Eagles Extras: Rodgers injured, Nnamdi cut, Foles to the Hall of Fame

Eagles Extras: Rodgers injured, Nnamdi cut, Foles to the Hall of Fame

Nick Foles is Canton-bound! Well, his jersey is anyway.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame requested some game-used gear from Foles’ historic seven-touchdown performance in Oakland, and what better than his white no. 9 to display in the museum of football? A few reporters were able to snap a quick photo of the jersey as the team was preparing a goody bag to ship out.

Quite an honor to have even so much as a piece of equipment in the Hall. Now, about that bust…

Rodgers out for Sunday

Big news out of Green Bay last night, where Aaron Rodgers exited the Packers’ game versus the Bears early in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. According to reports, the 2011 Most Valuable Player is expected to miss three weeks with a fracture in his collarbone, which will obviously keep him out for Sunday’s tilt with the Eagles.

Seneca Wallace replaced Rodgers in the 27-20 loss to Chicago, and the drop-off was significant. The 10th-year veteran was nowhere near as impactful, completing 11-of-19 passes for 119 yards with an interception. Wallace now has a short week to turn around and prepare for his first start since 2011.

The injury could be a huge break for the Birds, who are still hanging one game back of the Cowboys in the NFC East. Philadelphia’s defense has not allowed more than 21 points in a game since Week 4 at Denver.

Nnamdi has plenty of me-time

Checking in with some more news from around the league, the biggest free-agent bust in Eagles history is already looking for work again. The 49ers released Nnamdi Asomugha on Monday after the four-time All-Pro appeared in just three games for his new team.

Asomugha signed a five-year, $60 million contract in Philadelphia in 2011, but the team released him in March despite a sizable hit against the salary cap. Some questioned whether the Birds were using Asomugha correctly during his tumultuous two seasons with the Birds—guess it wasn’t the scheme after all.

What happened to the player who was once considered the best cornerback in the NFL? Asomugha turned 32 over the summer, so maybe he just got old. Whatever the case, he has plenty of time for lunch in his car now.

Eagles bring back CB

In somewhat related news, the Eagles re-signed a corner from their recent past on Tuesday. With Bradley Fletcher banged up and his condition unknown the Sunday’s game, the team brought back Curtis Marsh to help with depth issues beyond the top three.

A third-round pick by the Birds in 2011, Marsh was released by the team toward the end of training camp. He had a cup of coffee on Cincinnati’s roster this year, appearing in two games.

It will be interesting to see if he gets on the field at all. Marsh never got much of a chance during his time in Philly while playing behind the likes of Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel. No idea if he can play or not, but then he probably wouldn't be available if he could.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.
 

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

There was no better story of personal triumph on the Phillies' roster than Tommy Joseph in 2016.

Dumped from the 40-man roster and passed over by 29 other teams on the waiver wire and in the Rule 5 draft in 2015, he reported to minor-league camp with his career on the line last spring.

Two months later, thanks to good health and a molten bat, Joseph's career began to spike upward.

But 4½ months in the big leagues and the promise of a starting job in the majors in 2017 hasn't changed Joseph's outlook or the mindset he will take into spring training camp next month.

He's still going to scrap and claw for everything, just like he did a year ago when he was fighting for his baseball life after a series of concussions put his career in jeopardy.

"I'm preparing the same way I did last winter," Joseph said during an offseason stop at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

"The job is not given to me. I still have to win it. I'm not going to walk in and have it. Obviously, it's mine to take and I plan on going in and winning the job."

Joseph, 25, earned a significant slice of the starting first base job last year. But with Ryan Howard, the last piece of the 2008 World Series team, gone, Joseph has a chance to stake an even greater claim to the position in 2017 and establish himself as a serious building block in the Phillies' rebuild.

"Tommy came out of nowhere last year," manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's something to be excited about there. He was off the map and he did enough to warrant a real strong look this year. And hopefully, he can improve and take baby steps toward being a final product."

Joseph pushed himself to the majors and cut into Howard's playing time last season by hitting .347 with six homers, 17 RBIs and a .981 OPS in 27 games at Triple A. He came to the majors in mid-May and hit .257 with 21 homers and 47 RBIs in 107 games. In the fall, Joseph briefly played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but right wrist tendinitis, now fully healed, cut the stint short.

Joseph's good showing at the plate in 2016 was partly the result of his finding good health. As he recovered from a fifth concussion in the summer of 2015, it was discovered that he had a series of ocular problems. They were addressed through therapy and ... well, it's amazing what a hitter can do when he can see the ball.

This year, Joseph will look to improve in the field. The converted catcher is looking to add quickness around the first base bag and that starts with better footwork. At the urging of bench coach/infield instructor Larry Bowa, Joseph has been jumping rope and doing box drills all winter.

Joseph also wants to improve his approach and mindset at the plate. Though he wants to drive the ball like his size — 235 pounds — and position dictate, he wants to improve his on-base percentage and thus his OPS, on-base plus slugging percentage.

Joseph struck out 75 times and walked just 22 times in 347 plate appearances in 2016 and his on-base percentage was just .308. But over the final month of the season, he made an effort to be more selective at the plate and he recorded a .327 batting average and .406 on-base percentage (while slugging .618) over the final 23 games of the season. He struck out 10 times but walked seven over that span.

"My whole career has been a battle when it comes to walking," Joseph said. "I started to listen and read more what veterans around the league were saying about on-base percentage and OPS. Slugging is important on the corners, but there are times you have to take your walks. It's relevant because the best players in the game have a high OPS."

Joseph needs to improve in this area for a couple of reasons. First, the front office is intent on building a long-term lineup around players who control the strike zone, i.e., those who don't chase bad pitches. And second, the Phils have a legitimate run-producing first base prospect in Rhys Hoskins set to take his game to Triple A in 2017.

Joseph knows all of this and takes nothing for granted.

"The only difference this year will be I'm on the big-league side in spring training, but everything still has to be earned," he said.

The Phillies ranked last in the majors — or "last in the world," as Mackanin said — with just 610 runs scored in 2016. The offseason additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders should help run production. So, too, should expected improvements from Maikel Franco and Joseph, two players who have the chance to be long-term building blocks.

"We've got guys at the big-league level that I choose to think are going to get better," Mackanin said. "Tommy Joseph is a perfect example."