Surging Panthers Next Up for Flyers

Surging Panthers Next Up for Flyers

The
last time the Flyers took the ice, they halted an 11-game winning
streak. The last time they faced the Panthers (March 8), they beat them
by a 5-0 count. Tonight, the Panthers return to the Wells Fargo Center
clutching a four-game winning streak and sole possession of first place
in the Southeast. 

After weathering a slew of injuries and some crappy
news on Andrej Meszaros, the Flyers get three players back tonight in
Pavel Kubina, Andreas Lilja and Max Talbot. That they beat the Pens
without so many of their defensive regulars and usual seventh man, as
well as a top defensive forward, says a lot about the way this team is
playing right now. It wasn't pretty for much of the contest, but would
you rather a team that started slow and never gave up, or wilted after
falling into a hole?

The Flyers are back in the comforts of their 7PM
starts, and they've been playing better at home this month too. Will
that translate into a complete-game effort?

Tonight
also begins a six-game swing of opponents outside of the Atlantic
division, the first four of which come as part of the five-game
homestand that began on Sunday. Considering the hockey being played by
the divisional rivals, there probably won't be many complaints. However,
Florida and Washington are battling for the three seed as division
leaders with plenty to play for. The team that does not win the
Southeast not only misses out on the preferential seeding—they might
miss the playoffs altogether. 

Buffalo is banging on the gate, just two points behind Washington for the final slot. 
The
Panthers will look to continue making their own fate (like John
Connor's mom said to), winning the games on their schedule and not
worrying about the others. It should make for some exciting hockey
tonight, and the same will be true on Thursday when the Caps visit. 

Bryz gets the start again tonight. Kris Versteeg and
Dmitry Kulikov both returned to the Panthers' lineup on Saturday, so
Florida will be healthier than the last time we saw them. Mike Morreale
says Scottie Upshall skated with the team earlier today, but no word yet
on whether he'll dress tonight.

In cruel twist, former Eagle Byron Maxwell one of NFL's top corners now

In cruel twist, former Eagle Byron Maxwell one of NFL's top corners now

Remember how excited you were when the Eagles signed Byron Maxwell to a huge free-agent contract in 2015? Remember how much more excited you were this past April when the team traded Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins to move up five spots in the first round of the NFL draft?

Well, as it turns out, Maxwell may not have been the dog most everybody in Philadelphia seemed to think he was. At least, the sixth-year veteran is having a good enough season in Miami to boast without a hint of irony that he's the best cornerback in the league, and smart writer-types like Armando Salguero for the Miami Herald are actually buying it.

Maxwell's performance this season has him so filled with confidence, he's going right after Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson for an imaginary title.

“Man, listen, if he wants to say that, he can say that. I’m pretty sure he believes that,” Maxwell said of Peterson being the best. “Just like I believe I’m the best.

“Nothing against him, he is a great cornerback. The answer depends on who you ask.”

The answer might depend who you ask, but pretty sure the only people who would respond with "Byron Maxwell" are Maxwell himself and maybe a few people in his family. I'm not even sure Maxwell's own mother would proclaim him the best corner in the NFL.

This isn't just Philly picking a bone with Maxwell either, a free-agent bust who the team couldn't wait to unload this offseason. While his attitude was questionable and he had little chance of ever living up to the six-year contract worth $63 million the Eagles gave him in the offseason, Maxwell actually got a little bit of unfair shake here. He made terrible first and last impressions, but was okay in between.

Whether he's one of the best corners in the NFL or not though, it turns out the Eagles probably could've used him this year. Leodis McKelvin is terrible, Nolan Carroll isn't much better, Ron Brooks is on injured reserve and the defense has had to ask way too much of seventh-round draft pick Jalen Mills.

It's just another example of how the Eagles improperly prepared at the position heading into this season. Trading Maxwell and then Eric Rowe to the Patriots as well — two players that accounted for 19 starts in 2015 — left the club little room for error with regard to how they filled those jobs.

The sad thing is, both Maxwell and Rowe are probably better than anything the Eagles have, and Maxwell in particular gets to go around bragging about how he's the best in the league. It's a gut punch to be certain, and amid an Eagles season increasingly filled with them.

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles hurting at wideout vs. Washington

Eagles Injury Update: Eagles hurting at wideout vs. Washington

The Eagles are a little banged up at their skill positions heading into Sunday’s game against Washington at the Linc. 

Jordan Matthews (ankle), Ryan Mathews (knee) and Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen) are all listed as questionable. 

Right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) is the only player who has been ruled out. 

Ryan Mathews, who has missed the past two games with an MCL sprain, was a full participant on both Wednesday and Thursday. “Today, we’re going to back [Mathews] down just a touch, so we can keep him ready to go for Sunday,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday morning. 

Jordan Matthews missed the Bengals game after injuring his ankle against the Packers. It was the first missed game of his career. Matthews was a limited participant on Wednesday for precautionary reasons, according to Pederson. 

“[Matthews] was great on Thursday and no setbacks,” Pederson said. “He made it through practice. We look forward to having him a good day again today.”

It seems a little more likely that Matthews and Mathews will be able to play on Sunday than Green-Beckham. 

Green-Beckham, who hurt his mid-section during the loss to the Bengals, wasn't able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Still, earlier in the week, Pederson said he thought DGB would be able to play this weekend. 

“He’s still on that path,” Pederson said Friday. “He worked yesterday a little bit. It’s still sore. I want to see where he’s going to be today before making a full decision on him. I don’t want to risk having a guy out there that’s not 100 percent.”

With Green-Beckham and Matthews banged up, it looks like the Eagles will go into this game with just three fully healthy wide receivers – Nelson Agholor, Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.

Pederson said there’s no immediate plan to sign another receiver to the 53-man roster. 

So what’s the plan at wideout? The same thing the Eagles did last week. 

“Well, I’ll probably lean more on the tight ends,” Pederson said. “Trey [Burton] has kind of taken that role the last couple of weeks. Trey Burton and Zach [Ertz] and Brent [Celek]. That’d be the direction we’d go.”