Sports columnists from philly.com
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - There is an affinity for ice-cream flavors for a couple of sports bigwigs in this town. Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, talking before the NFL draft about which of the top two quarterbacks the Eagles would land with the No. 2 pick, said he liked vanilla and chocolate, meaning either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz would be fine.
The longest stable stretch of Joel Embiid's life as a basketball player has been the stretch when he could not play basketball. It is easy to forget this because so many people - the 76ers, their fans, anyone curious about what Embiid could and would do o
Jim Schwartz hasn't spoken to reporters after Eagles games this season - not that the defensive coordinator has had anything egregious to answer for. He could have basked in his early success, but Schwartz hasn't talked postgame since the preseason and has no intention to the rest of the year.
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Within a span of 10 minutes Tuesday morning, two different 76ers identified Will Smith as their childhood idol, their voices fading with awe as they recounted an appearance by the actor and part-owner at a team dinner atop One Liberty Place the previous night. While Nerlens Noel used the word "starstruck" to describe the appearance, Jahlil Okafor advocated for a critical reconsideration of Smith's performance in 2007's I Am Legend.
LAST YEAR, the Eagles had a defensive backfield coach named Cory Undlin, and he presided over a unit that allowed a franchise-record 36 touchdown passes.
IT WAS barely a footnote by the end of the amazing onslaught, but the Eagles notched a 29-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal on their first possession Sunday, giving them points on each of their three intial drives so far this season.
IT IS THE most overused cliché in sports - the favorite line for every coach and player in just about every sport. It is meant to focus attention on the task at hand instead of looking ahead.
THERE IS A BALLOON of hope floating around the sports scene in Philadelphia. It is rising higher every day that Carson Wentz continues to amaze with his ability to orchestrate a football game like a seasoned All-Pro. It thrives because, despite closing in
Given a night to sleep on what he told the Inquirer on Sunday, Nerlens Noel arrived for media day Monday at the 76ers' sparkling and spacious new practice facility on the Camden waterfront. He was placed down in the order during a fascinating procession of podium interviews and he had no fear of either repeating or elaborating upon what he said the day before.
Doug Pederson went where few NFL coaches are willing to go when publicly evaluating a rookie quarterback three games into his career. Asked to assess how much of Carson Wentz's performance on the field was attributable to film study, the Eagles coach compared him to a future Hall of Famer.
THE BIG FIVE have overcome a lot and endured much criticism for such young men. Perhaps it will make them stronger as they enter their first Sixers training camp Tuesday.
Well, that happened. Eagles 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 3. The voices of reason, caution and realism, so strong three weeks ago, are a raspy croak Monday morning, weaker than the pipes Doug Pederson took to the postgame lectern after a long afternoon of congratulating and exclaiming.
As much as the start of the season has unfolded like a well-worn fairy tale for the Eagles, a story that should include dragons and wands and a lanky young prince, there is absolutely nothing magical about what is happening along the line of scrimmage.
In the moments just after an Eagles victory at Lincoln Financial Field, the players one by one jog off the field, in a hurry to get to the locker room, and the sound that fills the ground-floor corridor, at the mouth of that exit tunnel, is usually a kind of fuzzy hum, reminiscent of an old television whose screen has gone to static. Usually. A different sound filled that corridor Sunday night.
So, there was that moment in the third period when the quarterback really got flustered and made a bonehead rookie mistake. It had been coming all afternoon as the game became one-sided and frustration set in.
THERE WERE moments on Sunday when you looked at the scoreboard, and then at the field, and then at the scoreboard again, and you wondered whether the one really added up with the other.
Now is not the time to wonder how the Eagles will respond to adversity. Now is not the time to question how Doug Pederson will handle a deficit, or a defeat, or a losing streak, or a locker room in turmoil.
By Paul Domowitch RUSHING OFFENSE Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner came into the game with nine rushing attempts between them. Against the Steelers, they combined for 121 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Smallwood had four runs of 10 yards or more. Barner had two.
1. From Wentz, it came: The kid was superb again. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-3 win. He still has no turnovers. Remember: Wentz played just 1 1/2 seasons at a FCS (I-AA) college and got into just one preseason game. It is, arguably, the best start for a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
Oh, sure, Carson Wentz is the second coming of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and whatever other Hall of Fame quarterback you want to insert here. Let's remember, however, that before the Wentz Wagon became more densely populated than the state of New Jersey, it was the defense that offered a sliver of hope for the Eagles' 2016 season.
THE BALL dropped over the defender and into the hands of Darren Sproles, a pass made in stride to a running back in full stride. Carson Wentz threw it not running forward as much as he threw it running laterally, adding a few more degrees of difficulty to the 15-yard flick that turned into a 73-yard touchdown pass after Sproles Bugs-Bunnied his way through a Pittsburgh secondary performing as if extras in a movie.
ADD JIM SCHWARTZ to the list of Eagles defensive demigods. His defense bares its teeth and digs in its heels and dares you to make a play. So far, the opponents have bowed their heads and shuffled their feet and made too few plays to matter.
DARREN SPROLES was nowhere to be found Sunday following the Eagles' impressive 34-3 dismembering of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As usual, he proved to be as elusive in the locker room for the reporters who wanted to talk to him as he was on the field for the Steelers' defense.
MICHIGAN was a big favorite for a reason. And Penn State was pretty banged up on defense, especially at linebacker. Still, things did get out of hand for the Nittany Lions Saturday in Ann Arbor. And quickly.