Jason Peters Guarantees Eagles Win More Than Four Games This Season

Jason Peters Guarantees Eagles Win More Than Four Games This Season

In 2011 it was Dream Team. In 2012, Dynasty. This year the Eagles’ rallying cry is… more than four wins?

Hooray?

Okay, maybe not, but Jason Peters set the bar a lot lower than some of his predecessors, or even teammate Isaac Sopoaga, who claimed the Birds were going to “shock the world” after signing with the club back in March. Peters was not so bold when speaking to the media after the first full-team practice of training camp on Friday, but he did make one promise: the Eagles will improve upon last year’s record.

"I guarantee we'll win more than four games. That's probably the worst we could have done when we won four last year, but I guarantee we’re going to win more than four this year."

With Peters back in the lineup after missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, that alone should be good for a couple extra W’s. After a dominant 2011, Peters was widely considered the best left tackle – if not the best offensive lineman period – in football. His absence had a domino effect on the Eagles’ line in ’12, even before Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans sustained injuries of their own.

As for concerns about Peters’ recovery, it seems to be going great. Now 15 months removed from surgery, he believes it’s 100 percent. That opinion meshes with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who said as far back as May that you would never know Peters was hurt from watching him. From what we’ve been able to see at camp so far, I would have to agree.

Chip Kelly sounded very encouraged by what he’s seen as well. Asked about how somebody Peters’ size might be expected to bounce back from an Achilles, the head coach insisted there’s nobody else like him.

“I don't think there is a player like him in the world, to be honest with you, someone that big, that fast, that athletic. I kind of catch myself in practice just going “Wow.” He's 350 pounds, and he runs like he's a tight end."

"I think he's an exception to every rule. I don't think studying guys that have had Achilles injuries and saying, hey, that guy would be like Jason. I know he didn't have any ill effects when he was here during the spring, and he hasn't shown anything. He's not getting any extra treatment or anything like that. So he's been cleared 100 percent."

You can’t get much better news than that. Obviously we have to wait until the pads go on on Sunday at the Linc to see how he holds up in full contact, but what we know so far is promising – certainly good enough to get the Eagles over the four-win hump.

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

The treasure trove that is Joel Embiid's social media presence unearthed another jewel on Saturday evening.

The Sixers' big man took to Instagram to post a picture of himself chatting with local folk legend Sam Hinkie. As if that wasn't enough, check out the captions he wrote at the bottom.

THE GOAT #HeDiedForOurSins #TrustTheProcess

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Let us break this down.

"THE GOAT" - As in Greatest Of All Time, not an actual goat you would find at your local petting zoo.

"#HeDiedForOurSins" - St. Sam, patron saint of analytical basketball martyrdom.

"#TrustTheProcess" - The rallying cry of the masses.

Sure, they may have taken away Sam, but they'll never take away JoJo's social media platforms. Never!

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

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Associated Press

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

MONTREAL  -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Union on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadn't scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.

Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, got his first MLS goal in added time.

Montreal improved to 7-5-8.

Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The good news for the Phillies on Saturday was that it finally seems All-Star Odubel Herrera's bat is returning to its typical, productive form.

The centerfielder had his second straight three-hit game Saturday as he continued to pull out of his slump, though it wasn’t enough to keep the Phillies from losing 7-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle game of a three-game series at PNC Park (see Instant Replay).

Yet Herrera’s suddenly hot bat gave the Phillies some reason to feel good on a day when another player who the organization believes can be a foundation player backslid. Right-hander Aaron Nola (5-9) took the loss as he allowed six runs and six hits in four-plus innings.

The bad Nola returned after pitching six scoreless innings in his previous outing Monday against the Miami Marlins. Prior to shutting down the Marlins, Nola allowed a combined 30 runs in five starts while failing to get past the fourth inning four times.

“When he’s at his best, he has control of all his pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s lost his control and he needs to a find a way to get it back.”

However, Herrera improved to 6 for 9 in the series by going 3 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored and two stolen bases. He had been 4 for 41 in his previous 11 games before coming to Pittsburgh, a skid that dropped his batting average to .281 from .300.

“It was getting pretty ugly for about a week there, so it feels good to get some hits,” Herrera said. “That’s my job, to get hits, be successful and help the team win. I really don’t go into too many slumps, so it’s hard to try to fight your way through it and stay positive. When I get a hit, I am happy.”

Herrera is now hitting .290 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 98 games.

There had been a school of thought that making his first All-Star Game appearance July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego might have had an effect on the 24-year-old. The schedule for the players during the festivities is basically non-stop for two days and then Herrera had to fly across the country to rejoin the Phillies in Philadelphia for the second half of the season.

“I was concerned it might have an effect on him,” Mackanin said. “It was the first time he had participated in an even of that magnitude and it can be hard to refocus after that.”

Herrera, though, said he is not sure how much being an All-Star played into his cold spell.

“Maybe it did,” Herrera said. “It was a busy couple of days there. I don’t know what to compare it to because I hadn’t been before. Obviously, I didn’t have the same chance to rest as a lot of other players, so it could have had an effect. However, playing in the All-Star Game was a great experience and I am glad I had a chance to be there.”

If Herrera plays like he has the last two games, Herrera figures to appear in more Midsummer Classics before his career is through.

“He has the ability to win a batting title,” Mackanin said. “He’s that good of a hitter. He’s a smart hitter. When pitchers start adjusting to him, he adjusts back. I only see him getting better.

“Then you throw in that he played a heckuva center field and it’s just an impressive total package."