Pretty self explanatory. The Flyers have released their 2009-2010 Regular season Schedule. Check it out here.
Archive for July 15th, 2009
With training camp only 11 days away, many questions need to be answered. One of the largest problems that the Eagles have experienced since the departure of Brian Mitchell is the return game. That question was answered last year by wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who averaged 8.8 yards per punt return and scored one 68-yard
touchdown. According to the Eagles website, Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network rated Jackson the fourth best punt return man, one spot ahead of Devin Hester. For kickoffs, safety Quintin Demps single-handedly increased the average kick return to over 25 yards per return in comparison to 21 from 2007.
So there is no question that the return game is headed in the right direction, but the question is how much of a load do you give Jackson and Demps?
Going into last season, there were many questions about the level of play of Jackson and Demps. Jackson was regarded as a risky pick at wide receiver given his small size and Demps was attempting to make a name for himself in the secondary. A year later, however, Jackson is the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver and Demps has a chance to start at free safety.
Now that they both have an increased role on the team, is it worth risking a potential injury for these athletes? According to the team’s website, newly acquired Ellis Hobbs and rookie Jeremy Maclin are expected to practice kick and punt returns at training camp. Hobbs had a lot of success returning kicks for the New England Patriots last season, averaging 28 yards per return with a 95-yard touchdown return.
Personally, I think that Jackson more than proved that he can be a top-tier punt returner in the league. While it is risky to have him take all of the punt returns on top of every offensive snap, great ball position is key to a strong offense. As far as a kick returner, I think it is going to come down to Demps and Hobbs because they both have NFL experience at
that position. It’s hard to predict the impact that Maclin is going to have as a kick/punt returner considering training camp has yet to start.
Here’s my philosophy: if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. Jackson is an unbelievable athlete and he is a large threat to opposing special teams. He has the ability to move laterally in order to read blocks and dodge tacklers, all qualities that make a potential pro-bowl returner. However, if there is a chance that Maclin and/or Hobbs can produce like Jackson, then it would be the best of both worlds—special teams have to prepare for different returners and Jackson can rest.
The information is now officially set in stone: The Philadelphia Flyers will take on the host Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic at historic Fenway Park. January 1st, 2010 will be a great moment in the storied history of the Philadelphia Flyers organization, as stated by Flyers President Peter Luukko, summarizing the event and the excitement surrounding the Flyers players.
Take a look at the NHL.com article here. Here’s looking towards renewing the rivalry with last year’s top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins. This should just be another exciting moment in what is shaping up to be a season to remember in South Philadelphia.
It’s a done deal. The press conference has concluded, and Pedro Martinez has been announced as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies for, at least, the rest of the 2009 season.
The press conference was pretty standard. No real substance or information that we didn’t know, just Martinez thanking God and the Phillies repeated times and willingness to do whatever for the organization (even go to the bullpen). However, the most interesting thing to come out of the press conference was the decision to place Martinez on the 15-day D.L immediately. Before you readers get scared, know that the decision was smart. Pedro Martinez is not injured, but he will take the 15 days to get back into shape that a starting pitcher needs to be in to perform in the big leagues, without taking up a roster spot. Martinez will rehab mostly in Florida, with maybe an appearance in Reading or Lehigh Valley, allowing Rodrigo Lopez/Antonio Bastardo/Kyle Kendrick to start in his place for the two or three week period. However, when his stint on the disabled list is done, Pedro Martinez will be activated, and he will occupy the 5th spot in the starting rotation for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Conclusions drawn from the signing of Pedro Martinez:
1. Rodrigo Lopez did good, just not good enough.
You have to feel for Rodrigo Lopez. Before the all-star break, when he got called up to replace Antonio Bastardo, Lopez surpassed most expectations after being away from the big leagues since 2007. In the two games that he started, the Phillies won both, with Lopez going 1-0 with a 3.18 E.R.A. However, a shoulder issue came up in Lopez’s final start seemed to worry the Phillies, as the organization was wary about his health when they signed him. The shoulder injury, along with the lack of a big name or reputation, were probably the main factors why the Phillies will end up using Pedro Martinez as a starter instead of Rodrigo Lopez. The Phillies will probably keep Lopez on the roster until Pedro is activated, which at that point Lopez will probably be placed on waivers, where hopefully a struggling team looking for a veteran to fill up a back of the rotation starting spot will take a chance on him.
2. The Antonio Bastardo experiment is over, for now.
Bastardo turned heads when he went 2-0 in his first two starts, throwing primarily fastballs. However, this is big league baseball, and the professionals of that caliber figured out Bastardo in his final three starts, going 0-3 in those games. Bastardo is young (23 years old), and is a thrower, not a pitcher, right now in his career. In all likelihood, Bastardo will probably be optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley with the intention to grow more as a starter, and when the roster expands to 40 players in September, Bastardo will be back with the Phillies, most likely in the bullpen.
3. For the Phillies to acquire Roy Halladay (not likely), they will have to trade J.A Happ
J.A Happ has been, arguably, the most consistent pitcher for the Phillies this season. As a reliever, Happ was 2-0 this season, and after replacing Chan Ho Park in the starting rotation in late-May, Happ has gone 4-0 since that time, giving him a perfect 6-0 record on the season. However, with the signing of Pedro Martinez, the Phillies will have to trade a pitcher in the starting rotation to make room for Halladay. With the five-man rotation the way it stands now (Hamels, Blanton, Moyer, Happ, Martinez), it’s to see that Happ will be on his way out if Halladay comes to Philly. Cole Hamels is a franchise player and will not be dealt, Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez have no trade value purely because of age, and lastly, the Phillies invested three prospects in a trade for Joe Blanton at last years’ trade deadline. That leaves, yes, J.A Happ as the odd man out. Happ has by far the most value out of any starting pitcher outside of Cole Hamels in the pitching rotation. His age (26) and sudden dominance this season (2.90 E.RA is the 5th best in the NL among starters) make him extremely attractive to trade suitors. Also, in an odd-twist, Happ threw his only complete game shutout of his career last month against, of all teams, the Toronto Blue Jays. If a trade does happen, it will probably be Happ and two or three other top-10 prospects on their way out of the country.
If you’re looking for my opinions on Pedro Martinez, go back in the archives a couple posts back and look at them. They don’t mean anything anymore. Martinez has already signed his contract ( 1 year, $1 million + $1.5 million in possible incentives) and will begin his rehab ASAP. Based on the tone at the press conference, it seems like Martinez has had a reality check, realizing that this might be his last cup of coffee in the big leagues. He seems dedicated to proving all the doubters wrong who said his career was finished and to help get the Phillies another World Series ring that will help cap off his own career. It’s time to look forward, because whether we like it or not, Pedro Martinez is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.