Monday, August 09, 2004

Salvaged Season?

The Phillies continued on the winning side of things yesterday by beating the Dodgers, 4-1, thus going just under .500 on this just-completed road trip that had some people wondering if Larry Bowa would still be the manager by the time the Phillies returned to Citizens Bank Park tonight. Todd Zolecki and Marcus Hayes have the game stories. Hayes says reliever Rheal Cormier met with Bowa last weekend to clear the air. Cormier has been one of the more outspoken critics of a clubhouse that allegedly had players "walking on eggshells." Hayes also has the players looking forward to returning home and playing some sub-.500 teams. Jim Thome says "you've got to win the games you're supposed to win." If the Phils do that, they should still be in the hunt for the playoffs by the time September rolls around, despite the injury bug which continues to plague them.

Bob Brookover writes that Andy Reid gave Terrell Owens a bit of a breather during yesterday's practice at traning camp. "He's had a history of groin problems, and I decided to back off his reps this morning," was the official explanation. Jack McCaffery tries to stir up the pot a bit, and wonders whether this unscheduled day off had anything to do with T.O.'s comments earlier in the week about the "physical" nature of Reid's training camp. In any event, McCaffery says, the timing was "odd." Brookover talks a bit about Dhani Jones trying to fit in with his new club. He has an interesting bit in there telling how Jones "worked" the New York City subway as a member of the Giants. Jones also says training camp is a bit different with the Eagles:
Philly is more of a market that is focused on football. It's really cool. In Albany, there are a lot of fans, but these fans are far more vocal and they really get involved in everything. People sleeping out for autographs? Man, that didn't happen in Albany.
Les Bowen has rookie Shawn Andrews making quite an impression early in camp. Bowen even references SI's Peter King and his visit to Lehigh last week. Here's what King had to say:
I saw Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews pulling this morning, and I was amazed at the kid. How can a guard be this fast? He pulls with the speed of a linebacker. And the ridiculous thing is he weighs 330 pounds. I was critical of the Eagles for dealing their second-round pick to move up to grab Andrews last April, but -- and I'm sure this will be the first time -- I may be wrong. One other guy who's having a great training camp: Donovan McNabb. Let's see what happens when the bullets fly, but his deep balls look better than I ever remember in terms of accuracy and form.
Over the weekend, Frank Fitzpatrick says the Eagles may have set some kind of NFL record with 25,000 people flocking to watch a practice on Friday. Jack McCaffery talks about the carnival atmosphere created by a championship-starved fan base:
This much is true, though: Never has an Eagles training camp seemed less like an opportunity for the Eagles to camp for the purpose of training. Instead, it has become a summertime happening of the oddest order, referred to by some as Eaglepalooza, a moveable series of day-long displays of confidence from the fans who seem to believe this football season is the beginning of the end of that 21-year sentence.
Mark Eckel had Donovan McNabb saying the Eagles could very well have "terrifying" talent this year. Eckel also believes the Eagles shouldn't have any problems winning their division, "despite the so-called improvements of the teams around them." Bob Brookover has Jevon Kearse eager to get back to the Super Bowl, so he can forget about his last visit there (as a member of the Titans, who came up "one yard short" against the Rams). Brookover also had a word for those who think Jeremiah Trotter will be a starting linebacker before long: forget about it. Bob Grotz says Mike Ditka is impressed by Donovah McNabb the person. John Nalbone shows just how different the Philadelphia fans can be: they got on Lito Shepphard's case when he allowed Todd Pinkston to blow by him on one play. This was, mind you, after he came away with a nice pick on a pass intended for Owens.

Mark Lelinwalla says Jim O'Brien is happy to have "warrior" Corliss Williams on his team, aka "Big Nasty." Phil Jasner tells the amusing story of Williams' godson talking about how Coleman beat his godfather up a few years ago. Jon Marks writes that Billy King feels that the newly aligned Northeast Division is theirs for the Sixers' taking this year. O'Brien feels "it will be a very closely contested division." One that the Sixers, with their current roster, and with the mediocre teams they are grouped with, should win the division with, I might add.

Howard Eskin had a good interview with Terrell Owens yesterday, taped earlier in the week at training camp at Lehigh. Sports Final will be on a 3-week hiatus, as NBC will be covering the Olympics in Athens for 3 weeks, starting with next Friday's Opening Ceremonies.

CSN has Rockies-Phillies tonight at 7:05.

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