Personal Post: A New Start

Not that I was posting content excessively before, but I have a decent excuse for my lack of posting.

Today marked the start of my third week at AccuWeather, and it’s been a really exciting and educational start for me. Working from home was great for a variety of factors, convenience, cost etc, but moving out and working for a world-renowned company such as AccuWeather is a game changer and has been the fresh start I’ve coveted. It just feels great to be apart of such a knowledgeable staff, and I’m grateful to contribute in any manner.

It feels great to be back in State College as well. It’s a super place to start a career, plus I’m very familiar with the area so the only major transition has been getting used to the assignments at AccuWeather. Visiting PSU for weekends the past two years, just didn’t feel the same as it did when I was a student.

I’m pretty much getting settled in to my new job and new/old home. I’m going to hold myself accountable to a few posts about the very important Eagles draft and the Sixers monumental Draft Lottery. If the Flyers keep their run going in the playoffs I’ll try to add some thoughts there as well. I definitely want to keep working on my baseball trip memories as well.

Phillies talk will be nonexistent as I don’t get the chance to watch unfortunately. Although if I do get MLBTV maybe I’ll start writing a couple of posts.

PSU Football is another thing I probably won’t be writing about until the season starts but I’ll say this. I LOVE the start James Franklin has put together for the 2015 recruiting class. It’s really nice to have such an energetic and top-notch recruiter at the helm. Probably the first time in my PSU-rooting life.

Point is, even though I write about weather now (and It’s actually much more intriguing and fun than I ever thought it could be) I still enjoy writing my thoughts (HENCE THE URL) about sports especially the never-ending saga that is Philly sports.

Look for more soon.

 

The Release of Desean Jackson

Man, three days after the fact, and it’s still hard to process. In fact, the whole thing is so perplexing that I’m done trying to make sense of it all.

Alleged ties to gang members. The mysterious robbery at his house. Skipping his exit meeting. Not having a good relationship with Chip. Too much Instagramming.  The list of alleged reasons for cutting Jackson goes on and on.

I’m not going to try to figure out whether or not this was a good or bad move by the Eagles to outright release their 27-year-old pro bowl wide receiver, or why they did it, because only time will tell.

I’m just going to reflect on Jackson’s term in Philly from what I’ll remember most.

One of the most electrifying athletes to ever watch in Philadelphia.  It was a blast too watch him run on the football field. Even if he left you scratching your head sometimes.  Athletes with his talent don’t come around too often, let alone in Philly.

Loved having him on the field, knowing he was such a threat to scored a TD at any time. Loved his swagger. Sometimes he got too carried away and acted like kind of a dope, but hey, he was our dope!

He may not have been the complete talent that a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald is, but he was absolutely one of the best receivers in the game. I mean, to get by on largely one elite skill,speed, is truly remarkable in today’s NFL where virtually every defensive player was bigger and stronger than he was.

Basically he was a diva, like so many other Pro Bowl caliber talents in the league. But he never seemed to get in trouble off the field, which made this whole situation so bizarre. Basically in my mind, as long as you make plays and stay out of trouble off the field, I’m fine with you acting like a diva.

His skills seemed like a match made in heaven for Chip Kelly’s offense. Or was Chip Kelly’s offense a match made in heaver for DeSean? That’s what we’re about to find out, when the Eagles draft a receiver in the first or second round of the draft.

I will miss DeSean, and I hate that he’s probably going to sign with the Redskins and burn the Eagles for two games for however many seasons in the future.

Below are some of my favorite DeSean moments from his time as an Eagle. These videos are the best way to properly eulogize such a phenomenal talent. Thanks for the memories DJax.

This play just showcased what silly speed he had. The falling backwards into the endzone dance was hilarious, if not a bit over the top. But like I said, he had amazing swagger, but was also a dope.

DOES THIS LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO IS A CRIMINAL TO YOU!!?! Sorry, need to regain composure. I didn’t say all my favorite moments would be from the football field. Thought this was great of DeSean, along with Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson to go and support this young kid who was bullied.


Enough said.

2014 Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency

NFL Free Agency is finally here. And once again, the Eagles are well positioned to make considerable moves to improve their team.   They’ve already handled the pressing in-house matters, resigning Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, and giving extensions to Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. My thoughts on those moves. It also appears Donnie “Longball” Jones will be returning as well.

With key offensive players locked up, the Eagles still have about $30 million in cap space(according to Bill Barnwell of Grantland)  $20 million (according to this tweet) to address areas such as linebacker, kicker, offensive line depth, kick returner, safety, safety, safety, safety and safety.

Did you know the Eagles need to add a quality safety?

All joking aside, there’s quite a good crop of quality safeties in this year’s class. Jairus Byrd and TJ Ward are the Pro Bowl headliners.  The next tier includes quality players such as Malcom Jenkins, Antoine Bethea, Chris Clemons and Mike Mitchell.

The more I read about Byrd, the less likely I think it is the Eagles sign him. Heading into free agency, his asking price is scaring people off.  Plus, he had plantar fasciatis in both feet last year and his speed is a concern.    Remember, all of these players are free agents for a reason. They have flaws; some worse than others.  Will I be satisfied if the Birds sign Byrd? Absolutely. But I’m not getting my hopes up. Ward has already been reported to be of no interest to the Eagles.

Mike Mitchell has been the name most linked to the Eagles, here in the legal tampering period (another way for the NFL to generate buzz). I’m lukewarm on him, as I think he was a product of the defensive talent around him in Carolina.

Who I want: Malcom Jenkins. Only 26 and can do a variety of things defensively. A coverage safety but can also play the slot.  He’s young enough to still “take the leap” into a pro bowl player and wouldn’t require the Eagles to pursue a saftety (besides the draft) for another several years if all works out.

Who they’ll sign: Bethea. He’s a little older, but that won’t stop the Eagles. They seem to have shied away from that not signing anyone over 30 routine. (He’ll be 30 in July). Plus, Bethea could be had on a shorter deal for say, two or three years. I’d be perfectly fine with Bethea, who’s been durable and productive for a long time.

Good video on the safety crop on the Eagles website.

Kicker: Yes, kicker is a priority. Alex Henery might be accurate, but he just doesn’t have the leg. The NFL moved kickoffs up five yards a few seasons ago and Henery just can’t rountinely get touchbacks. Something that cost them late in the loss to the Saints in the playoffs. They have to bring in someone at least for competition, but if the Eagles sign a kicker early in the free agent process. Henery’s days as an Eagle are over.

Who I want: Steven Hauschka CSN Philly.com breaks it down because they’re paid to do it. He’s elite at touchbacks and has big game kicking experience. Enough said.

Who they’ll sign: I’ll go with Dan Carpenter or Hauschka. Carpenter had a big-time year last year and has range from 60 yards out.

Pass Rushing Linebacker: I’m not too worried here. Yes, they could use depth but there’s really no significant difference makers on the market. Birds 247 has said the Eagles have been interested in Mike Neal. He’s 26 and can serve as a versatile contributor. I’d  rather see the Eagles acquire a pass rusher in the draft or see if a Brandon Graham for Dion Jordan swap makes sense (it probably doesn’t). At least those seem like better options for an impact pass rusher.

Who I want: Neal, I guess

Who they’ll sign: Neal.

Cornerback: I wasn’t going to write about this but recent developments have made me do otherwise. Adam Schefter is reporting that Darrelle Revis will be cut by 4 p.m. today if he’s not traded. He’s also said “watch out” for the Eagles and Patriots in the Revis race. I think the Eagles will definitely be interested, enough to see what his price could be. After all, he made a TON of money for one year in Tampa. Perhaps he’d be willing to sign for a moderate deal in Philly or New England to be on a playoff contender.

It’s probably more realistic that the Eagles again eschew the big name and pursue guys like Corey Graham (who would be a solid get) and Nolan Carroll from the Dolphins.

Who I want: Revis

Who they’ll sign: Graham

2013 Free Agency suited the Eagles just fine. Connor Barwin, while not an all-pro stud, was one of the most important players on defense last year with his versatility. Here he is possibly saving the Eagles season.

I’d never heard of Bradley Fletcher prior to last season, but he turned out to be a very reliable starter. More so than DRC or Nnamdi in their two seasons in Philly.

The same with Cary Williams. I watched a couple of Ravens games in 2012 and watched him get called for penalties and routinely get beat. So I wasn’t enthused with the signing. While he had some bad games in 2013. He wasn’t awful and provided a previously week defense with leadership and toughness.

Alright, so Patrick Chung didn’t work out. But he was low risk, low reward. If and when the Eagles release him, there will be a cap charge of about one million, but nothing crippling.

Kenny Phillips and Issac Sopoaga also were busts, although Sopoaga actually brought back a 5th-round pick from the Pats in a mid-season trade.

Plus, buying low on players will be beneficial, in light of some of the current players that could be in line for paydays next year. Specifically Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, Mychal Kendricks and Fletcher Cox.

So keep doing what you’re doing Howie Roseman and we’ll see you in May for the Draft.

House of Cards Season Two

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Image: Wikipedia

I finished House of Cards Season Two in about a week. Watched four episodes the first weekend it came out and somehow squeezed in nine the following weekend.

I was going to wait a little longer to start, but after the internet was buzzing about something big happening in episode one, I couldn’t risk getting spoiled and just started watching.

*There’s good and bad with Netflix shows. Good: You can watch at your own pace(aka binging to most people) Bad: if you’re someone who likes to take there time while also frequent the internet(most people) then there’s a good chance the show will get spoiled. 

And what a true holy shit moment it was.  I never would’ve expected something like that too happen especially in a political drama.  The show definitely went pretty far in season one showing how crazy power hungry Frank Underwood was, but pushing Zoe in front of a train topped everything from season 1.

But to be honest, that moment may have been a slight detriment for the rest of season two. With Zoe and her journalist colleagues out of the picture, the show definitely lost an interesting element that kept me interested in season one. I wanted to see how these reporters were going to try to bring down Underwood. Now, for the most part, Frank has seemingly won.

I’m guessing Hamerschmidt and Janine will enter the picture again at some point, but it’s unlikely for Lucas since he’s in jail for an extended period of time.

Plus I was probably expecting each episode to have a huge moment like that, and often they did not. It was just the typical political maneuvering/backstabbing by Frank and Tusk.

I also liked how they stuck to China as the main political story throughout the season.  Yes, they dealt with entitlement reform in the first couple episodes but China was the larger story. Obviously, they did that because of the backstory with Fang and Tusk and the scandal that would come out, but I thought it was interesting to see co

Now that Frank has ascended to the Presidency, who serves as a threat to expose him? The hacker guy? Rachel?  Will be interesting to see what new developments those two characters take.

I’ve watched a lot of TV shows in the last couple of years, all with dominant alpha male protagonists. Yet Frank is the only one I actively root against. I’ve never liked Frank even from the first episode. Maybe its his annoying southern twang, or the way he continues to outsmart his rivals.

The show is called House of Cards and anyone who’s ever heard the phrase before knows what it means. Frank’s downfall is coming and ultimately, it’s what’s keeping me watching.

Some other thoughts:

  • Don’t trust this Seth dude at all. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a different endgame revealed for him in season 3.
  • Stamper is dead right?  I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if he was just knocked out cold, but the last image we see of him doesn’t look good at all.
  • Don’t think that’s the last we see of Rachel, but if it is, good for her to beat the hell out of Doug. He was really creepy this season, making her read to him and the way he controlled her.
  • Don’t care about the Remy-Jackie Sharp relationship.Obviously it had its significance with each working working for Tusk or Frank, but now that its over, don’t want to see any lingering fallout from their romance in future episodes.
  • Claire. Cold-hearted b-word. Last season I had some slight empathy for her, but after the way she tried to ruin Adam and his fiance, I’m rooting for her downfall as equally as Frank’s.  No one felt sorry for you when you were crying on your stairs Claire!
  • Loved the scenes with Jimmi Simpson, the hacker guy and Mcpoyle from Always Sunny.  That storyline with The Deep Web and the Cyberterrorism was probably my favorite part of season 2.

Overall I’ll give this season a B. Was gonna give it a B- but that would probably be too unfair. The show definitely kept me interested, even if it didn’t “wow” me with jaw-dropping moments in episode one. And they way it ended, it definitely leaves a lot to look forward to now that Frank has the Oval Office.

Super Bowl 48 Prediction

super bowl 48The most bittersweet sports day of the year is finally here! Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest showcase in American sports is back with a terrific matchup between the two top teams in the NFL. Other than having the Eagles in the game, I don’t think I could be more excited.

So what’s the problem?

No meaningful football games for seven months after today.

Talk about a first-world problem. Anyway, let’s save the angst for Monday morning and just focus on today’s showdown. After all, between the draft and free agency, the NFL truly doesn’t stop.

So on to Super Bowl 48(screw Roman numerals)

Seahawks vs. Broncos: The Pick: Broncos -2.5 

I’ve picked against the Seahawks all season, and they’ve proved me wrong. Yet, I’m gonna pick against them today one more time.

Why?  Peyton Manning. It’s been his year since the beginning of the season when he routed the Ravens with 7 touchdown passes. As good as that Seattle secondary is, Manning’s had two weeks to prepare and I’m sure he’ll find ways to exploit them with his ridiculous array of receiving talent.

One of the reasons I’ve been down on the Sehawks is, I basically thought they were missing a piece or two on offense. Percy Harvin’s back, but at what capacity?  I think the Broncos, even though they’ve had big injuries on defense(Von Miller, Chris Harris) have been playing pretty well on defense. I think they can definitely contain Marshawn Lynch and force Russell WIlson to beat them.

And if this game does turn into a quarterback duel, you gotta go with Peyton right?

A couple of other key factors heading into the game.

  • This game isn’t being played in Seattle.

BREAKING NEWS!  In all seriousness, as much as we talk about the Seahawks homefield advantage, that is a legit thing. Playing on a neutral site, takes that away from the Hawks and if things don’t go their way early (as it did early in the NFC title game) they might not be able to recover.

  • Allow me to be the last to inform you that this is the first-ever outdoor cold weather Super Bowl.

With weather in the lows 40s and high 30s, its nothing new for either team. Much has been discussed about Peyton Manning’s “ducks” but the relatively warm weather should mean its all systems go for that high-powered Bronco offense.

  • Manning’s Motivation

I personally think it definitely bothers Peyton that his younger(and subpar) brother has two titles to his one. Plus, he’s heard the critics continuously mention that for a player of his caliber, one just isn’t good enough if he wants to be considered the greatest of all time.

If he wins today he’ll have two rings, three appearances and be one of only three quarterbacks in NFL history to take two teams to the Super Bowl. Basically if the Broncos win, I’m pretty cool with declaring him the best to ever play the position.

** Other highly-motivated Broncos: Champ Bailey and Wes Welker.  Bailey’s been in the league for 15 seasons now and this is his first (and possibly last) chance.  Nothing more needs to be said there.

Welker suffered two tremendously painful losses to the Giants while a member of the Patriots. And he dropped a crucial pass that could have won Super Bowl 46 for the Pats. I’m thinking third time’s the charm for Wes.

If the Broncos pull this thing out, I like one of those three to be the MVP.

  • No one on the Seahawks has been in a Super Bowl before

This Seahawks team is very young and extremely talented, meaning we probably will be seeing them (and everyone’s favorite cornerback) in big playoff games for years to come.

Yet, there is still something to be said for being ready and being ready for a Super Bowl. Russell Wilson may be the most-poised younger quarterback in the history of the game, but the magnitude of the Super Bowl stage might be too big even for him.

As I mentioned before, they got behind early to the 49ers, in part to a fumble by Wilson on the first play. The 49ers let them off the hook in that game.  I don’t think Denver will.

There you have it. Now let’s just sit back and enjoy. Enjoy your delightfully unhealthy food, your preposterous prop bets, ludicrously long pregame shows, frequent trips to the bathroom, the Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show(Huh?) hilarious(ly bad) commercials and watching grown men moving at high rates of speed frequently collide with each other.

The Super Bowl!

Broncos 28-21

NFL Championship Sunday

The NFL Divisional Playoff weekend was a bit underwhelming. But considering the conference championship matchups it produced, I’ll gladly take today’s two games in place of a mediocre divisional weekend.

Two games that feature opponents that know each other all too well.

It;s one of those rare years, when you look at the four teams left, you’d be plenty fine with any of the Super Bowl possibilities.  I think the least desirable matchup could be Seattle-New England, but that’s not even close to a terrible game.

Here are my picks for what should be an outstanding championship
Sunday.

(Editor’s Note: If both games are blowouts, I’ll be incredibly pissed)

downloadPatriots at Broncos The Pick: Broncos -5

Brady vs. Manning could be a bit overplayed at this point (you think?) but who are we kidding, it’s the most desirable matchup year in and year out in the NFL because both quarterbacks are living legends.

The weather in Denver looks favorable to passing, but the running games and defense should be the difference. That and the fact that Denver choked away a huge lead back in November in Foxboro.

Crazy note: This is the first Patriots playoff road game since 2006?!

I think that could actually be a big factor. Not for Brady of course but he’s young receivers. Hostile environment, huge stakes, I’m not sure I trust them. Plus the Patriots have been depleted on defense and Denver’s offense is arguably the best in football. It’s incredible what the Patriots have done given all they’ve lost this year(Aaron Hernandez, Gronk, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork) but I think their run stops in Denver.

Denver has key holes on defense (Von Miller Chris Harris) but there’s still enough there to give the Patriots offense trouble. Or at least slow down the suddenly potent running game.

Plus, I just don’t see how Peyton blows another opportunity at a second Super Bowl title. And he doesn’t want to let Brady and Belichick come into his house and  beat him again.

Broncos 31- Patriots 17

download (1)49ers at Seahawks  The Pick: 49ers +3.5

I’m probably looking forward to watching this game more than Brady vs. Peyton. Both of these teams are so much fun to watch, even if they’re not high-flying and high scoring.

Plus anytime there’s a game at CenturyLink Field, no doubt the loudest and most hostile stadium in the NFL, I watch. What a fun atmosphere for football(unless you’re a visiting team).

With that said, I’m pretty sure the hostile crowd is the biggest hurdle for the 49ers who have been obliterated in their last two trips to Seattle.

If they can get past the crowd (third times the charm?) early in the game, I think its their’s to lose.

I just think the 49ers are more slightly complete than the Seahawks especially when it comes to the respective passing games.

I mean would you rather have Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis or Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse?

Plus the 49ers have the front seven to slow down Marshawn (Beastmode) Lynch and that terrific Seattle offensive line.

I know Colin Kaepernick has started slow in big playoff games before, but I think he’ll be ready for revenge in this one. Seattle has been the one place where he’s not looked like a starting-caliber quarterback. That and Russell Wilson just hasn’t been very good over the past five games. At least good enough to win a Super Bowl (Stats).

I’ve been down on the Seahawks this year mainly because I feel everyone crowned them too soon. Don’t get me wrong they’re a great team. I’m beyond jealous with that amazing secondary and homefield advantage.

But they are beatable at home as we learned when Arizona went up there on Dec. 22 and gave them their first home loss in two seasons. That may have been the must important result of the season. It sent a message to the rest of the league that it’s not a guaranteed loss when you head to the Pacific Northwest.

In in a close game, I don’t think they have enough weapons offensively to beat the 49ers and I’m not as high on Russell Wilson as everyone else, although I’m sure he’ll get better as he gets older.

Sorry Seattle

49ers 23 Seahawks 16 

Images: Wikipedia