Preseason Report: Some Good Individual Performances, Some Terrible, and Undisciplined Mistakes

Preseason Report: Some Good Individual Performances, Some Terrible, and Undisciplined Mistakes

We
already discussed the quarterback situation following the game, which
you can read here. Let's jump right into the good and the bad from
Monday night's 27-17 preseason victory over the Patriots.

The Good

King
Dunlap appeared to solidify himself as the left tackle going forward.
He seemed calm and solid, and I only counted one pressure coming from
his assignment. The Eagles ran to the right side more, but the few times
they went left, he looked okay. And while it's true the Patriots
weren't using many of their starters, Dunlap had a decent test going
against first-round pick Chandler Jones most of the night. Meanwhile,
Demetress Bell looked adequate at best when he entered the game in the
second half.

As we mentioned in the past, Dunlap could very well
be the solution there
. He's generally played very well in seven starts
over the past two seasons, and so far, so good this summer.

Mychal KendricksFor
the second week in a row, the rookie linebacker gets a mention in the
good column. While Mychal Kendricks was beat for a touchdown pass, it
was close to the only notable flaw you could find in his performance on Monday
night. Kendricks was disruptive in the backfield, causing several plays
to go for a loss, and he's been excellent at diagnosing screens this
preseason.

With his speed and instincts, Kendricks may already be
the best linebacker on this team. DeMeco Ryans hasn't looked bad, but
he looks like he's running in mud compared to the second-round pick, who
finished the game with six total tackles.

Running Backs

We
all know LeSean McCoy can play, and he eased some concerns that the
running game might not be nearly as effective without Jason Peters anchoring
the left side, rushing for 30 yards on seven carries and a score. Nice
night, now keep him on the shelf until the real deal begins, please.

But
the backs who really caught my eye are a pair who were thought to be potentially fighting for roster spots -- and may have ended any debate
with strong outings. Bryce Brown and Stanley Havili impressed in several
phases of the game. At 6-0, 223, and sporting 4.48 speed, Brown is really something to
behold when carrying the football. He's got good burst, is able to gain the corner, then
finish runs with power. Brown finished with 51 yards on nine
carries, including a 27 yarder, plus caught two passes and made a tackle
in the return game. Havili's action was limited, but the fullback had a nice series,
taking a trap play 14 yards to the goal line, followed by a nice
block on the next play to help McCoy punch it into the end zone. Havili
had a tackle on special teams as well, and if these guys can play on the
third unit, there will most definitely be space for them.

Nate Allen

While
he didn't do anything that overwhelmed, I thought Nate Allen
played a very strong game. The third-year safety led the team in tackles
with seven, was aggressive in run support, and batted away a deep pass
in coverage. His effort against the run was the biggest thing that stood out though. On several occasions, Allen came flying into
the picture, but under control, limiting runs to just a handful of
yards. Good night for Nate Allen, as he and Kurt Coleman have both
looked fine so far.

The Bad

Penalties

This is going
to be a short list, because penalties were primarily what the negatives
on defense boiled down to. The Patriots managed to put 14 points on the
board with a pair of backup quarterbacks in the game and all their star
players on the bench, but it didn't have to be that way.

On New
England's touchdown drive, the Eagles had them pinned twice. First,
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a Ryan Mallett pass deep inside
Patriots territory, but the pick was erased by a Fletcher Cox late hit
on the quarterback. It wasn't malicious, but under the rules, it is a
penalty. No need to kill the rookie for it, you just chalk it up as a
less of the preseason, hope he learns from his mistake. Three plays
later, it's third down again, only this time Mallett is sacked and they
will be forced to punt -- except a Nnamdi Asomugha holding penalty
results in an automatic first down. I did not see this shown during the
broadcast, so we'll take the officials at their word.

The Pats
converted three more third downs on the series, including the score, and
there is something to be said for the defense's inability to get off
the field in some of these situations. The blog McNabb or Kolb takes a
detailed look at all 13 third downs
, of which New England converted
eight total. That's far too many, especially with the B-team out there,
and considering it's been a recurring theme.

However,
the Eagles most likely don't face anywhere near 13 third downs if it weren't for the
fact they shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions. All three
Patriot scoring drives were aided by a 15-yard personal foul (as an
aside, the words personal foul are telling -- when a player hits
somebody late, I fail to see how that's on coaching), and if only DRC's INT
holds up, that's likely a 10-to-14 point swing in Philly's favor. This
alone would've made the outcome, and the way the defense was viewed,
quite a bit more favorable.

All of which is not to make excuses.
They committed the penalties, and plays that ensued then ultimately led
to points falls on the defense. It made for a miserable viewing
experience, and plenty of reasonable second-guessing. The question now
is whether they can clean it up, because in the NFL, you can't give
anybody -- not even the backups -- second and third chances.

P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20 year olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

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MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.