Phillies, Sixers Eagles . . . . Say ugh three times!
This is the kind of week I lived for in my 33 years co-hosting the WIP Morning Show. Lots to talk about, most of it controversial.
Let’s get started. . . . .
I watched every pitch of the Phillies-Diamondbacks NLCS. I have watched not one pitch of the World Series, nor will I. Of course, the Phils should have been there in Texas, but they forgot how to hit in the last two games of the series.
Now the push is on to re-sign Aaron Nola as a free agent, even though there will be plenty of competition from other teams desperate for starting pitching.
No, no, no. Let him go.
If the Phillies blow $200-million-plus on this overrated enigma, it will be more out of sentiment that hard, cold calculation. Nola has a great arsenal of pitches — especially that 12-to-6 curveball — but his results in recent years have been ordinary, at best. Unless you want to argue that ERAs of 4.46, 3.25 and 4.68 are anything better than blah.
At 31, will Nola suddenly emerge as an elite starter? Will he recapture the magic of that 3.25 season in 2022? Or is it more likely he is starting on a downward slope that will make that contract more and more of a drain on the luxury tax?
You know the answer to that question.
Goodbye, Aaron Nola.
Early on Halloween morning, the Sixers had a boil removed from their rear end. It had a name. James Harden.
The return in the long-awaited trade was four veteran players all on expiring contracts (Robert Covington again?) and a package of picks, including two first rounders. Let’s be clear here. I’m fine with the trade. I would have taken the contents of the dumpster behind the Sixers practice facility for the disinterested, out-of-shape point guard.
Eventually, Harden’s legacy here will be the final failure of The Process, since he was the last, best chance for the four years of tanking to lead to a championship parade. By now we all realize what a folly that plan was — from the commitment to shooting-shy Ben Simmons all the way to the trade for the moody and erratic Harden.
James Harden has never won an NBA championship. He will not win one with the Clippers either. It’s more far likely he will shave that signature beard than ever ride in a parade.
The Sixers will try to win it all with Tyrese Maxey as the second star to Joel Embiid. This plan is also doomed before it even begins. By the end of another season of coming up short, one of two current Sixers will be gone — either GM Daryl Morey or Embiid himself.
If there’s ever a sequel to the movie Fatal Attraction, it should deal with Morey’s weird fascination with Harden.
Show of hands, please. Who has enjoyed the Eagles’ 7-1 start so far? For me, checking out the NFC East standings has been far more pleasurable than actually enduring the first eight games of the season.
In my six decades of loyal NFL watching, I have never seen a defense with less regard for covering receivers. (And I thought last season was bad.) Jahan Dotson of Washington had a career day in Sunday’s Eagles 38-31 win, with eight catches for 108 yards.
Those numbers don’t tell even half the story. Dotson was uncovered on most of those receptions — no defender within seven yards of him, in any direction. The Eagles won the game, at least in part, when QB Sam Howell airmailed a throw right into Reed Blankenship’s hands — the sole good play by the beleaguered safety in an otherwise hideous day.
Meanwhile, Terry McLaurin, the other Washington starting WR, dropped two balls late in a still-winnable game for the Commanders. He wasn’t covered on either play, either.
I desperately want the Eagles to win a championship this year, but part of me hopes the next six opponents (Dallas, KC, Buffalo, SF, Dallas and Seattle) cure the Eagles, once and for all, of this soft defensive philosophy that has prevailed throughout the Nick Sirianni era.
Cover the pass, dammit.
And rush the passer, too.
Otherwise, this season is going to end long before the Super Bowl.