Jamie Mottram & Dan Steinberg on the EaglesRedskins Game Tonight

Jamie Mottram & Dan Steinberg on the EaglesRedskins Game Tonight

With the Washington Redskins in town this evening for the Monday Night Football extravaganza, I thought I'd ask D.C.'s two brightest sports minds what they thought about the matchup.  Nope, not Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.  We'll get plenty of Tony K. tonight.

An in depth look at the game tonight with these two television stars, after the jump.

Dan Steinberg and Jamie Mottram are the stars of Comcast's hit television show Blog Show!  You can watch past episodes here.  Dan and Jamie do their work at The Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog and Mister Irrelevant, respectively.

Enrico: We Eagles fans are used to looking down towards the bottom of the
standings to see how the Redskins are doing.  Going into the Monday
Night Football game this week, the Birds are 0-1 while the Skins are
1-0.  I don't like it.  How do you feel about being tied for the NFC
East lead after one week of football?

Jamie: You Eagles fans are also used to looking around and seeing
a lot of insufferable assholes wearing green, so, all things
considered, I think you'll be just fine. Anyway, how do I feel about the
Skins being in first? I feel like they opened with a W over a five-win
team at home (in OT no less), but that won't diminish the rippling beer muscles
I'll be throwing around come Monday Night.

Dan: Oh snap! Except
I think the Dolphins had six wins last year. Maybe not.

Enrico: I couldn't agree more.  I really can't stand the Saint Patties day festivities in Philadelphia.

Dan: Anyhow, I'm not
a Redskins fan, despite the fact that I live in D.C., but living here
and interacting with the people with whom I interact, it's impossible
not to believe that the world will end if the Skins don't finish 16-0,
and that God is on their side.

Enrico: Now,
you guys actually have a decent quarterback for the first time in a few
years and Antwaan Randel El put up some huge numbers in week one.  With
Lito Sheppard going down and the weaker Will James stepping in, is that
something you expect the Skins to exploit?

Dan: The
odd thing no one's pointing out about Randle El is that his day went
from "above average" to "huge" because he caught a tipped hail mary at
the end of regulation. Also, that B-Lloyd was invisible, and that
Cooley and Moss didn't do much. This team won't succeed with Randle El
as its offensive weapon. I'm expecting a ton more Cooley this week, but
yeah, sure they'll test James. Wait, who am I, Mort? I have no idea.
I'm just trying to make fun of Eagles fans in the parking lot.

Jamie: JC 17 is the first QB in DC able to really throw the ball downfield
since a certain Super Bowl hero named Mark Rypien. The problem in Week 1,
however, is that Campbell was deadly inaccurate. Plus, 'Tana Moss dropped
two easy downfield passes and Captain Chaos stayed in to help on pass
protection after Jon Jansen went down in a twisted heap of agony early on. So,
yeah, McNabb won't be the only QB with something to prove on Monday Night,
and Sheppard being out will only help.

Enrico: Wow.  Mark Rypien.  I forgot about that guy.  So, big game Monday night
in Philly.  Would either of you two care to make a wager?  I was
thinking I could mail you a Geno's cheesesteak if the Skins win and you
guys could mail me... um?  A foreign diplomat? What are you guys famous
for in DC?  A Ben's Chili Bowl half smoke?  I hear Bill Cosby is a fan.  Seriously though, how bout
a ticket to the Nationals/Phils game this weekend?  Steinz prob gets
them for free anyway, that way if the Eagles win, I won't really have
to deliver.

Jamie: How about a Geno's cheesesteak vs. an Eagles visor (don't ask, but I have
one)?

Enrico: No.

Jamie: How about a cheesesteak vs. me not kicking your ass?  For real, Steinz and I will stomp the yard on that ass!

Enrico: Okay, Jamie's lost his marbles.  I'll end this weak attempt at football
analysis with my pick.  I'm predicting a huge night from McNabb, maybe
3 TD tosses.  Eagles 34 Redskins 13.  How do you like that beatdown?

Jamie: McNabb better have a huge night, or you know what time it is
... it's Kevin Kolb time.  Prediction: Redskins win a close one on the strength of their
running game and defense. Get ready for the grind, Philly. It's gonna be
like Eric Nies up in this bitch! 

Dan: As
the only impartial member of this email thread, I think I'm obviously
closest to the truth. Eagles win but, most importantly, do not cover.
Call it 20-19 or something like that. How 'bout the Eagles score on a
second-half turnover, just to get extra specific.

Enrico: Alright! Many thanks to the DC folk for sharing their thoughts.  Go Birds!

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Well, this hasn't gone well. 

Coming into Thursday afternoon's game against the Rockies, the Phillies have lost five straight. They've lost nine of their last 10. They've lost 20 of their last 24. 

At 15-29, they're not just the worst team in the NL East. They're not just the worst team in the National League. 

Through 44 games, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. 

Just to make it to a .500 record this season, they would need to go 66-52 (.559) the rest of the way. 

Their four-game series against the Rockies will mercifully come to a close on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In the first three games of the series -- all losses -- the Phils have been outscored 23-5. 

Maikel Franco returns to the four-hole as the Phillies try to snap out of their funk.

The Phillies on Thursday also activated right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez from the disabled list. Gomez takes Adam Morgan's spot on the roster. Morgan was reassigned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after throwing three scoreless innings during the Phillies' 7-2 loss to the Rockies.

Gomez hasn't pitched since May 4 because of an elbow injury. He began the season as the Phillies' closer but was demoted after blowing two saves and allowing seven runs in his first five innings. In 11 1/3 innings this season, Gomez has a 7.94 ERA.

Here's the full lineup: 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Michael Saunders, RF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P

With new mindset, Nelson Agholor embraces competition to prove himself to Eagles

With new mindset, Nelson Agholor embraces competition to prove himself to Eagles

Nelson Agholor’s rookie season was a disappointment, but his second year in the NFL was a disaster, the pressure of which was clearly getting to him. Now Agholor finds himself on the roster bubble as his third year with the Eagles commences, and it’s fair to wonder what the wide receiver’s mindset is like in 2017.

“Confident and comfortable,” Agholor said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, where phase three of OTAs had just begun.

Earlier in the day, Agholor had been involved at practice — cycling in with the first-team offense and getting plenty of looks, too. Later, he would be the last player to leave the field, continuing to run sprints alone after practice ended. Finally, back in the locker room, Agholor explained the epiphany he arrived at during the offseason, and how he knows he’s ready to put 2016 behind him.

“I just had a realization that the only thing that matters is the current situation,” Agholor said. “I’m here, I have an opportunity to get better and make myself a better football player.”

None of this means everything is about to click for Agholor, and he’s suddenly going to perform up to his status as a first-round pick. The Eagles clearly weren’t counting on that, either, when they signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, then selected two more receivers in the draft.

If Agholor intends to turn his career around, a fresh outlook isn’t a bad place to start.

Failing to meet expectations and under relentless scrutiny, Agholor’s demeanor changed over the course of last season. Frustrations finally boiled over during a postgame rant after an Eagles loss to the Cowboys. Four weeks later, he was a healthy scratch against the Packers. Though Agholor suited up for the final five games, there was no discernable change from a production standpoint.

“That’s in the past,” Agholor said. “I practiced today. I got after it today. Anything that happened back then, it happened for a reason.”

Agholor — who turned 24 Wednesday — attributed the bulk of his struggles to youth and inexperience while denying mental or confidence issues were to blame for his performance. With only 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns to show after two years, the Eagles couldn’t wait for him to grow up any longer, which led to Jeffery and Smith being brought aboard.

“I took it for what it was,” Agholor said. “I said, ‘This was what happened, this is the new opportunity, so every day, just focus on getting better at some aspect of it.’

“It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little. At the end of the day, the whole world will be like, ‘Man, this is the product?’ Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day there. It took a process and continuous progression every day.”

But how exactly does Agholor go about making that jump? Because work ethic has never been a complaint, nor was talent a problem at USC, where he finished with 179 receptions for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns in 40 games.

There’s no telling whether Agholor will ever put it all together in the NFL. He has refined his approach, however.

“I focused on the simple grind, whether it’s conditioning, whether it was living weights,” Agholor said of offseason workouts. “I wasn’t trying to have just a miracle happen. I just started focusing on the simplest things.

“I got on the track and worked on my speed and worked on my conditioning. I was in the weight room, worked on my strength and my durability, making sure my muscles were working the right way. That’s all it was, little things like that.”

Coaches and teammates are seeing a difference in Agholor as well. Most of all, they believe competing against veterans like Jeffery and Smith will bring the best out of a young receiver still trying to find his way.

“Nelson's attitude has been great. He's worked extremely hard this offseason,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “As I've said all along, competition sharpens you, and that's what I've seen from Nelson.”

“I feel like competition is what’s going to help breed production,” Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews said. “If you’ve got more guys coming in and working, you don’t have time to worry about this, this and this. You have to worry about going in and keeping your job, you have to worry about going in and making plays every single day, and that goes for everybody, not just Nelson.”

Agholor does not disagree.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for me to compete vs. some really good players,” Agholor said of Jeffery and Smith. “These guys have proven themselves in the league, so if I show that I’m capable of performing the same way they are, then I’m in the conversation.”

That might seem like wishful thinking, but for this brief period in OTAs, Agholor has the upper hand — he knows the offense. And even if the Eagles wanted to move on from Agholor this year, his contract is such that a release would cost more against the salary cap than if he was to remain on the roster.

Financial ramifications aside, Agholor’s spot on the final 53-man roster legitimately appears to be in jeopardy. His hope in the meantime is to make himself indispensable.

“I feel like I want to be one of the best players on this team, and that takes care of it right there,” Agholor said. “I want to be a guy when you watch him on tape, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I need him.’

“The best players play, and I want to be one of the best players.”

For all of the doubts about his confidence, Agholor has seldom had any trouble expressing a general belief that he belongs in the NFL. Any doubts he did have, he obviously did not entertain for very long, based on his goals in 2017.

“I love this game, and I want to play this game for a long time, so I’m not going to allow anybody besides myself determine how long I do this,” Agholor said. “This is only Year 3, and I want to play 10-plus. The only way I do that is making myself available and making myself a good football player.”

Coming off of a season that nearly caused him to lose his swagger and cool, Agholor is doing and saying all the right things again, even as the Eagles bring in potential replacements. Perhaps the notion that it feels like a step in the right direction speaks to how poorly those first two seasons went.