Eagles-Steelers in Preseason Action: A New Chapter Begins

Eagles-Steelers in Preseason Action: A New Chapter Begins

Put to rest what you thought of last season. We could come up with 100 reasons or excuses why the Eagles were 8-8 and out of the playoffs in 2011, but when foot meets pigskin shortly after 7:30 tonight, the past is in the past.

It's all about 2012 now.

This of course is part of the allure of the NFL. When the curtain finally rises on a new act, almost every one of the league's 32 teams have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl. Obviously through 46 big games the law of averages has yet to lift the Birds to glory, while a franchise like the Steelers has been blessed with six titles. History doesn't tilt either side's chances at winning XLVII one way or another though.

It's in the hands of this group of players and coaches, another year older, bolstered by reinforcements, and hopeful the lessons of last season are learned. Time to walk out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field to write the story that Philadelphia is wishing will end with a Lombardi Trophy presentation.

And then we are transported back to August, mindful this is only a preseason encounter where the final score is of no consequence, and the only thing that truly matters is nobody gets hurt. We always say these games don't count, that they don't offer a window into how good or bad the squad is, but make no mistake, these players are working toward a goal.

The starters will only play one quarter, some perhaps less, but there are plenty of jobs up for grabs, guys who are fighting to make this roster. Over the past two days, we talked about some players on offense and defense who we will keep a close eye on tonight, but there literally are competitions taking place all over the field.

As an aside, the Eagles and Steelers aren't the only groups who need the practice, either. The NFL is currently working with replacement officials from varying levels of college and semi-pro leagues while they work through a lockout with the regular crew. You wouldn't think it would make a difference, but the officials in Sunday's HOF Game were so bad, players reportedly were laughing at them. Mike Pereira, former Vice President of Officiating, suggested some of these people may have come from the Lingerie Football League.

Finally, as fans set aside their feelings for Andy Reid the head coach and embrace Andy Reid the person during this difficult period, we are counting on a tremendous gesture of support for the head coach and his family from those in attendance. That is all.

>> Five Players We're Watching on Offense [T7L]
>> Five Players We're Watching on Defense [T7L]

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

Source: Phillies agree to 1-year deal with reliever Joaquin Benoit

The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million contract with right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit, a source tells CSN's Jim Salisbury.

Benoit, 39, was the 11th-oldest pitcher in baseball last season, but he's remained effective as he's aged. Since 2010, Benoit has a 2.40 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, he's struck out 10.0 batters per nine innings while walking 2.8, and allowed a .189 batting average.

Benoit has also maintained his velocity through the years. His fastball averaged 94.2 mph last season, which is actually faster than it was in 2010.

Benoit has been in the majors for 15 years, spending eight with Texas, three with Detroit, two with San Diego, one with Tampa Bay and a half-season apiece with Seattle and Toronto.

Benoit has experience closing but has spent the majority of his career as a setup man. Benoit, along with Hector Neris, figures to have a place in the eighth or ninth inning for the Phillies in 2017, perhaps pushing last year's closer, Jeanmar Gomez, back to the seventh inning.

The Phillies have not yet officially announced the signing of Benoit and will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for him.

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Not So Fast Joel Embiid: Nik Stauskas's dad claims his son is the original 'The Process'

Philadelphia 76ers sharp shooter Nik Stauskas is back on his "Sauce and Co." podcast with a couple of very special guests: his Momma Ruta and Pappa Paul.

After being overly Canadian in their take on Friday night's brutal loss -- "less than stellar" --  to the Orlando Magic, Mr. Stauskas brings the heat with a fantastic "fun fact."

"Speaking of Joel, I have a fun fact for your audience here," Paul Stauskas says. "I have to give him a new moniker."

He doesn't exactly have a new one yet but...

"'The Process' has already been taken. In 2013 there was a documentary made about Nik called 'Nik Stauskas: The Process.' So if Embiid wants to continue using that, I'm affraid he's going to have to pay a royalty."

                         [Related: Joel Embiid feels 'The Process' is about him]

And if you hit up YouTube, there is is, a 21-minute documentary about a younger Nik Stauskas.

"If this does blow up, there may be some royalty fees he owes me," Nik adds. "I'll have to bring that up to Joel."

"He's got the cheddar," Paul says. "So he can pay up."

You can listen to the Stauskas family podcast in full below.