE] Brent Celek, I roomed with his brother at Michigan State so we would always turn on the Eagles while we were in college there. It’s really a blessing to be with the Eagles.”

On whether he played Britt Hager’s team in high school:
“We didn’t play Odessa while I was at Westlake but we played Abilene in West Texas. I haven’t seen the movie but I read the book and it’s pretty much all Texas high school football. It’s intense and it’s crazy man.”

Head Coach Andy Reid Press Conferences

Opening Remarks:
“In the second round, we’ve been a little but busy. Mychal Kendricks is an outside linebacker from Cal. We took him with our first pick in the second round and we’ll play him at SAM linebacker initially here. He’s played all three [LB positions]. The things you see with him are great athletic ability and speed. He was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He gives you a good opportunity to cover the tight ends. He’s just a little below six foot in height and he has good mass to him when you see him. We’ll bring him in tomorrow and give you guys a chance to meet him and let him get introduced to Philadelphia. We’re very excited about him. You think of being the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-10 and you bring a little bit of heat with that, so we welcome him aboard to help strengthen our defense along with [DE] Vinny Curry. Vinny Curry is a rush defensive end from Marshall. I mentioned this the last time I was up here but really he was just the best player on the board at that time. There was no way that we could pass him up just sitting there. He wasn’t an immediate need or anything like that. It’s not a worry with any of the guys that we have like [DE] Brandon [Graham] coming off of a knee or anything like that. That’s not what this is all about. It’s just a heck of a young football player who might be the biggest Eagles fan ever. He grew up in Jersey here. I think when you meet him, you’ll see he grew up an Eagles fan and he’s dreamed of playing here. He and [defensive line coach] Jim Washburn developed a relationship over this whole draft process and have stayed in close communication with each other throughout this thing. Again, he has one speed and that’s 100 miles per hour. That’s how he plays. Along with all of his vivacious personality, he’s quite a colorful guy and really loves to play the game.”

On selecting three defensive players to open the draft:
“A lot of it is best player available the way it fell. It wasn’t something where we came in with a plan that just says, ‘Hey, we’re going to go strictly just defense.’ It’s welcomed, and I thought we were playing very good defense at the end of the year. We had these fellas into it and into the mix. It creates great competition and certainly increases our athleticism. Certainly these three guys are great athletes.”

On whether they traded down because there were guys they liked toward the bottom of the second round:
“We did. We had a handful of guys sitting there that we liked. Vinny was one of them.”

On a possible logjam at defensive end:
“You’re going to carry four to five defensive ends during the season, and that’s a very good problem to have. A very good problem to have. I don’t mind that one bit and I love that competition there. I’m excited to see how Vinny fits in there and works.”

On why Kendricks fits at SAM:
“He’s played all the positions. The one thing that really interests me there is we’re getting a phenomenal pass rusher on that side. We’re getting someone who can really cover the tight end, and his pass cover skills are a strong part of his game. When you see the way he’s built, you’re understand. He plays a very physical game. You’ve heard the term when someone is very heavy handed, so when he locks onto you, he’s pretty strong with that.”

On whether SAM is evolving more into a speed position than a size position:
“You need a combination. In this day and age, you’ve seen where the safeties evolved in this league to where if you can’t cover and run, you’re going to have an issue and you’re going to get exploited. That’s the case with your outside linebackers in a 4-3. You’d like them to have the ability to run and be athletic and make plays.”

On Kendricks handling tight ends that are larger than him:
“He’s had success with that. In the Pac-10, they throw the ball once or twice out there. You get a little bit of a pinch there with him covering some guys. We’ll see how he does. That’s been one of his strengths so we’ll see how that transfers over. I’m thinking it will. You’re also getting a team captain and a tenacious football player. I know they’re showing some of those clips but that’s kind of what he is and that’s what you get. He’s one of those guys who love to play the game.”

On what makes speed a valuable commodity for an outside linebacker to have:
“You want to try to, from an offensive standpoint, find a weakness in the defense. Then, you want to exploit those weaknesses. From a coaching standpoint, I’m trying to eliminate any of those weaknesses the best I can from a defensive standpoint. I think that these players, and in particular you’re asking about Kendricks, he’s the type of player that doesn’t present you with a lot of weaknesses as long as it carries over. He is coming from the college level and I’m expecting it to carry over obviously or I wouldn’t have taken him, but as [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I looked at this thing, we just thought that he had great speed, cover ability, toughness, and all of those things you’re looking for from those linebackers.”

On whether speed is more valuable because of teams copying New England’s tight end system:
“That’s a unique situation with a unique quarterback. How much of that happens, I can’t tell you that. I don’t know if that’s going to be a trend or not. Tight ends in this league have been catching balls a lot over the years.”

On whether there are steps that have to be taken when a player like Curry drops:
“I think we know a lot about him. He’s a local kid, and things like this happen during the draft. When you get into the second and third rounds and whatever flavor that team wants, and so he got passed up. I don’t think it’s anything against his play ability, character or anything like that. He’s not a problem. He was a very productive player at Marshall against good caliber players. You see it happen every year, though.”

On whether he projected Curry to be a late first-round pick:
“Yeah, late first, high second. I think that’s where most people probably had him just from talking around. I think most people had him in that area.”

On whether there are any issues with Kendricks being suspended two games in college:
“No, I think we’re alright there.”

Opening statement after third round:
“Alright, so in the third round we took Nick Foles, quarterback from Arizona. Nick is obviously a good passer from the records he set at Arizona – all the school records. [He] broke all of [Saints QB] Drew Brees’ records in high school, so he has a bunch of accolades to go along with being a good football player. He was also a heck of a basketball player. He was recruited by Georgetown, Texas and Baylor, so you’re getting a big man, but also a good athlete. Not necessarily a runner. That’s not his deal, but he’s got good feet, pocket presence and he’s smart. We had an opportunity to work him out and then we also brought him up here on one of our top 30 visits and grilled him pretty hard there. We felt very comfortable with him. Again, this is a young quarterback to bring in to the fold here and let him compete. We’ll just see how he does.”

On how many quarterbacks he worked out:
“Well, the guys that really worked them out were my quarterback coaches.”

On how many quarterbacks the team worked out:
“We probably worked out five.”

On what set Foles apart from the other quarterbacks:
“Well, listen, I like the way he throws the football, and then he’s also a smart guy which helps. So, it’s a different offense. He’ll have to learn this offense, but that’s okay. He’s smart enough to do that. It was unanimous with our coaches. They all liked him. We’ll see how it works. I’m curious to get him in here and let him throw the football around a little bit.”

On whether a third-round quarterback is a shot in the dark or whether he could be a franchise quarterback:
“Well, I think you have to see. I think you just have to let him develop and then you go from there. I love that we had enough confidence in him to draft him in the third [round]. Now the rest is just seeing how he fits in and develops in our offense. Again, that’s a risk there. I feel like you’re getting a big arm and a smart kid who loves to play the game and has had a lot of success.”

On whether drafting a quarterback was a priority considering that QB Michael Vick will turn 32 years old:
“I have a lot of confidence in [QB] Mike Kafka. I have a lot of confidence that Mike [Vick] is going to continue to play. I guess he’s a young 32 you’d say. He missed a couple years there playing. This isn’t to replace Mike. That’s not what I wanted to do with this pick. I wanted to get another quarterback. We all know that is a pretty important position. If you see one out there you like, you snag him up, bring him on board and let him compete.”

On whether drafting a quarterback inside the fourth round means that he could be a full-time starter:
“Listen, we didn’t pick him in the first, we picked him in the third. But there are plenty of things that I liked about him. He’ll never tell you this, but the kid is a team captain and he came into the season fairly highly ranked amongst the quarterbacks in the country. He played behind an all-freshmen offensive line, so he’s not going to stand up here and tell you that. I’m going to tell you that that’s not an easy thing to do. He never complained about it, he rallied those kids around him; he took some pretty big hits knowing that those kids are going to be good players down the road, but they were learning at that time. His percentage under pressure was as good or better than anybody in the country. The receivers, obviously [Arizona WR Juron] Criner was a heck of a player for him and he was his go-to guy. After that, there weren’t a lot of people around him. There were young guys that he helped develop for the future of Arizona there. That’s reality. Those are things that as a coach and as a scout, there are things [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I had to look at and evaluate. Coming out of it we still felt like he did a heck of a job.”

On whether Foles has enough mobility to be a full-time starter in the NFL:
“Listen, you say that and then you see some of the bigger quarterbacks in the league – I think [Broncos QB] Peyton Manning is pretty good, I think [Patriots QB] Tom Brady is pretty good and [Steelers QB] Big Ben [Roethlisberger] is pretty good, so he’ll fit in somewhere in between there as far as mobility. I’m not going to put him in that category yet, he hasn’t thrown a ball in the NFL. We have to get him in here and let him work a little bit.”

On why Foles transferred from Michigan State:
“You know, it wasn’t a fit. They were going to the spread [offense] and they were going to run a little more option with the quarterback. That’s what they wanted to do. I’m not sure that’s really his style or play.”

On whether Foles is more of a drop-back quarterback:
“More of a drop-back guy. Although if you look at his completion percentage on movement throws, it’s pretty good. He’s a tall drink of water, so when he comes in here – this is not a little guy. When you look at him you’re not going to go, ‘Running quarterback.’ That’s not what you’re going to say.”

On whether there’s an obligation to call Vick when deciding on drafting a quarterback high:
“Listen, I have a good enough relationship with him, but yeah. I had [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] call him because I was in the mix of everything going on. There’s not enough time, so I made sure that Marty talked to him.”

On the process of teaching and grooming young quarterbacks:
“Well, number one, you have to have talent. But then the player has to have talent. Then you go through the evaluation process, try to find guys that you think would fit in to this offense, you know, what we would like to do. And then there is a maturation process that takes place. That’s fun, that’s the teaching part of it. If a quarterback gets an opportunity to play like [Cardinals QB] Kevin [Kolb] did, he got an opportunity to play. He was able to play well for us and you see how it works out. Michael was kind of the unknown there and Michael played well, that was a good thing. Even with Michael – which I think it is the same with most quarterbacks – they keep learning until the day they retire. It’s just one of those deals. Even with Michael you saw that maturation process take place in this offense and that’s satisfying. That’s why we do it, we’re really teachers. That’s the satisfying part. And with these quarterbacks very few of them come from the west coast offense. You saw the kid that went before him [Wisconsin QB Russell] Wilson. He had played in the west coast offense at North Carolina State. There are very few of those that have that opportunity to do that. Most of the teams now are either in the spread option or the spread offense where they go four wide. This kid had a little bit of each. They did use a little bit of tight end at times. He was under center at times, but most of the time it was four wides. They weren’t running the option with him, but they were throwing the football.”

On whether the team had any interest in Wilson:
“Well, I did. I liked Wilson, yeah, I sure did. He’s a heck of a player too. We had our eye on those two players and I wish that kid all the best. He’s got a great personality. Not a lot of guys have his size, but he gives you the confidence he’s going to be able to do it.”

On whether they had their eye on Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler:
“I really honed in on the two here, yeah.”

On what he learns from a guy who takes a lot of hits:
“He kept getting up, that was the key. There were a few of those hits where you just kind of went, ‘Ooo.’ You can tell that those linemen care about him. They went back there and helped him up. They were learning, they got better as the season went on which was a plus for him. He took some pretty big hits and I think you can tell he was a tough guy. He had an opportunity to go down with [ESPN analyst] Jon Gruden. I think you guys know I’m friends with Jon. He has them down there for about eight hours and works with them in the classroom and out. He had the highest regards for the kid. So I was able to cross check with him and my guys that worked him out.”

On his confidence on the draft so far:
“There’s a foundation there that you’re able to do that from and that was re-signing your own players which I thought was important. Then we made the trade for [LB] DeMeco [Ryans]. We really went in and not saying that, listen, we have to have this. I think it works out better when you go about it that way.”

On whether QB Trent Edwards will compete with Kafka for the back-up role:
“They’re all competing. I don’t know Trent as well, but I know Mike Kafka and I like what I’m seeing from Mike. I like what I’m seeing from Michael Vick, so I keep going back and saying that really, those two, this is their first offseason working with us and we’ll be able to get out there Monday and actually work with the players on the field. Right now that’s not taking place.”

On the importance of Foles being able to play under pressure:
“That’s a big thing. That’s a vital position right there. You just take some hits that are unbelievable. Even though the rules are changing for safety purposes, for the quarterback, and in a lot of cases they still take some big whacks. There are a couple things that you see, now, there are a lot of guys that can take the hit, but then their production after the hit isn’t very good. There are guys that can’t take the hit at all. They’re going to stay down. And then the guys that you really want to find, they get hit, they bounce themselves back up and then they’re throwing strikes afterwards. There’s no flinch involved. You’ve got to have an iron will to do that. He was able to do that at the college level.”

On how confident he feels with Kafka and Foles despite inexperience and only 19 combined NFL passes:
“As long as they were 19 good career passes, that’s all I care about. Listen, they’ve got to start somewhere and we just have to see. That’s why we brought Trent here so we can see how this whole thing works. We’ll make sure we have the best three guys.”

On whether he envisioned being this far into the draft without taking a cornerback:
“Not necessarily. I didn’t have my odds set on having to draft a corner. I’m trusting that [CB Curtis] Marsh continues to improve and he’s been up here every day working. We liked what we saw last year and hopefully we continue to see improvement this year.”

On how important it was to get back a fourth round pick:
“[General manager] Howie [Roseman] did a nice job with that. We really wanted to get that back in place if possible and try to make ourselves whole. Howie worked it and was able to take that place.”

On the potential impact of the three defensive draft picks:
“You’ve to continue to bring an influx of young players in. That’s just this day and age in the National Football League. They are guys who think we can contribute early. Do I think we needed that? Yeah I do. It’ll help with competition level. Not that we don’t have good players at those positions, but you can’t have enough. That competition brings out the best in everybody.”

On whether he sees Marsh as the third cornerback right now:
“Possibly. We’re going to experiment with that just a bit, and we still have [CB] Joselio [Hanson], too. We’re okay there but we’ll see how he works and how he does.”

On whether CB Brandon Hughes can play the slot:
“He has played inside a little bit, yeah.”