I think Troy Aikman said it all: "I don't know that the Eagle coaches are real fired up about Michael Vick jumping in there with his head to make a tackle."
INDIANAPOLIS – The main reason Josh Huff has been such a frustrating player during his young NFL career was on full display Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
He flashed. Again.
The third-year wideout from Oregon was dynamic, elusive, productive. He didn’t look like a disappointment. He didn’t look like the player fans have grown to distrust. Instead, he looked like the guy they still hope he can become.
“Just get back to being me, get back to being myself,” Huff said. “I know every receiver, everybody’s gonna drop balls in this league. I just can’t beat myself up over that.
“I know that I belong in this league. I know that I’m able to make plays in this league, so I just have to play my game and be myself and let it sort itself out.”
Huff finished Saturday’s 33-23 win over the Colts with two catches for 60 yards and a nine-yard touchdown run. He again showed just how dangerous he can be when the ball’s in his hands.
His first catch of the day was a 38-yard catch-and-run, which clearly played to his strengths. His second was a 22-yard pickup on a critical 3rd-and-6 during a drive that ended with a touchdown.
And aside from the catches, he also ran into the end zone on a 9-yard jet sweep early in the second quarter.
“We had some plays designed to get him involved this week, to get him the ball,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I thought he did a great job. The play that really comes to my mind is the third down where it was man coverage. He beat the guy and made a nice catch, big conversion for us. He’s a guy, and I’ve said it all camp, that has big play potential for us. It’s just with his speed and his ability to run after the catch. To get him involved tonight and see those things from him, it was really nice.”
Huff said he tried to enter the game like it was any other. And he said he didn’t do anything differently. But it clearly seems like the 24-year-old is trying desperately to get out of his own way. Because when he does, he can be electric.
Saturday night was also about the coaching staff’s finding a way to use Huff — something that clearly eluded the last staff, despite Chip Kelly’s familiarity with the wideout.
With Jordan Matthews out against the Colts, Huff again played in the slot, a role that seems to fit his strengths, while the jet sweep for a touchdown was the culmination of plenty of similar plays run during practices.
“Coaches know what I can do with the ball in my hands,” Huff said. “So they’re trying to find ways to get the ball in my hands, whether it’s a pass or behind the line of scrimmage.“
The Eagles made sure to get the ball to Huff on Saturday night and he rewarded them with the kind of play he’s shown he’s capable of before.
He took a step forward Saturday night. Now, he just needs to make sure the step backward doesn’t follow this time.
“It’s just a mental game for me,” Huff said. “I know I can make all the plays that I made today. It’s just about doing it on a consistent basis and being the best I can be during that play or during that game.”
After arriving to the team Saturday, veteran backstop A.J. Ellis will see his first game action in a Phillies uniform, as expected, in Sunday's series finale against the Mets.
Ellis will catch right-handed starter Vince Velasquez and bat seventh. The catcher doesn't bring much to the plate with his bat, but he calls a good game and was Clayton Kershaw's personal catcher in Los Angeles. It'll be interesting to see how he handles Velasquez.
The 35-year-old is hitting just .194 this season with one home run and 13 RBIs.
In other lineup notes, Tommy Joseph gets the start at first base and will bat cleanup and Jimmy Paredes gets his second straight start in left field. Paredes will hit sixth.
Here is the Phillies' full lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Jimmy Paredes, LF
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P
For more on today's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.
CHESTER, Pa. -- Roland Alberg has been a terror for opposing teams.
The latest attack from the Dutch bomber happened Saturday, while the Union were gridlocked in a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City. Alberg entered the match in the 65th minute and ended it in the 67th, when he launched a volley that beat goalkeeper Alec Kann.
“I have to be patient, but when I come on the field, I have to do my thing,” Alberg said. “It’s a great team performance. We did a great job, got three points and we are happy with it.”
He added an assist for the 2-0 win (see game story).
“He’s a wonderful player,” said Union left back Fabinho, who assisted on Alberg's goal. “He came on and changed the game. I saw him and I know what he likes. I give the ball to him and he scores. He has nine goals. It’s nice for him. I hope he scores more.”
That type of impact hasn’t been irregular for Alberg. With nine goals on the season in just 925 minutes played, the 26-year-old leads MLS in goals-per-90 minutes with 0.88. Only New York City FC’s Frank Lampard is close with .85.
“He’s far and away the leader in our league,” said Union manager Jim Curtin, who originally cited Alberg’s goals-per-90 stat. “He has a special quality.”
Yet, despite that “special quality,” Alberg remains a super sub, buried behind Tranquillo Barnetta at the center attacking midfield spot. He has two goals in his last four games — all coming off the bench.
“I have to show it every training, and then it’s the coach’s decision,” he said. “If [Curtin] uses me as a sub, I’ll do 100 percent my best. And if it’s as a starter, it’s the same thing for me. Of course every player wants to play as a starter, and me too. But it’s a long season. Playoffs, they are coming. So I’m patient.”
Alberg’s potency isn’t lost on Curtin, even if the manager doesn’t switch his winning formula. Though Alberg is pushing for a starting spot, the Union might just be more dangerous with him off the bench.
“He’s a starter on most MLS teams,” Curtin said. “It’s just a matter of having depth at that spot. He’s a very valuable player to our team and shows we have a deep squad. I can’t say enough about how well he’s played in any role. As a starter for us, he’s won us a bunch of games, and his role off the bench, he’s won us some games now, too.”