Philly March Madness: (7) Maurice Cheeks vs. (10) Eric Desjardins

Philly March Madness: (7) Maurice Cheeks vs. (10) Eric Desjardins

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(7) Maurice Cheeks

The man who ran the point for the Sixers for 11 straight seasons, including the 1983 NBA Championship team that reigned as the last Philly team to bring a parade down Broad Street for way, way too long. Mo Cheeks was your classic point guard. Unselfish, a crafty defender, and a quiet unassuming leader on the court. He was named to the NBA's All Defensive first team four times (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986) and selected for the All-Star game four times (1983, 1986, 1987, 1988). His pass-first, team-oriented style of play was often credited for transforming the early 80s Sixers team from a team full of stars -- with the likes of Julius, Moses, Bobby, and Andrew -- into world champions. "If you want to learn the game, watch Maurice Cheeks," legendary Sixers writer Phil Jasner once said. Younger Sixers fans may remember Cheeks more for his time as coach of the Sixers during a dark period in the franchise's history, and, of course, for the time he helped that poor little girl sing the national anthem, but the image of Cheeks capping off the '83 championship win with a dunk against the Lakers is the most vivid basketball memory I have from my childhood, even if it was based off of seeing it on highlight videos. In February 2011, Cheeks was named one of the 12 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame.


(10) Eric Desjardins

A shutdown defender who won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team's most outstanding defenseman a remarkable seven times, Eric Desjardins came over to the Flyers from Montreal, a team he won a Stanley Cup with in 1993, alongside John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne in exchange for March Recchi and a draft pick in 1995. In addition to being one of the premier puck movers in the league, Desjardins had a great shot that was a dangerous powerplay asset. Tied with Mark Howe for most career powerplay goals for a Flyers defenseman, he was also great at breaking up plays with his stick, kind of like Kimmo Timonen on the current Flyers team. Desjardins wore the 'C' on his sweater after Eric Lindros was stripped of it in March of 2000. One of just 16 men to hold the honor of being the Flyers captain, Desjardins wore it in 2000-01 before passing it on to Keith Primeau the following season. He was named to play in the NHL All-Star game in three different seasons. Desjardins officially announced his retirement in August 2006 after 11 seasons in Philadelphia. He was honored by the Flyers with Eric Desjardins Night in a game against Montreal in 2007.

See all of the Philly March Madness matchups here.

Who should advance to the next round?online survey

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

The Eagles are just 12 days away from the season opener against the Browns. 

And Lane Johnson still isn't suspended. 

The Eagles' starting right tackle is facing a 10-game PED suspension once the B sample returns and shows the same peptide from an amino acid that his A sample did. Johnson expects it to, but it hasn't happened yet. On Aug. 13, after news broke about the looming suspension, Johnson said he thought the results from the B sample back in two to three weeks, although there's no set timetable.  

… Nothing yet. 

So, at what point do the Eagles, who shifted the offensive line in anticipation of the suspension, have to plan for Johnson to be active for the opener? 

"[That’s] a great question, and this is something that we wrestle with every day," head coach Doug Pederson said. "The conversations are such that we've got to have – especially offensively – just have a plan ready to go. 

"I'll tell you this: If he's ready to go, then he's our guy." 

Since news of the impending suspension broke, Johnson has been working with the second team at right tackle. To replace him, the team moved Allen Barbre from left guard to right tackle and inserted rookie Isaac Seumalo at left guard. He stayed there until an injury forced Stefen Wisniewski into the lineup. 

If there's no suspension and Johnson is able to play in the opener, things would then shift back. Johnson would take his job at right tackle, and Barbre would go back to left guard, sending Seumalo and/or Wisniewski to the bench. 

"I think he had a tremendous camp and tremendous offseason at left guard, and you kind of put the pieces back in place," Pederson said of Barbre. "We've seen enough from the [G] Isaacs [Semualo] and [C/G Stefen] Wisniewskis, and [G/T] Allen [Barbre] over there at right tackle that we know we've got the combination of guys – and ‘Big V’ [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai] got plenty of reps – to sustain this thing through the duration."

For now, though, the Eagles aren't treating Johnson like a starter. The veteran will be playing on Thursday in the preseason finale. It might be his last game until Nov. 28 against the Packers. Or not. 

The waiting game continues.  

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Despite having awful career numbers against Max Scherzer, Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup against him Tuesday night.

Howard, 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against the Nationals' ace, bats fourth. 

Howard seems to be coming back to Earth. He hit .357 with seven home runs, four doubles and 16 RBIs in his first 20 games out of the All-Star break, but has gone 2 for 16 with two singles and eight strikeouts since.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field. Peter Bourjos is out of the lineup for a fourth straight game.

The rest of the lineup is standard. Odubel Herrera, who bats second, is 6 for 19 with five walks in his career against Scherzer (see game notes).

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Aaron Altherr, RF
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

NFL Notes: Vikings cancel practice after Teddy Bridgewater injures knee

NFL Notes: Vikings cancel practice after Teddy Bridgewater injures knee

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with an injury in practice on Tuesday, causing the team to cut short its session after 25 minutes.

Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a drill when his right leg appeared to give out. Bridgewater immediately went down while concerned teammates and athletic trainers huddled around him.

Coach Mike Zimmer eventually called off practice, and the rest of the team walked off the field while Bridgewater was being attended to.

The nature of his injury was not immediately clear. But there is little behind Bridgewater on the depth chart, with veteran Shaun Hill the primary backup.

The Vikings host Los Angeles Rams in their final preseason game Thursday night. (See full story.)

Chiefs: Justin Houston placed on PUP list
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs have placed Justin Houston on the physically unable to perform list and put fellow linebacker Josh Mauga on injured reserve as they trimmed down to the NFL's roster limit.

Houston is still recovering from surgery in February to repair a non-functioning ACL in his left knee. He will continue his rehab and be evaluated by Dr. James Andrews during the Chiefs' bye week in early October with the hope that he will play at some point this season.

Mauga tore the labrum in his hip in early August. He will have surgery on Sept. 8.

The Chiefs also waived Mitch Matthews, getting them to 76 players by Tuesday's deadline. The limit is normally 75 but Kansas City got a roster exemption for Eric Berry, who reported to camp Sunday.

Dolphins: Dion Jordan to miss first 6 games
DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan has been placed on the reserve non-football injury list, meaning he's ineligible for the first six games of the season.

The move was expected after Jordan, the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013, underwent minor knee surgery in late July. He received conditional reinstatement from the NFL last month following a 15-month suspension for his latest violation of the league's substance abuse policy, and has been taking part in team meetings.

The underachieving Jordan has played in only 26 games with one start and three sacks.

Linebacker Zach Vigil, who is recovering from a back injury, was also placed on the non-football injury list Tuesday.