Eagles to Interview Lovie Smith as Options Dwindle

Eagles to Interview Lovie Smith as Options Dwindle

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

We started with seven NFL head coaching vacancies, but we’re
down to five. Andy Reid and Doug Marrone are off the market, while Chip Kelly,
Bill O’Brien, and Dirk Koetter are all staying put – apparently Jon Gruden has
no interest. After one week of searching, the only coaches the Eagles have
interviewed that are still candidates for the job are Mike McCoy, Mike Nolan,
and Keith Armstrong.

No need to panic though. The process may be moving at a
snail’s pace – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing by the way – but there are
some excellent prospects available.

The Eagles received permission to speak to three more: Colts
offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley,
and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. However, rumor has it Jay intends
to stay in Cincinnati – perhaps part of a power play in advance of his
scheduled meetings, but it’s out there nonetheless – and there is at least some
sentiment the 60-year-old Arians could remain in Indianapolis as well.

So with the pool of candidates getting shallower by the day,
the Eagles will do something I was fairly certain they would not, which is
interview dismissed Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Smith is a fine coach, and worthy
of consideration. I just didn’t think Jeffrey Lurie would be interested in what
amounts to the defensive-minded, less-successful version of Reid.

In nine years with Chicago, Lovie brought tremendous
stability to the organization. He had the Bears back in the playoffs in his
second season, playing in the Super Bowl in his third, and they haven’t
finished with fewer than seven wins in a campaign since. Smith was finally fired
because the team failed to qualify for the tournament in back-to-back seasons,
even though they won 10 games in 2012.

Where Lovie is like Andy though is his teams were always in
the mix, but never quite capitalized in big moments. Actually, in that respect,
Lovie is worse than Andy. The Bears were competitive virtually every season,
but only managed to reach the postseason three times.

The comparisons run a bit deeper than that. Both men failed to
correct problems that plagued their teams for years at a time – in Chicago’s
case, essentially the entire offense. And if clock management is your pet
peeve, Bears fans will be the first to tell you Lovie is not an improvement.

That doesn’t mean Lurie shouldn’t hire Smith, not saying
that at all. I think what often gets taken for granted is every situation is
different, and some of the reasons why Smith didn’t achieve ultimate success in
Chicago are circumstantial. Plenty of head coaches flame out at their first
head job, move on, recover, and reach the mountain top the next time around –Tom
Coughlin, Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick, Jon Gruden, Dick Vermeil, and so on.

Having said that, the timing of the announcement doesn’t
exactly lend the appearance the Eagles’ search is going as planned. There may
be a handful of quality candidates up for grabs, but there are still five teams
filling positions, while the list of options only continues to shrink.

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."