Ray's Replies: Is Kelly 'looking dumb' by waiting on Vick?

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Ray's Replies: Is Kelly 'looking dumb' by waiting on Vick?

Q. Some reporters keep repeating the Eagles have nothing to lose by keeping Mike Vick and not making a decision until the last possible minute. I totally disagree. Chip Kelly is a brand new coach so everyone is watching every move he makes to see if he knows what he is doing. This is his first and most important player personnel decision in the NFL.

Logically, a new coach would immediately dump an old, declining quarterback like Vick. He has failed miserably the past three years. It is a no-brainer. Kelly is looking dumb and indecisive and showing a lack of strong leadership by being wishy-washy on this obvious but important decision.

I think a poor perception of Kelly is more harmful than possibly a seventh-round draft pick they could get in a trade (for Vick).

-Domenic Z.


A. I think you are overreacting, Domenic. I don’t think the rest of the NFL will judge Kelly on this decision nor should they. This is just one of many decisions the new coach has to make as he begins cleaning up the mess he inherited from Andy Reid. The question of whether he knows what he is doing won’t be answered in this offseason. It will take time.

I don’t have a problem with Kelly keeping Vick on the roster for now. The Eagles don’t have to pay Vick the $3 million until March, so they have time to weigh their options and that’s what they are doing. It doesn’t mean Kelly is dumb or indecisive. It has nothing to do with leadership. He is just doing his homework and taking his time. That’s fine.

I don’t know what Kelly ultimately plans to do, but if it were up to me, I would cut ties with Vick at some point within the next month. In that regard, Domenic, we agree.

Even if Vick agreed to accept a pay cut, it wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to keep him around. It’s time to move on, turn the page, pick any cliché you like. Vick will find a QB job for next season, but it should not be here.

Some see Vick as a fit for Kelly’s offense. I don’t. For one thing, he never has run anything like Kelly’s option, which means he would be trying to learn a new offense. The reads, the ball-handling and timing are totally different. Asking a soon-to-be 33-year-old quarterback, who isn’t always the best pupil, to make that kind of transition does not make sense.

Those who try to project Vick in this offense do so because they still think of him as a running threat. He’s not anymore. He hasn’t just lost a step, he has lost more than that and in the NFL that’s the difference between explosive and ordinary. The option is a different kind of running anyway. It is not scrambling; it is assignment running, reading on the move and reacting. Again, it would be new to Vick.

Kelly has said he can’t play with quarterbacks who take bad sacks and quarterbacks who turn the ball over. Those are the things that characterized Vick’s play the past two seasons. If Kelly is studying the tape, he will see ample evidence of that.

Also, in the option, the quarterback gets hit a lot. He doesn’t have the rules to protect him in the same way they protect a drop-back passer. So how does a player as injury-prone as Vick figure in that equation? Simply put, he doesn’t.

In my opinion, keeping Vick around would be a waste of time. Even if you think he can run this offense, could you foresee him running it two years from now? He’ll be 34 then with an even thicker medical file. There’s no point.

Vick would be, at best, a one-year stop gap and Kelly would have to start over with another quarterback the following year. He would be better off trying to develop that quarterback now. Keeping Vick for another year will only slow down the process.

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

The Sixers finished in the basement of the NBA standings last season with a league-low 10 wins. But with the influx of young talent and addition of a couple veterans to the roster, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are betting on the Sixers to make some strides upward in the 2016-17 standings.  

Last week, the WestGate Superbook in Las Vegas set the Sixers' over/under for wins this season at an optimistic 27½, which was the fourth-lowest projection in the league.

Similarly, while Bovada is projecting another season of basketball filled with mostly losses in Philadelphia, the sportsbook doesn't view the Sixers as a shoo-in to finish as the league's worst team for the second consecutive year.

Per Bovada, the Sixers have the fourth-longest odds (125/1) to capture the Atlantic Divison title for the first time since 2001-02, beating out the Nets (250/1) by a considerable margin.

The favorite to win the division is the Celtics at 20/21, trailed closely by the defending division champion Raptors (21/20). The Knicks are between the Raptors and Sixers at 10/1.

The Sixers (150/1) also edged out the Nets (200/1) in odds to win the Eastern Conference championship. The two teams in the conference directly ahead of the Sixers in that futures bet are the Hornets (100/1) and Magic (50/1).

The Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference at 5/11, followed by the Celtics (5/1) and Raptors (14/1).

Least surprising of all futures odds, Bovada has the Sixers tied with four other teams for the longest odds to win the NBA title. The Nuggets, Kings, Nets and Suns were tied with the Sixers at 500/1 odds to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The early favorites to win it all are the same two teams that met in the 2016 Finals. The Warriors are alone at top with the shortest odds at 4/5 trailed by the Cavaliers at 3/1.

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

ATLANTA — The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves — No. 157 of 162 — ranked last in the majors in runs scored (591) and were hanging out near the bottom in a slew of other important offensive categories.
 
The stat sheet says the Phillies need more offense.
 
So does the manager.
 
Pete Mackanin plans to make his case for adding a bat this winter — the best fit would be in the outfield — in an end-of-season meeting with the front office Friday at Citizens Bank Park.
 
“Basically, having talked to the rest of the coaching staff, we’re all pretty much in agreement with what our needs are,” Mackanin said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m anxious to hear from (general manager) Matt Klentak and from (president) Andy MacPhail and if there’s an owner there. We’d like to hear what they have to say. We’re pretty much in agreement on a lot of what we need.
 
“I, for one, think we need at least one hitter that gives you quality at-bats.”
 
There could be hurdles in adding a bat. Money is not one of them. All of the team’s big contracts will be gone when Ryan Howard rides off into the sunset on Sunday. The team that spent over a half-billion in salaries from 2012 to 2014 (and missed the playoffs each time) has plenty of money and has vowed to spend it in due time. But that time might not arrive until team leaders believe the club has built a nucleus that would benefit from the signing of a "finishing" talent or two. The team is committed to building that nucleus from within, and there lies the potential hurdle in adding the difference-making bat that Mackanin craves. Building from within requires eventually giving players from the system an opportunity to prove themselves and grow at the major-league level. The front office, still very much committed to a rebuild, will be cognizant of blocking those players (the list includes Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens and others) and their opportunities. Klentak has said as much on several occasions this year.
 
Even Mackanin acknowledged that the situation is a Catch-22.
 
“I know I don’t want to block a prospect that has a chance to be a big part of it,” he said.
 
“But at the same time, I think by having one guy in the middle of the lineup or somewhere in the lineup that can take a little pressure off (Maikel) Franco and (Odubel) Herrera and the rest of them could do wonders. You look at when (Matt) Kemp joined the Braves. They all went off. They’re all hitting. They’ve scored more runs than anybody, I think, since the All-Star break. Last year, with (Yoenis) Cespedes, he joined the Mets and all of a sudden they all started hitting.
 
“I will give those examples. I feel that’s important.”
 
A number of outfield bats will be on the free-agent market this winter. Cespedes could be there if he opts out of his contract with the Mets, but he’s not likely to be interested in joining a rebuilding team and the Phillies are unlikely to want the long-term commitment a player like that would require. Dexter Fowler and Matt Holliday could be free agents if their options for 2017 are not exercised. Ian Desmond will be out there, but the Rangers will probably look to retain him. Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Colby Rasmus will also be out there. Martin Prado is the type of “professional hitter” that would appeal to Mackanin, but he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.