From Starter to Waivers in One Year's Time, Brian Rolle Released

From Starter to Waivers in One Year's Time, Brian Rolle Released

Brian Rolle found himself in an unlikely position this time last year: weakside linebacker.

A sixth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2011, Rolle wound up replacing fellow rookie Casey Matthews in Week 3, and was thrust into the Eagles' starting lineup from that point on. Perhaps even more unlikely, the 5'10" Rolle was arguably their best linebacker the rest of the way, and entered this summer the favorite to start at weakside again.

Continuing in a string of unlikelies, Brian Rolle was released on Tuesday morning, exactly one year to the day since he made his first NFL start.

Rolle had a disappointing preseason, bad enough that it cost him his job less than two weeks before the regular season began. This also despite the fact that the guy coaches really wanted to replace him with -- Jamar Chaney -- was hurt all summer. Instead, they tabbed veteran special teams ace Akeem Jordan for Rolle's spot.

Rolle was adamant he would be back, but when Jordan missed Sunday night's game with a hamstring injury, it was Chaney who was in his place.

Still, his release sort of came from out of nowhere, but seems to be in part a response to the struggles of the kick coverage unit. David Wilson averaged 36.2 yards per return for the Giants on Sunday, putting the Eagles' defense in a precarious position for much of the evening as Eli Manning too often was given a short field to work with.

Indeed, while he may not be the source of the problem, the club's own stats indicate Rolle has been a non-factor on special teams all season. When there are two players ahead of you on the depth chart, and you can't find another way to contribute, there really is very little reason the team should keep you around.

Second-year player Adrian Moten, an undrafted linebacker out of Maryland, was signed to replace Rolle. He spent the summer at Lehigh, and previously appeared in 12 games in 2011 between the Seahawks and Colts.

Eagles fans likely won't miss Rolle. Being an undersized defender didn't help his cause in this town to begin with, and his Twitter spats with those critical of his ability brought negative press.

However, it's fascinating to see how quickly he went from late-round draft pick to best linebacker on the team to gone entirely. Nobody thought Rolle was going to be the next big thing, but he showed some upside in a solid rookie season.

Then again perhaps that was merely a sign of how bad the linebackers truly were last year, and his fall from grace a sign of how far they've come since. Clearly there wasn't anyplace else left to go from here.

The Sixers are for real (and Sam Hinkie had nothing to do with it)

The Sixers are for real (and Sam Hinkie had nothing to do with it)

The biggest sports story in town in the Sixers, winners of 4 of 5 and an exhilarating team on the floor, led by a superstar player who seems to actually get us as a fan base. And to think, all it took to bring us to this point was getting rid of Sam Hinkie.

Look at what a dark place the Sixers were in a year ago. They were in last place, with the league’s worst roster and no hope for the future except for a bunch of ill-defined future draft picks. And they were led by a general manager with absolutely zero interest in winning, explaining himself, or (worst of all) appearing on the WIP Morning Show. 

But now, there’s hope. Joel Embiid is the real deal. The supporting cast is rapidly improving, with guys like T.J. McConnell, Robert Covington and Dario Saric looking like valuable supporting players, and Ben Simmons joining them very soon. 

I know the Hinkie apologists are going to say these improvements are because of him and that he deserves credit -- please. To credit Hinkie with drafting Joel Embiid is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of in all my years of watching Philadelphia sports. We all know Hinkie wanted Andrew Wiggins -- therefore, he gets no credit for drafting Embiid. And as Bob Brookover pointed out last week, Embiid is a Sixer because of luck.  

Ben Simmons, of course, was drafted by Bryan Colangelo, who also acquired the best Sixer since Thaddeus Young, Ersan Ilyasova. And if the two first-round picks next year turn out to be stars, Colangelo will get credit for those, too

Hinkie did things like draft three centers in a  row, take Jahlil Okafor over Kristaps Porzingis, trade valuable players like Michael Carter-Williams and K.J. McDaniels for nothing, and sign no veterans at all for three years. 

Joel Embiid is a winner, Sam Hinkie is a loser, and that’s all there is to it.  

In other Sixers news, it was nice to see Simmons warming up on the court last week against Boston- when Embiid did that, it meant he was 16-18 months away from returning to action. In the last two years, the Sixers lead the league in pre-game social media posts featuring players who aren’t active for that night’s game. 

And speaking of records, congrats to Nerlens Noel for breaking Shane Victorino’s longstanding local athlete record for use of “you know” in a single interview, when he talked to Woj last week

Other Philly sports takes: 

The Cowboys’ loss to the Packers on Sunday proves two things: Dak Prescott is a fraud, and the Cowboys were never very good anyway. The only reason they went 13-3 was the easy schedule. 

Can you believe Allen Iverson getting photographed in a Cowboys jersey? Doesn’t he know the rules? If you play in Philly, you must root for every one of the city’s teams, regardless of circumstance, for the rest of your life. 

Even so, shame on the Knicks’ Derrick Rose for no-showing a game. If you want to be a legendary NBA guard, you’re supposed to skip PRACTICES, not games. Not a game. 

Angelo made a good point: Embiid is so perfect as a Philadelphia athlete that it makes me notice how much Carson Wentz isn’t. Hunting trips? Shotgun gifts? Getting locked in a gas station bathroom? That’s just not cutting it. Carson, immediately, needs to start drinking Shirley Temples, imitating pro wrestler entrances, and insulting porn stars on Instagram, or else I fear he won’t last in this town. 

Another good column by Marcus Hayes -- the Eagles must sacrifice multiple draft picks to trade up for wide receiver Mike Williams. Whatever it takes. 

Come on Eagles- no room on the staff for either of Buddy’s sons? How about both? 

Follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter. 

Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time in program history

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Penn State men's hockey ranked No. 1 for first time in program history

At 16-2-1, Penn State's men's hockey team is ranked first in the nation for the first time in program history.

The Nittany Lions have improved each of the last four years under head coach Guy Gadowsky. 

Their record by year:

      2013-14: 8-26-2
      2014-15: 18-15-4
Last season: 21-13-4
This season: 16-2-1

Penn State received 30 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO Division I poll. Denver is ranked No. 2, followed by Boston University, Minnesota-Duluth and Massachusetts-Lowell (see USCHO poll).

Penn State was ranked fourth last week before sweeping Michigan State.