July 9, 2012 |
The 76ers looked as if they were playing possum - or dead, even - in the early stages of free agency. In fact, their secondary move of re-signing center/forward Lavoy Allen created more ripples than their lukewarm decision to re-sign Spencer Hawes to a two-year deal. But when the Sixers finally agreed to use the one-time amnesty provision on Elton Brand, removing his $18 million salary from the books, the Sixers demonstrated that they are indeed looking to improve the roster to the degree that they can. They have said goodbye to Brand and Lou Williams, leaving some obvious gaps in the roster.
June 27, 2012 |
While a selection in the middle of the first round (yet again) doesn't seem all that appetizing if you're a 76ers fan, the player the Sixers take with the 15th overall pick on Thursday might go a long way toward cluing us all in on the their offseason plans. After their Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, coach Doug Collins said that despite the playoff run, which included a six-game first-round victory over the depleted Chicago Bulls, many changes needed to be made.
June 15, 2012
IT'S BEEN an eventful offseason for the Eagles — one of the most ever during the Andy Reid era. Through trades, free-agent signings and the draft, they addressed several needs. Contract extensions to wide receiver DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy solved their most pressing in-house concerns. The rookie minicamp and offseason training activities went smoothly and, on Thursday, the Birds completed their final mandatory minicamp practice before training camp opens at Lehigh University in July.
June 14, 2012 |
DENVER - Albert Pujols celebrated with his St. Louis Cardinals teammates immediately after Ryan Howard grounded out for the final out on Oct. 7, sending the Phillies home for good in the decisive fifth game of the National League division series at a stunned Citizens Bank Park. It wasn't until later that Pujols realized that Howard, his counterpart at first base and offseason workout partner, had ruptured his left Achilles tendon on the groundout to second base. The Cardinals' 1-0 win, which sent the Phillies on a downward spiral they still haven't pulled out of, was bittersweet for Pujols.
May 31, 2012 |
Mike Zordich was like many who believed that the Eagles would (should?) add another safety this offseason. "I thought that was going to happen, too," the Eagles' safeties coach said Tuesday. "I did. But I think when you reflect back and look at the whole year and the growth that happened with these guys, I know I'm very comfortable with them. " "These guys" are Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Allen and Coleman played together most of last season and began this spring as the starters.
May 31, 2012 |
JUAN CASTILLO has gotten a lot of spiffy new parts for his defense this offseason. Over the last 2 1/2 months, the Eagles have added a Pro Bowl middle linebacker (DeMeco Ryans) with Dawkins-like leadership skills, a 300-pound athletic freak of a defensive tackle with 4.7 speed (Fletcher Cox), and a strongside linebacker with sub-4.5 speed who can blitz and cover tight ends (Mychal Kendricks). But the defense's most important offseason addition actually might be none of those three guys.
May 30, 2012 |
If the Eagles' defensive coaching staff were a rock band, Juan Castillo would be the front man who doesn't mind sharing the spotlight with his band mates. "He's got really pure motives. I've worked with guys that have wanted to get ahead and become head coaches, and they're all about them," Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn said. "I don't think he wants to put his mark on anything, and that's a good quality to have because a lot of guys are so, 'If I don't do it this way, and if I don't make a big-enough splash being this blitz guru, this guru, I'm never going to get my chance at a head job.' " Despite a first season for Castillo as defensive coordinator that was more Herman's Hermits than Rolling Stones, Eagles coach Andy Reid decided to bring him back with his band minus one piece.
May 29, 2012 |
In the quiet of the postgame dressing room, Doug Collins told the players to take a good look and remember where they were, who they are, and what they have done together. He has been around long enough to recognize when a moment of passage arrives, and for the players too young to know the difference, he pointed it out. "Teams are never the same from one year to the next," Collins said. "And we'll never be together again like this. " It is true in every locker room, but perhaps more true with the 76ers this season than with most.
May 25, 2012 |
Nate Allen tracked Clay Harbor. The two Eagles raced across the middle of the field. As a pass flew in, Allen reached with his left hand, and swatted the ball to the ground. Fellow safety Kurt Coleman was waiting to congratulate him. Crouching, they slapped hands low four times - Allen swinging right, left, right, left - then each swung an arm overhead, connecting at the inside of their elbows. The pair of safeties, one laid back, one emotional, one a highly touted second-round pick, one a seventh-rounder, have been close since they arrived together in the 2010 draft.
May 24, 2012 |
Never have so many been so glad to see a bunch of professional football players running around in shorts. Organized Team Activities (OTAs or, as we called them before the NFL was completely bloated with self-importance, minicamps) have come to South Philadelphia. That is welcome news for two reasons: one, because it signifies the unofficial start of the 2012 season; and two, because it signifies the official end of all the lame excuses about how the lack of running-around-in-shorts time hurt the Eagles in 2011.