Reid defends DeSean, rips NFL Network

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Reid defends DeSean, rips NFL Network

Andy Reid has gotten mad at DeSean Jackson this year, hes been frustrated with Jackson this year, hes been disappointed in Jackson.

On Friday, he defended him. Vociferously.

Reid said he was very disappointed in NFL Networks coverage of Jackson during the networks national telecast of the Eagles 31-14 loss to the Seahawks Thursday night in Seattle.

In the final minutes of the second quarter, NFL Network sideline reporter Alex Flanagan reported that Jackson had been sitting by himself on the sideline and had not been interacting with his teammates during the game.

But just before she made the comment and again just after she made it her own network clearly showed Jackson talking to his teammates.

Heres the sequence, as shown by NFL Network:

With 3:02 left in the first half, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-2 from their own 46-yard-line. Quarterback Vince Young threw incomplete to Brent Celek near the right sideline. On that same play, NFL Networks cameras showed Young seemingly looking first at Jackson, who ran his route without ever turning to look at Young.

He wants to throw it to DeSean Jackson, and hes not even looking for the football, analyst Mike Mayock said. I dont get that disconnect.

The network used that play as a springboard to present Jackson as isolating himself from his teammates.

This is what Flanagan said moments after Jackson was seen talking to his teammates and moments before he was seen talking to them again:

Thats really been the case all night long. DeSean sitting by himself on the bench, really not paying attention to anybody. Hes not talking to any of his teammates virtually all night.

But with 3:02 left, with 2:49 left and with 0:16 left, there are close-ups of Jackson, clearly having animated conversations with Cooper and Young.

Reid didnt raise the issue at his Friday press conference, but he lashed out at NFL Network when asked specifically about their coverage of Jackson Thursday night.

Im very disappointed in the NFL Network, he said. Very, very disappointed in the way they portrayed DeSean.

Let me tell you, DeSean was all in in that game, Reid said. He had a great attitude during that game, and you can take a camera and you can make things look any way you want to make them look, but the kid was all in last night, and I was proud of him for that.

Reid also said Jackson was unfairly accused with being disinterested on the 3rd-and-2 play when he didnt look back at Young.

Hes a clear route on that, Reid said. Jason Avants the primary on that, Celeks the second read on that, back to the running back on it, and DeSean, all he has to do is occupy the corner and the safety and alls good right there. You can take a camera and make it look any way you want to make it look, but Im telling you, that kid was all in last night and wanted to win that game as much or more than anybody.

Certainly Jacksons behavior this year has been troublesome for the Eagles. He boycotted the first week of training camp because of a contract dispute, he was suspended for a game after missing a mandatory team meeting, he committed a taunting penalty against the Giants that cost the Eagles a 50-yard completion, and hes dropped at least five touchdown passes.

But Reid said he had nothing negative to say about Jacksons performance against the Seahawks Thursday night.

I just care that the kid comes out and plays, Reid said. And he came out and played his heart out last night.

Reid said Jacksons relationship with the other receivers and with the quarterbacks is fine and that he interacts with teammates and coaches in a perfectly normal way.

Absolutely nothing there, Reid said. This is all petty stuff, I know, but Im telling you the kid was all in, and he had a great attitude, and thats what I can tell you. There was nothing on the sideline, there wasnt any commotion with him or Vince. Theres nothing there. Nothing.

The other side of the equation is that Jackson is not having a great year and has struggled in particular since Jeremy Maclin suffered hamstring and shoulder injuries that have kept him out of the last three games.

Jackson, a Pro Bowl pick in 2009 and 2010, has 43 receptions for 698 yards and two touchdowns. After recording 11 TD catches of 35 yards or more in his first three seasons, he doesnt have any long TDs this year. Jackson is earning just 600,000 on the final year of his four-year rookie contract.

Reid said teams are gearing their coverages to stop Jackson and daring the Eagles to beat them with other guys. So far, those other guys have not done the job.

Hes a good player, so you see where they roll a trail guy underneath him with a corner over the top or theyll drive the safety over the top and put a corner underneath, and they try to take him away, Reid said.

But that allows other players opportunities, and then when youre given that opportunity, youve got to make that play. But he has peoples attention, in particular on the deep balls.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

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Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' late-May slide continued in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.
 
Aaron Nola delivered a solid start, but got poor run support. The Phillies entered the game averaging 3.2 runs per game, lowest in the majors.
 
The Nationals scored all their runs on home runs.
 
The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 games. They are 1-7 in their last eight and have gone from 25-19 and two games back in the NL East to 26-26 and 5½ games back.
  
Starting pitching report
Nola went six innings and allowed two runs, both on solo homers. He walked one and struck out six. He is 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
 
Washington right-hander Joe Ross (5-4) pitched a strong game. He gave up just three hits and a run over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five. Ross has given up just two runs over 14 innings in his last two starts.
 
Bullpen report
Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for the Nats in a non-save situation.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits. They have been held to two or fewer runs 20 times in their 52 games.

Cesar Hernandez tripled home the Phillies' only run.

Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy accounted for the Nationals’ first two runs pair of solo homers against Nola. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer off Colton Murray in the ninth and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
Murphy also singled in the game. He had 47 hits in the month of May, tying a Washington/Montreal franchise record that had previously been shared by Al Oliver and Marquis Grissom.

Lineup stuff
Mackanin was trying to send Hernandez a message by batting him eighth (see story).
 
Bryce Harper did not play for Washington. He was hit on the right leg by a pitch in Monday night’s game.
 
Slumping Ryan Howard started at first base and went hitless in three at-bats to fall to .154. He hit .101 (7 for 69) in the month of May.
 
Howard will not start Wednesday night against Max Scherzer. He is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against Scherzer. Tommy Joseph will start that game.
 
Minor matters
Cody Asche’s minor-league rehab stint expires Wednesday. He could rejoin the team at any time.
 
Up next
 The series concludes on Wednesday night. Lefty Adam Morgan (1-3, 6.67) pitches against Washington right-hander Scherzer (5-4, 4.05).

Drexel alum Ken Tribbett enjoys 'special' week for Union

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Drexel alum Ken Tribbett enjoys 'special' week for Union

CHESTER, Pa. — For more than a month, Union center back Ken Tribbett waited patiently on the sidelines, hoping to get the starting spot back that he had and then lost.

Last week, he indeed got back on the field … and then some.

After Joshua Yaro separated his shoulder in Orlando on Wednesday, Tribbett proceeded to notch his first MLS goal and assist, before playing the full 90 minutes in front of 30 family members in his home state of Colorado on Saturday.

It was quite the eventful week for someone who wasn’t expected to play at all during the road trip, let alone accomplish a couple of emotional milestones.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Tribbett told reporters from Tuesday’s training session after the Union returned home following hard-fought road draws vs. Orlando City SC and the Colorado Rapids. “For me, being out a month, mentally I had to make sure I stayed tuned in. And when I got my chance, I stepped in and was ready to go.”

Even if you are mentally prepared, it’s still not an easy thing to step in at center back in the middle of a game, considering that’s a position that rarely gets changed. Making things even more difficult was the fact that Yaro, who took over starting duties after Tribbett rolled his ankle in April, had been looking every bit like the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.

“Josh was playing a great game in Orlando,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “If you go back and watch the tape, he was one of our top performers. Ken stepped in at the end of the first half, which is challenging at center back — not a position you like to sub at all. But Ken came in pretty seamlessly and got the goal, which is a bonus, obviously.”

You can call it a really big bonus.

Tribbett was never expected to even be in MLS this year after failing to get much notice following a standout career at Drexel.

And he certainly wasn’t expected to log much playing time this season with the Union, who added Yaro and Anderson, a Brazilian, to a position that already featured a rising star in Richie Marquez.

So surprises are nothing new for Tribbett, who started the first five games of the year after soaring up the depth chart in the preseason and now has a goal to add to his unlikely MLS resume.

But it’s no surprise to him.

“I don’t think shock is the right word because I expect a lot of myself and I expect to score a couple of goals this year,” Tribbett said. “So it was just more relief to get the first one out of the way. Any time you score, it’s jubilation, so that was awesome. And to tie the game in Orlando after going down 2-1 was really good for the team, so everything about it was just a special moment.”

Tribbett, who also had a secondary assist in Orlando, enjoyed another “special moment” just three days later when he got to play in the Denver area where he grew up. That was not something he could have imagined after his circuitous journey took him from Colorado to Drexel to the USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders and now to the Union.

“That was probably a moment I won’t ever forget,” Tribbett said. “I had about 20 or 30 family members there, and for a lot of them it was the first time they’ve seen me play professionally. So being back home in Colorado was a special feeling.”

Although the Union backline stayed organized and surrendered only a couple of shots on target in Colorado, Curtin did say it wasn’t the best performance from Tribbett. But the Union coach is ready to lean on him again for Wednesday’s game vs. the Columbus Crew at Talen Energy Stadium (7 p.m./TCN) while Yaro gets an MRI on his shoulder.

“He did fatigue at the end and I talked to him about it,” Curtin said of Tribbett. “He had a couple of little mistakes toward the end of the game. Part of that is your legs starting to fade. But it’s good for him that’s under his belt. He’ll be ready to go now [Wednesday] for the full 90 minutes.”

With the Union idle for two weeks following Wednesday’s game because of a Copa America layoff — and Tribbett’s place in the lineup uncertain from there — the Drexel alum is certainly excited to get back on the field for his first home game since April 8.

“It’s a very important game,” Tribbett said. “We want to go into the break with certain goals for ourselves. We want to be at the top of the conference, and if we win, we’ll achieve that goal. We want to keep one goal per game [allowed]. Right now, we’re one off that, so if we get a shutout tomorrow, we’ll be right back on track.”

Pete Mackanin sends Cesar Hernandez a message

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Pete Mackanin sends Cesar Hernandez a message

Pete Mackanin dropped second baseman Cesar Hernandez to eighth in the batting order for Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals.

“If you want to call it a message you can call it a message,” Mackanin said.

Hernandez entered the game hitting .255 with a .616 OPS. Last year, he hit .272 with and .687 OPS.

“I expect more out of him,” Mackanin said. “I think he's a better hitter than he's shown. I think he's a .280 hitter and I think he's at .250. I want to see improvement. We need him to get back up to .280, where I think he belongs. He’s got to make adjustments. We need offense.”

Mackanin pointed to Hernandez’s double-play partner, shortstop Freddy Galvis, as an example of a player who has made improvements.

Galvis entered Tuesday night hitting .257 with a .696 OPS. But in the month of May, he was hitting .277 with a .708 OPS.

“Freddy is starting to come on,” Mackanin said. “He’s starting to make adjustments.”

Galvis has also played excellent defense.

The Phillies are a rebuilding club with a number of potential big-league contributors rounding out their development in the minors. The team’s top prospect is a shortstop – J.P. Crawford – and he’s in Triple A now. It’s not out of the question that he will be the team’s opening day shortstop next season.

Crawford’s eventual ascension impacts both Galvis and Hernandez. Galvis can also play second base. Whether Hernandez or Galvis becomes the second baseman when Crawford arrives could be determined by who hits. This is the time to make impressions.

“That's basically what it boils down to,” Mackanin said. “I've even talked to them about that — 'It's an important year for both of you because there are people who want to be in the big leagues that are in the minor leagues and want to take your job.' You have to approach it that way. You can't let down. You have to stay focused and work hard.”

While all signs point to Crawford taking over at shortstop in the future, Mackanin said Galvis’ defense should not be taken for granted.

“As well as Freddy is playing shortstop, you'd hate to move a guy like that out of that position,” Mackanin said. “It's a defensive position and he's been so good at it.”

Galvis entered Tuesday night with just two errors in 50 games. His .990 fielding percentage trailed only San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford and Detroit’s Jose Iglesias, both .995.