Is This the End? Eagles Flatline in New Orleans

Is This the End? Eagles Flatline in New Orleans

That was hard to watch. This entire season, even when things seemed to be going well, has been hard to watch.

The Eagles walked into the Superdome and maintained some semblance of control for most of the first period. Then almost on cue, Michael Vick hurled a red-zone interception, which the Saints returned 99 yards for a touchdown. New Orleans never looked back, finishing the Birds -- and likely their season -- by a score of 28-13.

As has been the case all year, missed opportunities crushed the Eagles. Vick's interception, which was just out of the Brent Celek's reach and deflected off the tight end's fingertips, was one of five trips to the red zone for Philadelphia. None of them resulted in a touchdown, and two ended in turnovers.

Meanwhile, the defense managed to hold Drew Brees and the Saints' offense to 21 points, but they weren't necessarily as effective as the scoreboard suggests.

Todd Bowles' unit forced two punts out of seven meaningful possessions, and had another possession end with a Brandon Graham strip sack. However, the Eagles allowed 139 yards on 24 rushing attempts (5.8 YPC), and Brees was able to connect on 21 of 27 pass attempts (77.8%). New Orleans also missed on a 53-yard field goal attempt.

For the second week in a row, the Eagles' defense was far from good, but once again the offense was a bigger issue. A battered offensive line was unable to handle the Saints' blitzes, especially once Todd Herremans was knocked out with an injury. Remarkably, LeSean McCoy and company ran the ball well -- 29 carries for 221 yards -- but without a consistent passing attack, the one-dimensional offense couldn't find the end zone. DeSean Jackson scored Philly's only touchdown on a 77-yard catch and run.

Amazingly enough, special teams nearly helped the Eagles claw back into the game. Chris Polk forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff following DJacc's TD, which resulted in a field goal. Then on a kick return late in the third quarter, Brandon Boykin threw the ball across the field to Riley Cooper, who raced 94 yards for a score, only to have the play called back because it was a forward pass.

When that's what it takes to win though, obviously there are far bigger problems. That's why the Eagles are 3-5, and that's why we're talking about this season being over, and Andy Reid being on the way out. More to come on a huge loss, but one that ultimately was not a very big surprise.

Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

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Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander mowed down the Phillies last night in a 3-1 Tigers victory, but the Phils have a chance to strike back this afternoon against a struggling pitcher who hasn't had much career success against them.

Anibal Sanchez will take the hill for the Tigers and oppose Aaron Nola in today's series finale (1:10 p.m. on CSN). To say Sanchez hasn't had a great start to his season would be an understatement. He's 3-5 with a 6.32 ERA and opponents are batting .270 against him.

In his career against the Phillies, Sanchez is just 4-8 with a 4.94 ERA. Granted, most of those numbers came in the early part of his career with the Florida Marlins, when he regularly faced powerful Phillies lineups. As one might expect, Ryan Howard, who is again in the lineup today as the designated hitter and batting fifth, has seen Sanchez plenty of times. His 42 at-bats against Sanchez are tied for third-most against the 32-year-old righty. Howard's done OK against Sanchez — 9 for 31 (.290 average) with two homers and four RBI. Maybe some familiarity will finally lead to a breakout game for Howard. But, if his massive slump is any indication, maybe not.

For as poor as Sanchez's start to the season has been, Aaron Nola's first six weeks of 2016 have been at the other end of the spectrum.

Today's Phillies starter is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA. But he's been better than those numbers show.

His .900 WHIP is third in the NL, as is his 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings is fourth in the NL, as is his 1.65 walks per nine innings. His 64 strikeouts rank eighth in the NL. Imagine if he got more than the 2.89 runs of support he's been getting in his starts.

As for the rest of the Phillies' lineup today, the only changes see Andres Blanco getting the start for Cesar Hernandez, batting seventh and Cameron Rupp behind the plate, batting sixth.

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Cameron Rupp C
7. Andres Blanco 2B
8. Tyler Goeddell LF
9. Peter Bourjos 1B

Tigers
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera DH
4. Victor Martinez 1B
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. James McCann C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS

Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

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Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

The Phillies once again couldn't find much offense and fell to the Tigers in Detroit last night by a final of 3-1.

But at least the pitching showed something.

There was a fun moment between Jeremy Hellickson and Miguel Cabrera after Hellickson threw quite a nice pitch that fooled Miggy.

Here's how Jim Salisbury described the fun battle:

Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.

And here's the thumbs up:

Eagles 2016 training camp schedule features 2 open practices

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Eagles 2016 training camp schedule features 2 open practices

Eagles rookies, quarterbacks, and select veterans will report to training camp on Monday, July 25. 

The rest of the veterans will report on July 27, with the first full-team practice of training camp taking place on Thursday, July 28 at 3:30 p.m., the team announced Wednesday. 

The majority of training camp practices this summer under Doug Pederson will take place at the NovaCare Complex, beginning at 8:15 a.m., which is earlier than the team practiced during camp under former head coach Chip Kelly. The early practices hark back to training camps under Andy Reid at Lehigh, although now the team will have its walkthroughs in the afternoon. 

The Eagles will have two practices open to fans at Lincoln Financial Field: Sunday, July 31 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. Both open practices are free and don't require tickets. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The Eagles will have several off days throughout camp: Aug. 2, Aug. 9, Aug. 12. And camp ends on Aug. 16, with the preseason opener vs. the Tampa Bay Bucs in the middle, on Aug. 11.