Reid Lets Vick Off the Leash, Eagles Hold Players-Only Meeting

Reid Lets Vick Off the Leash, Eagles Hold Players-Only Meeting

After weeks of speculation, and a report on late Sunday evening that Andy Reid was making a switch under center for the Eagles' Week 9 tilt against the New Orleans Saints, the embattled head coach attempted to put the controversy to rest on Thursday. Reid confirmed Michael Vick will be his quarterback, and stressed it is not subject to a "week-to-week" basis.

Speaking at his normal weekly press conference that was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, Reid finally gave Vick an emphatic endorsement. "Michael is, was and will continue to be our quarterback. This is not a week-to-week thing."

Reid's words were a major departure from the mood he projected immediately after the 30-17 loss to the Falcons, as well as heading into the bye week. When asked if he was committed to Vick as the starter before the bye, Reid responded, "Today, I am," which is hardly, "For always, and forever." On Sunday, he added fuel to the fire when he admitted he would "look at everything" once again when pressed about the quarterback.

Clearly feeling the pressure, Vick himself actually announced Reid was considering a change after Sunday's game. Reports that he had been given the hook proved erroneous on Wednesday though, and suddenly the head coach is standing squarely behind his franchise QB.

Or is he? I won't be the first to point this out, nor the last, but Reid has gone back on his word in the past, and specifically as it relates to his signal callers. Donovan McNabb was the man... until he wasn't. Kevin Kolb was the man... until he wasn't. With another subpar outing, Vick could still wind up being next on that list.

For now at least, the Nick Foles era remains on hold. With that much settled, the locker room is attempting to rally for their last stand over the final nine games of the season. According to reports, there was a players-only meeting on Wednesday, at which as many as 10 Eagles veterans apparently spoke out. As we all know, those meetings always fix everything.

Sarcasm aside, it's a good thing the Eagles realize their backs are against the wall, but you have to wonder if they're not too late, or if it even matters at all. A win in New Orleans on Monday night would get the Birds back to .500, so they're not out of the race just yet. However, they've dug themselves a sizable hole in a competitive NFC, and haven't looked as talented as many of us pictured to begin with when heading into the season.

At this point, it might be fair to suggest nothing can save the Eagles this year -- not a players-only meeting, nor a change at quarterback. It doesn't appear the team is ready to give up either, so maybe we should wait a week or two before calling it.

Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers (14-10-3) vs. Panthers (12-11-3)
7 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers, on the NHL’s longest current win streak, will try to extend it to six games when they host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let’s get you set for the matchup with five things to know:

1. Push it to the limit
The Flyers beat the Predators, 4-2, on Sunday to give them their most consecutive wins since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five in a row.

A victory on Tuesday would mark the team’s longest win streak since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when it won seven straight and Ilya Bryzgalov was in net — yeah, that long ago.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol has been pleased with the consistent effort by his club after it collapsed Nov. 11 in a 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs.

“You go back to that poor performance up in Toronto, which was about a dozen games ago,” Hakstol said Monday. “Since that point in time, I think we’ve really taken pride in the consistency of our play and worrying about what we do on a day-to-day basis. It’s real important that we continue to do that.”

2. Leier hops right in
With Matt Read out approximately a month because of an oblique muscle pull, winger Taylor Leier has been recalled from AHL affiliate and will join Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Dale Weise on the Flyers’ third line Tuesday.

Leier, a 2012 fourth-round pick of the Flyers, gets his chance after proving himself with the Phantoms in 22 games, putting up 20 points on six goals and 14 assists.

The Flyers decided it was Leier over Scott Laughton, who has been sent back down to Lehigh Valley. Leier's earned his second call-up of the season with the Flyers. The first was just for one game on Oct. 25 in which he was a healthy scratch. Last season, the 22-year-old made his NHL debut, going scoreless in six games.

3. Mason on a roll
Speaking of consistency, goalie Steve Mason finally finding a rhythm is a big reason why the Flyers are stringing together wins.

In his last four games, the 28-year-old is 4-0-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. He was honored for his play by being named the NHL’s first Star of the Week.

“Right now, there’s a comfort level with the guys in front of me,” Mason said Monday. “Winning five in a row is nice and we’d like to keep making ground in the standings.”

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Ever since Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup from his three-game benching, the orange and black have won five straight. Now there’s no direct correlation, but Del Zotto is providing a stable presence defensively and chipping in offensively with four points (two goals, two assists) over the five-game run.

Panthers: Center Aleksander Barkov leads Florida in assists with 12 and has eight points (two goals, six assists) over his last nine games for a plus-5 rating.

5. This and that
• Mason is 8-3-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 13 career games against the Panthers.

• Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, who has a 2.15 goals-against average this season, is 9-10-3 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 23 games lifetime against the Flyers.

• The Panthers are 1-1-2 since general manager Tom Rowe took over head-coaching duties for the fired Gerard Gallant.

• The status of Radko Gudas (sick) for tonight’s game is uncertain. He’s missed the last two contests.

• Florida defenseman Keith Yandle’s ironman streak of 577 games will come to an end Tuesday as the 30-year-old is expected to miss some time with a lower-body injury.

• It’s unknown if Panthers leading goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault (lower-body injury) will play Tuesday. 

Philly brewery creates Ghost Bear beer in orange and black can

Philly brewery creates Ghost Bear beer in orange and black can

Who doesn't love a good dance around sports league licensing deals?

The bootleg T-shirt business is a cottage industry keeping sports fans in Philadelphia sharply dressed for years.

There's something to be appreciated about the creative marketing that hints at something but doesn't expressly break any rules.

Conshohocken Brewing absolutely killed it with the naming and branding on their latest beer: the Ghost Bear Golden Ale that just so happens to be in an orange and black can.

Now, some hockey fans who watch plenty of Flyers games might say it's in honor of defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, but whose to say it's not simply a beer named after a couple of wonderful emojis. Namely the ghost and the bear,

I, for one, applaud them on their branding. You can pick one up at their local brew pubs or at the release party over in Fishtown on Friday.

And what a world we live in where Joel Embiid wants to create his own line of Shirley Temple beverages and there's a beer seemingly named after a Flyer who gets the healthy scratch.