Fantasy Buyers Beware of Shady This Season; Plus An Eagle Not Named Jai Jarrett Who Struggled Against Pittsburgh

Fantasy Buyers Beware of Shady This Season; Plus An Eagle Not Named Jai Jarrett Who Struggled Against Pittsburgh

A couple of Eagles odds and ends...

Besides
Jaiquawn Jarrett's dismal performance, the other first-team defender who
struggled in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh last week was
Brian Rolle. Currently the starter at weakside linebacker, Rolle was
often pushed around or out of position, and he was already something of a
question mark entering 2012.

All of which raises the question
whether anybody is pushing Rolle for his job. The backup would be Jamar
Chaney, who missed the game due to an injury, but has since returned to
practice. Chaney is playing in the team's nickel package, but for the
moment, we're not sure there is a position battle brewing in base
personnel.

If Rolle has another shaky outing however, it would be
wise to give Chaney a look. We've seen a lot of Chaney at middle
linebacker over the past year and change, but have not been sufficiently
impressed. Still, he's a bit bigger than Rolle, and was a far surer
tackler last year according to these numbers.

At least the other two linebacker spots appear to be nailed down.

On Lots of Defensive Ends

Darryl Tapp clearly should be the odd man out if a cut must be made at
defensive end. The Eagles currently have six defensive ends battling
where they normally carry five players. Obviously Trent Cole and Jason
Babin are the starters, rookie Vinny Curry makes the team, then there is
Philip Hunt, Brandon Graham and Tapp.

Hunt was impressive down
the stretch last season, and that carried over into this summer with a
two-sack effort against Pittsburgh. The notion that Graham isn't making
the cut is astounding given the coaches need a real chance to evaluate
him coming off of that injury, and so far so good through one game. That
leaves Tapp, who is dependable enough, but doesn't do anything
particularly great.

Whether he's swapped for some depth at
another position or a late-round pick, or even outright released, this
isn't rocket science. Tapp is expendable. They could carry all six, but
it will be tough to find playing time for everybody if they do.

Andy Likes a Full Back

Andy Reid confirmed on Thursday the Eagles will use a fullback this
season, despite how little we've seen of the position. 2011
seventh-round pick Stanley Havili continues to lead the way there.

Fantasy Owners Beware of Shady

Attention fantasy football players: it's buyer beware on LeSean McCoy
this summer. While there is little doubt the fourth-year back will have
another fine season in 2012, expecting him to duplicate or exceed last
year's numbers could be a tall task.

First and foremost, nobody
is going to miss Jason Peters more than Shady. Peters is the best in the
business at creating running lanes on the outside, then getting to the
second and third level to finish off the run. Improvements from
second-year players Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce should help the ground
attack overall, but McCoy's yards per carry will likely experience a
dip without those huge gains off-tackle. Plus, the odds of him scoring
20 touchdowns or close again are relatively low, so that's another drop
in production you can count on.

We're seeing McCoy as high as
third overall in mock drafts, but I can't endorse that. If you draft
McCoy, you're guaranteed a solid back who will receive the large
majority of his team's carries and put up decent numbers. That said,
with all the prolific players that will be available at the top, I plan
on letting someone else reach for "decent."

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."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P