The Morning Extras: What Is Andre Iguodala?

The Morning Extras: What Is Andre Iguodala?

Superstar, either now or on the verge of becoming one? An All Star caliber player stuck on a crappy team? Potential supporting cast member for a contender? Simply a role player? Or, perhaps, just another guy altogether? The only thing we seem to be all in agreement over is Iguodala is no superstar. If the debate in the comments is any indication though, even Sixers fans who follow this team closely haven't been able to reach a consensus.

One thing is certain, and that is Iguodala seems to be falling out of favor around the league. ESPN's Bill Simmons released his annual Top 40 Trade Value column last week, and even with a dozen or so honorable mentions on the list, the face of the Sixers is nowhere to be found. That's only a drop in the bucket. In the newest edition of Sports Illustrated, a poll of 173 NBA players named Iguodala one of the most overrated players in the league.

If you need any more proof than fellow NBA-ers ranking him one of the most overrated players—you know, the guys who actually step on the court with Iguodala—you're probably beyond convincing. The insinuation isn't even he's a bad player, but nobody outside Ed Stefanski and a pocket of fans seem to think of him in terms of having All Star ability, as evidenced by his inability to sniff the All Star game (who the hell is David Lee?).

To be fair, the poll came up with some odd choices. The same number of people who thought Iguodala is overrated consider LeBron James overrated. It's not scientific, the condition of being overrated. The difference is LeBron is going to compete for a championship, while the Sixers are struggling to even sneak into the playoffs as the eight seed. Nobody cares what you are, as long as you win.

In my own estimations, Iguodala falls somewhere in between this spectrum. He clearly is no superstar. That much is painfully obvious by the Sixers' constant positioning below .500, but he can help a good team. Unfortunately that's not going to be here anytime soon, which once again begs the question: why do they insist upon clinging to this guy?


• For the right amount of money, Julius Peppers can be an Eagle. Many are warning though that he takes too many plays off. That never prevented Randy Moss from greatness. []

• Clark Judge believes hiring special teams coach Bobby April will have one of the greatest impacts of any assistant coaching hire this off-season. Imagine DeSean now... [CBS Sports]

• The bidding has ended for Joe Paterno's autographed spectacles. The glasses sold for $9,000. Very strange collectible... [ESPN]

• Brad Lidge can begin throwing off the mound. It's a new year. Let's see if he an reclaim some of his '08 magic. [Phillies Files]

• While he remains with a contender after signing with the Yankees, Chan Ho Park's gamble didn't pay off. The reliever accepted a deal worth less money when nobody stepped up to beat the Phillies offer or give him a chance to start. [Crashburn Alley]

• On the lighter side, the Phillies are up to their usual spring training antics. [The Zo Zone]

• Asking the question who should be between the pipes for the Flyers. My vote is Leighton. [Philly Burbs]

• The best take you will ever read on the Tiger Woods press conference. [SB Nation]


ill give ed wade as much shit as the next guy (i still remember the time i sat near him at a game in DC near the end of the 2006 season when the phillies were in the hunt for the wild card and i said "ed, are we gonna make the playoffs this year?" and in the most laconic, dispassionate way replied "well, we'll see" was not the vote of confidence i wanted from him at the time), but he deserves credit for putting together most of the nucleus for the 2008 WFC.

still this was the guy who landed in a tree when he went skydiving...

- Poster Nutbag

Always felt the timing of Ed Wade's firing was off. Doubt they get over the hump without a general manager who could a) pull off a decent trade at the deadline, and b) identify productive contributors on the free agent/waiver garbage heap. At the same time, they only decided to part with him once things really started turning around.

Of course, it's reasonable to wonder how responsible Wade was for assembling that core, and how much of it was actually Mike Arbuckle.


This is in reference to the steaming pile of manure Die Hard bad-ass Bruce Willis will appear in along side Tracy Morgan beginning this Friday. By the way, who coined the phrase buddy cop movie? It's stupid. We're now taking suggestions for what these films should really be called (redundant cop movies?).

My personal favorite: Starsky and Hutch. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are great together. Throw in a dash of Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell, plus Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear, and you've got yourself a classic. This never really seemed to catch on all that much, but on the topic of overrated versus underrated, this is a very under-appreciated film. It's on AMC with a fair degree of frequency, so check it out.


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Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Darryl Reynolds said it hurt. And he wasn’t alone. 

A month ago, Reynolds and the rest of the Villanova Wildcats found out five-star freshman big man Omari Spellman would not be eligible to play in 2016-17.

And despite Spellman — at 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds — being the biggest competition cutting into Reynolds’ playing time for his senior year, Reynolds understood the ramifications from losing what was expected to be a key cog in Villanova’s next run for glory.

“We lost a — no pun intended — big piece to the puzzle,” Reynolds said Tuesday at Villanova’s media day. “He went down, but everybody else has realized that we need that much more from everybody else.

“Me and Omari are close, in more ways than on the court. It would’ve been exciting to play with him. But it also provided that much more motivation.”

Motivation because Reynolds, a Lower Merion grad, also understands what the ramifications mean for him, too. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior may arguably be the most important player on the 2016-17 Wildcats. 

For three years, Reynolds has largely taken a backseat, hidden by the shadow of Daniel Ochefu. Now he’s front and center.

“He battled through that,” fellow senior Josh Hart said. “Never complained. Never had any down moments. Brought it every single day. We know he can play at this level.”

Reynolds heads a position in which Villanova was supposed to have depth. Now it has question marks. Reynolds and Spellman were going to be a 1-2 punch inside and a perfect supplement to a bevy of offensive talent around them. The question marks up front include sophomore Tim Delaney and freshman Dylan Painter. How quickly the two of them get going will be big. And so, too, will be figuring out where Fordham transfer forward Eric Paschall fits in the rotation.

Coach Jay Wright, who said Reynolds would be a starter, talked more about the other pieces behind Reynolds when asked what he’d be expecting from the senior big man.

“I think part of our challenge is Tim Delaney and Dylan Painter,” Wright said. “Which one of them, if not both of them, can step up and give us the depth that Darryl gave us last year up front when we needed size? Down the stretch in big games against big-time teams, you need that size. We’ve got to develop Tim and Dylan and see how they do with that, see how Eric Paschall can do. Can he play bigger? We definitely have our challenges.”

Those challenges also include replacing leadership roles vacated by Ryan Arcidiacono, Ochefu and a trio of walk-ons.

Insert Reynolds there, too. The Wildcats will start three seniors this year. Hart and Kris Jenkins may do most of the scoring, but they’re pretty reserved off the court and when talking to the media.

“Obviously Ryan (Arcidiacono) was a great leader for us. He was our rock,” Hart said. “When you look at this team, a lot of times we look at [Reynolds]. He calms everybody down. He vocally tries to make sure everybody’s on one accord. Basketball-wise, he’s always been good. You saw the Providence game last year when we needed him to step up and he had, what, like 19 and 11?”

Hart remembers the numbers well, even if he added an extra rebound to the ledger. Reynolds was 9 for 10 from the floor and had two blocks in 36 minutes of action to help the Wildcats earn revenge with a road win after the Friars beat them in Philadelphia two weeks prior.

That game was the last of a three-game stretch in late January into early February when Ochefu was sidelined with a concussion. Reynolds’ minutes over that stretch: 29, 31 and 36, respectively.

That experience, Reynolds says, coupled with the rest of 2015-16 — when he saw an uptick in minutes from his sophomore season’s 5.4 per game to 17.1 per game — will be easy to draw from in 2016-17.

“There’s nothing like getting out there and actually playing,” Reynolds said. “You see a lot from the sidelines. You learn a lot playing spot minutes. You get different things. But just being out there throughout entire games, playing 20-plus minutes, it teaches you things that you could never have learned from another perspective. I learned a lot from those experiences and I think it made me the player that I am in many ways. It’s the same thing with this year. I’m still going to learn a ton in a sense of being out there that much more and not having Daniel. 

“In many ways he taught me a lot. So not having him, not having that voice in my ear, not having that guy to go against in practice, it will make me grow up. 

“Nothing wrong with that,” he said with a smile.

Doug Pederson not afraid to get aggressive with play-calling

Doug Pederson not afraid to get aggressive with play-calling

Talk to Doug Pederson and he comes across … what’s a nice way to put it … dry?

Very nice guy. Very friendly. Very down to earth. But not the most dynamic personality in public.

Which is why his personality on gameday has been so surprising.

Pederson is a risk taker as a playcaller. Aggressive and fearless.

Whether it’s going for it on fourth down with the lead, going for two after a successful PAT or throwing deep in a situation that doesn’t necessarily call for it, Pederson has proven to be the proverbial riverboat gambler that Chip Kelly was expected to be but never became.

“My personality is probably a little more conservative by nature, I think,” Pederson said Monday. “You'd probably agree with that.”

Pederson got a laugh with that comment because his public persona is exactly the opposite of his gameday demeanor.

It only took one day before we all got a taste of Pederson’s fearlessness.

In the season opener against the Browns, with the Eagles clinging to a 15-10 lead and a rookie quarterback making his first NFL appearance and a 4th-and-4 at the Browns’ 40--yard-line, he kept the offense on the field.

Carson Wentz responded by connecting with Zach Ertz on a five-yard gain to move the chains, and one play later, the Eagles took command on Wentz’s 35-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor.

Six weeks in, the Eagles are 5 for 5 on fourth down. Only the Falcons have converted more fourth downs in the NFL this year, and they’re 6 for 10.

In the win over the Bears, the Eagles were 3 for 3 on fourth down, their best fourth-down conversion day in nine years.

This is the first time in 14 years the Eagles have converted five or more fourth downs through six games.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Eagles are one of only seven teams in NFL history to attempt five or more fourth down plays through six games and still be at 100 percent. The Lions are also 5 for 5 this year.

Pederson said analytics are a big part of his decision-making process, but he also trusts his instincts.

“I think it's both,” Pederson said. “But I trust our guys and I trust our offensive line and I think it sends a great message to the rest of the team, to the defense and special teams, that, ‘Hey, if we can convert this and stay on the field,’ it sends a good message.

“And on the other side of that, if you do convert, (it’s about) the message you send to the other team and the fact that you're going to stay aggressive.”

The Eagles are 29th-best in the NFL on third down at just 34 percent. But they’re one of only three teams that’s at 100 percent on fourth down.

“It's kind of a crazy deal when you're not great on third down, but you can be 5 for 5 on fourth down and convert them,” Pederson said. “It's a weird deal. But credit to the guys for the execution.

“I'm going to continue to look at it. I don't ever want to be in a position that I'm going to jeopardize the team at the time (by being too aggressive). Looking at the five fourth-down decisions this year, I don’t think they put us in any harm at that time.”

Wentz is 3 for 3 for 21 yards on fourth down, with the four-yard completion to Ertz, a seven-yard first down to Jordan Matthews in the Bears game and a nine-yard to Dorial Green-Beckham, also in the win in Chicago.

He also rushed six yards for a first down on a 4th-and-2 Sunday in the win over the Vikings. The Eagles’ other fourth-down conversion this year was Ryan Mathews’ one-yard TD on a 4th-and-goal against Chicago.

Pederson said as an assistant coach under Andy Reid, he always found himself asking himself whether he would be conservative or aggressive in crucial situations.

We’re all learning the answer now.

“Yeah, you definitely put yourself in those situations, as a coordinator and a position coach,” he said. “Putting yourself in those spots, it's a lot easier when you're not making the decision obviously to go, ‘Oh, yeah, I would have not gone for it there or not gone for it there.’

“Now, being in this position, it's my tail on the line if we don't convert.”