Bye Weeks: The NFL's Version of the Frank S. Farley Plaza

Bye Weeks: The NFL's Version of the Frank S. Farley Plaza

Philadelphia sports fans can be glad of one thing this weekend: the
Eagles didn't lose. After the Phillies clinched the East last Sunday,
the Eagles crapped on our imaginary parade by dropping another division
game in pathetic fashion. This week, the Phillies returned the favor and let the Birds off the
hook, barely showing up for their first playoff appearance in over a
decade.

When the Eagles are rolling, bye weeks are torture. Waiting 6 days every week is
long enough, and once a season, it's more than doubled. But when the
season's seemingly in the tank, we're all a little grateful for the
mutual break. We need some time to focus on something other than
losing, and they need some time to get A) healthy and B) their shit
together. Andy Reid has been far from perfect this season, but that's
often the case before the bye. Bob Brookover did some number crunching,
and he points out that under Big Red, the Birds have won a modest 30 of
58 games before the midseason rest stop. After the bye, their record
jumps to 50-20. Broken down on an individual-game basis, the team is
3-5 in the game before the bye, and 8-0 in the game just after.

We've written this team off before, and they've come back and won, just
like the Phillies did this year. It'll be harder this season
considering how many they've already dropped to division opponents, but at this
point I'd settle for some watchable football. Once I see that, I'll raise my standards. Andy, Marty, Jimmy, and
the guy who's in over his head on special teams have plenty of
adjustments to make this week when the team returns to practice. The
squad has clearly been affected by injuries, but that's true of half
the teams in the league, so it's really no excuse. Still, when the
Eagles play the god-awful Jets next Sunday, Brian Westbrook and Brian
Dawkins will be back, and hopefully William Thomas too, so we'll at
least be less likely to see double-digit sacks.

A loss to the Jets would bring Andy's post-bye week run to an end, and
I don't see the Eagles turning it around if they can't win this game.
There's nothing worse for Eagles fans than watching football strictly for
fantasy purposes on Sunday, so this team better put together a few wins and keep us from losing our minds. I don't want to spend every Sunday hoping Mason Crosby kicks four field goals.

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

A couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said there was a chance he could look at Odubel Herrera in a corner outfield spot over the final weeks of the season.

Scrub that idea.

“Not this year,” Mackanin said Monday. “If we decide we're going to do that, we'll encourage him to play a corner in winter ball and then in spring training, if that's what we decide to do.

“I thought about doing that. But I don't know if we want to do that now. We’ll just let him get back on track offensively. I won't say it won't happen here or there. But we're not going to make that move right now.

“Let's try to keep his mind as uncluttered as possible right now. It looks a little cluttered.”

The Phillies have thought about moving Herrera to a corner spot because they have a top center field prospect in Roman Quinn. Also, Aaron Altherr is an excellent defender in center.

Quinn seemed to be on target for a call up after the Eastern League playoffs, but that could be in doubt now that he’s on the disabled list with a concussion.

Still, Quinn may be this club’s centerfielder of the future. And behind him is Mickey Moniak, this year’s top draft pick. He’s a ways away. But it’s worth wondering if the Phillies believe Herrera’s future is at a corner outfield spot. Or whether Herrera will be wintertime trade bait.

Mackanin was asked if he believed Herrera’s future would be in a corner spot.

“You know, I'd rather not really even comment on that,” he said. “I don't want him to think that we're not pleased with him. I just want to keep him confident the rest of the season.”

Herrera’s defense in center field has slipped this season.

“He was better last year defensively,” Mackanin said. “He's made a lot of mistakes this year. I think we've all seen that. But that doesn't mean he's not going to play center field anymore. There's another month left to see what happens.”

Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game. He hit .294 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage before the All-Star break. Since then, however, he was hitting .252 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage entering play Monday night.

Mychal Kendricks may be only starter to play Thursday vs. Jets

Mychal Kendricks may be only starter to play Thursday vs. Jets

Nelson Agholor, a struggling second-year receiver who may or may not be a starter, likely won't play in the Eagles' preseason finale Thursday against the Jets.

Mychal Kendricks, a fifth-year linebacker who's been a regular starter since he was a rookie, likely will.

"There's a chance," head coach Doug Pederson said Monday. "There's a chance he plays because he hasn't played all preseason, and we still want to get him those live reps and get him ready for Cleveland."

Kendricks played Saturday against Indianapolis after missing the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury suffered in training camp earlier this month. He was still in the game in the fourth quarter, when the rest of the starters had exchanged their helmets for baseball caps.

"Why? Because he hasn't played," Pederson said. "He hasn't played and we just want to see him get game and live reps. That's the bottom line."

And just to be sure, Kendricks is still a starter?

"Oh, yeah. He's another one that we'd love to see again this Thursday night in a short role," Pederson said. "But at the same time he hasn't played all preseason. Stephen Tulloch's another one that we need to see play. So there's an opportunity for these two to get some more reps on Thursday."

Tulloch makes sense. He needs all the reps he can get. And he's also a backup. He should have no problem playing Thursday.

As for Kendricks ... he was not available to the media Monday.

Cornerback Aaron Grymes waived by Eagles

Cornerback Aaron Grymes waived by Eagles

Aaron Grymes was making a serious push to be on the Eagles' 53-man roster until the cornerback's right shoulder slammed into the ground at Heinz Field after an interception.

Grymes hasn't practiced or played since and the Eagles on Monday released the 25-year-old corner with the "waived/injured" designation. 

Before coming to the Eagles this spring, Grymes spent three successful seasons in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup as an All-Star for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015.

There seems to be a decent shot that the Eagles might want to put Grymes on their practice squad.

After the Pittsburgh game, when he had the interception and suffered the injury, Grymes was asked if he would prefer to be on a practice squad or head back to Canada, where he's already a proven star.

“I’ve thought about both of them," Grymes said on Aug. 18. "Both of them are great opportunities. I know that there are teams in Canada that are willing to bring me in and let me play. But then again, you can’t really compare it with this NFL dream I’ve had forever.

"To sign to a practice squad … injuries happen every day, and I think an opportunity could be there. It will be something I sit down with my wife and talk about, sit down with my agent and talk about. We’ll just make the best decision for us from there.”