Monthly Archives: September 2010

NCAA Week Five: Penn State vs. Iowa

The ground game is back. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 3-1
IOWA: 2010 record – 3-1
Spread: Iowa by 7
Where: Kinnick Stadium
When: Saturday, 8:05 PM on ESPN
Last time met: Sept. 6, 2009 – Penn State was upset again by the Hawkeyes 21-10.  The Hawkeyes blocked a Jeremy Boone punt and Adrian Clayborn ran it in for a late Iowa touchdown.

Opposing player to watch – RB Adam Robinson: Robinson is having a great year so far averaging 5.5 yards per carry.  He gashed Penn State for 88 yards and a touchdown in last year’s contest.  Robinson has carried for over 100 yards in three out of four Iowa games this season.  He is a very small back but has a good amount of power and always keeps his legs moving.  Robinson could pose a problem once again for the Nittany Lions front seven.

Offenses: Penn State’s red zone efficiency was a huge problem last Saturday against Temple.  Robert Bolden drove the Nittany Lions deep into Temple territory many times during the game.  Following the Youngstown State game, Penn State has only scored in two out of their last 11 red zone trips.  The offense has plenty of talent to put the ball into the end zone.  Evan Royster showed the nation that he is still one of the best backs in the country.  Royster ripped off 187 rushing yards on the Temple Owls defense.  Brett Brackett and Derek Moye have also been huge so far this season.  The duo combined for eight catches last week.  However the offense only managed one touchdown last week, coming on goal line carry by fullback Michael Zordich.

The Iowa offense has put some a lot of points this season.  In their first four games this season, the Hawkeyes have scored 144 points.  Ricky Stanzi has looked great and is back on top of his game.  Stanzi has thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception so far.  Now three of these games were against the likes of Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, and Ball State.  Stanzi threw three touchdowns and one interception in their only challenging game against Arizona.  The Hawkeyes fell short but Stanzi was certainly not the reason for that.  Adam Robinson will have to have a big game if the Hawkeyes want to upend the Nittany Lions again.  The Hawkeyes also have a nice receiver trio of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Allen Reisner, and Marvin McNutt.  The trio has combined for 41 catches and six touchdowns this season.  They benefit from the elevated play of Stanzi.

Advantage: Iowa has the advantage in the passing game due to Stanzi being a veteran signal caller.  Both teams have good running games but the Hawkeyes have a slight edge overall.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense gave up two touchdowns to Bernard Pierce last Saturday and didn’t play very well overall.  Penn State is giving up about 155 passing yards per game this season.  The defense will be challenged this week facing a good signal caller in Stanzi.  The Nittany Lion defense challenged Temple quarterback Chester Stewart to beat them with his arm last week.  It resulted in a late interception for Penn State and led them to the victory.  They are fourth in the Big Ten in sacks with seven.  Getting pressure on Stanzi will be a huge key for the Nittany Lions this week.  Jack Crawford and Ollie Ogbu will have to be active for the defense to be effective.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a shutout but it was against Ball State.  They have only given up four touchdowns so far this season and an average 227 yards per game.  As the same for the Nittany Lions, the Hawkeyes haven’t faced a very high level of competition.  They are tied with Penn State for fifth in the Big Ten in interceptions with five.  The Hawkeyes always have a solid defense that gives Penn State problems.  Penn State will have to watch out for senior Adrian Clayborn on the defensive line.  Clayborn was huge for the Hawkeyes in last year’s contest.  The last two years they have upset Penn State and ruined their National Championship hopes.  This has been behind a strong defense that stifled former quarterback Darryl Clark.  It will be interesting to see how Bolden performs under the lights at Kinnick Stadium.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge with a very effective pass rush.  Pressure on Stanzi will be a very big key.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season
Alabama: K Dan Murray (hip flexor) *Could play on Saturday

Prediction: Penn State finally shrugs off the past disappointments against Iowa and wins a close battle 24-20.

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Update: Checking in with the Flyers Goalies

Another hockey season is upon us, and yet another season where the Philadelphia Flyers have questions in goal.  The tandem of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher are back for another year after going to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Throughout the system, the Flyers have some promising prospects who may be the future in net.

After being picked up on waivers last season, Michael Leighton got the starting job after Ray Emery and Brian Boucher went down with injuries.  Unfortunately, Leighton was injured in March, and watched Boucher start during the stretch run until he too got hurt in the second round and Leighton started from then all the way through the Cup Finals.  After questions about who the 10-11 Flyers goalies would be, Leighton resigned for a modest 2 year, $3.1 million dollar deal.  Combined with the returning Boucher, it seems that the 1-2 punch would be cemented.  However, Leighton was injured in a preseason game against Toronto, and will miss a month with a herniated disc.  This opens the door for one of the youngsters to step up.

Michael Leighton, while fully functional.

Sergei Bobrovsky was brought over to North America in May after spending the last four years playing in the KHL in Russia.  Bobrovsky got his first taste of NHL action Tuesday night against New Jersey, earning a win after a solid third period and a good shootout performance.  Bobrovsky is most likely slated to play with the AHL Adirondack Phantoms, but that doesn’t stop fans from being excited about the potential the young Russian shows.  He has played in four of the five preseason games so far, and has played extremely well.  Competing with him for the Phantoms starting job will be Johan Backlund, who played 41 games with the Phantoms last year, and got himself into 2 Flyers games (one of which was a playoff game).  Backlund is coming off hip surgery and is still recovering, which may give the edge to Bobrovsky. With Leighton missing a month, one of these guys will be on the Flyers’ roster to start the year, with the other starting in Adirondack.  It may benefit Bobrovsky to start in Adirondack, as he is still getting used to North America, and will get a chance to play.

Two prospects that won’t see NHL action any time soon, but are still on the radar are Nicola Riopel and Joacim Eriksson.  Riopel played a few games with the Phantoms last year before being loaned back to his junior club in Moncton.  While Leightion is out at the NHL level, this gives a Riopel a shot to stay with the Phantoms and get some action with the club.  Eriksson is a interesting name, being a 7th round pick in 2008, and working his way up to be the Flyers’ #1 prospect.  This season, Eriksson will stay overseas with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League.

For the past twenty years, the Flyers have had no luck in the goaltending department and it has cost them several times.  Will Leighton return healthy, and will he be the #1 throughout the year? Which goalie will make the opening night roster? Will Bobrovsky continue to be the phenom and swoop in? There are plenty of questions, but one thing is for sure.  One injury allow a guy to be an unlikely hero; we saw it last year.

Note: This was an update based off of the original article, which can be found at Crimespree Hockey.

Vick Dogs Jaguars

Eagles defensive end Trent Cole forces an incomplete pass on David Garrard Sunday. He racked up two sacks in the game. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Final Score: Eagles 28; Jaguars 3
Eagles best number: 153 (total yards receiving by DeSean Jackson).
Eagles worst number: 84 (total yards in penalties).
Eagles best play: QB Michael Vick broke through the outside rush, shot up the middle, and scored on a 17-yard dash to give Philadelphia a 21-3 lead in the third quarter.
Eagles worst play: David Akers kicked a kick-off out of bounds in the third quarter.

Three stars
M. Vick (PHI): 17/31, 291 yards, three TDs. 30 yards rushing and one TD.
D. Jackson (PHI): five catches for 153 yards and a TD.
T. Cole (PHI): eight solo tackles and two sacks. Part of a front four that terrorized Jacksonville.

Breaking down the game

VICK/MACLIN/JACKSON RAPOUR — The Eagles dynamic duo at wide receiver had their first set of blistering games as a pair this season. Jackson, who is revered as one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game, caugh five balls for 153 yards and a touchdown. Maclin caught four balls for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

Production like that has kept Brent Celek on the back burner. Vick has been able to use his legs to buy himself and his two star receivers plenty of time to make the big play.

It showed on Jackson’s 61-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Jackson ran accross the field to make a catch on the right sideline. He bolted down the line and out-ran the Jaguars secondary to give the Eagles an early 7-0 lead.

On the Birds final possession of the first half, Vick made time with only seconds to spare to hit Maclin wide open in the front right corner of the endzone. That play sent the Eagles into halftime with a 14-3 lead and the momentum to not look back.

DEFENSE STEPS UP –Holding onto a seemingly insermountable lead in the final quarter of play, the Eagles defense didn’t slow down this time around. A week after almost coughing up a lead to the Detroit Lions in their 35-32 win, the Eagles held Jacksonville scoreless in the second half of play.

Jacksonville couldn’t do much all game either. Managing a second-quarter field goal and 317 yards of total offense, the Jags just could not hit pay dirt. RB Maurice Jones-Drew was held to only 88 yards on the ground and QB David Garrard only threw for 105 yards.

Asante Samuel picked off his first pass of the season. Trent Cole also had a monster game with eight solo tackles and two sacks.

NFL Week Three: Eagles @ Jacksonville

PHI: 1-1, t1st in NFC East
JAX: 1-1, t2nd in AFC South
Spread:
Where: EverBank Field (Jacksonville, FL)
When: Sunday, 4:05 PM on FOX
Last time met: Oct. 29, 2006 – Fred Taylor’s 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the lone endzone appearence for both teams that afternoon as Jacksonville won 13-6 in Philadelphia.
Last Week: Eagles beat the Lions in Detroit, 35-32. Jacksonville got run over by the Chargers 38-13.

Best case scenario: Michael Vick takes full advantage of being the Eagles number one, putting up another electric performance. He rushes for 100 yards and throws for 250 more with a three-touchdown effort. Shady McCoy has another great game himself, rushing for over 100 yards for the second time this season. Vick’s new favorite target, DeSean Jackson, will make some big plays down field.

Worst case scenario: Vick makes Andy Reid regret his decision, restoring faith in the head coach with Kevin Kolb. Vick throws three interceptions, two to corner Rashean Mathis. The injured Maurice Jones-Drew has his first 100-yard performance of the season.

Jacksonville star Maurice Jones-Drew tries to get away from San Diego tacklers in last week's 38-13 loss. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Opposing player to watch – RB Maurice Jones-Drew: Fantasy heads know the type of player he is, drafting him in the top five of their pools. Jones-Drew has been struggling so far this season with an injured ankle. He has yet to get over the 100-yard mark but as he nears full strength, that performance could come this week.

Offenses: The Eagles offense had no problems scoring. Vick and Jackson developed a nice little rapour last week and hope to keep that going heading into Jacksonville. They still have receiving weapons in Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. McCoy is turning into a nice feature back and FB Owen Schmitt looked very good in his Eagles debut. Jacksonville’s defense got scorched by the Chargers’ high-powered offense and if things go the way they have, the Eagles could easily do the same thing.

The Jaguars have some weapons of their own. Besides MJD in the backfield, they have WR Mike Sims-Walker, who had a career-high 10 catches last week against San Diego. He is QB David Garrard’s top option and rightfully so. WR Mike Thomas is settling in as a no. 2 receiver.

Advantage: Eagles have the advantage.

Defenses: The Eagles defense was great last week until it fell asleep in the final five minutes, allowing two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Stewart Bradley is listed as probable for Sunday’s game and should be able to play. His absence was sorely missed as he’s their best run-stopping and pass-defending linebacker. Juqua Parker is leading the defense with three sacks and rookie safety Nate Allen has two interceptions.

Jacksonville’s defense has allowed the most points in the AFC so far with 55. They got routed last week by a Vincent Jackson-less Chargers offense. Just think what DeSean Jackson could do this week against them. They have no stand-out players on their squad. S Reggie Nelson, arguably the defense’s best player, only has made two tackles.

Advantage: Eagles hold a huge advantage.

Injury Report
Eagles
: Probable: S. Bradley (concussion), K. Kolb (concussion), B. Celek (chest).
Jaguars: Out: L. Cohen (knee), J. Durant (ankle). Probable: M. Jones-Drew (ankle).

Prediction: Vick and Jackson have monster games in a 42-17 rout.

Vick the Starter

Andy Reid feels that the Eagles could win this year and he’s going with the guy who may be the answer. No not Kevin Kolb but Michael Vick. Reid announced today that Vick will be the starter this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Why Reid made the switch? Who knows. But he will give the reason at 6:30 ET on CSN.

This is shocking news indeed. Donovan McNabb was traded away over the summer for Kolb to be the starter, not Vick. But with Kolb’s concussion still on Reid’s mind (probably as an excuse), Vick will get the opportunity to really add to his argument to be the number one guy, not just with the Eagles, but to anyone after this season.

Vick threw for 175 yards and one touchdown and ran for 103 yards during a 27-20 loss to Green Bay. He then shined the following week, throwing for 284 passing yards and two TDs in a 35-32 victory at Detroit.

It’s going to hurt Kolb’s development by keeping him on the back burner. But then again, it could help the Eagles if they truly think this year could be a winning year.

Let the controversy continue.

Vick Shines In Win

The Eagles' LeSean McCoy runs for a 12 yard gain during the third quarter against the Lions. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Final Score: Eagles 35; Lions 32
Eagles best number: 135 (receiving yards by DeSean Jackson).
Eagles worst number: 232 (Jahvid Best’s total yards from scrimmage).
Eagles best play: QB Michael Vick threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jackson to give the Birds a 7-0 lead in the first.
Eagles worst play: Best broke free on a halfback screen for a 75-yard touchdown, giving Detroit a 17-7 lead.

Three stars
M. Vick (PHI): 21/34, 284 yards passing, 2 TDs, 37 yards rushing.
J. Best (DET): 78 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 9 catches, 154 yards receiving, TD.
L. McCoy (PHI): 120 yards rushing, 3 TDs, 4 catches, 8 yards receiving.

Breaking down the game

VICK MAKES IT INTERESTING — Nothing like a little quarterback controversy heading into week three. Vick had himself an impressive game once again, throwing for 284 yards while completing 21-of-34 passes, and two touchdowns while rushing for 37 yards.

Vick had a few miss-fires but other than that, made some impressive throws down field including his pass to Jackson that he couldn’t hold onto and the deep strike to Jackson for 53 yards in the second quarter.

Vick stated after the game that despite his solid play and the fact he proved he could lead this team that he is okay with coach Andy Reid stating that Kevin Kolb is the starter when healthy.

But is that really the right decision? I say let Vick continue to start until he messes up. But by doing that and if Vick doesn’t mess up, he will almost ruin Kolb’s confidence as it will be a blatant message stating the Eagles don’t trust him.

We know what we have with Vick: an inaccurate quarterback who dazzles with his legs. But he’s also a leader and has led a team to the NFC championship before. If the Eagles want to be a contender this year and not just have a rebuilding year, Vick should be the answer.

LATE GAME SCARE — Prevent defense prevents your own team from winning. That almost happened as the Eagles defense went into sleep mode for the last five minutes, almost coughing up and 18-point lead.

Shaun Hill used an 80-yard drive in 2 minutes, 4 seconds to make it a 35-24 game. Best’s two-yard touchdown capped the drive in which Hill targeted Best and TE Brandon Pettigrew.

After a 3-and-out that ate up only little over a minute off the clock, the Eagles gave the ball back to Detroit. The Lions marched down field 55 yards and Hill hit WR Calvin Johnson with a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left.

The Lions then recovered an on-sides kick but failed to get a first down, capped by a pass deflected by Joselio Hanson to end the threat.

RUN SHADY RUN — LeSean McCoy is turning into the replacement for Brian Westbrook that Eagles fans hoped for. His shiftiness inside the tackles and ability to get free in the open field earned him 120 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, by far the best performance of his career.

Despite not being Vick’s favorite target this week (those honors went to DeSean Jackson), he’s a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield, almost a clone of Westbrook.

It will be interesting if his ability to rush for so many yards on only 16 carries will get him more touches on the ground from head coach Andy Reid.

JACKSON SHOWS UP — As mentioned, Jackson finally had the game fans expected from him last week. Jackson was held to only four catches for 30 yards in Week 1 against the Packers.

But he stepped it up, being Vick’s favorite target for downfield plays. Jackson caught four passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. He was target quite a bit more and was negated a catch in the first quarter when he failed to bring the ball completely in.

NFL Week Two: Eagles @ Lions

Ex-Eagles WR Kevin Curtis makes a catch against the Lions in their last match in 2007.

PHI: 0-1, t3rd in NFC East
DET: 0-1, t3rd in NFC North
Spread: Eagles by 6 1/2
Where: Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM on FOX
Last time met: Sept. 23, 2007 – Kevin Curtis had 205 receiving yards in the first half, an NFLrecord, and Brian Westbrook scored two touchdowns as the Eagles blew out the Lions wearing their 1933 jerseys, 56-21.
Last Week: Eagles lost their home opener 27-20 to Green Bay. Detroit lost in Chicago 19-14.

Best case scenario: Michael Vick takes full advantage of this game, his first start since 2006. The ultimate weapon rushes for over 100 yards again and also passes for 250 yards and three TDs. LeSean McCoy takes advantage of a soft run defense and rushes for 100 yards on his own. The defense gets to QB Shaun Hill and keeps him off his game.

Worst case scenario: Vick falls on his face, giving the Eagles more faith in injured QB Kevin Kolb for the following week. Vick fumbles the ball three times and throws two interceptions as he can’t lead the Eagles against Detroit. The Lions win on a last-second TD pass to Calvin Johnson.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson failed to hold onto the game-winning catch last Sunday in their 19-14 loss to Chicago.

Opposing player to watch – WR Calvin Johnson: He is one of the best wide receivers in the game. He failed to hold onto a catch that turned into a very controversial outcome to their 19-14 loss to Chicago. He will have Hill throwing the ball to him, Detroit’s back-up as Matthew Stafford will most likely sit with a shoulder injury. Last week, he caught only four passes for 45 yards.

Offenses: The Eagles offense took a huge blow last week, losing the keys to their run-blocking and pass protection. C Jamaal Jackson (triceps) and FB Leonard Weaver (ACL) are both out for the season. Matt McGlynn and newly signed FB Owen Scmitt will be their replacements. Vick will get the start for Kolb and will have the same plethora of weapons to throw to including his favorite target, TE Brent Celek. McCoy rushed for 35 yards on seven carries and will get more reps as the Birds will most likely be playing with a lead.

The Lions are a mess. With Stafford hurt and unlikely playing, they are turning to Hill, an outcast in San Francisco. Johnson is their only established offensive weapon. They have rookie RB Javid Best but he will have a difficult time against the Eagles run defense as he couldn’t get anything going last week against Chicago. TE Tony Scheffler had six catches for 42 yards as well.

Advantage: Eagles hold a huge advantage.

Defenses: The Eagles group played fairly well last week, sacking Aaron Rodgers four times and picking him off twice. Rookie Nate Allen became the first Eagle to get an interception in his first game since Eric Allen in 1988. Losing Bradley for the game won’t be as bad as expected because it’s Detroit but Scheffler is a good tight end. The front seven is one of the best in the NFL so expect little ball movement by the Lions.

The Lions defense is horrendous. There are only two names to fear on their defense: DT Ndamukong Suh and LB Julian Peterson. They only allowed 19 points to Chicago last week but that isn’t saying much. The Bears have no offense and the Lions probably could have won that game if Stafford never got hurt.

Advantage: Eagles, and it’s not even close.

Injury Report
Eagles
: Out: QB Kolb (concussion), LB S. Bradley (concussion).
Lions: Out: QB Stafford (right shoulder)

Prediction: Vick stirs the QB controversy pot with a stellar performance. Eagles win 38-13.

NCAA Week Three: Kent State vs. Penn State

Penn State's receivers held their own against #1 ranked Alabama(John Raoux/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 1-1
KSU: 2010 record – 1-1
Spread: Penn State by 21
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2
Last time met: Sept. 20, 1990 – Penn State dominated Kent State on its way to a 32-10 win at home.  Freshman Austin Scott rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Last Week: The Nittany Lions were plagued by turnovers against Alabama in a 24-3 loss.  Kent State fell to Boston College in a 26-13 loss on the road.

Opposing player to watch – QB Spencer Keith: Any team needs a solid quarterback and the Golden Flashes seem to have one in sophomore Spencer Keith.  Keith is a very accurate passer going 47-for-71 for 476 yards so far this season.  He has also tossed four touchdowns along with three interceptions.  Keith led the way in their season opener against Murray State throwing for three touchdowns in an easy win.  He struggled a bit against Boston College throw two interceptions but still went 23-for-36 proving he can still be accurate against a tough defense.

Offenses: Penn State never could seem to punch the ball into the end zone last Saturday against Alabama.  Robert Bolden led the Nittany Lions down the field several times but the drives ended with turnovers once they entered the red zone.  It was the first national test for Bolden and he proved his youth against the Crimson Tide defense.  He should have a much easier time against Kent State.  It is one of the easiest games on Penn State’s schedule next to the opener against Youngstown State.  Bolden show be able to throw for 250 yards and three or four touchdowns.  The Golden Flashes are allowing 238 passing yards per game this season.  Derek Moye and Brett Brackett should continue to excel in the receiving game and should be solid games.

Kent State looks like they have a solid offensive team.  They waxed Murray State in their season opener but only managed one touchdown against Boston College last week.  Quarterback Spencer Keith has still managed to keep his quarterback rating relatively high due to his solid accuracy.  The Golden Flashes are clearly a passing team.  Their top two running backs only rushed a combined 35 times for 88 yards.  Look for Kent State to struggle if their passing game can’t solve the Nittany Lions’ defensive backs.

Advantage: Penn State has the advantage and should be able to mix up the pass and run with Royster and their slew of wide receivers.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense wasn’t at its best last Saturday against Alabama.  They could not seem to stop Trent Richardson on the ground.  They also were picked apart by quarterback John McElroy.  But this isn’t number-one ranked Alabama: it’s the Kent State Golden Flashes.  Aside from Spencer Keith being a decent quarterback the Kent State offense isn’t going to pose too many problems for the Penn State defense.  The pass rush should be able to get to Keith.  If they are in the backfield like they are capable of being, the Nittany Lions should tally a few sacks and bring the pressure.  Penn State should be able to get a few turnovers and should see the same results as the 2003 contest.

The Golden Flashes have their hands full with Penn State.  While Bolden is a freshman, he sure has looked very impressive aside from his turnovers last week.  Kent State is giving up an average of three touchdowns per contest against opponents Murray State and Boston College.  An AP Top-25 team should be able to steamroll the Golden Flashes.  They only have one interception so far this season so they aren’t making their living on takeaways.

Advantage: Penn State will bring the pressure and be in Keith’s face all game long.

Injury Report:
Penn State: LB Gerald Hodges (bone bruise in left leg) * Could miss up to five weeks
Alabama: RB Eugene Jarvis (groin) *Out for Penn State game

Prediction: Penn State has just too much firepower and blows out Kent State 38-10.

Eagles Get Banged Up in First Game

Eagles QB Michael Vick scrambles during their 27-20 loss to the Packers. Vick rushed for 103 yards on 11 carries. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Final Score: Packers 27; Eagles 21
Eagles best number: 103 (rushing yards by Michael Vick).
Eagles worst number: 24 (passing yards by Kevin Kolb before he got knocked out in the 2nd quarter).
Eagles best play: In the third quarter, Vick avoided some tackles and ran down the left sideline before being knocked out at the 2-yard line, a gain of 31.
Eagles worst play: Earlier in the third, Vick threw a pass to RB Eldra Buckley, who ran 1o yards before fumbling the ball at mid-field. Green Bay scored their next possession.

Breaking down the game

QB CONTROVERSY? — Kolb was plain bad before getting knocked out of the game. Vick, on the other hand, was not. Vick almost led the Eagle to a come-from-behind win. He went 16-for-24 with 175 yards passing and a TD. He also rushed for 103 yards on 11 attempts, his longest run being 31 yards to set up a LeSean McCoy score.

Before Kolb was knocked out, he went 5-for-10 with 24 yards passing. He was apparently nervous and had a terrible time locating his receivers. This is not the quarterback the Eagles intended to be the heir to Donovan McNabb’s throne.

In fact, Vick played more like a quarterback who can lead a team, which he has done in the past. In one game, Vick has already shown he is smarter, faster, and a better weapon than he was last year. Vick is very close, if not back to his original form before his two-year hiatus.

Overall, I won’t be surprised if Kolb gets the start next week against the Lions but if he falters in that start, Vick may be back out on the field to work his magic.

CONCUSSIONS –Both Stewart Bradley and Kolb had to leave the game with a concussion in the second quarter. Kolb rolled out the left on third down and was chased down by Packers LB Clay Matthews. Kolb had his head driven into the ground, injuring his jaw and scrambling his brain. Kolb was throwing on the side lines and re-entered. But he could not focus, allowing Vick to go in and out shine Kolb.

Bradley’s concussion was a little different. Bradley went in for a huge hit on one of the Packers’ ball carriers and instead drove his helmet into the thigh of LB Ernie Sims. Bradley appeared to be shaken up, staggered to his feet, and then fell right back down. It was a scary sight to watch. Two plays later, he was back on the field.

Why did both of these guys go back onto the field? They passed some stupid little test. Technically, by being concious and passing that stupid little test, they were cleared to go back in. Thankfully after a few plays each, Andy Reid woke up and pulled them for the game.

I can understand putting Kolb back in. He wasn’t clear that he had a concussion seeing as he was holding his jaw and told the medical staff on the side that is what was hurting. But when the leader of your defense, the anchor to your line backing corps, and arguably your best run stopper gets up for two seconds and falls back down like a tranquilized rhino, you take him out of the game and monitor that!

Brian Westbrook was right: the NFL sacrifices players for wins and it’s a bull shit thing to do.

OTHER INJURIES — The Eagles took two huge blows to their offense injury-wise. Pro Bowl FB Leonard Weaver is out for the season with a torn ACL. He was a big part to the Eagles passing game last year out of the back field and is also a great blocker. The hunt for a new full back has started.

On the offensive line, C Jamaal Jackson tore his triceps and is also going to be out for the remainder of the season. He was the anchor of the offensive line and a huge part in their shot gun offense. Mike McGlynn filled in for him for the remainder of the game, doing a solid job.

DEFENSE — The defense was pretty good in the first half, holding the Packers to a touch down and two field goals. They knocked Ryan Grant out of the game (scary to me for fantasy football reasons), put pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers the entire time, and picked him off twice.

But the run defense was absent, especially up the middle without the presence of Bradley. Grant and back-up Brandon Jackson rushed for a combined 108 yards on 16 carries. FB John Kuhn had two carries for 15 yards and touchdown, both runs up the middle.

NEXT WEEK — The Eagles play the Lions in Detroit. Expect Kolb to get the start and try and right himself with Andy Reid. Going up against a very weak Lions defense, Kolb will need to have a game similar to his start against the Chiefs last season to give the Eagles confidence in him. If he struggles and Vick has to come in and shine again, the Philly faithful will be calling for Vick as the starter.

NCAA Week Two: Penn State vs. Alabama

Freshmen QB Robert Bolden faces a tough test. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 1-0
BAMA: 2010 record – 1-0
Spread: Alabama by 12.5
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
When: Saturday, 7:00 PM on ESPN
Last time met: Oct. 27, 1990 – Penn State beat Alabama in a defensive game 9-0.  Craig Fayak kicked three field goals in the victory.  Neither team was ranked in the AP Top 25 that season.
Last Week: The Nittany Lions opened up the season with a 44-14 win over Youngstown State.  Alabama easily beat San Jose State 48-3 in Tuscaloosa. 

Best case scenario: The Nittany Lions get off to a great start and Robert Bolden marches them down the field for an opening touchdown.  The true freshmen signal caller passes for about 250 yards and a few touchdowns.  Brett Brackett keeps his great play going and has 75 receiving yards and a touchdown.  The defense shuts down Mark Ingram (if he plays) along with the rest of the Crimson Tide offense. 

Worst case scenario: It’s a beat down on the road.  Ingram actually plays and has a few touchdowns.  Bolden struggles throwing a few interceptions and gets sacked a few times. 

Opposing player to watch – WR Julio Jones: Jones is one of the best wide receivers in college football and is likely a top pick in the draft this offseason.  Senior quarterback Greg McElroy will be looking Jones’ way quite a bit throughout the game.  Jones has tremendous athleticism and has some of the best hands in football.  His amazing one-handed catch was seen on highlight reels all over the nation.  Penn State defensive backs will have to work to shut down Jones.  Their job will be a lot easier if Mark Ingram isn’t able to play. 

Offenses: Penn State looked good last week with Bolden at the helm against Youngstown State.  Bolden looked solid and made very few mistakes.  His favorite target easily was Brett Brackett who had a career day with 98 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Derek Moye was also very successful turning in five catches for 61 yards.  Evan Royster never seemed to get going and only rushed for 40 yards.  Stephon Green added a touchdown for the Nittany Lions and seemed to pick up right where he left off in 2009.  Freshmen Silas Redd also showed a bit of a burst in mop-up duty in the fourth quarter.  Bolden’s game will coming down to how the offense performs around him.  His receivers having big games again will go a long way in possibly upending the defending National Champions. 

When you think Alabama, you think Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram.  However Ingram may be out due to left-knee surgery.  Just because Ingram is out does not mean the Crimson Tide have no running game.  Backup Eddie Lacy looked very good against San Jose State, rushing for 111 yards.  Again it was against San Jose State but the Nittany Lions still need to account for the run game.  Julio Jones is a big target for Greg McElroy and McElroy will be looking his way often.  McElroy led Alabama to a national title last season and looks to have picked up right where he left off.  If McElroy is able to find Jones, it may be a long night for Penn State. 

Advantage: Alabama has the edge for experience and overall talent. 

Defenses: The Nittany Lions lost a few starters on defense last season.  But Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore lead the pass rush and will look to make McElroy uncomfortable.  The leadership once again comes from the linebacking core.  Nate Stupar, Bani Gbadyu, and Chris Colasanti.  All three being seniors, they will look to the Crimson Tide running game and help to avoid the tight ends getting open downfield.  It will be a tough task for a defense that doesn’t have as much experience together. 

The Crimson Tide took a big blow last week when it was announced that defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was suspended for two games.  Missing the 306-pound mammoth defensive tackle should play to Penn State’s advantage.  Alabama still has a strong defense and will try to pose problems for Bolden.  The Crimson Tide is coming off a game in which they only allowed three points.  We’ll see how they cope without Dareus against a strong opponent.  

Advantage: Alabama is very talented, but the loss of Dareus hurts them. 

Injury Report:
Penn State: no injuries.
Alabama: Marcell Dareus & Mark Ingram is unlikely to play. 

Prediction: Penn State is going to play tougher than everyone thinks.  But Alabama wins a close one 23-17.