Charlie Manuel can't be this good at Twitter


Charlie Manuel can't be this good at Twitter

Weather heats up, bats heat up, and the balls start carrying. Fight at the bat rack - It's hittin season. Don't get left out! — Charlie Manuel (@CMBaseball41) June 19, 2014

He's a damn poet. I didn't think it was possible to love Charlie Manuel any more but then he joined Twitter. And he's been killing it. The Phillies are four games out in the NL East and Charlie Manuel -- the guy people used to refer to as the country bumpkin "Uncle Cholly" -- is really good at Twitter. We live in a strange and beautiful world. Follow Charlie. The things you may learn:

On this day in 1974, #AbqDuke Charlie Manuel beat Mickey Mantle in a HR Derby at Abq Sports Stadium. Bob Feller was one of the pitchers. — Albuquerque Isotopes (@AbqTopes) June 18, 2014

Carson Wentz wears Flyers hat, further endearing him to Eagles fans, Philadelphia

Carson Wentz wears Flyers hat, further endearing him to Eagles fans, Philadelphia

Carson Wentz: Eagles starting quarterback. Rookie phenom. Flyers fan?

Posing with former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who will be part of the broadcast for Sunday's game against the Steelers, Wentz sported a Flyers hat.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol was a visitor to Eagles camp over the summer and chatted up the young quarterback. Hakstol of course coached at North Dakota for 11 seasons and apparently made a fan in the former North Dakota State quarterback.

Like Wentz, Simms came from an FCS school, Morehead State. Let's hope Wentz enjoys similar success to the two-time Super Bowl champion Simms.

Meet the Pittsburgh Steelers: Eagles' Week 3 opponent

Meet the Pittsburgh Steelers: Eagles' Week 3 opponent

Some would say there's a rivalry between the Eagles and Steelers based on rivalry between Philadelphia an Pittsburgh sports fans. The reality is these two teams only meet in the regular season once every four years, so there's no real heat between the players. In fact, we barely know this opponent.

Sure, Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison have been there forever, and Antonio Brown has emerged as a mega star. Just think though, how many current members of the Eagles were on the club the last time they playe the Steelers in 2012? There's been a ton of turnover here since then, and likewise on the other side.

This is not your father's ground-and-pound Steelers either. The offense is predicated on a dangerous passing attack, while the defense is still stout against the run, but not exactly Steel Curtain-caliber. Still, this is one of deepest teams the Eagles will face all season, and breaking down the lineup, it isn't difficult to understand why.


Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger

It seems that only in the past few seasons has Roethlisberger been spoken about with the same reverence as some of the other elite quarterbacks in the NFL, but he's been in that realm all along. With a 126-62 record in the regular season and playoffs and two Super Bowl championships, this is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he's still looking for more. In fact, Roethlisberger is only getting better. Last season saw his completion percentage (68.0%) climb to a career high, while his sack rate (4.1%) reached a new lot. As if it wasn't difficult enough to bring him down at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, the newfound quick release makes it hard just to het him. And when Roethlisberger does hang on to it, look out, because he can throw it a mile.

Strength: Antonio Brown

Who would've imagined five years ago that Brown would become one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history? In the past three seasons alone, the four-time Pro Bowler has 375 receptions for 5,031 yards and 29 touchdowns. That is insane production. What makes Brown so good exactly? At 5-foot-10, 181 pounds with sub-4.5 speed, it's not easy to explain. All you need to know is the guy has become unstoppable. The wise thing to do would be double-team Brown as much as possible and make Roethlisberger turn to his other weapons, but let's be honest, even that game plan probably won't hold him under the century mark.

Weakness: None

The Steelers offensive line is strong, particularly along the interior where center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro are Pro Bowlers. Le'Veon Bell is currently serving a suspension, but DeAngelo Williams leads the NFL in rushing through two weeks, so no big deal. You could argue Pittsburgh lacks great secondary weapons with Martavis Bryant out for the season, but it looks like Markus Wheaton will return from a shoulder injury to bolster the receiving corps. Roethlisberger solves a lot of problems too. His quick release makes the protection better, the fear he will take the top off the defense creates room for Williams and he's made do with the likes of Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers and Jesse James as regular targets in the passing game these first two weeks. 


Strength: Run defense

Bad news first. If the Eagles hope to take the pressure off of quarterback Carson Wentz with a strong ground attack, the Steelers have that covered. Pittsburgh's defense finished fifth against the run in 2015, and is off to a good start through two weeks, limiting opponents to 3.4 yards per carry. Defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt are a load at the point of attack — both active pass-rushers as well — which allows versatile interior linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier to clean up behind them. Third-round rookie Javon Hargrave has been a notable addition at nose tackle as well. Long story short, the middle of this defense is as stout as it comes, so don't expect big numbers from Ryan Mathews or any other Eagles back.

Weakness: Pass defense

Now the good news. You can throw on the Steelers. Actually, the secondary is a bit of a mess. 31-year-old cornerback William Gay has been there forever, and whule far from a shutdown defender, he's solid. Beyond that though, the unit is vulnerable, ranking 30th in the NFL last season and not off to a good start in 2016 with only one team allowing more yards through the air thus far. Corners Ross Cockrell and first-round draft pick Artie Burns are ideally matchups that would be exposed by Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham. The safeties are vulnerable as well, with uninspiring eighth-year veteran Mike Mitchell and first-year starter Robert Golden in the backfield. It's not as if the Steelers have a tremendous pass-rush either, with James Harrison reduce to a situational player at age 38, so Wentz will have opportunities.

X-factor: Ryan Shazier

The Steelers have a lot of individuals who are capable of making plays, but perhaps the most dynamic among them on defense is Shazier. A first-round pick in 2014, the interior linebacker is off to a hot start this season with two pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble through two weeks. Last year, Shazier finished with 3.5 sacks, four pass breakups, an interception and two forced fumbles in 12 games, his first has a full-time player. At 6-1, 230 pounds, Shazier combines near prototypical size with sub-4.4 speed and is about as dangerous a weapon as they come. Paired with Pro Bowler Lawrence Timmons in the middle, the interior linebacker duo is capable of wrecking an offensive game plan in short order.


After surrendering a punt return touchdown to the Bears on Monday, how the Eagles handle Antonio Brown in that role will be a situation to monitor. Kicking away doesn't sound like a bad idea. Chris Boswell has become an unexpected weapon for the Steelers as well, as the second-year kicker has connected on 69 of 73 field goals and extra points since taking over the job last season.


Mike Tomlin (10th season, 94-52, 6-5 playoffs)

Pittsburgh has been blessed with remarkable coaching stability, seamlessly transitioning from 15 years of Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin, now in his 10th season. All he's done since then is go to the playoffs six times going on seven and won a Super Bowl. In fact, the Steelers have finished no worse than 8-8 under Tomlin, a streak that is likely to continue in 2016. Of course, as mentioned before, having a quarterback like Roethlisberger solves a lot of problems. The Steelers have completely transformed their offense, while the defense has gone through some lean years, but the constant has always been Big Ben. Tomlin will continue to look like a brilliant coach as long as that guy is under center.