Report: Eagles interested in QB Mark Sanchez

Report: Eagles interested in QB Mark Sanchez

While nothing is imminent, strong reports via ESPN’s Chris Mortensen have departing New York Jets quarterback and 2009 fifth-overall pick potentially landing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sanchez would be expected to provide veteran competition for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Nick Foles.

Sanchez missed all of the ’13 season with a torn labrum, but the Jets were already in the process of replacing him as the starting signal-caller at the time. The 27-year-old compiled a 33-29 record as a starter (4-2 in the playoffs), although largely on the strength of good defenses as his numbers would suggest.

A four-year starter, Sanchez eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark twice as a member of the Jets. However, his struggles with turnovers are well documented, tossing 68 touchdowns to 69 interceptions and losing 20 fumbles. Sanchez has a disgusting 71.7 passer rating in 62 starts.

While Sanchez has long been written off by now, it’s fair to wonder to what degree his development was stunted in an offense that’s typically lacked great weapons. Apparently, that’s something Birds head coach Chip Kelly might be willing to discover for himself with the USC product.

Sanchez would compete with 2013 fourth-round pick Matt Barkley, another USC grad. Barkley experienced struggles of his own during his rookie season, completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 300 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions in three relief appearances.

Best case scenarios would be Barkley beating out Sanchez comfortably for the backup job, or the remote chance Sanchez truly isn’t as bad as he’s looked all those years in New York.

Worst cases include Sanchez’s arrival creating a media circus—although the Eagles seem well-equipped to handle that—or neither he or Barkley does much to seize the No. 2 role.

Frankly, you can’t expect too much from most veteran backups that are being signed off the street, not when a guy like Foles is firmly entrenched as the starter. Nobody who is very good wants to apply for a job where he’s not expected to have many opportunities to play. At least Sanchez being a former high draft pick has some, albeit very limited upside.

We’ll see whether the reports come to fruition.

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek first road win

No. 24 Penn State at Purdue: Nittany Lions seek first road win

Penn State (5-2, 3-1) vs. Purdue (3-4, 1-3)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
Saturday, noon, ABC/ESPN2

Scouting Penn State
The Lions (5-2) upended the Buckeyes, 24-21, when safety Marcus Allen blocked a field goal and cornerback Grant Haley returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 left in the game. The Lions, who rallied from a 21-7 deficit after three quarters, earned their third straight victory.

Allen and Haley were named Big Ten co-Special Teams Players of the week, and linebacker Brandon Bell, who had a career-high 19 tackles in the game, earned the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Running back Saquon Barkley has rushed for 681 yards, fifth-most in the Big Ten, and is tied for the conference lead in touchdowns with nine.

Scouting Purdue
Purdue (3-4) fell to Nebraska last week in the debut of Boilermakers interim coach Gerad Parker, who replaced the fired Darrell Hazell on Oct. 16. Quarterback David Blough leads the Big Ten in passing yardage (2,065) and total offense (300.7 yards per game), and has thrown 14 touchdown passes (albeit with 11 interceptions).

The Boilermakers are, however, last in the Big Ten in rushing offense (120.3), total defense (441.0), turnover margin (minus-8) and red-zone offense (15-for-23, 11 touchdowns) and next-to-last in rushing defense (249.0) and passing efficiency.

The Lions lead 13-3-1 and have won the last seven meetings, the most recent a 45-21 victory in 2013.

Storyline to watch
This is the ultimate trap game for PSU, and the Lions’ approach to it will say a lot about their leadership and maturity. They have also dropped their last four road games dating back to last season, including both this fall. Their last victory away from home came last Oct. 24, against Maryland in Baltimore.

What’s at stake
The Lions can become bowl-eligible with a victory.

Penn State 35, Purdue 21

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.