Tag Archives: Sports Opinion

Looking to the playoffs, an Eagles fan recaps the 2022 season

In the 2022 off-season, I was very optimistic about the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. As a fan, this season has been fun to watch, and I still believe we’ll go very far in the playoffs. The Eagles finished the regular season 14-3 and have picked up some hugely important wins but have also struggled to beat teams like the Texans and the Colts this season which has me concerned. Some positives and negatives can’t be overlooked going into the playoffs.


Jalen Hurts playing at an MVP level.

The one thing that has shocked me is how well Jalen Hurts has played this season. It helps that he has a top-five receiving core in the NFL, with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith having 1,000-yard seasons going into Week 18. Hurts has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdown passes, and only 5 picks. He is making many good decisions throwing the ball compared to last season. He’s going to have to go to that next level if the Eagles want to win the Super Bowl. 

The New Guys in town

This offseason was enjoyable for all Eagles fans, and it all started in the second week of March when Haason Reddick was signed to a three-year contract. That has worked out as Reddick currently has 16 sacks and has forced five fumbles this season, and he has recovered three of them. He is on his way to the Pro Bowl in Vegas. Later in March, Kyzir White was signed to a one-year contract, and he has been a significant impact player who the Eagles should keep around for the coming years.

On Night 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft in Vegas, the Eagles selected Jordan Davis with the 13th overall pick. He has been a run stuffer, and the run defense struggled while injured for four weeks. Almost 45 minutes after picking Davis, they traded the 18th and 101st pick to the Tennessee Titans for AJ Brown, who has exploded playing with Hurts this season. In May, he signed a 4 year $100m contract extension to commit his long-term future to Philly. On Night 2 of the draft, Howie Roseman could wait until the 83rd pick to draft Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean who was widely expected to be a first-round pick. Meanwhile, in August, Roseman acquired Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the Saints in exchange for draft picks. So far this season, Gardner-Johnson has six interceptions.

AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith both getting over 1,000 yards.

One of the big difference makers this season was AJ Brown. After the Eagles acquired him from the Titans, Eagles fans had a high level of excitement because of the numbers he put up while he was with the Titans. This season, he hasn’t disappointed. He has hauled in 88 receptions for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Smith, meanwhile, has hauled in 95 receptions for 1,196 yards and 7 touchdowns. Both have had significant impacts on this season and are a huge reason the Eagles have the one seed in the NFC.


The run defense

There haven’t been a lot of negatives about this season, but one overwhelming negative is the run defense. This is a problem because in the loss to the Commanders in November, the defense gave up 152 yards on the ground and those yards allowed the Commanders to chew the clock and dominate the time of possession. In wins, too, our run defense hasn’t been great. Against the Texans, Dameon Pierce got 139 yards on the ground because Jonathan Gannon waited too long to make adjustments.

Jonathan Gannon refusing to blitz

In the last two years, I’ve seen this far too often. A straight-up refusal by Jonathan Gannon to blitz the quarterback, and then those quarterbacks torched us downfield. Last season, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady (twice), Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, and Justin Herbert were among the quarterbacks who threw the ball easily against our secondary. Prescott torched the Eagles this season in Week 16, including a 50-yard gain on a 3rd & 30. Gannon is considered a favorite for the Texans’ head coaching job, and some Eagles fans (me included) want him to take it.

If the Eagles can clean up their run defense and find a way to blitz opposing quarterbacks and keep them uncomfortable, the path to the Super Bowl seems very clear. However, a first-round exit looks very likely if the run defense continues to be a problem and Gannon continues to fall in love with the zone defense. We’ll see what happens on January 22.

Harry Kennedy is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The terrible ownership and management of the Washington Commanders

When managing a professional football team, it is widely agreed upon that it takes a high level of commitment and sacrifice to make the team as great as possible. While NFL team owners have had their fair share of suspicious activity, none compares to the resume that Commanders owner Dan Snyder has built with his team. With a stadium that is falling apart as we speak and numerous allegations of poor treatment of stadium workers, this is only the beginning. These problems have been around for years and are seemingly shoved under the rug by Snyder.

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Stadium Problems

One headline associated with the Commanders is the problems with FedEx Field. While some of the issues are minor, like ridiculously high prices and sewage water falling on the stands, some issues bring into question the health and safety of the players and even the fans. In one incident, after a loss in the season finale to the Philadelphia Eagles, a group of Eagles fans saw Quarterback Jalen Hurts running and reached out their hands. In doing so, the railing that should’ve supported them collapsed, causing the fans to fall onto the field. The Commanders were sued by four of the fans for $300,000, and the situation was mostly forgotten about. The poor field construction has contributed to numerous player injuries over time. Most notably, the non-contact injury of star QB Robert Griffin III. On a bad snap, Griffin retreated backward to recover the ball, but in doing so, his leg awkwardly stretched, resulting in a torn ACL and LCL, an injury he would never quite recover from.

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Lack of Care

Dan Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders has displayed his lack of care for the team and its image. In the last season, rumors came out of a “toxic culture” endorsed by Dan Snyder. Between sexual harassment and verbal abuse of employees, Snyder was reported to have a role in the poor treatment of the employees. In another instance, Commanders were set to honor legendary Safety Sean Taylor, who tragically died early in his career in 2007. The “statue” used to honor Taylor was instead a mannequin with his jersey and a helmet on it. This underwhelming display caused outrage from social media as many agree that Taylor deserves better. Since Taylor’s passing, there has been a lack of recognition for Sean Taylor and his legacy.

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What’s Next?

There have been some rumors about the future of Snyder with the Commanders. Fans have pressured him to sell the team. In November, some high-profile names who may be interested in buying the commanders franchise, including Jeff Bezos and Jay-Z, surfaced. In another report earlier this past season, Snyder claimed that he had “dirt” on other NFL owners, trying to pose as a sort of blackmail to possibly save his image. This seems to be a defense tactic to try and take the light off what he has done wrong. Whether it is suing loyal season ticket holders in an economic recession in 2009 or throwing money left and right at mediocre players, fans have had enough for a while. It is safe to say that Dan Snyder has earned the title of the most hated man in Commanders’ history.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Steven Avara is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Orioles new hopes on the horizon

The Orioles are shaping up well as the season creeps closer. With one month until spring training, baseball season is dawning back on. With the 2023 season ramping up and the off-season moves, it’s time to look at the O’s possibilities. Looking at how the Orioles ended the 2022 season and the prospects that were grabbed during the off-season, we can look at how the birds are shaping up.

In 2022 the O’s really started heating up. After an average start that in recent years has become expected from the Orioles, the team really started to hit their stride. This run would begin in May as they would push a record well over .500 and continue this hot streak for months in the highly competitive AL East. This run would bring excitement to Camden Yards as week after week, the Birds would make win after win. This spike in productivity would lead them to finish the season with a record of 83-79. Although they would not make the postseason, the Orioles only missed the Wild Card by 3 games. This shows great promise for the upcoming 2023 season as the Birds seemed to have broken the long streak of disappointing yearly seasons that were sadly commonplace in Baltimore.

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The Orioles aren’t just relying on the high they finished last season on either, as they have made multiple moves during the offseason. They continue to strengthen as they acquired starting pitcher Kyle Gibson and a prominent bullpen arm in Michael Gibbons. Although a bit older, Gibson is a solid pitcher who can offer great depth to the starting rotation. Gibbons is a reasonably young arm that could be seen for some late relief this season. The Orioles also picked up veteran catcher James McCann who can bring a solid bat to the Orioles lineup. He shows a good stick in the lineup with a career batting average of .243 and an on-base percentage of .296. The most exciting pickup for the O’s is acquiring second baseman Adam Frazier from the Seattle Mariners. This addition to the Orioles’ infield can be great for the upcoming 2023 season. Frazier also brings a pretty good bat to the Orioles that could set up some good game moves.

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Not only have the Orioles made some notable off-season moves, but the real excitement is also in the young players coming up from the farm system. Returning stars Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson show immediate promise. After their entrance mid-way through last season was a sight to see. The young talent broke out in stride and immediately impacted the team as a whole. Seeing an entire season with these young superstars in no doubt a daily starting position shows an excellent sign for the Orioles coming season. O’s fans also hope to see more young talent rise through the minors and come to the show. Hopefully, the good farm system of the Baltimore Orioles can help them hit stride mid-way through the season, just as Rutschman and Henderson did last season.

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Overall the 2023 Orioles are looking promising as we move closer to spring training. There is no doubt in any baseball fan’s mind that the Orioles can go far this season. Finishing only 3 games back last year from the Wild Card while playing in one of the toughest divisions is sure to be taken to a new level in 2023. We only have a short wait to see what the Orioles can accomplish. There are sure to not disappoint.

Braylon Sims is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

NBA surprises & disappointments so far

Over the past few years, the NBA has faced a difficult competition problem. Unlike the other professional sports leagues, the championship teams have been mostly predictable, and the talent level converged. Recently, however, smaller market teams have stockpiled young talent and created an entertaining, competitive balance for the league. After passing the halfway point of the season last week, several teams sit at unexpected parts of the standings.

Starting on the positive side of the standings, the Indiana Pacers have improved drastically from last season. They sit at 23-21 (8th in the Eastern Conference). Since the Pacers came into the season with the tenth-youngest roster in the NBA, most experts thought this team would be playing for a lottery pick at this point of the season. Also, the Eastern Conference is stacked this season, and the Pacers did not fit anywhere near the playoff conversation.

Acquiring Tyrese Haliburton at the trade deadline gave Indiana an up-and-coming superstar, and their young players have seen a major improvement. The Pacers’ guard depth has given them a boost from the bench, with Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Ben Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, Chris Duarte, and TJ McConnell averaging 15+ minutes per game. This team’s youth could carry them to a play-in appearance and pose a struggle to some playoff teams.

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Over in the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings might be the most surprising regular season team in years. Their 23-18 record puts a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in sixteen years at fourth in the conference. Following the win-win trade with the Indiana Pacers at the trade deadline, which landed them Domantas Sabonis, the Kings have developed a potent dynamic duo with Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. At the beginning of the season, I do not think many people saw these two evolving into a superstar tandem.

Like Indiana, this team stockpiled young talent through trades and the draft. Keegan Murray has risen to the Summer League hype, averaging about 12 points and 4 rebounds per game. Also, former Atlanta Hawk and Maryland star Kevin Huerter is averaging 16 points per game, a drastic improvement from last season.

Finally, and probably the least surprising out of the three, the New Orleans Pelicans have solidified a superstar big three and are creating a case to be one of the top teams in the West Conference. After the hard-fought series with Phoenix last season, fans expected a substantial improvement with Zion Williamson returning from injury.

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Zion, newly-acquired CJ McCollum, and young star Brandon Ingram all average over 20 points per game. The youth coming off the bench for this team creates a difficult group to compete with on the court. With Jonas Valanciunas locking down the middle and players like Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Larry Nance Jr. bringing great energy, New Orleans poses a potent threat to many Western Conference playoffs teams.

On the other hand, the Chicago Bulls’ locker room drama has caused a difficult first half of the season. Fans saw Demar Derozan and Zach Lavine as one of the most formidable duos in the league when the season started. Still, a scoring feud between the two stars has generated unnecessary attention.

The lack of playmakers on this team, though, creates a problem only Lonzo Ball can solve. Many people thought he would be back by the start of this season, but injury setbacks have left a massive hole in the backcourt. They hold a reasonably strong frontcourt, with Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams locking down the basket, but it hasn’t been enough to lift their record.

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Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat’s performance has caused lots of surprise around the league, considering their great star power. Following an Eastern Conference Finals run last season, the Heat kept their core of Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro together. Looking at the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season, Miami looked poised to finish in the top six of the standings. They sit at 24-20 and are seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Last season, we saw lots of their depth come alive in the playoffs to help carry Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry in the backcourt. That depth hasn’t stepped up to their prior levels, and most of their bench players have specific roles. Now that Butler and Lowry have entered their thirties, this team may find some difficulties as these veterans face fatigue toward the end of the season.

Finally, the Los Angeles Clippers are difficult to explain, considering their performances over the past few seasons. With Kawhi Leonard finally returning from injury, many experts expected a resurgence from the Clippers. His limited appearances so far this season raise a serious question about the future of him and Paul George. Their management assembled a solid supporting cast for these superstars during the 2019 offseason, but they cannot seem to rise to an elite level.

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We saw last season that without Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers are average, which speaks to their 23-22 record this season. If he cannot return completely healthy by the end of this season, the Clippers may be looking at another low seed in the playoffs. To climb out of this disappointing stretch, Kawhi must provide this team with more scoring and production.

Alex Kwas is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Should the automated strike zone be added to the MLB?

The automated strike zone has been discussed for the past few years. Some want it, while others do not. I believe that the automated strike zone should not be added to the MLB.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This ABS challenge system is the computerized strike zone where each team can challenge a strike call three times per game. A strike on the automated strike zone is 19 inches across the plate, and the height is based on the player’s height. Most importantly, a slight touch of the strike zone would be considered a strike. Only pitchers, catchers, and hitters can challenge a strike call, and a challenge must be right after the pitch is called. There are many reasons why the automated strike zone ruins baseball, including the umpires’ calls. Even though umpires are still in the game, the bad calls of umpires are what makes baseball fun. Many fans just watch YouTube for the bad calls and are entertained by the players arguing over calls. Who doesn’t love a fight? Umpires are part of the history of baseball that is needed in this game.

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Aside from umpires, the hard work of a catcher is ruined. A catcher’s job is not only to catch the ball or be a wall but also to convince the umpire that a pitch is a strike through framing. Framing is the art of using small, minute movements in the body to increase the chances of a pitch being called a strike by an umpire. Catchers work very hard to develop this skill. A catcher can have the best frame to get a strike, but if the hitter challenges it, it can be overturned.

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Baseball is a sport that is not limited to time, making it lose popularity due to the lack of action and no time limit. Adding an automatic strike zone will take a little bit of the time of an already long game. Plus, batters will swing less because they can rely on the automated strike zone to call a ball. Umpires tend to call more strikes on a 3-0 count because a 3-1 will be a hitter’s count, causing the batter to most likely swing. This already is happening, but taking this away because of technology will slow the game.

A look into the automated strike zone used in the Arizona Fall League

Technology has dramatically improved the world in many aspects, but sports can not be touched. Sports with a long history of records and technology can hurt records and make the game less traditional. Who knows, maybe the automatic strike zone will help baseball. But as we know it, technology improves over time and can turn the game of baseball upside down.

Collin Park is a sophomore member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

How Victor Wembanyama is changing the game of basketball and what he needs to do to adjust to life in the NBA

Ahead of each NBA Draft, experts and fans have a look at the top prospect to see who could possibly be the No. 1 pick in the draft. This year, France prospect Victor Wembanyama is the likely No. 1 pick for more reasons than one. He is 7-3 with an 8’0 wingspan and has natural basketball ability. He shoots the ball like Steph Curry and quickly goes into the paint on big guys. My main concern is whether he can put on more weight because it’s obvious the talent is there. My closest comparison would be Chet Holmgren because both of them are in a spot where they need to add more weight to succeed in today’s NBA.

I was shocked to discover that Wembanyama does not have his own personal trainer and didn’t play AAU basketball. Now, on Metropolitans 92, a professional team in France, he is continuing to dominate the competition he goes up against. I think he will only get better and put on more strength, and if he does that, it’s a problem for the rest of the league. His talent will help him be a consistent 15-20 PPG scorer in the league when he is healthy. Playing against the G League Ignite in Vegas only helped his development. While they aren’t an actual NBA team, it was good for him to showcase his skills against NBA-level talent. What he’s doing now is as rare as it gets, and in that time, he’s done an incredible job representing France and putting French basketball on the map.

I have never seen someone like Wembanyama since I started watching basketball. I think the fact he’s 7-3 and shoots it so naturally is the scariest thing. He’s not your average big man, and he’s so dangerous in so many ways, making him almost impossible to guard. For as talented as he is, for him to succeed in the league, he will have to add some weight and muscle so he doesn’t miss extended periods during the season. He’s also going to have to realize that teams are going to make him a considerable part of their game plan, so he’s going to have to adjust to what different teams are throwing at him in terms of defensive looks or double teams. If he adjusts to this, he could be one of the best players to come through the league.

Wembanyama had already gone viral before he stepped foot in the league. French prime minister Lionel Jospin recently attended one of his games in France. The hype is real in France, and I already feel it from watching two of his better games. He is putting French basketball on the map with his rise to the top and is already making France a favorite to win the Gold Medal in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

We all know prospects have much to learn before they step foot in the league. In Wembanyama’s case, he’s got more to learn than people think. He’s going to have to realize that all teams will make him a focal part of their game plans, and they will try to take his strengths away. He’s going to get doubled a lot, so he will have to adjust to double teams on the fly because most NBA teams are trying to double him. We all know that defense is big in today’s NBA because offenses are becoming more well-rounded. For Wembanyama to influence his team besides the offensive end, he will have to assert himself in the paint and be a formidable presence so opponents know that he’s there. With his length, he’s automatically going to get blocks, but in today’s NBA, only getting blocks can get you so far. He’s going to have to be able to do the little things like going after loose balls, making certain switches onto different guys, and having a good enough level of conditioning to sprint up and down the floor.

If Wembanyama can do everything I just mentioned, I think he can make us, as fans, look at the game differently than we ever have. No matter what, we should be blessed that someone as naturally talented as him will be one of the faces of the NBA for the next decade.

Harry Kennedy is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.