The 4th Annual KULPY Awards, Part 2

The 4th Annual KULPY Awards, Part 2

Welcome back, and a truly heartfelt apology for making you exert the effort to click through. There were simply too many prestigious folks to honor in Philly sports this year to contain it all on one web page with unlimited space. Plus, I’m sure we only lost roughly 90 percent of our audience with that stunt. To return to Part 1, click here.

 

If you happen to be one of the two or three who made it, we saved the best for last. Up next, it’s The Ryan Howard Memorial Award for Athlete or Sportsperson Most Inexplicably Still in Philadelphia for people who are really, really overstaying their welcome in the sports complex. P.S. We love you, Ryan, but for the love of all that is holy, please stop kidding yourself and retire.

(Nominees: Maikel Franco, Mychal Kendricks, Andrew MacDonald, Pete Mackanin, Jahlil Okafor)

How Kendricks and Okafor haven’t been traded, we’ll never know. Kendricks has been on the block for years now, and the times Okafor was reported to be on the move is into the double digits, easily. Franco is the latest Philly athlete being shopped, although the truly inexplicable part is why he hasn’t been demoted to Lehigh Valley at some point. As for MacDonald and Mackanin, well, obscene contracts tend to influence otherwise rational decision-making.

All excellent candidates, but only one can win this unique award. The KULPY goes to… I can’t believe this, it’s Mychal Kendricks!

We would genuinely love to know how Kendricks feels about the Eagles leaving his NFL career in a holding pattern, but he doesn’t speak to the media much these days. We know he was so anxious to get on the field, he took it upon himself to start practicing at long snapper last season. You kind of got the sense things weren’t going to work out for Kendricks in Philly in 2015, then Chip Kelly signed him to an extension. Now Kendricks is stuck, and Howie Roseman has shown little urgency to make a trade.

Of course, we could all be so lucky to be stuck at our jobs for $6.6 million in salary and bonuses.

 

While The KULPYs is all about having fun and making light of the games we love, it’s also worth taking time to remember these professional sports figures will not be around forever. The sacrifices it takes to make it in this industry, only to have endure the criticism of some dumb blogger once a year should not go overlooked. That’s why for the first time we are choosing to honor some of the ones we’ve lost through the years.

This video up top is a special tribute entitled In Memoriam: Eagles Cornerbacks We’ve Lost to Burns Since 2011. Feel free to pour one out for some of the brave athletes who fell victim to the job.

 

Heartbreaking. Anyway, It’s time for an award that has nothing to do with what’s happening on the field. This one is all about the biggest celebrity in local sports, as in people you’re likely to bump into at Wawa and actually notice who they are and care – sorry, T.J. McConnell. Presenting The QB Eagles Award for Most Recognizable Athlete in Philadelphia.

(Nominees: Jon Dorenbos, Joel Embiid, Claude Giroux, Carson Wentz, LeGarrette Blount)

I once thought I saw Wentz in the parking lot at the Linc before a game. In retrospect, I think it was actually his brother, but that just goes to show any random ginger looks like Wentz at a glance.  The only place I’ve see Giroux in the last year besides The KULPYs is on the side of a milk carton. And I’ve seen a lot of green Blount jerseys around town in recent months, but didn’t see much of Blount the running back at OTAs this spring, so not sure I’d recognize him, either.

There’s only two real possibilities, and the selection committee was worried one of them might make himself disappear if he won. That means The KULPY goes to Joel Embiid, naturally.

You can find Embiid anywhere these days, from the Home Run Derby in Miami, Florida, to your local park, telling your nine-year-old son to take his weak-ass game on home. Hell, even Rihanna was seen wearing an Embiid jersey, thanks to Photoshop – the lines people are willing to cross these days.

This award was virtually created for Embiid. No, really, it was created for Embiid. We kind of just wanted to see if he would Tweet about it.

 

It’s time for the real meat and potatoes of the show. We have two awards left, and they’re big ones. First up, it’s CSNPhilly.com’s The700Level’s Toyota Philadelphia Athlete of the Year brought to you by Dietz & Watson. Really, guys?

(Nominees: Joel Embiid, Pat Neshek, Dario Saric, Wayne Simmonds, Carson Wentz)

Congratulations to Neshek, who became the first Phillies middle reliever to make it to the All-Star game… ever? Certainly since before I was born. Simmons deserves recognition here as well for making his first All-Star game as well, and earning the MVP Award as well. Don’t get greedy now, Simmer. Wentz had an excellent rookie season as well, throwing for 3,782 yards officially, about 1,000 more in dropped passes.

A group of worthy candidates, but only one can be the winner, which is why the KULPY must go to… wait, it’s a tie! Joel Embiid and Dario Saric are co-Philadelphia Athletes of the Year!

The KULPYs are trying to right a wrong here and give some hardware to Embiid and Saric, who were robbed in the NBA’s Rookie of the Year voting. Sure, Embiid only played in 31 games, and these two were probably the oldest rookies since playing college basketball before going pro was a thing. Regardless, there’s no question either Embiid or Saric were more deserving than, uh… whoever won the damn thing. Doesn’t matter. It was a farce!

Shout out to Embiid, a rare double winner at The KULPYs. That might be a first. Anybody keeping track?

 

Finally, it’s time our most important and prestigious honor. This is The Competency Award for Philadelphia Sports Executive of the Year – always a tremendous barometer of the direction things are headed for the local franchises.

(Nominees: Bryan Colangelo, Ron Hextall, Matt Klentak, Howie Roseman, Sam Hinkie)

You actually have to hand it to Colangelo, Hextall and Roseman. The Sixers, Flyers and Eagles all appear relatively close to playoff contention, with a potential leap into championship material possibly in the near horizon. The last year has been rough, as almost the entire decade has been, but we feel good about the trajectories there. Hinkie deserves some credit for the Sixers’ position as well, even if he has been out of the job for 18 months now.

Yet, it was easier than you might think to choose a winner. The 2017 Competency Award for Philadelphia Sports Executive of the Year goes to… Matt Klentak!??

Another upset, to be sure, but we here at The700Level are big Process trusters, and, wow, is Klentak giving Hinkie a run for his money here. With a low payroll, shooting for lottery picks and on the cusp of trading assets and emerging talents, inevitably prolonging the rebuild, there’s truly no telling when the Phillies will be good again! And Klentak has been careful to avoid using words like “Process” and “tanking,” so Major League Baseball has no reason to step in and put a stop to this.

Wait, that’s not what’s going on here? Too bad, because unlike the Phillies’ rebuild, that’s all the time we have.

 

>> GO BACK TO PART 1 <<

6 cornerbacks Eagles could trade for before training camp ends

6 cornerbacks Eagles could trade for before training camp ends

Eagles coach Doug Pederson opened the door on Monday to speculation the club could add another cornerback to the mix before the preseason comes to a close.

“It's a position that we continue to look even outside, as we do every position,” Pederson said following the first practice of training camp. “And as you know, we're going to continue to look and try to bring in guys if we can and just create as much competition at that spot.”

On its face, Pederson’s statement is innocuous enough. NFL teams are constantly evaluating their options. Players will come and go, especially as the league whittles its rosters down from 90 to 53, and even as the season progresses. There will even be a handful of trades.

Yet, given the track record of Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman for wheeling and dealing, Pederson’s words can be construed as more than a throwaway line. The Eagles are actively searching for talent, and cornerback is an area where it’s sorely needed.

Roseman likes a good bargain, too. With that in mind, we’ve scoured depth charts around the league for the type of young prospects who may be had in a trade for relatively cheap, but possibly reward the Eagles with high-quality play.

The Eagles could also wait to see what cut-down day produces, too, and no doubt will. But waiting usually isn’t Roseman’s style.

Bears CB Kyle Fuller
Pulling off a swap for Fuller is not an original thought. Best I can tell, it was first pitched by USA Today’s Turron Davenport in March (with the Eagles sending linebacker Mychal Kendricks), and continued to gain some traction until about a month after the draft.

That’s because it makes sense, perhaps more than any other idea I will pitch. A first-round draft pick in 2014, and a player the Eagles were rumored to covet, Fuller has fallen out of favor in Chicago and far from a lock to make the team. He missed the entire 2016 campaign with a knee injury, and was inconsistent his first two seasons, but is only 25 and flashed potential as a playmaker with 6 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles in 32 NFL games.

Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas served as the Bears’ director of college scouting in 2015. He has access to inside information on Fuller, and ties to the organization that may help facilitate a trade. Some type of exchange certainly seems plausible.

Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard
Like Fuller, the Eagles were believed to be interested in Dennard in the first round of the 2014 draft. And like Fuller, Dennard might be on the trade block in Cincinnati.

Dennard has remained stuck firmly behind Bengals cornerbacks Adam Joes and Dre Kirkpatrick on the depth chart, starting just four games in three seasons. Josh Shaw, a fourth-round pick in 2015, surpassed Dennard last season as well. The Bengals also spent a first-round pick on William Jackson last year, though he missed his rookie season with a torn pec. Clearly, there is a ton of competition there.

Less clear is whether the Eagles would be interested in a deal. Dennard hasn’t been elevated to starter for a reason. And the Eagles could have chosen Dennard in ’14, opting to trade down instead. Meanwhile, the Bengals picked up the fifth-year option on Dennard’s contract, and while the $8.5 million he’s owed for 2018 is only guaranteed for injury, that could impact any decision.

Steelers CBs Ross Cockrell or Senquez Golson
Cornerback was an area of concern in Pittsburgh last season. Now the Steelers might have too many bodies. The club used third- and fifth-round picks on Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen in April, creating a log jam of sorts on the back end of the depth chart.

Depending on the outcome of job competitions at training camp, either Cockrell or Golson might be available. Cockrell, 26 in August, started all 16 games for the Steelers last season, but the Steelers were dangling him for the low price of a fourth-round pick as a restricted free agent this offseason. A second-round pick in 2015, Golson missed both of his first two NFL seasons with a shoulder and foot injuries, and may have missed his shot with the team as a result.

Then again, William Gay is 32, and the Steelers could just as easily decide to move on and keep both Cockrell and Golson. With Sutton and Allen on their heels, even Gay’s departure could leave the door open for moves.

Dolphins CBs Tony Lippett or Bobby McCain
Oddly enough, Miami was rumored in February to have interest in trading for a veteran starting cornerback to pair with Byron Maxwell. Odd, because the defense already has a nice mix of experienced players and intriguing prospects.

It looks like 2016 second-round pick Xavien Howard will start opposite Maxwell, and third-round rookie Cordrea Tankersley is good for a roster spot at least. If Tankersley can contribute right away, either Lippett or McCain – a pair of fifth-rounders in ’15 – might be expendable. Lippett actually outplayed Howard by some measures in his 13 starts last season. McCain has been a little shaky at times, but only turns 24 in August and has 12 career starts under his belt.

The Dolphins have shown a willingness to work with the Eagles in recent years. Should either Lippett or McCain become available, Roseman could be among the first to receive a phone call.

Phils fan double-fists way through rain-delayed blowout loss to Astros

Phils fan double-fists way through rain-delayed blowout loss to Astros

Thunder may only happen when it rains and Philly fans may only love these Phillies players when they're ... drinking.

At least that was the case last night when the Phils got their butts whooped by the Houston Astros, 13-4, after a lengthy one-hour and 52-minute rain delay.

There was one fan who had some pretty great seats for the loss who was there pretty much the entire night with two beers in hand. 

Here he is in the fourth inning (two beers):

And later in the seventh: 

Not only is the man double-fisting, but he's also rocking a pretty sweet Hawaiian shirt, elevating his legend even higher. 

He wasn't the only standout from the stands last night. Check out this sweet one-handed grab in the second level.

Phils fans are the real MVP for sitting through this season.