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Sixers Extras: Career Years for Thad and Dre?

Sixers Extras: Career Years for Thad and Dre?

The list of reasons why the Sixers are playing so much better this year than last is a long one, from the second-year leap of Jrue Holiday to the resurgence of Elton Brand to the new leadership of coach Doug Collins. But two of the biggest reasons are players who have been the core of the team's offensive attack since the first time the team made the playoffs in the post-Iverson era. It's been an awesome season for both Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, one which has seen both players playing their role on the Sixers better than ever before. And the people have begun to take notice.

Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News writes about Thad's rise in Philly this season, and calls him "perhaps the primary reason for the Sixers' meteoric rise from bottom-of-the-standings dwellers to one of the best teams in the league over the past month and a half." Cooney points out Young's career-high field-goal percentage (55%) and his wise decision to stop launching so many threes (only 18 attempts after 302 his first three years) as evidence of his better fit with the Liberty Ballers this season. "This year, I've laid off the jump shot a lot because I know what my strengths are and what to do to get where I need to be," Young is quoted as saying. 

Meanwhile, Coach Collins salutes Thad in the same article for his effort on the other side of the ball. "The one thing about Thad is his defensive growth has been the key to our team,'' quoth Collins. "He has done an amazing job with his quickness and his speed and guarding screen-and-roll and covering space with speed. He has been a huge part of why we're a good defensive team." Interestingly, the article barely even makes mention of Thad's move to the bench this season--good to see that the Sixers are above getting hung up on such roles these days.

As for whether Young, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has earned himself a place in the team's future..."We hope," says GM Ed Stefanski. Fair enough for now, I suppose.

While Thad's improved numbers speak for themselves, you have to dig a little deeper to appreciate the year that Andre Iguodala has been having, writes John Finger of CSN Philly. Finger acknowledges that 'Dre has dipped in most conventional statistical categories, seeing his points per game drop from 17.1 to 14.1, his free-throw percentage from 73% to 71%, and his field goal rate hover once more around an uninspiring 44%.

But, Finger points out, these metrics don't tell the whole story. "In the realm of advanced metrics," he writes, "Iguodala is charting the best Win Shares per 48 minutes, assist percentage, the best defensive rating and best rate of turnovers given in a season for his career." Indeed, Coach Collins supports the idea of 'Dre having a career-best year in '10-'11. "Andre is a playmaker for us. He’s a rebounder, he’s a defender and I think he’s been terrific," says Collins. "I never judge a guy like that based on his statistics. I judge him by the value to his team and how well he plays and if he gives you a chance to win."

Defense and leadership seem to be the buzzwords when describing 'Dre's impact ont he Sixers this season. The defense should be obvious to Sixers fans by now, as Finger and Collins point out the excellent job that Iguodala has done defending such all-world scorers as the Celtics' Paul Pierce and the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, but the leadership has been somewhat new to this season--something attributed by many to his experience with Team USA over the summer. "I’ve been trying to be a leader and do what I can to make some of the guys become better,” says Iguodala.

Whether or not you agree that this is a career year for either player, you have to agree that this feels pretty far away from the 'Dre and Thad that sulked through a 27-win season for Eddie Jordan last year. And for that, we should be very thankful.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Malcolm Jenkins not concerned about status of Eagles' banged-up secondary

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Malcolm Jenkins not concerned about status of Eagles' banged-up secondary

It was Oct. 31, 2010 -- Halloween evening in New Orleans. Steelers vs. Saints at the Superdome in a Sunday night national TV game.

It was nearly seven years ago, but Malcolm Jenkins remembers it clearly.

Because this week reminds him of that week.

Because that night the Saints played with six defensive backs. And on Wednesday, the Eagles practiced with six defensive backs.

With cornerback Ronald Darby out indefinitely with an ankle injury and safeties Corey Graham and Rodney McLeod and corner/safety Jaylen Watkins all out of practice with hamstring injuries, the only other defensive backs healthy enough to practice Wednesday -- four days before the Eagles' home opener vs. the Giants -- were cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Dexter McDougle and Patrick Robinson and safety Chris Maragos.

Just like seven years ago on Halloween.

"At one point we had myself and Usama Young playing corner, Pierson Prioleau was the dime, who played the nickel, we had Roman Harper, Darren Sharper … and the only active corner we had was Leigh Torrance," Jenkins recalled. "And he got a concussion at some point in that game.

"And we won (20-10). We actually played really well in the back end. So it’s one of those things. It’s a mindset. You can either let it distract you, let it slow you down, or you can prepare to win, and we’ve decided that whoever’s out there, we’re going to prepare to win.

"If we need to adjust, we’ll adjust. Obviously we feel that our D-line is one of those things that can equalize some of the depth that we have. If not, we’ll adjust as we go on."

Darby got hurt against the Redskins. The Eagles lost Watkins and McLeod in the second quarter in Kansas City Sunday. Graham also got hurt against the Chiefs but was able to finish.

Even though none of them practiced yesterday, it doesn't mean none of them will play Sunday. Graham in particular seems likely to see action.

But this is certainly as thin as the Eagles have been in the secondary in years. And remember, Maragos is essentially a special teamer -- he has one defensive snap the last two years. And McDougle has never played a snap in an Eagles uniform.

“We’re a little thin right now, but we have few backup plans in case somebody else gets hurt," Jenkins said. "We’ll have to get creative. But as of right now we’re game-planning with everything we’ve got, not changing anything. We’ll move forward and see what happens.

“We’ve got options. A lot of us are very, very versatile. (Special teamer) Chris Maragos is a safety, somebody who can slide in. We can put Kamu (Grugier-Hill, linebacker) back there or we can change the defense and put one of our corners there and move some guys in and out of the slot. Dex McDougle we can put in the slot or move Patrick. "

The biggest weapon the Eagles' secondary has is the defensive line.

The Eagles have eight sacks in their first two games, third-most in the league and most by an NFC team, and seventh-most in franchise history after two games.

“It’s going to come down to the play of our D-line," Jenkins said. "They’re definitely going to need to help us in that regard so we don’t have guys out there trying to cover some really good receivers for a long a long amount of time with a really good quarterback.

"But there’s some things we’re going to have to do in the secondary, especially covering early, giving our D-line some time to be disruptive and be able to get so many skill players on the ground."

Jenkins was asked several times at his locker Wednesday about the threadbare secondary, but he genuinely doesn't seem concerned.

At all.

“I’m not," he said. "I’m getting ready to play the Giants at home and I’ve got nothing in my mind but winning.

“We prepare, man. As a group, I’d be surprised if anybody we put out there flinched at all. Just the way we prepare, the way we challenge each other, we’ve got full confidence by the time we get to Sunday in whoever's out there.

“It might be a mindset. Honestly, we’ve got places we want to go, places we think we should be, and no matter who we got or what stands in our way, we’re going to get there.

"I can assure one thing - that we’ll go out and compete on Sunday. That’s the biggest thing. Whoever we put out there is going to play hard, they’re going to prepare hard throughout the week, and we’ll be ready to play. Will it be perfect? It’s never perfect. But we’re going to play hard and we have faith in the guys we’re putting out there."

Assuming the 22-year-old Mills and 23-year-old Douglas start at cornerback, it will be the youngest starting cornerback duo in franchise history.

In 2004, the Eagles started two 23-year-old corners -- Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood -- in one game, Week 14 against the Cowboys. And in Week 1 of this season, they also started two 23-year-olds -- Darby and Mills.

“Everybody’s out to prove something," Jenkins said. "Jalen has probably the most confidence in our room, out of any of the guys, and I think that’s what makes him the player that he is. Rasul also is a guy that has a lot of confidence in his ability and his preparation and plays with a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove.

"That’s all I ask for, guys like that next to me. If we have that attitude, no matter who we play against, we’ll go out and compete."