Quotable: Todd Bowles Says He Was 'Shocked,' And That Staff Will Miss Castillo

Quotable: Todd Bowles Says He Was 'Shocked,' And That Staff Will Miss Castillo

If a Jason Hanson field foal attempt was just a little more off line, there's a good chance we wouldn't have seen Todd Bowles in front of the media yesterday afternoon.

But 4-2 seems pretty far from 3-3, Andy Reid's job is on the line, and the defense made, in Nnamdi Asomugha's estimation, a crucial mistake in blitzing Detroit in the fourth quarter.

And so here we are, in spite of every other problem this team has so clearly evidenced it has over the last two seasons.

Might any of the above explain why Todd Bowles was shocked when he was informed that Eagles had fired Juan Castillo Tuesday morning?

“I was shocked,” he said. “In this game, you kind of see things
every year that kind of make you surprised until you stop being
surprised. It’s the profession you choose. You win, you’re great. You
lose, you stink. That’s our business, and you’ve got to understand that
going in. “Me and Juan had a great relationship.
He’s a great coach, he works hard. We had a great relationship as a
staff, and that’s going to be sorely missed for us.”

Taking nothing away from Bowles comments — I think it's possible he really was shocked — it seems doubtful many of the fans or writers were all that surprised. This specific move — removing Castillo for Bowles — has been repeatedly mentioned as a possibility dating all the way back to when Bowles was hired last winter.

But if we are to accept Bowles comments, wouldn't that seem to indicate that he didn't think things were going so badly for the defense?

Whatever Bowles' level of surprise, Castillo was fired yesterday, in part, because he was the easiest person to axe. And he was the easiest person to axe because the head coach put him a position to fail, set him up for a barrage of criticism which Juan received, and then fired him even when the long-time offensive line coach performed better than many would have assumed.

When Todd Bowles gets Mike Vick to quit turning the ball over, then, and only then, will I be shocked.

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.