Will Michael Vick be effective if he can’t run?

Will Michael Vick be effective if he can’t run?

The good news for the Eagles is Michael Vick is expected to play on Sunday—at least that’s the consensus among reporters. Chip Kelly sounds far less convinced, although who knows how much of that is gamesmanship on the head coach’s part.

The bad news is Vick’s hamstring still may not be 100 percent by Sunday even if he does start the game. The four-time Pro Bowler hasn’t even tried running at full speed yet, nor will he until Friday. That begs the question how effective will he be against the Giants if he’s limited in any way?

It goes without say that running is a huge part of Vick’s game. After all, he is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks. His 5,858 yards on the ground account for 21.5 percent of his career production.

More importantly, the rushing yards help sustain the offense when he struggles as a passer. In their Week 5 meeting against New York, Vick only connected on 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards before leaving the game late in the second quarter, but he was still able to lead the Philly’s offense to 16 points thanks in part to his 79 yards on the ground.

Unfortunately, Vick’s inefficiency as a passer has been more of a problem this season than some might realize, especially recently. His 90.6 passer rating doesn’t look bad, but that’s buoyed by strong performances in Weeks 1 and 2. In his last three games, that number drops to 66.3.

Against Kansas City, Denver, and the Giants, Vick completed 46.5 percent of his passes for 554 yards (7.8 AVG) with one touchdown and two interceptions. He ran 19 times for 219 yards.

Besides the production that would go missing, another potential issue is whether Vick can elude pass rushers in the backfield. If not, he’ll have to shorten the NFL’s longest release time, which is something many have been calling on him to do since basically forever.

The problem of course is even if Vick isn’t able to run around much, the Eagles don’t have many other options. Nick Foles’ status is up in the air because of a concussion, and even if cleared, he missed practice all week which he sorely needs after Sunday’s debacle. Matt Barkley didn’t win any new fans with his performance against Dallas either.

It certainly isn’t reasonable to put much stock in Barkley’s performance in that fourth quarter of action. A rookie coming off the bench cold for his first NFL game down by 14 doesn’t stand much of a chance most of the time.

Still, it’s hard to view him as Philly’s best option this week, and Vick was reportedly getting the majority of the first-team snaps in practice, so they certainly aren’t prepping Barkley as if he were making his first start.

Chip would not describe himself as comfortable with his situation at quarterback on Wednesday, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s hard to argue Vick is the same player when you take his mobility away, and even those rushing yards aren’t always enough on those days he can’t locate his rhythm in the passing game.

The Giants suddenly don’t look like pushovers either. They shut down Minnesota’s one-dimensional offense on Monday, and have been fairly competitive since getting off to an abysmal start. If they sense blood in the water at the Linc, it could be a long day for Vick.

That’s if he plays. Kelly said he expects Vick to play, but remained non-committal over the starting quarterback, leaving at least a shred of doubt about Vick’s availability. If the head coach doesn’t like what he sees on Friday, who knows—it could be Barkley being backed up by G.J. Kinne on Sunday.

Most likely, the Eagles will decide even a stationary Vick gives them a better chance to beat the Giants than a fourth-round rookie. It will be interesting to see how effective No. 7 can be if running isn't part of his game.

End to End: Is it really a 2-player race atop the NHL draft?

End to End: Is it really a 2-player race atop the NHL draft?

Throughout the offseason, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.
 
Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.
 
The topic: Is it really a two-player race atop the NHL draft?
 
Dougherty
Maybe it's because the Flyers have the No. 2 pick and we tend to put the top prospects under an unfair microscope in years that do not include bona fide picks atop the draft.
 
Maybe it is as simple as whoever the New Jersey Devils do not draft.
 
Maybe we're overthinking this. Maybe we're not.
 
These are the questions that Flyers general manager Ron Hextall and his staff are asking themselves in the weeks leading up to the June 23-24 NHL entry draft in Chicago.
 
It appears to be a two-player draft, or at least that is what we've talked ourselves into. All the chatter has been around Brandon center Nolan Patrick and Halifax center Nico Hischier.
 
"I would say it's pretty accurate," Devils director of amateur scouting Paul Castron recently told the team's website. "They're both excellent players. … I think the media maybe has it that way, but I think there are other players that could come into play as well."
 
I am on the record saying the Flyers should get an immediate impact player at No. 2 in either Patrick or Hischier, unlike the last time they picked in this slot in 2007.
 
So, I believe the Flyers will be coming away from Chicago with either Patrick or Hischier, but I also don't believe it is as much of a slam dunk as we've made it out.
 
By many accounts, it is not a projected deep draft class. ESPN's Corey Pronman recently told TSN Radio 1040 he doesn't believe the two are "completely clear of the pack."
 
"The last time we had a draft like this — say 2012," Pronman said. "I think many scouts had Alex Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Murray, Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Rielly … it all depended on which teams were picking where. I think this is another one of those years.
 
"I do think Hischier and Patrick are the likely No. 1 and 2, but if somebody else snuck into there, I wouldn't really be surprised."
 
There also doesn't appear much separation between Patrick and Hischier themselves. Hischier has been trending up, while questions remain about Patrick's durability.
 
While both the Devils and Flyers have publicly downplayed injury concerns about Patrick, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors. If New Jersey decides to draft Hischier with No. 1, I could see a scenario in which the Flyers opt to go another route than Patrick.
 
In early May, Hextall said with "any young player who has had injuries, you do background checks." What if the Flyers find something in those background checks they don't like?
 
Therefore, I don't think we're overthinking it too much to take a look at other top prospects in this class, such as Windsor center Gabriel Vilardi, Portland center Cody Glass or Owen Sound center Nick Suzuki. Because I do think there is a legitimate possibility the No. 2 pick could be someone other than Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier.

Hall
The Flyers, in an overly advantageous position, should not get cute here. 

Depth at center is so vital to any organization. The Flyers have been lacking just that and it has shown the past three seasons.

With this draft, a high-end center is falling into their lap at the No. 2 pick. From all indications, Patrick and Hischier are at the head of the class.

Sure, the Flyers should do their homework, and they will. They'll be thorough in their scouting and preparation leading up to June 23.

To me, though, this is pretty simple. The Flyers' decision will essentially be made by the Devils' choice at No. 1 — and that's the odd convenience of the second overall selection.

Unless Hischier goes to New Jersey and alarms sound on Patrick's health, the Flyers need to make the obvious call and add one of these two centers.

Paone
Let's break this question down into simplest terms.

Could the Flyers take someone other than Patrick or Hischier at No. 2 come June 23 in Chicago? Of course, they could.

As Tom mentioned above, Vilardi, Glass and Suzuki are all up there at the head of this class with the projected top two, though seen by many as a slight level down from Patrick and Hischier.

A lot of times, decisions like these come down to team preference of a certain player. But don't expect Hextall to make that preference known until he steps to the podium to announce the Flyers' pick on draft night.

But could and should are two very different questions.

Should the Flyers take someone other than Patrick or Hischier at No. 2?

Nope.

Let's be honest, the Flyers fell backward into this No. 2 pick. And with that, they have the chance to select a potential stalwart forward with a strong knack for putting the puck in the net, which both Patrick and Hischier possess. And each should be able to show that off in the NHL sooner rather than later. Remember this: The Flyers' "Big 4" of Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux scored 90 of the Flyers' 212 goals last season. That accounts for 42.5 percent. Immediate scoring help is needed and both Patrick and Hischier should have the ability to bring that to the table.

Yes, the questions about Patrick's durability are legitimate. And yes, Hischier is trending even further upward.

But, to me, this goes back again to simplest terms.

The Flyers should pick whomever New Jersey doesn't out of Patrick and Hischier.

Sixers Mailbag: Draft De'Aaron Fox at 3, re-sign Ersan Ilyasova?

Sixers Mailbag: Draft De'Aaron Fox at 3, re-sign Ersan Ilyasova?

This week, I tweeted asking for questions for a Sixers mailbag, and the replies came pouring in. (Thanks, everyone!)

So we changed it up and in addition to answering the questions in these articles, we also discussed some of the topics on PST Extra. Read below and watch the video for the responses. If you tweeted a question with #CSNSixersMailbag and don’t see it on here, don't worry, there will be plenty more answered leading up to the draft and free agency.

The Sixers should explore all possibilities: trade up, trade down, trade the pick, draft third. The draft is a little funky this year in that there is not a clear-cut choice between picks three through five, and perhaps beyond that. If the Sixers like either player, there is the possibility they could simply select that player No. 3.

I’ve said before, I could see Fox going third. The speedy point guard met with the Sixers at the draft combine and outlined how he would fit playing off the ball with Ben Simmons and finding opportunities with Joel Embiid. Is three a stretch for him? I don’t think so.

Monk has not been projected as high as Fox, so the option of trading down for him is viable. If the Sixers draft for need, however, his skill set is a fit at three. Monk is their best option for a shooter, and they are lacking shooters. It's not uncommon for a prospect to jump in the draft order based on what the team at that selection is looking for. Of course, if the Sixers trade down, they could pick up another piece (future pick, etc.) in addition to Monk in the deal, which always is worth considering.

Ersan Ilyasova was a great veteran presence for the Sixers this season before they traded him to the Hawks at the deadline. He boosted their offense and, more importantly, helped in Dario Saric’s development.

The Sixers and Ilyasova had different plans for the future, though, and understandably so. Ilyasova, who turned 30 this month, was going to be looking for a longer-term contract this offseason than the Sixers were interested in offering. Ilyasova wanted commitment and security at this point in his career; the Sixers wanted flexibility with their options in the frontcourt.

Ilyasova has put together a résumé that will attract teams in free agency this summer.