@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

It's NFL Draft Day! Do you have any idea what the Eagles are going to do tonight? Neither do I. And that's the problem, right there.

The entire time Andy Reid was the coach of the Eagles, he stayed tight-lipped about his plans for the draft and free agency. I guess he didn't trust us lowly fans with such important information- once again, it was all about Andy believing he was smarter than all of the rest of us. When Andy was fired and Chip Kelly replaced him, I was hoping we'd at least get some transparency.

No such luck, I'm afraid. Not only has Chip Kelly been just as silent about the Eagles' draft plans as Andy always was, but he hasn't done a single thing yet to show that he knows what he's doing when it comes to drafting. I want Chip to come out, this morning, and tell us exactly who he plans to take with the fourth pick. I think we're owed at least that, especially from an organization that just raised ticket prices after going 4-12.

Leading the Eagles to a record that earned them the fourth pick, in the year of the weakest draft in memory, was clearly an intentional move on Andy Reid's part, and so was taking a job with one of the only teams picking ahead of the Eagles.

The invaluable Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported earlier in the week that the Eagles have four players they're focusing on, unless they trade down. Based on that rock-solid information, what should the Eagles do at #4?

I don't want Geno Smith, I really don't need another scrambling quarterback who's not trustworthy in the clutch. EJ Manuel wore #7 in college, so he's out too. Ryan Nassib? No thank you; who wants another quarterback from Syracuse?

No interest in Dion Jordan; the Phillies tried Ricky and Kevin, the Eagles Akeem, and the Sixers Eddie, but Jordans never seem to work out in Philly. Star Lotulelei is a no-go too; I'm sick of players from Utah. Dee Milliner has a girl's name. And the Eagles better not do any of those arrogant things Andy used to do on draft day, like trade up, trade down, or draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

You know who the Eagles should draft? Luis Suarez. The soccer player for English club team Liverpool last weekend bit an opposing player and then, just a few minutes later, scored a last-second, game-tying goal.

I'm certainly no soccer fan, but the Eagles could really use a guy with that sort of killer instinct and skill in the clutch- imagine what a hero a guy would be in this town if he bit Tony Romo, and then scored a game-winning touchdown. And most importantly, it sounds like B-Dawk agrees!

So get out there and get drafting, Chip Kelly. Because if you don't have a good first draft, you're certainly going to hear it from the crowd at the first home game.

Other Philly sports takes:

- The Eagles schedule came out this week. I'm seeing loss, loss, win, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss.

- Bryz falling asleep in a team meeting is an outrage. In this town, we want athletes who eagerly participate in team meetings, and ask lots of questions.

- A Paulie statue in Kensington? Why not? It's important every Rocky supporting character get a statue before Joe Frazier.

- I still can't believe Rutgers fired Mike Rice, just for showing leadership as a coach. I mean, if Andrew Bynum had had to worry about basketballs weezing by his head, I think he'd have found a way to get on the court. Anyway, Rutgers certainly got what they deserved: New coach Eddie Jordan.

- Jonathan Pettibone made a really solid debut for the Phils the other night. He looks like a keeper in this rotation- might it be time to approach him with an extention? Between him and Jesse Biddle, who struck out 16 in Double-A the same night, things are really looking up for the future of the Phils' young pitching.

- On the other hand, the Phils could really use a veteran outfield bat with some pop, so Pettibone could be a useful trade chip.

- Pettibone for Carlos Beltran! Pettibone and Biddle for Josh Hamilton! Pettibone, Biddle and Domonic Brown for Giancarlo Stanton. Come on, Ruben!

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench. 

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.” 

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Gotta love Bryz, right?

Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was his usual humorous, unpredictable self in a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca's Luke Fox.

From what he's doing now to talking pressure as a goalie, here are some of the highlights ...

On a goalie's mental state when job security is up in the air (referenced to Flyers goalie Steve Mason)
“So many goalies take the job for a long time, so it’s easy to be out of game. You worry. You want to find a long-term job, pay bills. It’s not a secret. That’s why when there’s no [contractual] certainty and you don’t see 100 percent confidence from your team, it might affect your game. If the season’s not going well, you start thinking about it.”

On his son playing goalie
"He chose it. He’s the guy who gives his team a chance to win. Make some saves. But he plays as a player once a week, too. Shoots the puck on goalies every Wednesday pretty much.”

On being a hockey dad
“I’m pretty calm. I only get upset when I see the referees make the bad calls. The kids work so hard and play so passionately, you can’t take sides. Only when the referee’s unfair.”

On being a pro hockey player in Las Vegas
"I’m family guy, settled down. I’ve never been too emotional or casino-addicted. For me, no problem. For the young guys to play there, it causes trouble, man. Difficult trouble. … The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean?"

The rest is just as good. For the full Q&A, read Fox's article right here.

Also, Bryzgalov will be a part of Sportsnet's trade deadline coverage next Wednesday.

And side note: Bryz remains active on Twitter. And remains random as ever.

Just look at his last tweet ...