Eagles Preseason Week 4: Your Last Chance to See A.Q. Shipley in Action

Eagles Preseason Week 4: Your Last Chance to See A.Q. Shipley in Action

If you have a soft spot for one or two of the training camp darlings, this is the game for you. If not... move along people, nothing to see here. Most of the starters will likely sit this one out against--who are they playing again? Ah, right--the New York Jets.

In all seriousness, these final preseason games can be oddly mesmerizing. Some promising young players will get lots of minutes they won't see during the regular season, while a bunch of relative unknowns will be busting their asses for the few roster spots still up for grabs, or maybe just the off-chance another team will take notice and give them a shot.

There will also be plenty of sloppy, ugly, reserve football, as these guys just don't get the same number of reps as the starters, and sometimes that can be fun too. There are a handful of interesting storylines left though, so let's take a look:

Vince Young/Mike Kafka
The Eagles have one game to win, and Mike Vick is hurt. Who ya got? Or, Vick is done for an extended period of time, and Andy Reid needs somebody to manage the club to the post-season. Still the same answer?

It's interesting. Young is an incredible athlete who the Eagles could put on the field in any situation and know they would have a shot to win. Then again, Kafka has been in the system for a year, and might be less likely to get out-schemed by the defense. The coaches don't have an easy decision to make with regard to their backup, so it's a good thing they don't make it tonight.

But my money is on the guy making $4 million.

Dion Lewis
Not surprisingly, the Pitt product has looked great when he's had the chance to play. He's shown a little bit of everything in the preseason: good speed and toughness, elusiveness in the open field, ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and isn't afraid to get his nose in there on pass protection. He's going to be a solid NFL back, but his shot probably won't come until next season.

Danny Watkins
The first round pick requested he play in this game tonight, which is good news for those concerned with the big Canadian's preparation for Week 1. A guy like that probably just needs reps to get adjusted to the speed of the game, so the more he can take tonight, the better. My guess is we will also see Jason Kelce, or at least we better, as he looked like the bigger work in progress of the two last week.

Derek Landri
Here is a guy who has been having an outstanding preseason, and may even seal the deal on a roster spot. Landri had sacks against Baltimore and Cleveland, and also a tipped pass. He's been very adept at getting backfield penetration. Signed after Mike Patterson's seizure, the four-year veteran started 16 games for Carolina last year, notching three sacks.

Trevor Laws hasn't played at all yet this preseason, but he will tonight, so this could be a make or break performance for a pair of Golden Domers.

Joselio Hanson
After a solid five year run as the team's nickel corner, it appears Jose's time with the club could be coming to an end. With Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie joining Asante Samuel, not to mention developing projects Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh, holding on to Hanson at his $2.4 million cap figure doesn't make much sense.

The formerly undrafted player doesn't need much of audition for a new job--he's made 18 starts in his career--so maybe the Eagles will keep him out of harm's way and protect an asset rumored to be on the trading block. Or, like many of the camp bodies who helped the team get through a makeshift summer, tonight could be our last chance to see Hanson in a Birds uniform.

Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

The Phillies' starting pitching rotation, for the time being, features four arms that were acquired in trades that have coincided with the team's rebuild, which started after the 2014 season.

Nick Pivetta will become the latest to join the group when he is officially activated. He was in the Phillies' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but those plans changed when Tuesday night's game against the Miami Marlins was postponed because of rain.

No makeup date was announced.

The rainout means Pivetta's big-league debut will be pushed back. Vince Velasquez, Tuesday's scheduled starter, will pitch Wednesday night against the Marlins and Jeremy Hellickson will start the series finale Thursday. Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin are likely to stay on turn and pitch Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles. That means Pivetta's debut will likely happen Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Not a bad venue for an unveiling. He does not have to be activated until that day. In the interim, the Phils are carrying an extra reliever in Mark Leiter Jr.

Even with the weather-related change in plans, Pivetta was thrilled to be in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"I've achieved my goal of getting here eventually," the 24-year-old right-hander said. "I'm happy to be here. I want to get my feet on solid ground right now and just take it one step at a time.”

Pivetta is a Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia, about 100 miles northwest of Seattle. As a kid, he watched Toronto Blue Jays' games on television and idolized Roy Halladay. (see story).

Victoria must now be Phillies territory. Michael Saunders, the team's rightfielder, also hails from the town.

"You see it more and more, more Canadians getting into the game of baseball, so it’s always nice to see another one in the locker room," said Saunders, 30. "Clearly he’s pitched well enough to earn his way up here and I’m looking forward to seeing him play."

Pivetta is 6-5, 225 pounds. He was originally selected by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. The Phillies acquired him for Jonathan Papelbon and cash in July 2015.

Pivetta will take Aaron Nola's spot in the rotation. Nola is on the disabled list with tightness in his lower back. He could be back as soon as early next week.

Nola said he probably could have pushed himself and stayed in the rotation, but the team chose to be cautious.

"I don’t think it's any big thing," Nola said.

With Pivetta on board, the Phillies now have four pitchers in their rotation that came over in "rebuild" trades.

Eflin arrived in the December 2014 deal that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers.

Eickhoff came in the July 2015 deal that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers.

Velasquez came in the December 2015 trade that sent Ken Giles to the Astros.

Pivetta did not immediately pitch well upon joining the Phillies organization. He had a 7.31 ERA in seven starts for Double A Reading in the summer of 2015. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 25 and walked 19.

Pivetta was a different pitcher last season. He registered a 3.27 ERA in 148 2/3 innings between Double A and Triple A, struck out 138 and walked 51. That performance earned him a spot on the team's 40-man roster.

“In 2016, he showed us the potential to be a really good major-league pitcher,” said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development. “He was a little excitable after the trade in 2015, but he came back calm and confident last year. His stuff is legit — 93 to 96 (mph) with life on the fastball, good breaking ball and good feel for the changeup.”

His control continued to improve this season as he got off to a 3-0 start at Triple A. He pitched 19 innings, gave up just two earned runs, walked just two and struck out 24.

"Just getting ahead with my fastball," said Pivetta, explaining the early-season success that put him in line for the promotion. "First-pitch strikes are big. Even if I get into that 0-1 count or that 1-1 count, getting back to that 1-2 count is big. So being able to even up those counts have been really big for me, as well, and being able to finish off with my off-speed later in the counts, too.”

Pivetta pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March. He made one start and took a no-decision in the team's 4-1 loss to Columbia. Pivetta worked four innings and allowed one run.

“That helped me," Pivetta said. "It was awesome. It was like having playoff baseball in March."

It's not clear how long Pivetta will stay in the big-league rotation. But he has more than put himself on the map, and if he continues to pitch well, he'll make more starts with the big club this season.

“I did not expect to be here this early in the season," he said. "I am happy to be here right now. I'll see how long I stay and just have fun while I am here.”

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Should the Eagles give Carson Wentz a say in who they take in the draft?

He is the future of the franchise after all.

"If there's any player on our roster that has insight into a guy in free agency or the draft, it's part of our information gathering," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said last Thursday.

So the Eagles will at least listen to Wentz — and others — about certain prospects. The second-year QB got a firsthand look at a few receiving prospects during offseason workouts. 

However, former Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski thinks it would be a "mistake" to give Wentz any input into the team's draft decision-making. 

"I don't think the quarterback should have any input in the draft," Jaworski said Tuesday. "Plain and simple. The quarterback should quarterback his football team. I know he'll be a teammate, but the Eagles — like every other team in this league — do extensive scouting. They know what they're doing, they'll select the player they believe is the best player."

Jaws would know -- he made that very mistake once.

"I had someone ask me a question back in 1978 or '79," Jaworski said. "They said, 'Hey Jaws, what do you think the Eagles need?' And I said we could probably improve our wide receiver position. 

"Oh, by the way, Harold Carmichael is one of our wide receivers, the next time I saw him he said, 'Hey, what are you talking about?' So it was a mistake, and I apologized to Harold and that was the last comment I ever made about the draft and my teammates. So I think players ought to shut up and let the front office make those decisions."

To be fair, Carmichael held a little more weight in his day than Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham do now. 

Jaworski went on to tell a wild story of his own draft day in 1973 (watch video here), and also made the case for the Eagles to stock up on cornerbacks in the draft (watch video here).