Philly March Madness: (3) Donovan McNabb vs. (14) Bobby Jones

Philly March Madness: (3) Donovan McNabb vs. (14) Bobby Jones

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll       matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes     below, and cast your  vote at  the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next  round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

 
(3) Donovan McNabb

When we look back at Donovan McNabb's career a decade or two for now, it  might seem totally ridiculous that he was as polarizing a figure as he  was during his playing days here. Booed from draft night by Eagles fans  who thought Ricky Williams was the way to go with the second pick,  McNabb went on to have a career far superior not only to Williams, but  to all the other quarterbacks taken in the vaunted '99 draft class (Tim  Couch, Akili Smith, Dante Caulpepper, Cade McNown). Leading the Eagles  back to the playoffs in just his second season behind center, Donovan  would eventually get the team to four consecutive NFC Championship  games, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Birds' first  appearance in the big game in a quarter century. By the time he was  traded, D-Mac had set most of the Eagles' quarterback records, including  completions, passing yards and touchdowns. But because he had not set  the team record for Super Bowls won--just one would've done it--and  because he had frequently frustrated fans with his inaccuracy and  occasionally perceived lack of intensity and toughness, many had  long-since called for him to be jettisoned by the time Andy Reid finally  traded him to conference-rival Washington in 2010. It appears now to  have been the right move for the time--Donovan's 2010 season was  mediocre at best, while his Philly replacement Michael Vick had a  near-MVP year--but there's no telling how miserable the beginning of the  21st century would have been for the Birds without McNabb, who rescued  the franchise from the likes of Koy Detmer and Doug Pederson and turned  it into a perennial contender for an entire decade. -Andrew


(14) Bobby Jones

The answer to the trivia question "Who was the first NBA player to win  the Sixth Man of the Year award?," Bobby Jones did a whole lot more than  that for the Philadelphia 76ers during his eight seasons in the City of  Brotherly Love. Starting out with the Denver Nuggets in the ABA, Jones  came over to the NBA in the '76 merger and was eventually traded to the  Sixers as part of a deal for unapologetic gunner George McGinnis. The  deal would prove to pay dividends, as the Sixers already had a surfeit  of scoring, but badly needed what Jones brought to the team--defense,  energy and toughness. Known for his devout Christian beliefs and values,  Jones rarely boasted gaudy stat lines during his days with the Sixers,  averaging just 9.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg in his Sixth-Man-winning season, but  he was lauded by teammates and beloved by fans for bringing his all to  every game, every night. “Bobby Jones gives you two hours of his blood,  showers and goes home,” said onetime GM Pat Williams of Jones's game.  “If I was going to ask a youngster to model after someone, I would pick  Bobby Jones.” The Sixers' key lockdown perimeter defender off the bench,  Jones helped Philly make the playoffs in every one of his eight seasons  there, including their legendary fo'-fi'-fo' championship run of 1983.  Bobby was recently ranked by SLAM magazine as the 159th best player of  all-time, callin him a "vital piece in the [Sixers]' success because of  his selfless play." -Andrew

    Who should advance to the next round?online survey

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon     Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%)     over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over   (13)   Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark     Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone   (48.9%)
(7)   Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2)   Chase   Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod     Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook    (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%)   over  (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11)   Clyde  Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk   (24.2%)
(7) Lenny Dykstra (51.9%) over (10) Dave Poulin (48.1%)
(2) Allen Iverson (83.1%) over (15) Jeremiah Trotter (16.9%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (96.9%) over (16) Keith Byars (3.1%)
(9) Wilbert Montgomery (59.4%) over (8) Jeff Carter (40.6%)
(5) Ron Jaworski (83.5%) over (12) Bobby Abreu (16.5%)
(4) Ron Hextall (94.1%) over (13) Andre Iguodala (5.9%)
(6) Mike Quick (59.8%) over (11) Hugh Douglas (40.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (98.3%) over (14) Scott Rolen (1.7%)
(7) Maurice Cheeks (51.9%) over (10) Eric Desjardins (48.1%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (58.9%) over (2) Tim Kerr (41.1%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (97.1%) over (16) Hersey Hawkins (2.9%)
(9) Troy Vincent (51.8%) over (8) Curt Schilling (48.2%)
(5) Pete Rose (85.2%) over (12) Peter Zezel (14.8%)
(4) Ryan Howard (86.3%) over (13) Jon Runyan (13.7%)

Top Phillies prospect Mickey Moniak adds muscle, looks for big season 2017

Top Phillies prospect Mickey Moniak adds muscle, looks for big season 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The difference was striking.
 
When Mickey Moniak arrived in Philadelphia to sign his first professional contract six months ago, he was rail-thin and 170 pounds.
 
On Tuesday night, Moniak made a quick visit to the winter meetings to be honored as Baseball America’s high school player of the year for 2016. 
 
He’d added 20 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame.
 
“It’s all muscle,” Moniak said proudly.
 
The Phillies selected Moniak with the first pick in the June draft and signed him for $6.1 million. Just a few months of professional baseball convinced the 18-year-old centerfielder that he needed to get stronger. He recently capped off his first year of pro ball with a three-week stint at the Phillies’ strength and conditioning camp in Clearwater.
 
“It’s something the Phillies wanted me to do and I knew I definitely needed it, too,” Moniak said. “I really enjoyed my first year. I got a taste of what it was like to play baseball for a job and it was a good time.
 
“There were a lot of positives that came out of the first year. I felt like I jumped in there and really competed. I hit well in July. In August, I started to fatigue and I wasn’t prepared for that, being my first season. But it was a good learning experience. I needed to get stronger.”
 
Moniak hit .284 with a .340 on-base percentage, 11 doubles, four triples, a homer and 28 RBIs in 46 games for the Phillies’ prospect-stacked Gulf Coast League team. That club, loaded with young Latin players and first-year talent from the 2016 draft, went 41-17 and advanced to the finals of the league playoffs before losing to the Cardinals.
 
After the playoffs, many of the players from that club participated in the Florida instructional league. Moniak played sparingly, however, after dealing with some soreness in his right hip. He was checked out by doctors in Philadelphia and there are no more concerns.
 
“It was just tightness,” Moniak said. “Everything is good. I’m 100 percent. They said it was either a growing pain or just tightness. I just have to stretch more.”
 
Moniak is an athletic centerfielder with speed and a good left-side bat. He has been compared favorably to former All-Star Steve Finley.
 
"Collectively, we believe Mickey was the best player available in the draft," Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies head of amateur scouting, said on draft night in June. "He's a true centerfielder with incredible offensive ability and the potential to be a perennial All-Star."

Moniak hit .476 with seven homers, 12 triples and four doubles at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California, during his senior season. He impressed a rival scout who saw him play five times during the season.

“The bat is good,” the scout said. “He’s going to hit and hit for average. He’s a good centerfielder. He can run. The question is how many home runs will he hit? If he ends up getting stronger, he could be a corner bat that’s unbelievable. There’s no negative here. It’s a good pick.”
 
Now, Moniak is stronger. He looked sturdy in a dress shirt and tie at the winter meetings Tuesday night. He is eager to see how it all translates on the field in 2017.
 
“I’m excited for the season,” he said. “I’m just going to go to spring training and compete and hopefully end up in (Single A) Lakewood, stay healthy and hopefully have a winning season and win a championship. That’s the ultimate goal and if personal stats come with that, too, that’s great.”

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles get top running back, receiver back at practice

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles get top running back, receiver back at practice

The Eagles will get a boost on Wednesday as they begin to prepare for Washington and a chance to snap a three-game losing streak. 

Their top running back and receiver – Ryan Mathews (knee) and Jordan Matthews (ankle) – will both practice. 

Ryan Mathews, who suffered an MCL sprain against Seattle, has missed the last two weeks. Jordan Matthews, who hurt his ankle against the Packers, missed the Bengals game. It was the first game he had ever missed in his collegiate and NFL career. 

“He’s good to play,” head coach Doug Pederson said about Ryan Mathews. “We’ll find out today, but he’s cleared and ready to go.”

In the two weeks without Mathews in the lineup, the Eagles had their two worst rushing performances of the season: 81 yards against the Packers and 53 against the Bengals. 

Obviously, getting behind in those games skewed those numbers plenty. But it should still be a boost to get Mathews back. 

“We fell behind so it gets us out of that mode a little bit,” Pederson said. “But I like where we’re at. I do lean on that offensive line quit a bit. I do talk to them during the week and say hey this might be the week that we need to rush the ball 30-35 times and they’re up for the challenge, obviously. 

“With the addition of Ryan coming back, it gives us depth and a bigger [running back] back there and hopefully we can get back to running the ball like we did a few weeks ago.” 

With Jordan Matthews out against Cincinnati, undrafted rookie Paul Turner made the most of his opportunity. He caught six passes for 80 yards, while playing in the slot. 

Pederson said that even with Jordan Matthews’ returning, the Eagles will still try to find ways to keep Turner involved. 

The team will practice indoors on Wednesday because the fields at the NovaCare Complex are too saturated thanks to Tuesday's constant rain.