Report: Eagles prefer Maclin to Cooper, sun rises in the East

Report: Eagles prefer Maclin to Cooper, sun rises in the East

The Philadelphia Eagles believe they have the answer to the question that has haunted mankind since its inception: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper or both?

General manager Howie Roseman previously admitted re-signing both wide receivers would be “complicated.” Now, according to Jeff McLane for the Inquirer, the Eagles are ready to prioritize a deal with Maclin as it likely comes down to a decision between the two.

Both Maclin and Cooper are scheduled to become free agents a little more than two weeks away on March 11.

There’s been some debate over which one the Eagles should keep, but Maclin over Cooper is a no-brainer. Maclin is vastly more talented and posted better production in each of his last three full seasons than Cooper in 2013 despite playing in a less-productive offense. He’s a weapon no matter the type of route or where the Birds are on the field.

Maclin is coming off of a torn ACL that claimed his ’13 campaign, which does muddy the situation. However, the 19th overall pick from the ’09 draft said last week he expects to be 100 percent for training camp.

McLane reports the Birds’ plan is to sign Maclin on a one-year deal.

Cooper filled in admirably this past season, and much of the fanbase seems to have fallen in love with him, but the reality is he has limited ability. His size and ball skills make him a dangerous deep threat when matched up against a smaller cornerback down the field, yet are negated somewhat by the fact that he struggles to defeat press coverage or create separation on short and intermediate routes.

What are the odds Cooper is every going to haul in six receptions of 40 or more yards in a season again?

There’s also the signability factor with Cooper. ProFootballTalk suggests there will be an active market for Cooper in free agency. A lot of interest could spark a bidding war for his services.

There would undoubtedly be a high level of interest in Maclin if he were to hit the market as well, notably from the New York Jets. However, it’s easier for the organization to come to terms on a one- or two-year deal because it removes any form of commitment from the equation.

McLane’s report adds the Birds could sign a third receiver once free agency opens, and describes Jason Avant’s departure as “likely.”

Look for the Eagles to take a wide receiver in the draft as well, perhaps even with their first-round pick.

As for the possibility of re-signing both Maclin and Cooper, it just doesn’t seem viable from a salary standpoint. The Eagles were already second in cap space allotted to the receiver position in ’13, and that was with both players on their rookie contracts. Mac will receive a slight raise at least, while Coop could be poised to break the bank after his big season.

With free agency just a couple weeks away, it seems we’re heading for one of their departures in short order. If the Eagles have their way, they’ll be waving good bye to Cooper.

>> Eagles favor keeping Maclin over Cooper [Inq]

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds took a hit, the Eagles' Super Bowl odds shortened and the Vikings' lengthened after Sunday's 21-10 win.

The Eagles are 33/1 to win it all, a week after being listed by Bovada at 50/1. The Vikings, meanwhile, went from 7/1 to 9/1. They still have the third-shortest Super Bowl odds in the NFL and are two spots ahead of the Cowboys (14/1). 

Wentz, who had his worst statistical game against Minnesota, is now 9/1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada. Last Wednesday, he was 6/1.

Wentz trails Cowboys studs Ezekiel Elliott (2/5) and Dak Prescott (11/5) on that leaderboard.

As far as this week, Wentz is favored to throw for more yards than Prescott. Wentz is 5/7 to outgain Prescott through the air in Week 8, while Prescott is 1/1 to outgain Wentz.

Elliott's over/under rushing total against the Eagles is 99.5. He's rushed for 130-plus yards in each of his last four games, and the odds are 3/1 that he'll reach that number again this week. 

The Eagles have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, Washington's Matt Jones (16 for 135).

Elliott is also now on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. Dickerson had 1,808 in 1983; Elliott is on pace for 1,875. Will Elliott break that 33-year-old mark? A "yes" bet pays 2/1; a "no" bet pays 1/3.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie the game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious but significant point that happened late in the second period, and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Neuvirth was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.” ​