Archive | December, 2015

Eagles Can Salvage Season with Win over Redskins

27 Dec
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Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans and Byron Maxwell tackle Arizona Cardinals tight Jermaine Gresham. Photo by Webster Riddick.

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
To tell you just how bad the NFC East is, despite taking a thrashing at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) can still win the NFC East and make the playoffs.

If the Birds can win their final two regular season games, starting with Saturday’s final regular-season home game against the Washington Redskins (7-7) at Lincoln Financial Field, they can, believe it or not, gain a postseason berth.

Winning two in a row will be the hard part for an Eagles team that hasn’t be consistent all season. There have been times when they’ve looked great and other times when they’ve been clueless and going nowhere fast.

To beat Washington, the Eagles have to figure out a way to their running game going whether it’s DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews or newly minted Pro Bowler Darren Sproles.

Last week against the Cardinals, the Birds could muster just 74 yards on the ground. What was curious about that situation was that Murray got just two carries the entire game.

The NFL’s leading rusher in 2014 spent most of the time on the sideline in a must-win situation. That was the hot topic of conversation this week during Chip Kelly’s press conference on Monday.

He defended not utilizing his multimillion-dollar superstar running back.

“Again, we are not running the ball consistently enough with anybody, whether it be Ryan, whether it be DeMarco, whether it be Darren, for us to be successful on offense and that’s why we’ve been up-and-down,” Kelly said. “When we can run the football and get those guys carries, then we are doing a good job but we also have to be successful doing it.”

As a group, the Eagles are averaging 112 yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry, which ranks them 13th in the league. Murray actually leads the team in rushing with 606 yards, but is only averaging 3.4 four yards per carry. The problem here is that the Eagles coaching staff has yet to figure out how to utilize Murray’s skills as a running back.

The other issue in last Sunday’s game is that the Eagles defense couldn’t slow down Carson Palmer and his vast array of weapons. The Cardinals rolled up 493 yards of total offense. On the ground, the Cardinals rolled up 230 yards with running back David Johnson leading the way with 187.

This week the Birds defense will face a Washington offense led by a much-improved quarterback Kirk Cousins, who arguably had his best effort of the season in the Redskins 35-25 win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. He completed 22-of-28 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns including a 77-yard touchdown pass to former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. Cousins also had a touchdown rushing.

The last time Washington and Philadelphia played back on Oct. 5 in Landover, Md., Cousins led the Redskins on a 90-yard scoring drive that culminated in a late game-winning touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon. The bad news for the Eagles defense is that Cousins has gotten better since then, especially with weapons in the passing game like Jackson, tight end Jordan Reed and Garcon, who has become the go-to guy in the red zone.

“Right now this offense, the Redskins’ offense, they’re playing as well as they’ve played all season. DeSean is getting vertical balls at a high rate. He’s got the highest yards-per-catch. He’s DeSean. He blows the top off of everything. We’ve got to be aware and over the top of him and have a lot of concentration on him,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis.

“But then you break down and [Redskins TE Jordan] Reed is getting all the balls. [Redskins WR] Pierre Garcon is a running back and receiver, extremely good at run after the catch.”

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl defensive end Fletcher Cox said the Birds will come into Sunday’s game against Washington determined to make up for their poor performance against Arizona, a game in which they didn’t tackle well.

“We know what we have to do because we know that Sunday (against Arizona) was unacceptable,” said Cox, who was named to the Pro Bowl with Sproles and left tackle Jason Peters on Tuesday. “We didn’t tackle well and they scored a lot of points on us. That game is behind us and we have to focus on Washington. It’s going to come down to tackling and stopping the run.”

 

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Pete Rose Should Be in the Hall of Fame, But Needs to Admit Gambling Addiction

15 Dec

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Pete Rose was recently denied reinstatement to baseball by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Photo by FoxSports.com.

Pete Rose was recently denied reinstatement to baseball by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Photo by FoxSports.com.

Pete Rose’s bid to get reinstated by Major League Baseball and restore his eligibility for Baseball’s Hall of Fame has come to a bitter end.

Baseball’s all-time hits leader was denied reinstatement back into MLB after being banned for life in 1989 for betting on baseball.

In a three-page statement, Manfred concluded that Rose “has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established by the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility in 1989.”

There are a couple of disturbing, tragic things here in which there are no real winners here and it’s just sad for baseball no matter how you slice it.

Rose’ Hall of Fame career which includes a record-breaking 4,256 hits, a lifetime .303 batting average, three World Series rings, and 17 All-Star appearances is now and perhaps forever persona non-grata in baseball. Rose’s ongoing refusal to admit that he bet on baseball, which is typical of someone with an addiction, has always been the deal breaker.

While Rose has been rightfully banned from working with a team as a manager or in any other capacity in baseball, it’s just wrong to keep him out of Cooperstown. To me that’s the compromise that should have been made in this situation.

I think we all get the message that gambling in baseball is wrong. Rose’s non-participation in baseball for the last 26 years makes it very clear that if you compromise the integrity of the game you will not be in the game in any capacity.
Rose has paid the price for committing baseball’s ultimate sin and he needs to admit to himself that he has a serious mental health problem.

For all of Rose’s flaws and transgressions, he was one of baseball’s greatest players and that’s something you can never take away from him. Rose earned all those hits for what he did on the field. The man gave his all on the field and didn’t shortchange fans by not running out routine ground balls. Rose played the game with the same passion and fury as a Roberto Clemente and a Ty Cobb.

As far as I am concerned sports Halls of Fame whether it’s baseball, football, hockey or basketball, should be monuments to what that athlete did on the field or in the arena. It’s all about the contribution to the sport and nothing else should matter.

Given that the Baseball Hall of Fame has its share of disreputable characters, jerks, and knuckleheads who just happened to be great players, great broadcasters and great sportswriters, Rose would be in great company. This isn’t the Vatican and we are not canonizing saints.

American sports fans need to wake up to the notion that one’s ability to excel in sports doesn’t mean that they’re going to be people of high or low character. They are human beings who reflect the best and the worst of us.

All that said, it’s been long overdue for Rose to come clean and admit that he has a gambling problem. It’s an issue of Rose’s mental health and well-being. That’s something far more important than his reinstatement in baseball and the Hall of Fame.

One of the things that came out of Rose’s meeting with the commissioner was that he was still betting on baseball. Manfred’s report also said that Rose tried to deny it, but then admitted he was still doing it. That spoke volumes and it showed the commissioner that Rose is still denial of his problem.

People recovering from drug or alcohol abuse don’t show up in places where drugs and alcohol are present. A Las Vegas casino is the last place you should ever see an addicted gambler.

For his exploits as a player, Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, but for his own good he needs to acknowledge that he has a problem.