@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

It's NFL Draft Day! Do you have any idea what the Eagles are going to do tonight? Neither do I. And that's the problem, right there.

The entire time Andy Reid was the coach of the Eagles, he stayed tight-lipped about his plans for the draft and free agency. I guess he didn't trust us lowly fans with such important information- once again, it was all about Andy believing he was smarter than all of the rest of us. When Andy was fired and Chip Kelly replaced him, I was hoping we'd at least get some transparency.

No such luck, I'm afraid. Not only has Chip Kelly been just as silent about the Eagles' draft plans as Andy always was, but he hasn't done a single thing yet to show that he knows what he's doing when it comes to drafting. I want Chip to come out, this morning, and tell us exactly who he plans to take with the fourth pick. I think we're owed at least that, especially from an organization that just raised ticket prices after going 4-12.

Leading the Eagles to a record that earned them the fourth pick, in the year of the weakest draft in memory, was clearly an intentional move on Andy Reid's part, and so was taking a job with one of the only teams picking ahead of the Eagles.

The invaluable Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported earlier in the week that the Eagles have four players they're focusing on, unless they trade down. Based on that rock-solid information, what should the Eagles do at #4?

I don't want Geno Smith, I really don't need another scrambling quarterback who's not trustworthy in the clutch. EJ Manuel wore #7 in college, so he's out too. Ryan Nassib? No thank you; who wants another quarterback from Syracuse?

No interest in Dion Jordan; the Phillies tried Ricky and Kevin, the Eagles Akeem, and the Sixers Eddie, but Jordans never seem to work out in Philly. Star Lotulelei is a no-go too; I'm sick of players from Utah. Dee Milliner has a girl's name. And the Eagles better not do any of those arrogant things Andy used to do on draft day, like trade up, trade down, or draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

You know who the Eagles should draft? Luis Suarez. The soccer player for English club team Liverpool last weekend bit an opposing player and then, just a few minutes later, scored a last-second, game-tying goal.

I'm certainly no soccer fan, but the Eagles could really use a guy with that sort of killer instinct and skill in the clutch- imagine what a hero a guy would be in this town if he bit Tony Romo, and then scored a game-winning touchdown. And most importantly, it sounds like B-Dawk agrees!

So get out there and get drafting, Chip Kelly. Because if you don't have a good first draft, you're certainly going to hear it from the crowd at the first home game.

Other Philly sports takes:

- The Eagles schedule came out this week. I'm seeing loss, loss, win, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss.

- Bryz falling asleep in a team meeting is an outrage. In this town, we want athletes who eagerly participate in team meetings, and ask lots of questions.

- A Paulie statue in Kensington? Why not? It's important every Rocky supporting character get a statue before Joe Frazier.

- I still can't believe Rutgers fired Mike Rice, just for showing leadership as a coach. I mean, if Andrew Bynum had had to worry about basketballs weezing by his head, I think he'd have found a way to get on the court. Anyway, Rutgers certainly got what they deserved: New coach Eddie Jordan.

- Jonathan Pettibone made a really solid debut for the Phils the other night. He looks like a keeper in this rotation- might it be time to approach him with an extention? Between him and Jesse Biddle, who struck out 16 in Double-A the same night, things are really looking up for the future of the Phils' young pitching.

- On the other hand, the Phils could really use a veteran outfield bat with some pop, so Pettibone could be a useful trade chip.

- Pettibone for Carlos Beltran! Pettibone and Biddle for Josh Hamilton! Pettibone, Biddle and Domonic Brown for Giancarlo Stanton. Come on, Ruben!

Temple QB Phillip Walker provides leadership, offensive spark as Owls beat Charlotte

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USA Today Images

Temple QB Phillip Walker provides leadership, offensive spark as Owls beat Charlotte

BOX SCORE

Temple quarterback Phillip Walker rolled on the ground in pain after taking a shot late in the first quarter and was immediately forced to the sideline.

With the Owls already trailing and their starting QB’s shoulder dinged up, things certainly weren’t going how the team envisioned opening up its homecoming game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

“It’s a nagging injury that comes and goes,” Walker said.

The pain was able to quickly go away, and then the Owls were able to go off.

Walker returned after a one-play absence to throw a deep touchdown pass and spark 28 unanswered points by Temple during the second quarter of a 48-20 win over Charlotte (see Instant Replay).

The Owls (2-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) evened their record with the win before opening up AAC play next week against SMU.

“It was big for us just because we needed to get going offensively,” Walker said of his beautiful 51-yard touchdown pass to Adonis Jennings on the first play of the second quarter. “We knew it would happen. It just takes time. A lot of people come with the same energy every game at the beginning of the game. Just let that energy wear off a little bit. Once you get your opportunity, then you take your shots and make your plays as an offense.”

The Owls’ offense made plenty of plays during that big second quarter. 

A couple of possessions after Walker’s TD pass gave Temple back the lead, the Owls got a gift when Charlotte (1-3, 0-0 Conference USA) quarterback Kevin Olsen and running back Kalif Phillips botched a read-option exchange. The fumble was scooped up by TU defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike and returned 20 yards to the 49ers’ 13-yard line. On the very next play, Jahad Thomas scampered around the left side for a touchdown.

Temple’s defense then forced a three-and-out to get the ball right back for Walker, who connected with Brodrick Yancy on a 40-yard score to break the game open.

Ryquell Armstead tacked on a one-yard touchdown plunge right before halftime to give the Owls a 31-7 advantage at the break.

In all, the Owls outscored the 49ers 28-0 and outgained them 176-66 during the period.

“Once we got the turnover, we had another opportunity in the red zone to make something happen and we did,” Walker said. “Give us the ball in the red zone, we have to capitalize off of it and we have to be able to make a play.”

“I thought the turnovers and field position started helping hitting the big play,” Temple head coach Matt Rhule said. “I just think we kind of settled down on offense, got into a rhythm. I think you’re seeing that we’re able to get our quarterback into a rhythm and he’s playing pretty well.”

Temple got contributions from several key players on offense to rack up 507 total yards and 26 first downs in the victory. Thomas and Armstead each had a pair of rushing touchdowns. Eight different players caught passes with five reaching at least 40 yards, including sophomore wideout Yancy, who had four receptions for 70 yards and a score.

However, it all starts with Walker as he continued to build on the momentum he found last week against Penn State. Walker completed 15 of 26 attempts for 268 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The senior quarterback is starting to hit his stride at the right time with conference play coming up and his teammates are following his lead.

“He likes throwing the ball. The more we catch the ball for him the more it makes him look good, makes others look good and allows us to run the offense the way it can be run,” Yancy said.

“He’s been productive,” Thomas said. “Definitely coming into the season he was talking about his completion percentage. He’s a senior now. He feels more comfortable just getting his feet set. When you don’t have people breathing down your neck all the time you can be comfortable out there, so I’m quite sure that’s the reason why he’s playing so well in the last two games.”

With the defense still showing some warts (429 total yards allowed to Charlotte, including 231 on the ground) and the meat of the schedule coming up with conference play, Temple will be counting on Walker to keep his game at a high level to help the Owls defend their East Division crown.

“Looking forward to it,” Walker said of opening up the AAC portion of the schedule. “There are a lot of great teams in this conference. I think this conference can go either way whether it’s anyone from the West or anyone from the East. There’s a lot of great talent. We just have to bring our A game every week. We’ve got a long stretch here, so we just have to come out here and play our game.”

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

The final eight games remaining on the Phillies’ 2016 schedule will undoubtedly serve as a farewell to Ryan Howard.

Lost in the background may be the fact this week could quite possibly be the end for the man who was supposed to platoon alongside him this year, as well: Darin Ruf.

Both men have been supplanted by Tommy Joseph, who's hit 21 home runs in just 100 games this year while positioning himself as the Phillies first baseman of the near future.

Ruf will start Saturday night against Mets’ lefthander Sean Gilmartin. The Phillies are not scheduled to face a lefty starter for the rest of the season, so Saturday could be one of the final chances to see Ruf in a Phillies uniform, especially considering manager Pete Mackanin’s stated intent to give Howard more playing time down the stretch.

“It seemed like we never faced a lefty for the first month of the season. So that didn’t help Ruf at the time,” Mackanin said.  “Joseph entered the picture and made an immediate impression.”

Ruf’s departure from the majors set the stage for Joseph’s immediate emergence. At the time of his May 13 demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley – and Joseph’s promotion -- Ruf was had a .158/.206/.193 slash line.
  
Since his Sept. 1 return to the majors after rosters expanded, Ruf has done what he can to make sure his possible final season in a Phillies uniform ends on a high note. On Friday night, he drilled a home run to left center off Mets reliever Josh Smoker in pinch-hit duty, the first time Ruf had gone yard since Oct. 1, 2015.

“It felt good,” Ruf said about ending his home run drought. “You just try to simply things and last night it worked out for me.”

Where Ruf will be next year is a more complicated matter, as the 30-year-old is out of minor league options. Japanese scouts were spotted at the games he played for AAA Lehigh Valley.

With Lehigh Valley, Ruf received an opportunity he’s never truly been able to get with the Phillies due to the longstanding presence of Howard: a chance to play every day and consistently accumulate plate appearances. He hit .294/.356/.529 in 390 trips to the plate for the IronPigs. 

Ruf has never made more than 300 plate appearances in a major league season and would struggle to crack that number if he remains in Philadelphia as a backup to Joseph, who will still be 25 on opening day next year.

“I learned [this year] that you can’t take anything for granted in this game,” Ruf said. “You’ve just got to keep working to get better every day, got to put up numbers no matter where you’re at in order to get to where you want. 

“Hopefully, wherever I’m at next year, I can do that.”