Eagles safety Allen has rough showing in defeat


Eagles safety Allen has rough showing in defeat

PITTSBURGH -- Nate Allen had two excuses at his disposal Thursday night. The Eagles free safety chose to use neither.

Allen had a rough night and so did the rest of his teammates as the Pittsburgh Steelers rolled to a 24-point lead in beating the Eagles 24-14 in a preseason game at Heinz Field.

The Steelers drove 14 plays for touchdowns in each of their two possessions, going a combined 176 yards against a new and improved "Dream Team" defense that added cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, end Jason Babin and tackle Cullen Jenkins in free agency.

Allen made pivotal mistakes on both drives but didn't hide from them.

"I didn't execute very well," Allen said. "The defense as a whole didn't execute well."

Allen is coming off knee surgery that cut his rookie season short by three games last year. Furthermore, he and free safety Kurt Coleman are adjusting to new defensive coordinator Luis Castillo asking the safeties to provide more run support than predecessor Sean McDermott.

However, Allen said the knee was not a factor despite a greatly increased workload. He played into the fourth quarter on Thursday after being on the field sparingly in the Eagles' preseason opener against Baltimore a week earlier.

"It was a really good test for the knee, to be able to get out there and play for a long time," Allen said. "It feels fine. There is a little soreness there, which is to be expected, but no pain. I don't think it's an issue anymore."

Playing closer to the line, though, is still a learning experience for Allen and he struggled mightily during the first two drives.

Allen's problems started on the third play of the game when tight end Heath Miller got past him and caught an 11-yard pass for a first down on third-and-1. Later in the drive, Allen got beat again on a third-and-8 play when wide receiver Arnaz Battle took a short pass over the middle from Roethlisberger and turned it into an 18-yard gain.

Allen's third-down problems continued on the final play when he was tentative on a blitz and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took advantage by throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who got wide open against Asante Samuel.

Allen blitzed from the left side and cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie came charging from the right. Running back Rashard Mendenhall blocked Rodgers-Cromartie, at which point Allen stopped and jumped instead of continuing into the backfield. That gave Roethlisberger plenty of time to loft the ball to Brown.

The second drive provided even more third-down trouble for Allen. He and SAM linebacker Jamar Chaney blitzed on a third-and-4 play, but Roethlisberger made a quick release and hit running back Mewelde Moore for a 23-yard gain to the Eagles' 12.

Three plays later, Allen got turned around as veteran wide receiver Hines Ward ran past him and hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 with 11:02 left in the first half.

"It was a good test for me and the entire defense in facing the Steelers," Allen said. "They've got a great team. They went to the Super Bowl last season and they've got a lot of weapons on their offense. We didn't play well against them, but the important thing is to learn from it and get ready for the regular season. We've got two more games to get ready and I think we're going to be just fine."
E-mail John Perrotto at perrotto.john@gmail.com.

Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni


Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni

The Sixers are losing a top assistant coach just five months after he joined the team. 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical, the Houston Rockets are finalizing a deal to hire Mike D'Antoni as their head coach. According to Wojnarowski, the deal is for four years, with a team option in the final year.  

D'Antoni had been a Sixers associate coach since last December, when the team hired him after starting the season with a 1-26 record. 

While he took a supporting role in Philadelphia, D'Antoni has 12 years of NBA head coaching experience with the Nuggets, Suns (where he worked with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and special advisor Jerry Colangelo) and, most recently, the Lakers. The 2013-14 Lakers went 27-55 under D'Antoni. 

D’Antoni is 455-426 as a head coach. He won the 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Suns. He also was an assistant coach for gold-winning Team USA men’s national teams.

Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff withdrew himself from consideration for the job earlier this month, and D’Antoni has been considered a top candidate for the position. The Rockets have had four coaches in the past 10 seasons, including Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman, Kevin McHale and Bickerstaff.

The Rockets finished eighth in the Western Conference this season with a 41-41 record. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Warriors, 4-1. 

Earlier in the week, Wojnarowski reported P.J. Carlesimo could take D'Antoni's place. 

Carlesimo, 66, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown were both assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs from 2002-07. Carlesimo also has previous head coaching experience with the Blazers, Warriors and Sonics/Thunder. 

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro contributed to this story.

Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

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Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

Former Prep Charter and current Washington Wizards star Markieff Morris was detained at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday, according to law enforcement officials.

Morris, who was with a party that included his mother, checked a bag for an international trip when “a suspicious item” was found in his suitcase, according to law enforcement.

A secondary search of his bag revealed what law enforcement officials called “suspected marijuana.” Terminal A at Philadelphia International is overseen by Tinicum Township Police in Delaware County, not by the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia airport security notified Tinicum Township Police. Morris was then taken to the Tinicum Township Police precinct for questioning. He was later released on his own recognizance.

A Tinicum Township police spokesman said the investigation is ongoing.

Morris, a Philadelphia native, is in his first full season with the Wizards, who acquired him from the Phoenix Suns in February. The Suns drafted him out of Kansas with the 13th overall pick in 2011. Morris' twin brother Marcus was drafted one pick later by the Houston Rockets before being dealt to Phoenix, where played with his brother for a little more than two seasons. Marcus now plays for the Detroit Pistons. 

Brian Dawkins spotted at Eagles practice and he still looks ripped


Brian Dawkins spotted at Eagles practice and he still looks ripped

Brian Dawkins, one of the most beloved Eagles off all time and a guy who clearly still hits the gym, was in Philadelphia on Thursday and was spotted at the NovaCare Complex to watch the team practice.

As you can see, Dawkins still has biceps as big as your waist. The team sharing a simple photo of Dawkins got fans all in a tizzy.

Was it a coincidence that Weapon X appeared just days before "X-Men: Apocalypse" is set to hit theaters? Only he knows.

For his part, Dawkins acknowledged that it's better to stay in shape than become a fat old man.