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Consecutive wins for Celtics, who post 92-88 win over Warriors on Thursday

Fish ‘n Chips

Posted by Eric Fisher On September 10

Do we already have a major internal issue which could affect the Eagles’ season? There is speculation that the basis for some of the biting criticism NFL analyst and former NFL executive Mike Lombardi directed at Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was information he received from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

If there is one iota of truth in that speculation, it could cause major dissension with the Eagles organization.

Actually, even if the speculation isn’t accurate, if some players believe it’s true, that could be enough to cause dissension.

Lombardi’s comments on the Web site The Ringer included the following quote. “Everybody knows Pederson isn’t a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen. When will the Eagles admit their mistake? Will they throw away 2017 by stubbornly sticking to the Pederson Principle?”

How is this connected to Schwartz? When Lombardi was with the Browns, he hired Schwartz for his first NFL coaching job. The two have reportedly remained friends.

Lombardi and Schwartz both downplayed their friendship, but they did so without explicitly denying that they’ve talked about Pederson.

Although Lombardi’s initial criticism of Pederson’s qualifications to be head coach weren’t anything that wasn’t said when Pederson was hired, The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane points out, in an excellent analysis of this situation, that some of Lombardi’s subsequent criticism of Pederson during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet and in an interview with The Inquirer includes judgments that would be difficult to make without having inside knowledge of the team.

McLane cites three players, who chose to remain anonymous, who told him that it’s “well known inside the locker room that Schwartz is waiting to usurp power. McLane quotes another player as saying, “(Schwartz) walks around the building like he thinks he’s the head coach.” McLane cites an “Eagles staffer” as saying that the only coach who doesn’t think Schwartz is trying to undercut Pederson is Pederson.

In Lurie’s public comments late last week, he dismissed Lombardi’s criticism as “click bait” and “hot takes,” implying that Lombardi was trying to create controversy in order to get attention.

However, if, as McLane’s article seems to support, Eagles players and coaches believe Schwartz is trying to undermine Pederson – regardless of whether or not it’s true – the Eagles have a huge problem on their hands.

*****

NFL IS BACK: The start of the NFL season is always a great time. It means that the awful NFL preseason is over, and it means that the best television spectator sport is back. Thursday’s season opener between the Chiefs and Patriots was fun to watch. I can’t remember the last time I watched that much of a non-playoff game involving two professional sports teams that weren’t from Philadelphia. But I can watch an entire NFL game involving two non-Philly teams.

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FORTUNATE TRADE: The shocking news that long snapper Jon Dorenbos was discovered to have an aortic aneurysm by Saints doctors after being acquired from the Eagles makes one wonder if this serious condition would have been discovered if Dorenbos hadn’t been traded. Those who were upset to see the popular Dorenbos traded can now take solace in the fact that this trade may have saved Dorenbos’ life.

*****

SURPRISING STABILITY: It’s extremely surprising that the Eagles didn’t make any changes to their 53-man roster after the initial deadline. I’m a little concerned that by keeping five running backs and six receivers, the Eagles have three or four roster spots taken by players who don’t figure to play very much. One position where the Eagles seem a little light (not literally) is the offensive line, where they only kept eight players, despite the age and injury history of left tackle Jason Peters and the anxiety issues of right guard Brandon Brooks.

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TEMPLE OF NEAR-DOOM: I cautioned last week that Temple would be wise not to overlook Villanova. The Owls needed a 49-yard field goal by Aaron Moumerhi with one minute remaining in regulation to pull out a 16-13 victory over the Wildcats, who play one competitive level below the Owls (in what was formerly known as Division I and Division I-A).

*****

PENN STATE VULNERABLE? Penn State avenged last year’s loss to Pittsburgh by posting a 33-14 victory over the visiting Panthers on Saturday. But the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions should be concerned that the Panthers controlled the clock with their running game. That limited the touches for Heisman candidate Saquon Barkley, who scored two touchdown but only amassed 88 yards rushing. Expect future opponents, such as Ohio State, to try to follow Pittsburgh’s example by running right at the Nittany Lions.

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SAME PLACE, SAME TIME: The Eagles and Phillies both had road games against Washington, D.C., teams at the same time Sunday afternoon.

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FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: Sloane Stephens’ U.S. Open Championship, the first grand slam title of her career, is the culmination of an amazing story. Stephens missed 11 months due to a foot injury that required surgery in January. She got the protective boot off her foot in time for Wimbledon, but was unseeded at the U.S. Open.

Stephens, who played for the Philadelphia Freedoms in World Team Tennis, became the first American woman besides Serena and Venus Williams to win the U.S. Open since 1998. She is the first American woman besides the Williams sisters to win a major since 2002. There may be more American major championship on the horizon. The U.S. Open featured an All-American semifinal round, including Stephens’ victory over Venus Williams.

Stephens’ story is one of determination and perseverance. And, if she remains healthy, there may be many more inspiring chapters in her future.

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EARNHARDT FAILS TO QUALIFY: The 16-driver field for NASCAR’s playoffs is set, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t a part of it. NASCAR fans, officials and sponsors were certainly rooting for incredibly popular Earnhardt, who is in his final year as a driver, to add some juice to the playoffs, but he hasn’t won a race this year and failed to qualify.

*****

KNOCK ON WOOD: A goal by late substitute Bobby Wood in the 85th minute helped the United States salvage a 1-1 tie with Honduras on Tuesday, keeping the U.S. in control of its own destiny in the CONCACAF World Cup-qualifying tournament.

The U.S. remains tied with Honduras, one point behind third-place Panama in the standings. If the U.S. doesn’t beat Panama in its next match (Oct. 6), it could need help to qualify for the World Cup.

Eric Fisher, who has been covering sports for 29 years, will be spending a lot of time on his couch during the NFL season.

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