Extra Time: New Jerseys, Number 9, Nicknames, and Keon Rides Again

Extra Time: New Jerseys, Number 9, Nicknames, and Keon Rides Again

A
quick look at some minor Philadelphia Union stories: A peek at the new
jerseys in the wild, Jack McInerney's new number, a nickname idea, and a
site for sore eyes in Orlando.

Pro League Athletic has tweeted the following pictures of the Union's new replica jerseys:
See the home version below, plus a few more Union stories in brief.

As we've seen before, the first one is certainly a different look
from both the gold-dominated and all-white kits from the previous two
seasons, while the second looks fairly similar to their existing primary
gear, although with obvious updates. Still interesting to see that the
kits on sale at the Union's site
appear slightly different
than this version and the one on
WorldSoccerShop.com. Probably just a photo file difference and not a
material one. Thoughts on the new look? Parts you like, elements you
don't?

Now to the players who'll be wearing them, although this next story is still uniform-heavy…

With
Sebastien Le Toux already seeing preseason friendly action wearing a
Vancouver Whitecaps crest, his number 9 was open on the Philadelphia
Union. Not for long though, as Jack McInerney took to twitter today to
announce he'd be wearing it in 2012.
Fear not, fans who bought his previous number 19 version. Jack Mac says
not to worry, he will let you know how it can be taken care of soon.
Doubtful there is a Le Toux jersey contingency plan though, though
you'll never catch any flack at PPL Park for wearing dated gear. Le Toux
jerseys will be timeless.

Now, a bit of slightly old news, but great news nonetheless. The
Union began the week by announcing that Danny Mwanga and Keon Daniel
would join the team for training in Orlando. We knew Mwanga would be
back, as he was just off visiting with Aston Villa for 10 days of
training. Keon… we weren't sure what would happen. After he left the
club to play with his Trinidad and Tobago national team, he never
returned, with various rumors swirling as to why (apparently a visa
issue was the culprit
).
This is great news to us, as Daniel is a Level favorite. We'd love to
see him get more minutes in 2012, but for now we're just happy he's with
the club at all. Hopefully he'll be an even bigger contributor after
gaining experience with his national team.

Philly Soccer Page wonders about a nickname for the Union, proposing
"the Snakes." Even after a particularly Premiership-heavy weekend, it
hadn't dawned on me that the Union didn't have a separate nickname. I
guess, as the post suggests, "the Union" and "the U" were enough. Zolos
is also pretty solid, rooted in the team's history forever. But I like
PSP's idea for a light offseason day post, so feel free to shout any you
might have, either here or there. [Philly Soccer Page

And finally, Kerith Gabriel says we can expect the Union to make the signing of Lionard Pajoy official sometime today.

Hat tip to Steve Moore for the jersey pics.

Stay or Go Part 8: Ryan Mathews to Steven Means

Stay or Go Part 8: Ryan Mathews to Steven Means

In the eighth 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 8 is Mathews to Means.

Ryan Mathews
Cap hit: $5M

Roob: The Eagles have to get better, younger, faster, healthier, more durable and more reliable at running back. I love the way Mathews runs when he’s healthy. The guy runs hard and he runs physical and he runs aggressive. Then he always gets hurt. Mathews actually has the third-highest per-carry average among running backs in Eagles history, but they just can’t rely on him anymore. How can you count on a running back who misses significant time every year? Time to move on. Factor in the cap savings — $4 million if the Eagles release him — and it’s a no-brainer.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The Eagles can save $4 million in cap room to cut the running back who needed serious neck surgery after his season was ended in the Giants game. Mathews played pretty well in his two seasons with the Eagles, but, as has been the case during his career, health was an issue. And now he’s 29 and will turn 30 early into next season. Time to move on. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Matthews
Cap hit: $1.57M

Roob: Matthews is going into Year 4 and I’d still like to see him make a jump and become a 1,200-yard type of receiver. Maybe it will happen with another year under his belt with Carson Wentz. Matthews has the 11th-most catches in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons — 225, or 75 per year — but his 2,673 yards are 50th most. Matthews is as hard a worker and as committed a player as you’ll see. He'll get the most out of his ability. I’d just like to see him take his game up one more level, and I think he will.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: It’s a shame the Eagles don’t have any legitimate threats at their outside receiver positions, because if they did, so much of the burden wouldn’t fall on Matthews. No, he’s not a great receiver, but he’s a very good one who has been solid in his first three years in the league. In his first three seasons, Matthews has 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. There have been just 10 receivers in the league to put up those numbers or better: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Doug Baldwin, Mike Evans, Randall Cobb and Brandon Marshall. Matthews isn’t going anywhere and it’s time to think about an extension. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alex McCalister
Cap hit: $557K

Roob: McCalister, a seventh-round defensive end, spent the year on injured reserve but considering the Eagles’ lack of pass-rush potency, he’ll definitely get a look this summer. McCalister had 17½ sacks at Florida, so he’s got that going for him. Still a long shot.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: This is tough because McCalister was a seventh-round draft pick who was placed on IR with a injury that didn’t appear to be serious. The last year was a redshirt season for the defensive end who has some pass-rush ability but needed to work on packing more muscle onto his frame. Haven’t seen enough to think he sticks. 

Verdict: GOES

Leodis McKelvin
Cap hit: $3.45M

Roob: The Eagles have to do better than McKelvin. He made a few plays, gave up a lot more, and as far as I’m concerned, the Eagles should hang onto Jalen Mills and get rid of all their other corners. Not to mention the $3.2 million in cap savings the Eagles would gain if McKelvin is released. See ya.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: The Eagles can save $3.2 million by cutting McKelvin, which will probably happen. If it doesn’t, it’ll be because the Eagles think his lingering hamstring issue played a big role in his play and because defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz goes to bat for him. Ultimately, I think McKelvin’s days in Philly are over. 

Verdict: GOES

Rodney McLeod
Cap hit: $5.6M

Roob: McLeod played really well most of the season, tailed off the last few weeks, and goes into next year a question mark because of that inconsistency. When he’s right, McLeod is a sure tackler, willing run supporter, big hitter and capable in coverage. But those last few weeks raised some eyebrows. There were times you just wondered what he was doing out there. If the Eagles can have the first-10-games McLeod for a full season, they’re fine. But he has to be consistent. He’ll be here through 2017 but after that is anybody’s guess. Another mixed year will likely spell the end here for McLeod.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: There were a few plays that showed questionable effort from McLeod this season, which was shocking based on his past. He was an undrafted rookie who worked his way into the league and into a contract with the Eagles. This ended up being a pretty good signing; he had a nice season. He’s under contract through 2020 and the Eagles hope he hasn’t yet fulfilled his potential. He and Malcolm Jenkins should only get better after more time playing together. 

Verdict: STAYS

Steven Means
Cap hit: $690K

Roob: Means, a veteran journeyman defensive end, played only 36 snaps all year. He did pick up one sack against the Vikings, but as far as his future? Most likely, he won’t be back.

Verdict: GOES

Dave: Means did everything in his power last training camp to make the 2016 roster. He flashed every day and in the preseason games. But in 2016, he didn’t get to play very much and was clearly buried on the depth chart behind Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith. The Eagles need to upgrade at the defensive end spot, which might be bad news for Means if more bodies come in. But for now, he's a good depth piece. 

Verdict: STAYS

Temple names Keith Gaither wide receivers coach

usa-temple-football-aac-title.jpg
USA Today inage

Temple names Keith Gaither wide receivers coach

Temple head coach Geoff Collins on Monday added two new members to his coaching staff.

Keith Gaither will take over as the wide receivers’ coach and Kyle Lane is the new video coordinator. 

Gaither comes to Temple with 21 years of coaching experience. He spent last season as Army's wide receivers coach. Prior to that, he spent time with Tusculum College (1998-99), Thomasville City Schools (2000-04), Winston-Salem State (2005-08), Elon (2009-10) and Ball State (2010-14).

Gaither spent his collegiate career at Elon, where he was a four-year starter and voted all-region at defensive end before graduating in 1997. Collins originally had retained Frisman Jackson from the 2016 staff, but Jackson was hired by the Tennessee Titans. 

Lane is a Temple alum who spent time with Kansas during the 2016 season as its assistant video coordinator.