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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kelly wants better protection for Vick

The Eagles Scoop/Jack McCaffery

PHILADELPHIA --- While the Eagles are on a three-game losing streak, Chip Kelly is not yet ready to knock Michael Vick out of the lineup.
As for everyone else knocking the quarterback down, that does have the Birds' coach concerned. So expect protecting Vick to be a point of emphasis as the Eagles prepare to play the New York Giants Sunday.
“I'm talking from a protection standpoint,” Kelly said Monday. “I don't even think we had a run play where Mike took off and ran with the ball. But there are times when you're calling seven-man protections and you're varying your protections in terms of where you are, where you don't expect him to get to the top of his drop and have someone in his face.
“There's not one thing, and there's not one answer that if we make 'this' adjustment, then we are going to be good. But all of a sudden someone who has been playing fantastic for 52 plays makes a mistake up front on the 53rdplay. And when you get beat in a one-on-one situation, all of a sudden somebody you expected to get picked up has created some penetration into the backfield.”
So, just to pick a name, how has Lane Johnson been playing?
“I think Lane has gotten better,”Kelly said. “But when you have a young guy like him, there are times when you've just got to go, just trust what it was, understand the line call made by Jason Kelce and don't hesitate.
“Sometimes when you're half a second late and when you're on the guy, all of a sudden he's got your back shoulder. Where I think Lane knows exactly what to do but at times, the game has to happen just a little bit quicker for him.”
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DeSean Jackson had two catches in Denver.
Was it all the Broncos' defense?
“We have seen just a little bit more man, and I think that's overall with everybody,” Kelly said. “But I also think we've been productive moving the football. I still think we're stopping ourselves. We are not getting stopped by a scheme, and we are not getting stopped by a look.
“I think we've been in situations where we've driven the football and we've proven we can drive the football. But, again, we had the penalties. Two weeks ago when we played the Chiefs, it was the turnover situation and the false starts and illegal procedures and those things that handcuffed us as a football team.”
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NOTES: LeSean McCoy's 468 rushing yards are the most ever by an Eagle four games into a season … With 287 career catches, Brent Celek is tied for 11th on the Eagles' all-time list with Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald … Kelly did learn one thing from the Broncos game: “To not let it happen again.” … The Eagles will practice Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ryne Sandberg is the Phillies' manager, with no interim qualifier, signed for the next three years.

"The goal is to get back and be a world champion," Ruben Amaro Jr. said Sunday. "I think we have a great start with Ryne Sandberg at the helm.”
They had a great start in 2008, but it had nothing to do with who was at the helm, but with who was at the bat rack. Ever since, the Phillies have been attempting to recreate that moment, largely with the same nucleus.
Even Sunday, Sandberg went down the list like a D.J. on an oldies station ... Chase, J-Roll, Cole, Cliff ... he even hinted at bringing back Carlos Ruiz.
For six years, Sandberg lingered in the minors, waiting for a chance to be a big-league manager. He should be a good one. He orders discipline. He takes chances. His playing record makes him instantly respected in the clubhouse.
But there is only one way the Phillies can win another World Series next year, and that is to change more, a lot more, than the manager.
Check out my column on Sandberg in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Reid, McNabb returning to Linc

Is that it now?

Is that it for an era that Eagles' fans kind of enjoyed, but not really?

Will Donovan McNabb's number being retired allow it to close? Can Eagles fans finally separate themselves from all things Andy Reid?

Because of the NFL schedule, the Eagles tried Thursday to cram a night of nostalgia into an otherwise unsightly night of football. The result was muffled, forced and ultimately disappointing to the fans, who'd watched the Birds lose, 26-16, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Did they applaud Reid on his return to Philadelphia? Yes, but not wildly.

Did they finally seem to accept McNabb as a franchise hero, not as the player who was booed when he was drafted, and who had a less-than-effective Super Bowl? Yes.

Did they really ask for any of that? No.

But at least they can put it all behind. It's time.

Check out my column in the Daily Times and on Friday, along with a story on a suddenly decaying Eagles offense.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reid minimizing distractions

PHILADELPHIA --- Andy Reid will arrive at the Linc Thursday for a business trip, not a stroll along memory lane. That's the message he delivered Tuesday in a conference call with Philadelphia football writers. That's the image he hopes to project to his Kansas City Chiefs as they prepare to play the Eagles.
No memories? No flashbacks? No tears, no chills, no fingers in his ears, just in case?
“You know as well as I do, once you are in this thing and you are grinding, getting ready for a football team, a good football team, you put all that aside,” Reid said. “We'll talk after the game. Before the game, the guys know they are getting ready for their game against us, and we're getting ready for our game against them. And we just have to make sure on my end, as the head coach, that my football team here is ready to play a good football team there.”
Reid's Chiefs are 2-0. Chip Kelly's Eagles are 1-1. Both teams have improved since last season, when the Chiefs won two games, and Reid's Eagles won four.
“I think Chip has done a phenomenal job,” Reid said. “He's got great players there and he's got a great offensive mind and scheme. So this is no fluke by any means or anything else. He's taken his personnel, he's utilized it to the best of their abilities and has put out a nice product right there.”
While Kelly has made substantial personnel changes, particularly on defense, Reid could use his familiarity with some of his former players as an advantage – not that he was ready concede as much.
“I understand they have a lot of good football players, and they have a heck of a football coach and coaches,” he said. “I understand all of that. We are trying to buckle down here and get our gameplan ready to play them and play the best we can against a good football team. That's where our energy is going. I know all the questions. It's not very fluffy, but it's real. You have x-number of hours that you can do this thing and get ready to play a good team, and you better be ready to do it.”
Reid coached the Eagles for 14 years, reaching a Super Bowl, then fizzling. So he has enough of an awareness of the Linc crowds to know that the reception for visiting teams and coaches has a chance to be scratchy.
“Listen, I said this when I was there: That's a great fan base,” Reid said. “I am at another place where there is a great fan base. And I am fortunate to have had both of these experiences. So I don't get caught up in that. I don't worry about that. I didn't worry about that when I was there. I never got caught up on that part. I try to get the football team ready. I haven't changed on that.”
Kidding, Reid said he has changed in one way.

“I eat barbeque now,” he said, “instead of cheesesteaks.”

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Eagles have issues to tackle

There is poor defense.

And then there is unacceptable defense.

In a 33-30 loss to San Diego Sunday, the  Eagles demonstrated the latter, failing to cover, showing a reluctance to tackle, making the Chargers punt once, just once.

"Couldn't get them off the field," Chip Kelly said.

Couldn't get the Redskins off the field much, either, in the second half of the opener in Washington. Thus, an early crisis for Kelly and his program.

Here's a column on the situation:

For complete Eagles coverage, including my story on a tough day for kicker Alex Henery, check the Daily Times Monday and, as always,

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