Not Exactly Invincible

Not Exactly Invincible

I have two theories on Invincible if you are not an Eagles fan.  You may really like this movie OR you will absolutely hate it.  You may really like it because you won't see all of the false truths.  You may really hate it because you don't give a rats ass about Philadelphia or the Eagles and without that the movie is pretty bland.  I obviously have a Philly bias so there were some fun parts to this movie which I could appreciate: the nostalgic talk of players like Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin, Steve Van Buren, etc.  In the scene when Vince Papale tells of how his father told the story over and over of Steve Van Buren making the big play(1) in 1948 to win the NFL Championship, I immediately thought of my Dad telling the story of being at the game where Wilbert Montgomery's run against Dallas in 1980 sent them to the Superbowl.  Someday I'll probably tell my kid I was in the first row at the 50 yard line for 4th and 26.  All sports fans can relate to parts of the movie like this.  Take all the nostalgia away and you are left with a pretty weak movie.

This is a Disney movie and it really shows.  It could have been a grittier look at Philadelphia in the '70s, showing how football is really a big deal in this city, of how Philly embraces the blue collar player.  But it wasn't.  It needed the authentic bums on the street corner feel that Rocky had, not the Disneyfied representation of South Philly with it's fake cheesesteak joint.  I wanted Paulie and Mickey and all we got were Tommy and Johnny.

Invincible is a movie which is loosely based on Vince Papale, whose story was an incredible one.  It's a movie worth checking out if you are from Philadelphia or an Eagles fan.  Just make sure you don't even come close to expecting Papale to go the distance with Creed.

The opening scene after the inial intro is a fun shot of a game at the Vet and much to the delight of me, the entire stadium was booing.

Some things that bothered me and a few things I liked:
-Marky Mark pours out the remainder of his beer after the end of an Eagles game as he sits in the 700 level.  This would obviously never happen in the 700 level.
-The view from the 700 level looked like you were sitting on the field.  I want those tickets.
-Since when did the Vet have a track on the field?  Obviously this was filmed at Franklin Field, but couldn't they have cut that out?
-When the fans trying out sang the fight song, they sang "fight Eagles fight, on the road to victory."  These two lines would never follow each other.  I found this to be a particularly painful scene hearing this get botched.
-The featured news reporter was played by actor Jack Kehler who most of you know as The Dude's landlord from The Big Lebowski.  I kept expecting to hear him ask us to come watch his cycle and give him notes.  -Papale's father was played by the angry mailman in Funny Farm.
-The Eagles did actually lose to Cinci in 1975 by a score of 31-0 but it wasn't the final game of the season, just the final home game.
-The whole love story sucked, as to be expected.  Who falls in love with a Giants fan?
-They definitely had some sweet old school Eagles gear in this movie.
-Of course they mention that Philly booed Santa Claus.
-Weak ending.

1-From Answers.com: Van Buren's signature game came on December 26, 1948. Playing in a blizzard for the NFL Championship against the Chicago Cardinals,
Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game to give the Eagles
their first league title. They would win their second crown a year
later. In that game, Van Buren set a league record with 196 yards
rushing.

2-Papale wasn't actually from South Philly, he was from Glenolden.

Okay, so it was pretty bad, like real bad, but I kind of still liked it.

NHL Notes: Rangers' Kevin Hayes out 2-3 weeks with lower-body injury

NHL Notes: Rangers' Kevin Hayes out 2-3 weeks with lower-body injury

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes will miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury.

The team announced the timeline Monday after Hayes underwent an MRI in the morning. Hayes left the Rangers' game Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period.

Hayes had seven points in his previous six games and is third on the team in points with 35. The 24-year-old has 13 goals and 22 assists in 47 games this season.

His injury is a major blow to New York, which holds the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The silver lining for the Rangers is that Hayes will miss fewer games because of the upcoming All-Star break.

Senators sign Zack Smith to 4-year, $13 million extension
OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Zack Smith to a four-year contract extension worth $13 million.

The Senators said that the extension goes through the 2020-21 season and carries an annual average value of $3.25 million.

Smith, 28, has 11 goals and 11 assists in 43 games this season and is averaging a career-high 16 minutes, 13 seconds per game.

He set career highs with 25 goals and 36 points in 2015-16. He has 75 goals and 61 assists in 443 games, all with the Senators.

Smith was Ottawa's third-round pick (79th overall) in the 2008 draft.

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's 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