Pat Shurmur the NFLs Worst Coach of 2012, According to Grantland

Pat Shurmur the NFLs Worst Coach of 2012, According to Grantland

Some of you may be wondering what this story has to do with
the Eagles. Well, while the team has yet to formally announce any assistant hires,
it has been learned that former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur will be
Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator. Now that we got your attention…

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell took an in-depth look at some of
the best and worst in coaching from the NFL season that was on Friday, and
Shurmur’s name popped up in the latter category – twice. Besides grading out the
lowest of all 32 head coaches in 2012, including seven others who were relieved
of their duties this offseason, Shurmur picked up the award for “Most Useless
Challenge.” He must’ve made his mentor very proud with that last one, beings
that it is Andy Reid.

Anyway, what does a guy have to do to deserve being called
the worst?

It's not that Shurmur made one bad
decision in one particular aspect of the game in 2012; it's that he made
obviously wrong calls in so many different spots. He failed to go for two up
15-10 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and it cost him the game in a 17-16 loss.
He used a timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 41-yard
line with 6:38 left in a close game and ended up having to go for it on
fourth-and-6 later on. He called nine pass plays on third/fourth-and-short in
one Ravens game alone.

If Shurmur had developed his young
talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders.
Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into
anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson
into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland
organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything
resembling their potential. Bizarrely, he was hired by Chip Kelly to serve as
Philadelphia's new offensive coordinator, a role that thankfully is unlikely to
include play-calling duties. You have to assume that the Eagles are hoping
whatever skills Shurmur showed in St. Louis coaching Sam Bradford come out
again with Nick Foles in Philadelphia. It's possible that Shurmur could be a
better offensive coordinator than a head coach, but only because it's hard to
imagine anybody being a worse head coach.

Yikes. From afar, it looked like Shurmur had the Browns
competing in almost every game last season. When you put it like that though,
it sounds more like he was one of the only things holding them back. What could
Kelly or the Eagles possibly see in this guy?

Geoff Mosher provides a bit more insight into the how
Shurmur can help the Birds, which he picked up from his time covering the
Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
this week:

Kelly and “offensive coordinator”
Pat Shurmur will have a symbiotic coaching relationship. Shurmur, a West Coast
offense proponent, will help Kelly develop and enhance the team’s passing game.
Kelly, meanwhile, will school Shurmur on the spread offense, an education that
could help Shurmur get back to a head coaching job.

In other words, the offense will be Kelly’s, but Shurmur’s
knowledge of a pro-style scheme could be helpful in adapting the spread for the
NFL – and in turn, he might just be able to parlay this into a new gig of his
own. Then again, based on Barnwell’s analysis, Shurmur is going to need all the
education he can get.

While there is some truth to each and every criticism of
Shurmur, and they are reasons to be skeptical of his role on the staff,
the
outgoing offensive coordinator makes for a good cautionary tale about
jumping
to conclusions. When Reid first brought Marty Mornhinweg into the fold
in 2003,
he was coming off of one of the worst head-coaching stints in NFL
history,
producing five wins in two seasons with the Detroit Lions. He once famously
elected to take the wind after winning the coin toss in sudden-death overtime, then watched the
opponent take the ball right down the field and score. The moral is Mornhinweg was
promoted to coordinator in ’06, and although the past two years are
still fresh
on everybody’s mind, the Eagles did set the franchise record for points
scored
in back-to-back-to-back seasons from ’08-’10.

Shurmur is unlikely to have anywhere near that level of impact in Philadelphia, but Mornhinweg's story should give some pause to those wondering how this guy even got the job. By the same token, Shurmur being the choice to see Kelly through this transition is sure to prompt some concerns, perhaps rightfully so.

>> Thank You, Coaches [Grantland]

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Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

SEATTLE -- Three plays were all it took for Dallas to get yet another injury scare surrounding Tony Romo.

The quarterback lasted just 90 seconds into the Cowboys' 27-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night before leaving with what appeared at first to be a potentially significant injury, but ended up being minor.

Romo was tackled from behind by Seattle's Cliff Avril on the third play from scrimmage as Romo scrambled from the pocket.

He immediately grabbed at his back, crumpled on the field while trainers sprinted from the Dallas sideline and images of Romo's injury problems from last year immediately flashed to mind.

Turned out it was all just a scare. Romo walked off the field without assistance, threw passes on the sideline and lobbied for a return to the game. Dallas coach Jason Garrett opted to play it safe and Romo donned a baseball hat as a spectator the rest of the night.

"I was just in shock and had my mind on just, `C'mon, Tony. Get up,'" Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the team's TV broadcast.

"Said a few prayers right there in the middle on the spot. Really just couldn't imagine getting that hand dealt to us. We're pleased that it's in good shape. We obviously don't need to see what Tony can do out there."

What Romo saw was an impressive initial flash from rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and a solid performance by backup QB Dak Prescott against one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Elliott rushed for 48 yards on seven carries, including a 13-yard run where he knocked Seattle safety Kam Chancellor backward. Prescott was solid playing against most of Seattle's starting defense, finishing 17 of 23 for 116 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass that Jason Witten snatched away from K.J. Wright.

Russell Wilson and Seattle's No. 1 offense played into the second half, scoring on four of its final five possessions including a pair of TD tosses by Wilson (see full recap).

Foster leads Dolphins to win over Falcons
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Running back Arian Foster had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Miami Dolphins' 17-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Foster, who joined the Dolphins during the offseason and is coming off an Achilles injury, had his most extensive playing time with his new team in the third preseason game that was played at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back played in just one series in the first half, but he made the most of the limited opportunities by sparking the Dolphins to their lone touchdown drive of the half with five carries for 10 yards, capped by his 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

The Dolphins are taking a cautious approach with Foster, who hasn't played a full season since 2012 with Houston. The former Texans star didn't play in the Dolphins' preseason opener and had just two carries for minus-5 yards last week against Dallas.

With Foster expected to challenge second-year running back Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins backfield this season, coach Adam Case came into Thursday night's game wanting a little more to evaluate Foster on.

Foster didn't get a lot more work, but he did enough in the seven touches he received to make the Dolphins' running back competition interesting. Ajayi carried seven times for 11 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Foster had two receptions for 20 yards, which included a 16-yard catch that moved the Dolphins into scoring position at the Falcons 22.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off an impressive outing against the Cowboys, didn't put his team in many scoring positions, but he did move the ball effectively.

He completed 20 of 29 passes for 155 yards while leading the Dolphins to a score in one of two red zone opportunities (see full recap).

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz shared a special relationship.

We all know the story.

The two formed an incredible battery combination that produced a perfect game and postseason no-hitter in the same year.

Halladay, a Cy Young winner with plenty of accolades, loved the unassuming Ruiz just as much, if not more, than anyone.

This is case in point: Doc, via CSNPhilly.com's Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury, provided an absolutely epic quote summing up Chooch, who the Phillies traded on Thursday night.

Without further ado ...

Chooch was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names, but no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos! He was so humble and grateful, you couldn't help but just want to do anything for him including win! He flawlessly handled one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled and was just as important offensively, as well. It was nothing short of miraculous that he could handle so many different personalities and approaches on a day-to-day basis the way that he did. He was the best catcher I've ever thrown to and, in my opinion, the best catcher in baseball in the years I was with him. It's going to be sad to see him without a Phillies uniform on and not seeing him sitting in his chair in the clubhouse with a smile. And just the way the fans treated Chase last week, Chooch is also deserving of that hero's welcome. They are my two favorite players of all-time as well as favorite teammates. I was fortunate to have both of them in the clubhouse. I want to wish good luck to Carlos. Maybe one day when we're old and gray we can come back to Philly!!

With that, we'll leave you with these awesome moments.

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

It appears prized catching prospect Jorge Alfaro is coming to the Phillies.

But not for long.

According to a report late Thursday night by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Alfaro will be promoted from Double A Reading to the Phillies and join the team Friday in New York.

Alfaro, already on the Phillies' 40-man roster, is not expected to stay for long. He gets the call now with the Phillies' trade of Carlos Ruiz on Thursday night and veteran catcher A.J. Ellis, a part of the Ruiz deal, not yet with the team but expecting to join it this weekend against the Mets.

Alfaro is a strong candidate to be a September call-up of the Phillies once Reading is finished with the Eastern League playoffs.

The 23-year-old was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade at last season's non-waiver deadline. With the Fightin Phils this season, Alfaro is hitting .279 with 13 home runs, 61 RBIs and 60 runs scored. He's ranked as baseball's second-best catching prospect by MLB.com Pipeline and is known for his big throwing arm and power potential.