Happy New Year, Happy New Era

Happy New Year, Happy New Era

While we’re always a little sad to come to the realization
that football season is nearing its conclusion, this year is different. It
pales in comparison to the disappointment felt after a crushing playoff loss,
that’s for sure. In fact, when the Eagles are 4-12, there’s actually quite a
bit of relief involved.

Andy Reid is the only head coach The700Level.com has ever
known, but tonight we turn the calendar over to a new year, and tomorrow the Eagles awaken with a fresh start.

In case you’re just joining us, Reid along with five other
head coaches from around the league received their walking papers on Black
Philadelphia’s head coaching search begins immediately.

We’ve probably been kinder toward or even defensive of Reid
than some of the other outlets that cover the Eagles, at least I admit I have.
It hasn’t always been like that – few seem to remember moments like the time we
“found” Andy’s infamous play chart back in 2008. In general though, the belief
here is we were fortunate to have a pretty good football coach.

The business of Reid’s legacy is for another conversation.
What I’m trying to get at – quickly, so I can enjoy my holiday – is change can
be exciting, and change can be necessary. Reid will get another job, he may
even win the Super Bowl somewhere down the road. Good luck to him.

I think I speak for 99% of Eagles fans when I say that I’m
ready for change. Sure, that sounds like
a no-brainer. However, any way you slice it the next head coach almost
certainly will not duplicate the success Reid had, even less likely for the
duration Reid enjoyed. Yet it’s the chance we’re all willing to take, because clearly
it was time, arguably past due even.

In closing, we’re looking forward to the Eagles starting
over, looking forward to what change will bring, and hoping for the best. And
that truly is fitting, because that’s sort of in the spirit of starting a New Year
– turning over a new leaf and trying something different.

Have a safe and happy New Year, folks.

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Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."