By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
A few late-December reality checks …
- The NFL Coach of the Year isn’t really that hard to decipher, and, no, it’s not Doug Pederson. As good as he’s been in his second year at the Eagles’ helm, Dougie P has been trumped by the Rams’ Sean McVay. No fault of his own. Just up against a guy whose Herculean success was even better than his own due to circumstance. Point being – Birds didn’t suck nearly as bad as the Rams did entering 2017. Heck, they weren’t even bad. Just mediocre. The Rams? They were an absolute dumpster fire, having lost 11 of their final dozen games last season to finish 4-12 … with No. 1 pick Jared Goff left sporting a “bust” noose around his neck. Now, they’re 11-4, the most well-rounded team in the NFC, with Goff posting – gulp – Carson Wentz-like numbers at QB, and a major threat to the home-standing Eagles’ chances of making a third Super Bowl trip. Have heard the injuries argument in Pederson’s favor, but we’re talking about over-rated figures being lost in the first place – if only because two of them (OL Jason Peters and LB Jordan Hicks) are out so often anyway, and another was all set for retirement (Darren Sproles) – and the placekicking situation actually worked in the Eagles’ favor.
- While the jury may be out on Markelle Fultz’s future in the NBA, the final verdict on him being chosen with the first pick in this past summer’s draft is in … and the Sixers are guilty as charged with blowing the selection. Not even killing the kid for his struggles since he got to Philly, which remain in question as to whether they’re physical, mental, emotional or all the above. Yo, shit happens. But here’s all you need to know: Much was made about how he carried the University of Washington in his one year at the Pac-12 school, being anointed as the only guy on the squad who could dribble and move at the same time, to the point it was amazing – AMAZING – the Huskies actually won 9 games (never mind the 22 losses). Well, with Fultz here, times have changed there. U-Dub, with most of the same stiffs, already has 10 wins in its first 13 games, including a 74-65 bitch-slapping of then-No. 2 Kansas on the road. In short, Fultz obviously wasn’t the game-changer he was drafted for being.
- The Phillies effed up – completely – on multiple fronts with their mostly championed moves a few weeks ago, the first being the jettisoning of other-worldly defensive/wildly underappreciated run-producing and clutch offensive shortstop Freddy Galvis to San Diego for a bag of balls and, oh, yeah, a fringe pitching prospect, and the second being the free-agent signing of eminently mediocre first baseman Carlos Santana. With Galvis gone, J.P. Crawford gets to prove once and for all that he’s neither the fielder nor the hitter his often ridiculed predecessor was. Hallelujah. With Santana in the lineup, Rhys Hoskins gets to remain ill-suited in left field and have the 25-homer, 75-RBI kinda protection in the order that $20 mil per year can provide.