Kempski: Jordan Matthews best receiver at Eagles OTAs

Kempski: Jordan Matthews best receiver at Eagles OTAs

There’s only so much we can learn about the Philadelphia Eagles during OTAs. The practices are all non-contact, so the offensive and defensive lines are mostly there for show. Obviously, there’s no tackling, either. As such, offseason workouts tend to showcase skill players on offense—even then, everybody is in shorts and T-shirts.

Having gone over the obligatory disclaimer, it’s becoming impossible to ignore all of the positive press emanating from the NovaCare Complex concerning second-round draft pick Jordan Matthews. At first, he was garnering a lot of attention simply for the way he hustles around the field, as Alex Smith for PhiladelphiaEagles.com describes.

Every time he caught the ball in a team drill, he didn’t slow down and come to a stop after making the catch. Instead, he finished the play, running to the end zone full speed, no matter how many yards away he was from the goal line.

Matthews is quickly getting noticed for more than sprinting around the practice field though. Reporters are gushing over how incredibly involved and reliable the Vanderbilt product has been when the second-team offense is on. He’s clearly the go-to receiver when he’s out there, while Jeff McLane for the Inquirer notes Matthews has yet to drop a pass in front of the media.

Even the normally mild-mannered Jimmy Kempski for Philly.com Tweeted that Matthews looks like the best receiver on the team, although he was quick to add Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper are probably taking these early practices a bit more in stride.

What does it all mean? Again, receivers aren’t being asked to fight through press coverage. They don’t have to worry about a safety laying down a big hit.

That being said, it really doesn’t come as any surprise Matthews stands out. He stood out at Vanderbilt, where he hauled in 206 receptions for 2,800 yards and 15 touchdowns over his junior and senior years. He stood out at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he clocked 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash and completed 21 reps on the bench press. At 6’3”, 212 pounds, Matthews probably stands out practically anywhere he goes.

The fact is it won’t be long before Matthews is working out of the slot with the first-team offense—for now, Brad Smith is with the ones as Chip Kelly has given the nod to veterans during OTAs. From the sound of things, it might not be much longer before Matthews is taking over for Cooper in two-receiver sets as well.

It’s early, but all indications are Matthews is tearing it up so far. That’s all you can ask of a first-year player right now, particularly one who is poised to play a big role this upcoming season.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Sixers suffer predictable letdown loss in Memphis, life still mostly beautiful

Sixers suffer predictable letdown loss in Memphis, life still mostly beautiful

You could see this one coming a mile away. As a fan, you always hope that your team is somehow immunized itself against the letdown loss, but even the Golden State Warriors get 'em a couple times a season, and these Philadelphia 76ers ain't the Warriors (yet). And so, after a 5-1 stretch against six teams all in the playoff hunt, the Sixers dropped a should've-been-easy one to the Memphis Grizzlies, thanks to sparkling performances from NBA luminaries Myke Henry, Andre Layton and Jerrell Martin.(And if you can't tell which of those three names I just made up, well, that's sort of the point.) 

The culprits? Well, throw a blind one at your Sixers dartboard: Sloppy turnovers, streaky shooting, foul-prone defense, lack of playmaking down the stretch, and of course, a big fat blown lead. (Only 15 points this time -- this Sixers team rolls out of bed and blows a 15-point lead at this point.) Amazingly, the L came despite a career performance from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot -- 20 points on 6-8 shooting from deep -- and a combined seven triples from Robert Covington and Dario Saric, which would usually be a pretty solid recipe for Sixers success. 

But Joel Embiid (15 on 5-13 shooting) and Ben Simmons (six on 3-8 FG) were both kept in check, and in the fourth quarter, nobody could either hit a shot or make a clean pass, with more wild crosscourt dishes over the heads of our wing shooters than I can ever remember in one game. Most disturbingly, Jo missed three clutch free throws late, after being practically automatic from the line in clutch situations all year. And yet, somehow, the Sixers could've still won it -- down two with about ten seconds to go, they got a steal under their own basket. But Covington badly misread the time and score -- or just picked a terrible time for one hell of a heat check -- and dribbled out for a sprawling three attempt that was beyond off. Final score: Grizzlies 105, Sixers 101. 

Maybe it was an NFC Championship hangover. Maybe the Sixers wanted to drop one to a team battling with the Lakers in the tanking rankings. Or maybe the Sixers are a good NBA team that occasionally lays an egg against an undermanned, under-talented opponent, because that's a thing that happens in this league, and it hadn't happened yet to Philly in 2018. It sucks, and in this case it costs the Sixers two places in the East standings, but on the whole it's mostly unavoidable. 

Oh well. Chance for redemption Wednesday against Chicago. Even last January, during the invention of #SixersJanuary, the team still lost five games against their ten wins. 5-2 is still about the inverse of where I thought we'd be at this point in the month. Wash this one out with a couple hundred viewings of the Robinson pick six and the ATV going up the Rocky steps and we should all be fine.