Storm Clouds, 6-0 Falcons Confront Andy Reid, Eagles

Storm Clouds, 6-0 Falcons Confront Andy Reid, Eagles

As the Delaware Valley prepares to face the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, Andy Reid is one of the few folks concerned with another looming storm. Reid is coaching for his job, and with a 3-3 record, he can see the dark clouds gathering.

An Eagles win today would be like a ray of sunshine peaking through. A loss would be like driving toward the oncoming chaos.

Sensing what shaky ground this season is on already, Coach Reid used the bye week to batten down the hatches. He fired Juan Castillo and named Todd Bowles defensive coordinator. He yanked Demteress Bell and inserted King Dunlap at left tackle (again).

Those are the changes we can see. Reid certainly must have tinkered under the hood as well. You don't get to be 13-0 after the bye by staying the course.

The one change he didn't make was under center. If Reid is desperate, he is trying not to let it show by placing his trust in Michael Vick.

So much time and effort has been put into debating whether or not he should remain the starting quarterback, there was very little mention this week about Vick going up against his old employer. Whether he would admit it or not, you and I all know that should serve as a bit of extra motivation.

Reid and Vick might be standing in the path of a perfect storm though. The Eagles host an unbeaten Atlanta Falcons squad, and while we don't know yet how good the Dirty Birds are, they do have elite playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Exton native Matt Ryan has elevated his play to a level where he may soon enter the discussion with your Mannings, Brady, Rodgers, and Brees -- if he hasn't already. And in case you were wondering, former Eagle Asante Samuel demonstrated two weeks ago he is still dangerous.

The Falcons finished with at least nine wins in each of the past four seasons, and made the playoffs in three of those, so it's not like they're coming out of nowhere, either.

As if that were not enough by itself, the Eagles were bit by the injury bug this week, and no surprise, it was their offensive line. Danny Watkins is listed at doubtful, and likely will be replaced at right guard by rookie Dennis Kelly. The fifth-round pick played tackle at Purdue, so that should be interesting.

And on top of the figurative storm clouds putting all that pressure on Reid, the Eagles will battle the real elements as well. The wind will be a factor, and it could rain off and on throughout the game as the weather continues to worsen over the next couple days.

A Michael Vick leading the league in turnovers and a slick ball is a scary combination.

This game isn't the definition of a must-win, but if this truly is going to be Andy's last stand, the Eagles need to dig in today. The road doesn't get any easier from here.

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

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Howie Roseman makes complete 180 with latest roster move

Howie Roseman makes complete 180 with latest roster move

Howie Roseman solidified his hold on Executive of the Year Tuesday when he re-signed guard Darrell Greene to the practice squad and released JaCorey Shepherd from the practice squad. Shepherd was signed on Wednesday when Greene was previously released.

The Eagles were undefeated with Shepherd on the practice squad this year.

But they're also undefeated with Greene on the practice squad.

Roseman did not return messages requesting comment about Shepherd's seven-day stint with the Eagles.

Once Roseman realized he had actually NOT signed Lito Sheppard, the deal was voided.

The Eagles don't play this coming weekend so we were hard-pressed for any actual news.