Wake Me Up When the Eagles Sign Someone I've Heard Of

Wake Me Up When the Eagles Sign Someone I've Heard Of

We Eagles fans had so much hope. Really, we did. Andy Reid is gone, and so are Joe Banner and Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn. We've got a new coach, who's installing new systems on offense and defense, and might even do something crazy like run the ball once in a while, or acquire at least one better-than-mediocre linebacker. Chip Kelly even showed up at Wing Bowl, showing he’s learned the important lesson that when it comes to sports success in this town, nothing is more crucial than getting on Angelo Cataldi's good side.
 
But since then? Nothing but bad.
 
First the Eagles saw it fit to hire both offensive and defensive coordinators away from the Cleveland Browns, who went 5-11 last year. Since the Eagles were 4-12, I guess I appreciate the commitment to incremental improvement, but still.
 
Then there was the inexplicable decision to bring back Michael Vick, a quarterback I don't think anyone in this town wants to see for one more game. Then they failed to trade Nick Foles to an obviously-interested Andy Reid in Kansas City, who got Alex Smith instead. Then they cut Mike Patterson, sending a clear message to every one of their players: If your brain explodes, and you work to come back, first we'll cut your pay, and then we'll release you.

That brings us to free agency. In the first week, the Eagles were active, signing Isaac Sopoaga, Bradley Fletcher, Patrick Chung, Jason Phillips, Kenny Phillips, Cary Williams and Connor Barwin. Then they traded for Arrelious Benn.

I think I speak for just about all Eagles fans when I ask, "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?"

A lot of fans are excited about the free agent signings, but I don't really understand why. Did you know who any of these people were before last week? Don't they realize that the way to win in this league is to pinpoint the best players, and offering them so much money that they'll say yes?

This is a superstar league, and superstars win championships.

Why didn't the Eagles go after Joe Flacco, who just won the Super Bowl and is from South Jersey? What about Wes Welker, who's the definition of a scrappy, lunchpail Philly Guy who gets it? Why no trade for Percy Harvin, Anquan Boldin or Darrelle Revis?

I know what they're going to say: The Eagles spent money on the "Dream Team" in 2011, it didn't work, so now they're going to be cheap from here on in. Please. The problem with 2011 was that they signed the wrong guys, and they didn't spend enough. We’re shown once again that the Eagles are an organization that cares more about being Salary Cap Champions than real champions.

So now we come to the draft, and I've got a feeling Howie Roseman's once again going to do arrogant things like trading up, or trading down. That's what GMs do when they think they're smarter than everyone else.

That doesn’t sound like a “Gold Standard”  to you, does it?

Other Philly sports takes:

- Speaking of the draft, there was a fascinating exchange on the midday show Monday about quarterback Geno Smith. A caller said Smith "has McNabb written all over him," and that if the Eagles pick him at #4, we can expect a lot more heartbreaking playoff losses. Ike Reese, meanwhile, replied that Geno is better than McNabb right now. I know one of them is right, I'm just not sure which…

- Speaking of which, Bernard Hopkins' victory earlier this month just proves once again: Donovan McNabb was never a good quarterback.

- Don't tell me not to panic about Roy Halladay's spring struggles and coming out of a game after one inning! I don't want to hear that "he's going to be fine," because they said the same thing about Andrew Bynum.

- Still, that that World Baseball Classic brawl between Mexico and Canada was filled on both sides with Phillies minor leaguers gave me more hope for the Phils this year than anything else this spring.

- Considering how bad Tomas Perez was as a Phillies utility man, I have no idea why he'd be nominated to be Secretary of Labor.

- I'm mad at Jimmy Rollins for guest-starring on "The Cleveland Show." If he cared about this city, he'd go on "The Philadelphia Show."

Follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter.

Temple QB Phillip Walker provides leadership, offensive spark as Owls beat Charlotte

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USA Today Images

Temple QB Phillip Walker provides leadership, offensive spark as Owls beat Charlotte

BOX SCORE

Temple quarterback Phillip Walker rolled on the ground in pain after taking a shot late in the first quarter and was immediately forced to the sideline.

With the Owls already trailing and their starting QB’s shoulder dinged up, things certainly weren’t going how the team envisioned opening up its homecoming game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

“It’s a nagging injury that comes and goes,” Walker said.

The pain was able to quickly go away, and then the Owls were able to go off.

Walker returned after a one-play absence to throw a deep touchdown pass and spark 28 unanswered points by Temple during the second quarter of a 48-20 win over Charlotte (see Instant Replay).

The Owls (2-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) evened their record with the win before opening up AAC play next week against SMU.

“It was big for us just because we needed to get going offensively,” Walker said of his beautiful 51-yard touchdown pass to Adonis Jennings on the first play of the second quarter. “We knew it would happen. It just takes time. A lot of people come with the same energy every game at the beginning of the game. Just let that energy wear off a little bit. Once you get your opportunity, then you take your shots and make your plays as an offense.”

The Owls’ offense made plenty of plays during that big second quarter. 

A couple of possessions after Walker’s TD pass gave Temple back the lead, the Owls got a gift when Charlotte (1-3, 0-0 Conference USA) quarterback Kevin Olsen and running back Kalif Phillips botched a read-option exchange. The fumble was scooped up by TU defensive lineman Praise Martin-Oguike and returned 20 yards to the 49ers’ 13-yard line. On the very next play, Jahad Thomas scampered around the left side for a touchdown.

Temple’s defense then forced a three-and-out to get the ball right back for Walker, who connected with Brodrick Yancy on a 40-yard score to break the game open.

Ryquell Armstead tacked on a one-yard touchdown plunge right before halftime to give the Owls a 31-7 advantage at the break.

In all, the Owls outscored the 49ers 28-0 and outgained them 176-66 during the period.

“Once we got the turnover, we had another opportunity in the red zone to make something happen and we did,” Walker said. “Give us the ball in the red zone, we have to capitalize off of it and we have to be able to make a play.”

“I thought the turnovers and field position started helping hitting the big play,” Temple head coach Matt Rhule said. “I just think we kind of settled down on offense, got into a rhythm. I think you’re seeing that we’re able to get our quarterback into a rhythm and he’s playing pretty well.”

Temple got contributions from several key players on offense to rack up 507 total yards and 26 first downs in the victory. Thomas and Armstead each had a pair of rushing touchdowns. Eight different players caught passes with five reaching at least 40 yards, including sophomore wideout Yancy, who had four receptions for 70 yards and a score.

However, it all starts with Walker as he continued to build on the momentum he found last week against Penn State. Walker completed 15 of 26 attempts for 268 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The senior quarterback is starting to hit his stride at the right time with conference play coming up and his teammates are following his lead.

“He likes throwing the ball. The more we catch the ball for him the more it makes him look good, makes others look good and allows us to run the offense the way it can be run,” Yancy said.

“He’s been productive,” Thomas said. “Definitely coming into the season he was talking about his completion percentage. He’s a senior now. He feels more comfortable just getting his feet set. When you don’t have people breathing down your neck all the time you can be comfortable out there, so I’m quite sure that’s the reason why he’s playing so well in the last two games.”

With the defense still showing some warts (429 total yards allowed to Charlotte, including 231 on the ground) and the meat of the schedule coming up with conference play, Temple will be counting on Walker to keep his game at a high level to help the Owls defend their East Division crown.

“Looking forward to it,” Walker said of opening up the AAC portion of the schedule. “There are a lot of great teams in this conference. I think this conference can go either way whether it’s anyone from the West or anyone from the East. There’s a lot of great talent. We just have to bring our A game every week. We’ve got a long stretch here, so we just have to come out here and play our game.”

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

The final eight games remaining on the Phillies’ 2016 schedule will undoubtedly serve as a farewell to Ryan Howard.

Lost in the background may be the fact this week could quite possibly be the end for the man who was supposed to platoon alongside him this year, as well: Darin Ruf.

Both men have been supplanted by Tommy Joseph, who's hit 21 home runs in just 100 games this year while positioning himself as the Phillies first baseman of the near future.

Ruf will start Saturday night against Mets’ lefthander Sean Gilmartin. The Phillies are not scheduled to face a lefty starter for the rest of the season, so Saturday could be one of the final chances to see Ruf in a Phillies uniform, especially considering manager Pete Mackanin’s stated intent to give Howard more playing time down the stretch.

“It seemed like we never faced a lefty for the first month of the season. So that didn’t help Ruf at the time,” Mackanin said.  “Joseph entered the picture and made an immediate impression.”

Ruf’s departure from the majors set the stage for Joseph’s immediate emergence. At the time of his May 13 demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley – and Joseph’s promotion -- Ruf was had a .158/.206/.193 slash line.
  
Since his Sept. 1 return to the majors after rosters expanded, Ruf has done what he can to make sure his possible final season in a Phillies uniform ends on a high note. On Friday night, he drilled a home run to left center off Mets reliever Josh Smoker in pinch-hit duty, the first time Ruf had gone yard since Oct. 1, 2015.

“It felt good,” Ruf said about ending his home run drought. “You just try to simply things and last night it worked out for me.”

Where Ruf will be next year is a more complicated matter, as the 30-year-old is out of minor league options. Japanese scouts were spotted at the games he played for AAA Lehigh Valley.

With Lehigh Valley, Ruf received an opportunity he’s never truly been able to get with the Phillies due to the longstanding presence of Howard: a chance to play every day and consistently accumulate plate appearances. He hit .294/.356/.529 in 390 trips to the plate for the IronPigs. 

Ruf has never made more than 300 plate appearances in a major league season and would struggle to crack that number if he remains in Philadelphia as a backup to Joseph, who will still be 25 on opening day next year.

“I learned [this year] that you can’t take anything for granted in this game,” Ruf said. “You’ve just got to keep working to get better every day, got to put up numbers no matter where you’re at in order to get to where you want. 

“Hopefully, wherever I’m at next year, I can do that.”