Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Mailbag: More on Eagles Draft

Reader Alison writes in to point out the poll on DonovanMcNabb.com asking what position the Eagles should address with their first pick.  Not surprisingly, QB didn't make the list.

Reader George writes in from Boston with a nice long rant on the Eagles as a business.  He starts:

Something that I'm reminded of today is that pro sports is above all a business. I'm thinking of this as I reflect on the Eagles draft. I'm a displaced Philly fan living in Boston, working in finance, so I 'get it.' That doesn't mean that I have to like it. There's essentially two ways to run a business, one is for growth and the other is for cash. Running a business for cash is often perceived as the safe play.

The rest of his rant after the jump.

Once the business is established, it doesn't reinvest a lot of capital, maximizes profitability, generates a steady stream of income and cash flow, and so long as none of its competitors are really out-executing it or taking significant market share, the business can continue to hum along and make money for a long time. Eventually, however, many of these businesses either get diplaced by more agile or more innovative competitors, or by larger companies that have better scale and lower costs.   

   Running a business for growth is more risky. The growth business reinvests a lot of its earnings and cash in R&D or sales capacity to grow the business. It looks to make strategic acquisitions, and sometimes chooses to go into debt, potentially betting the future for opportunities that are available today. There is inherantly more risks to the growth strategy. A company could make bad investments, R&D could bear no fruit and acquisitions can carry significant integration and execution risk. And often, growth strategies fail and companies go bankrupt. But sometimes they don't, and we get a General Electric, a Microsoft or an Apple. From an investment perspective, investors like cash, but they pay up for and lust for growth. Why? because one dollar is always worth one dollar, but the dream of what one dollar invested today could be worth tomorrow, next month or next year is a big part of what makes this country go. Everyone wishes they'd invested that dollar in Microsoft in 1990.

nbsp;   While the Eagles might appear to be in growth mode, from a business analysis perspective they are obviously in running the business for cash. By trading down and drafting for the future, the Eagles are conservatively choosing to sit on cash as opposed to making capital investments that could help the team win now. Moving down in the draft lowers their total cash outlay required to sign their total draftees, lowering capital expenses and total reinvestment rate. Strategic acquisitions in recent years seem to have been small and anything but risky. The Eagles have been running the franchise under the salary cap for years, maximizing profit margins at the expense of innovation and improving their competitive position in the market. This has resulted in the Eagles being an above-median performer over the last decade, but having constantly fallen short of absolute success as it is measured in their business segment.

   The company - excuse me, the Eagles - were not always running the business for cash. Reid, Heckert  & Co. used to be an innovative management team. The drafting of Donovan McNabb and the signing of Jon Runyan started the growth cycle. The Eagles were in full growth mode when they acquired Jevon Kearse and TO, and drafting players that could potentially make a positive contribution right away. Maybe that experience has left the management team more conservative, and understandably so. Here's the problem: in the NFL, the future is always now, this season. Business performance gets judged annually. There is no carry over, no running the business for cash, everyone starts anew each year. Yes some of the players are carried over, but every team is remade each season. Every September, each team start with 0 wins and 0 losses before the first coin flip.

 

    So here's to imploring CEO Jeff Lurie. Jeff, grow the business. Invest, acquire, think strategically. Add valuable assets around your core capabilites. Boldly defend your market position. Bury the competition. Increase the returns for your shareholders, or us fans. See what that dollar in your pocket can be worth in November, December or even in January. Because come that second week in February, that dollar is worth just a dollar.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies (70-89) vs. Mets (85-74)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

Just three games remain in the Phillies' season. After a 24-17 start, the season went predictably downhill. However, the Phils have a chance to play spoiler to a big-time rival with the New York Mets in town. Alec Asher is on the hill for the Phillies while Robert Gsellman faces the Phillies for a third times this year.

Here are five things to watch on Friday night.

1. End of the road for the Big Ticket
There are just three games left in Ryan Howard's tenure with the Phillies.

It's been a long ride for Howard. There'll be plenty on Howard this weekend (and there's a pregame ceremony for him on Sunday), but here are some of his stats from his 13 years in Philadelphia.

Howard has hit 381 home runs and has 1,192 RBI with the Phils. He has 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs and has a run of six straight seasons from 2006 to 2011, his first six full seasons, with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI. He twice walked more than 100 times in a season and he racked up 276 doubles.

The long-time first baseman has hit 47 home runs against the Mets, his second highest total against any team (52 vs. Atlanta). In 174 games, Howard has 157 hits and 73 walks against the Mets.

Howard goes into the weekend with 197 home runs at Citizens Bank Park. Overall, he's racked up 1,465 total bases at CBP. He has, however, struck out 880 times in 769 games there as well.

2. Playing spoilers
While the Phillies are firmly outside of the playoff race, the New York Mets are in the driver's seat for a wild card spot. The Phillies could have something to say about that.

The San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals both won on Thursday while the Mets were off. That leaves the Mets one game ahead of the Giants for the first wild card spot and two games up on the Cardinals for a playoff spot. 

If the Mets win two of three this weekend, they clinch homefield advantage in the Wild Card game on Wednesday. With one win, they guarantee that they cannot be eliminated this weekend. Their magic number is two to clinch a playoff berth, so a combination of wins and Cardinals' losses can get them into the postseason. 

The Phillies can throw a wrench into the Mets' gameplan with a strong showing this weekend. While they've lost six of seven, the Phillies will likely get up for games with playoff implications. Furthermore, the Mets have the incentive to clinch as soon as possible as to avoid needing Noah Syndergaard to pitch on Sunday, so they can hold him for the National League wild card game on Wednesday.

3. Asher closes out impressive month 
Asher has made four starts since coming up earlier this month and has been much more impressive than his late season stint in 2015. 

After going 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA last year, he's 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. However, despite picking up a win last weekend against the Mets, he struggled late and left room for improvement. 

Asher began his start Saturday vs. the Mets with a perfect game through three innings. He worked around three baserunners in the fourth inning, but came unglued after a couple errors in the fifth inning. While poor defense is not his fault, it would have been a good sign if he could have picked up his defense. Instead, he barely made it through the inning after four unearned runs.

Normally, a team would look for length out of their starter when handed such a large lead, so Asher only making it through five is disappointing. He still hasn't allowed more than two earned runs and has induced plenty of weak contact with his two-seam fastball.

The Mets will be the first (and only) team he faces twice this season.

4. Third time the charm vs. Gsellman?
Gsellman will be making his seventh career MLB start on Friday and it will be his third against the Phillies.

In two starts against the Phils, Gsellman is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. He has 13 strikeouts against them while allowing 10 hits and three walks. 

All four runs he allowed to the Phillies came in his first start. He had held the Phils to one run over six innings but departed after loading the bases with none out. The Mets' bullpen promptly allowed all three inherited runners to score.

On Sunday, Gsellman dominated, shutting out the Phils for seven innings. He allowed just five baserunners and struck out eight in the 17-0 win. 

The 23-year-old rookie has a 2.56 ERA through seven appearances in the majors. He started the season in Double A, but he will likely get a playoff start if the Mets gets to the Division Series.

5. This and that
• The Phillies have just two extra base hits in 50 plate appearances against Gsellman. They are hitting .222/.271/.267 against him. 

• Eight Phils have hits off Gsellman. Freddy Galvis is 2 for 5 with a double and Jimmy Paredes is 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Michael Conforto hit a home run off Asher last season. No Mets hitter has more than one hit against him, in part because none of them have faced him more than three times.

• The Phillies have 601 runs on the season, the fewest in baseball by 39 runs. The Mets have the fifth worst total with 659 runs.

• Jeanmar Gomez is 0-3 with a 19.13 ERA in September. He's allowed 18 runs (17 earned) in eight innings.

An Attack on Carson Wentz is an Attack on All of Us

An Attack on Carson Wentz is an Attack on All of Us

Carson Wentz. He’s a phenom. He’s a star. He’s the franchise quarterback we’ve been waiting for for all this time. Wentz has led the Eagles to a 3-0 start, showing poise well beyond his years, and establishing himself, without a doubt, as the best quarterback in Eagles history, or at least the best since Jeff Garcia. Who else would it be? McNabb? Please. How many times was he undefeated at the bye? 

Wentz, especially after crushing the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, is unquestionably the real deal -- and I have only two questions: Should I order my flight to Houston for the Super Bowl now, or wait until the rates come down? And should the parade go up Broad Street towards City Hall, or down, towards the Sports Complex? 

Carson Wentz has already been named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month, which is clearly only a small steppingstone to Rookie of the Year, MVP, having his number retired, and ultimately the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I mean, did you see some of those throws last Sunday? 

But even with all the excitement, some are skeptical. After Week 1, we heard “it’s just one game, and besides -- it’s Cleveland!” After week 2? “the Browns and Bears suck -- wake me up when he beats a good team. After week 3? “He hasn’t even played a division game yet!” Worst of all was CBS’ Bart Scott, who called Wentz "fool’s gold." 

Please. What you have to understand is that people like Scott aren’t just mouthing off on a pregame show or sharing a meaningless NFL opinion. They are launching a vicious attack on Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles organization, every Philadelphia fan, and the city of Philadelphia itself. We should all be horribly insulted, and demanding action. 

It’s bad enough when the national guys bring up snowballs and Santa Claus. But let’s be real: Bad-mouthing Carson Wentz must not be tolerated, ever. I call for a boycott of all CBS-owned properties (other than WIP), until Bart Scott apologizes or is fired. 

Sure, I know a lot of people are more upset about the national anthem stuff. But make no mistake: Questioning Carson Wentz is way worse. 

Other Philly sports takes: 

- Of course, I’d be even happier with the Eagles’ start if the long snapper hadn’t unfairly lost a televised talent show to a little girl. 

- For those of you who asked: Now that Buddy has passed, I’ll be writing in Carson Wentz for president. 

- Assuming Jim Schwartz leaves the Eagles for a head coaching job, who should replace him as defensive coordinator? It’ll be a tough choice between Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan.  

- The only downside to the Eagles’ 3-0 start? Josh Innes isn’t around for it. Poor guy. 

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