The "search" is over. In the end, the Eagles did in fact make a hire, pegging former Dolphins assistant and interim head coach Todd Bowles to coach their defensive backs. On the other hand, Andy Reid chose to retain Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, and according to Reuben Frank, never even considered a replacement.
But enough about that. The addition of Bowles is certainly welcome. A product of Temple University, Bowles played safety in the NFL for eight seasons, seven of those with the Washington Redskins. He spent the the last seven years in Miami as the secondary coach, and went 2-1 in December after replacing Tony Sparano as the club's head coach.
In a sense, getting Bowles to coach the secondary was a steal. Bowles has been considered for several head jobs, and at the very least, a coordinator position should be right around the corner. In fact, his name was mentioned among the potential candidates to replace Castillo.
As for what kind of impact Bowles will have, that remains to be seen, but there is plenty of room for improvement back there. Nnamdi Asomugha struggled to adopt Castillo's concepts, and the safeties haven't developed as quickly as we all would like.
Whatever he does though, it appears it will have to fit in a Juan Castillo scheme. As it turns out, we'll find out next season whether that's for better or worse.
Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were all drafted and developed by the Phillies. They came to the majors and became the best first baseman, shortstop and second baseman in franchise history.
And, of course, they were a huge part of the core of the team that won the 2008 World Series.
Time moves on and so do great players.
Rollins was traded in December 2014 as the team began a rebuild. Utley was traded in August 2015. On Sunday, Howard, the last piece from that championship season, will play his last game with the Phillies.
Rollins took some time Saturday to pass along some thoughts on his friend’s time in red pinstripes.
“When Ryan first arrived in Philadelphia, he was merely filling in for Jim Thome in the eyes of many, but he did not let that opportunity to shine pass him by,” Rollins wrote. “He quickly became feared as he won Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive years and reached 200 home runs quicker than anyone in the history of the game. He loved the pressure and wanted to be the man at the plate when the game mattered most.”
The Phillies won five division titles from 2007 to 2011. Howard led the majors in homers twice and RBIs three times.
“During our run, we leaned on him many times for big hits and clutch home runs and he found ways to deliver,” Rollins said. “Ryan never stopped working to better himself and his craft, whether it was getting to the field early for extra defensive work or finding that sweet home run stroke. Although he hit a lot of them, he was more than just a power hitter -- he was a great teammate.
“We all hoped to bring more than one championship to Philadelphia, but without Ryan that one may not have been possible. So, many thanks to 'Big Piece' for being such a big piece of the best years of my career in the City of Brotherly Love!”
Michal Neuvirth's new mask that he will debut Saturday night against the Bruins in preseason action honors the late Ed Snider.
The goalie’s new helmet will feature graphics of Snider, and the words “A Flyer forever.”
The Flyers logo with Snider’s face inside of it is the centerpiece of the mask. You might be familiar with the design, since the Flyers gave out shirts with it during the playoffs last season.
The design was received well from fans as it was displayed on signs and banners during the teams remaining home games.
The tribute to Snider is a classy move by Neuvirth, and fans will definitely love his new mask. Neuvirth will look to build on his positive momentum from last season when he set career highs with a 2.27 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.