Eagles Timetable for New Head Coach Could Shorten after Weekends Postseason Exits

Eagles Timetable for New Head Coach Could Shorten after Weekends Postseason Exits

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The NFL playoffs are down to the final four, which might be
good news for fans that are anxiously waiting for the Eagles to end a head
coaching search entering its third week.

Of the clubs that are still alive, only members of the
Atlanta Falcons’ coaching staff have been linked to the Birds, and neither Mike
Nolan nor Keith Armstrong seems like a strong candidate. That combined with the
news the Birds are done with college coaches means Jeffrey Lurie could be announcing
his hire before the conclusion of this week.

It’s possible the Eagles have their sights set on somebody
from the Baltimore Ravens– though no names have come up – but Lurie and company
had the option to interview members of New England Patriot and San Francisco
49er staffs during their bye week. In Nolan’s and Armstrong’s case, the team
took advantage.

Denver’s Mike McCoy interviewed last weekend, and Seattle’s
Gus Bradley snuck in a meeting on Saturday. Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden and
Indianapolis’ Bruce Arians are scheduled over these next two days. Ex-Bears
coach Lovie Smith remains available, and former Super Bowl-winning head coach
with the Ravens Brian Billick is suddenly on the radar.

There is at least a chance the list grows. Coaches from the
Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans are approachable for the first time
following their exits. For instance, Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements
in particular is a name that has been mentioned in association with various
head coaching searches.

However, now that most of the options are free to go
wherever they like, it’s reasonable to expect far more movement over the coming
days. The majority of the known candidates have already sat down with Eagles
brass, and with four other vacancies around the league, there is plenty of
competition.

One can only hope that spurs the team into action, if for no
other reason than because it’s become a vexing process to follow. Yes, of
course the most critical aspect by far is the Eagles wind up with the best man
for the job, and by that token they can take as much time as they like. All the
same, I don’t think I’m alone in saying the end would be a welcome relief.

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Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Between recent wins and Joel Embiid’s All-Star push, fans are buying their Sixers gear.

According to Fanatics.com, a sports apparel website partnered with the four major sports, the Sixers rank fourth among all NBA teams in total merchandise sales over the past seven days. The Warriors, Cavaliers and Bulls are ahead of them.

Joel Embiid was the fifth-best selling player over that period. His popularity has risen during his enthusiastic All-Star campaign, which included celebrity shoutouts and an outpour of social media activity. Embiid is now up to 553,000 Twitter followers.

The Sixers have ranked in the league’s top 10 of merchandise sales since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. They hold the largest year-over-year increase during that time frame in the NBA this season.

In September, Ben Simmons ranked in the top 10 of NBA players in merchandise sales since draft night.

Sales from the Sixers' and NBA's official online stores are included in these statistics.

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

The Sixers are clicking just in time to face their toughest competition in over a month. The Raptors (28-13) come to Philadelphia as the Sixers have won six of their last eight games by holding one another accountable and taking each outing step-by-step.

“You feel like the group is coming together,” Brett Brown said. “You feel like all the work that we have put in is starting to pay dividends in relation to a solid foundation.”

The Raptors sit second in the Eastern Conference, just one and a half games behind the Cavaliers. The last time they met, the Raptors beat the Sixers 123-114 on Dec. 14 at the Wells Fargo Center.

A lot has changed since then, especially the rotations. Brown started Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor together against the Raptors, an experiment that waned out after six games. The Sixers have found a formula to winning with an established starting lineup and a consistent second unit, with the added experience of Gerald Henderson and Nerlens Noel. They will be tested Wednesday as both Joel Embiid (illness) and T.J. McConnell (wrist) are questionable.

“When you look at this team, it’s a lot of talent but we didn’t play as a team,” Ilyasova said of the start of the season. “Now we come together. I think it’s all about the chemistry, we trust each other.”

The Sixers are looking to carry over the momentum of a 113-104 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday. They got a test of All-Star caliber talent against Giannis Antetokounmpo, whom they held to two points in the second half. The Sixers will have their hands full with the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry (22.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists) and DeMar DeRozan (28.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists).

One key to countering talent like that placing an importance on accountability. The players are not letting each other off the hook for mistakes on the court, regardless of who the opponent is.

“I could see it over the past couple weeks, guys coming out here and being more vocal on both ends of the court,” Noel said. “If one guy messes up, you’ve got to let him know so it won’t be a recurring thing. With that, guys are taking steps in the right direction, both leadership roles because everybody on this team can be a leader in their own way.”

The Raptors come in on a four-game winning streak.