You Don't Have to Look Very Far to Find This Sunday's Worst Case Scenario

You Don't Have to Look Very Far to Find This Sunday's Worst Case Scenario

A familiar drumbeat began in the moments immediately after Michael Vick's fourth interception in Cleveland -- the second of which had been fired carelessly into double coverage -- this time resulting in a pick six that would have handed victory to a serious opponent. Fans and members of the media alike, the latter made up of people who are supposed to know better, Twondered aloud whether preseason darling Nick Foles would come on to relieve Vick the rest of the way.

Vick of course finished and the Eagles (eventually/miraculously) won the game, but what gave anybody the idea Andy Reid would even consider replacing his quarterback? There aren't many instances where the head coach of 14 seasons demonstrated an itchy trigger finger when it came to the guy running his offense, especially mid-game, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise big or small he was giving the franchise QB every opportunity to turn the ship around.

However, there is one outstanding example when Reid finally had seen enough of his signal caller to make the switch midway through a contest, and opted for the inexperienced option instead. It just so happens that exact scenario played out four years ago the last time the Eagles went head-to-head with the Ravens.

You'll no doubt recall the events. Donovan McNabb was the quarterback, but as he was prone to doing, had fallen into a funk heading into the Week 12 meeting in Baltimore. McNabb completed less than 50-percent of his passes and threw for under 200 yards in a home loss to the Giants two weeks earlier, followed by the famous 13-13 tie in Cincinnati where afterwards he explained he was unaware such an outcome was even possible. It's track No. 58 on Donovan's Greatest Hits, available on iTunes.

With McNabb well on his way to another clunker against the Ravens, completing 8 of 18 passes for 59 yards and two picks in the first half, Reid said take a seat. The score was only 10-7 at the time (thanks to a Quintin Demps kick return TD), the game technically well within reach, but second-year quarterback Kevin Kolb was about to get the most extensive, the first meaningful playing time of his short career against what is notoriously one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.

The experiment did not end well. Statistically speaking, Kolb wasn't much worse that day, going 10 for 23 for 73 yards and two picks. Actually, he came closer than Donovan to engineering a scoring drive, though all hope was ultimately erased at the goal line after Ed Reed took an interception back 108 yards. Either way, the game predictably unraveled when the backup QB entered, with the Ravens walking away victorious by a final of 36-7.

A sign of things to come perhaps? Vick is not unlike McNabb in that he can be incredibly inconsistent on a game-to-game basis. He looked out of sync in extremely limited action during the preseason, which seemingly carried over into his awful performance against the Browns. Winning the game obviously was what's important, but there is little in the quarterback's performance to inspire confidence this Sunday.

All of which makes us fear we could be in for a repeat of sorts from 2008. Would Reid bench Vick against one of the stingiest defenses in the league over another poor outing, throwing his rookie quarterback to the wolves? My guess is probably not likely given the situations aren't entirely comparable. Kolb was in his second season, thus more prepared in theory. Plus at that point in the season, a loss dropped the Eagles to 5-5-1, so there was far more at stake.

There is also the possibility Vick could go down with an injury, as many have predicted will happen at the hands of the nasty Baltimore D. That would force Foles -- or Trent Edwards if Reid were benevolent -- into the lineup, perhaps inducing similar results. While many wouldn't seem to mind if the Eagles made the move at quarterback before it reaches this point, a glimpse into the past suggests a change under center this weekend would not have much of a positive impact versus the Ravens.

In fact, you might say based on the evidence, it has the potential to wind up a total disaster.

Although, a funny thing about how 2008 worked out: McNabb was back under center the following week, the Eagles went on a roll all the way to the NFC Championship game. Somewhere in between is track No. 59, titled "Financial Apology."

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Don't forget we're hosting a free NFL Week 2 fantasy football game with $250 in cash prizes. See if you can top Enrico's picks for this week which include Mike Vick, Jamaal Charles, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson, among others. Enter to play here.

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left them in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

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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