George Orwell and the Temple Quarterbacks: An Exercise in Doublespeak?

George Orwell and the Temple Quarterbacks: An Exercise in Doublespeak?

If you've been keeping up with our Temple coverage since Steve Addazio
was introduced as head coach earlier this year, you'll know we've been
pretty high on the guy to this point. He's fiery. He's motivated. He's
TUFF.

But just just three weeks into first campaign
as head coach, Addazio already seems like a different guy than he was at
the end of August. The same coach who seemed so direct and straight
forward has become more and more evasive when it comes to the ongoing
question of a starting quarterback.

We should state,
if you haven't already heard, that senior

QB Chester Stewart has been announced as the starter for
Temple's game this weekend in College Park against the Maryland
Terrapins. In and of itself, playing Stewart isn't necessarily the
problem—but the way Addazio arrived at his decision, that's the
issue.

Three

weeks ago during his team's preseason Media Day, when the coach still
hadn't announced a starter under center, Addazio made the following
comments as related to the future of his
quarterbacks.

--"I don't want to play two quarterbacks and [referencing his
time at Florida] I never wanted to before…To play two guys just because
they're both kind of doing well, I don't want to do that…I don't think
it's productive."

--"We're looking for that 'it factor' more
than that extra completed pass. It's that ability to lead the team down
the field. You know, this guy threw three for six, 'great, that's
terrific,' but could he overcome adversity to lead the team? That's the
factor sometimes that is hard to find. And, you know what, you might not
find it until week three to be honest with you…That 'it factor,' that
leadership, that ability to drive a team, sustain a team, it's critical
right now. And you do the best you can to do a great job predicting
that. We could go into game one, one quarterback may start that game, he
may struggle, we put another guy in, that guy leads the team and, you
know what, there we go. That's what you got. That's the guy that's
probably going to go from that point forward, until proven
otherwise."

--"Quite frankly, I can tell you, I'd be okay with either one
of them right now. I really would be. So it's a good problem to have…as
long as it doesn't turn into a bad problem, because you didn't make a
decision."

Less than one month later, far
too much of the language above seems in some way
contradicted by its own speaker. And, to be as frank as the coach, it's
unsettling.

Addazio claims that there's no single
event that forced his hand into starting Stewart this weekend, but did
specify that last weekend's game film played a significant factor.
Watching that game live and subsequently revisiting the box score, I can
tell you that Chester Stewart went exactly 3 for 6 and failed in repeated to
attempts to "sustain the team." With the exception of his first drive in
which Temple scored its final points of the game, a second quarter
field goal to go up 10-7, the only "it factor" displayed by Stewart in week three was
the clear fact that he wasn't getting "it" done.

And
after all, isn't that why the coach re-inserted Mike Gerardi under
center after pulling him just a quarter prior?

Once
Gerardi was back in the ballgame, Temple did its best to break the Penn
State pass rush by attempting to throw the ball over the eight to nine
guys stacked in the box. But Gerardi, who sat on the sidelines late in
the second quarter and throughout almost all of the third, had lost his
rhythm and feel for the game. The fourth quarter featured one turnover
after another and the Owls were ultimately burnt by continuously handing
PSU nothing less than stellar field position.

Not
only did it look like Addazio was playing two quarterbacks—a strategy he
previously labeled "unproductive"—but also that his "good problem had
turned into a bad one" because he couldn't make a decision as to which
quarterback he wanted.

Now, he's claiming that even
though Chester Stewart will start against the Terps, that "that doesn't
mean Gerardi won't play."

If you're a fan of
football, then you know there's a really easy out for the coach on this
one. That easy out is to claim that each guy has a different skill set
and that it's not a two quarterback offense if one QB is running the
spread and the other QB is running a more traditional passing plan. So,
naturally, that's exactly what Addazio said when asked about it,
right?

Okay,
not exactly. So if Mike Gerardi can run the spread just as well as
Chester Stewart, and both guys are very similar in their capabilities,
and Addazio isn't running a two quarterback system, and isn't doing all
the things he said wouldn't, even though his indecision did hurt the
team
last week, then why is Chester Stewart starting against Maryland this
weekend?

"War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength." Steve Addazio isn't running a two
quarterback system…but Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi will play this
weekend.

Joel Embiid has some dope slippers

Joel Embiid has some dope slippers

Joel Embiid won't play in the next few games after banging up his knee on Friday night in the Sixers win over Portland. This is a bummer for Sixers fans hoping to see the most exciting athlete in Philly in action.

But don't fret too much. Embiid was seen after practice on Monday looking pretty limber, getting up some shots in some sweet slippers.

Hopefully we'll see Embiid back in some Adidas on Friday when the Sixers host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Center.

Stay or Go Part 9: Jalen Mills to Wendell Smallwood

Stay or Go Part 9: Jalen Mills to Wendell Smallwood

In the ninth of our 12-part offseason series examining the future of the Eagles, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro give their opinions on who will be and who won't be on the roster in 2017. We go alphabetically — part 9 is Mills to Smallwood.

Jalen Mills
Cap hit: $559K

Roob: Mills has all the tools to be a capable cornerback except world-class speed. He’s fearless, he’s cocky, he’s smart, he’s a hard worker. He just doesn’t have that make-up speed you want your top outside corners to have. I’ve seen enough positives from Mills that I definitely want him on my team. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter, but I definitely want him around.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Mills really got thrown into the fire as a seventh-round rookie, didn’t he? It wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either. It’s pretty obvious defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s loves Mills’ competitiveness. He doesn’t have top-end speed and that’s probably going to prevent him from ever becoming a top-of-the-line corner in the league. But there’s no reason he can’t stick around for a long time. He certainly has the right mindset to be a corner in the NFL and that’s a part of the battle. The Eagles really need to upgrade the corner position, which could greatly reduce Mills’ role, but he should still have one. 

Verdict: STAYS

Aaron Neary

Roob: Neary is a guard who spent the year on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: I’d say there’s a fair to good chance most of you have never heard of Aaron Neary. He’s an undrafted O-lineman out of Eastern Washington who was on the practice squad in 2016. I’d be lying if I told you I knew a lot about him. 

Verdict: GOES

Jason Peters
Cap hit: $11.7M

Roob: Cut Jason Peters at your own risk. You want the $9.2 million cap savings that the Eagles would gain by releasing the perennial Pro Bowler? Find it somewhere else. Because some guys simply should never be released. Peters is an all-time great Eagle and unless his level of play drops off dramatically, he should be allowed to decide when it’s time to go. Only Chuck Bednarik has been picked to more Pro Bowls than Peters in Eagles history. Peters rebounded from a subpar 2015 with a vintage Peters season this past year. Considering that the Eagles have a promising young quarterback who has to be protected and considering that Lane Johnson is one more positive test from a two-year suspension, Peters has to stay. I don’t care what the cap savings would be by getting rid of him. He’s too good and means too much to cut him. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Sure, the Eagles could save over $9 million in cap room if they cut Peters, but who would they get to play? While they’d be fine moving Lane Johnson to left tackle, they’d then be relying on Halapoulivaati Vaitai to play right tackle. And while that might be the plan in coming years, it would weaken the team in 2017. Peters might not be the dominant force he once was, but he had a very good season and he was able to play 97 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, which is huge. He gets paid a lot, but he’s still worth it. 

Verdict: STAYS

Isaac Seumalo
Cap hit: $764K

Roob: I asked Jason Kelce about Seumalo back in training camp and Kelce said he thinks the third-round pick will one day be a Pro Bowl center. Pretty clear Seumalo is the heir apparent to Kelce, it’s just a matter of when the transition occurs. Kelce wasn’t as awful as some people seem to think. He actually finished the season strong. But I think Kelce goes this offseason and Seumalo is your opening-day center in 2017. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Seumalo’s rookie year was a really interesting one. It started with a pec strain in training camp that slowed him down, but eventually ended with his getting some real experience. In all, Seumalo played six different positions in 2016: right tackle, right guard, left guard, left tackle, fullback and tight end. He didn’t even play center, which might be his most natural spot. I think he’ll have a real shot to be the team’s opening-day starter at left guard. 

Verdict: STAYS

Aziz Shittu

Roob: Rookie defensive tackle spent the year on the practice squad. Depending on what happens with Bennie Logan in free agency, the Eagles could be on the prowl for defensive tackle depth this offseason, and Shittu is an interesting guy. He had a good training camp last year coming off a solid career at Stanford and it’s fair to say he has a chance, depending on what the Eagles do in the draft and free agency. Going with my instincts on this one.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: I actually really liked Shittu coming out of Stanford and not just because I giggle like a schoolgirl every time I hear his name. For an interior defensive lineman, he has some real pass rushing potential. I think he would have been the undrafted guy to make the team over Destiny Vaeao had he not missed the spring because of the silly college graduation/quarters rule. I’d like to see him get a legitimate shot to stick here. It’s a longshot, but I’m going to take a chance with this one. I think he can make the roster. 

Verdict: STAYS

Wendell Smallwood
Cap hit: $601K

Roob: We spend so much time talking about the Eagles’ desperate needs at cornerback and wide receiver that it’s easy to forget they're just as desperate at running back. Assuming Ryan Mathews isn’t back, the Eagles will have a real need for a No. 1 back. You can’t draft or sign every position. So Smallwood could get a real shot at the lead back role. Can he handle the role or is he best suited to be a No. 2? Not sure yet. I like how Smallwood responded when he got double-digit carries against the Steelers, Falcons and Seahawks. Averaged 4.2 yards in those three games. And he had nine runs of 10 yards or more out of just 77 carries. I know Smallwood is a player. I’m just not sure where he’ll fit in. Maybe it’s the No. 28 jersey, but at worst I see him as a Correll Buckhalter-type, a solid No. 2 back who can fill in once in a while as a lead guy. At best? We’ll see. 

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Smallwood might not be the true answer at the running back position, but he proved enough to earn a roster spot next year and a role in the offense. I’m not sure if his ceiling is very high, but he got better throughout the year, specifically as a blocker. He’ll be back for Year 2. 

Verdict: STAYS