Budding stars, promising young cores give Philly fans hope

Budding stars, promising young cores give Philly fans hope

Wins have been hard to come by for far too long in this city. When that’s the case, your only real alternative as a sports fan short of bailing on your team is to focus on the individuals and what might be someday.

This is done in part by looking ahead to drafts, free agency and trades. The Sixers have made an art form of it, but each of the other three teams has had plenty of practice as well.

We don’t yet know what lies ahead for the Eagles this season. There certainly is reason for optimism and the large majority of that hope is centered around the quarterback.

Carson Wentz heads a growing list of young players with star potential who could lead the Philadelphia sports scene out of the depths of despair. The fruits of the laborious losing could finally be paying off.

Wentz appears to have the physical tools, work ethic and the desire to lead that translates into greatness and winning. The Eagles will need to continue to surround him with the right parts and coaching, but Howie Roseman’s vision and bold move up to get the QB could be a franchise-changer.

In the NFL, more than any other sport, one position dictates winning. With Wentz at the helm, the Birds could finally halt their Super Bowl futility.              

The Sixers' potential cup runneth over in the “what could be” department. Joel Embiid’s brief but impactful 31 games last season fed a fan base starved for something tangible to back up that process faith. One can only imagine what he would do over an entire season.

The fact that he did not play in 51 games because of injury, and by design, makes Embiid the scariest of propositions. The upside is so high, but he could go down as the biggest heartbreaker in Philadelphia sports history.  

Then there’s Ben Simmons. The 6-foot-10 lefty with handle, skill, vision, unselfishness and athleticism. In a league that is becoming increasingly positionless, Simmons would appear to be the prototype. The thought of him grabbing a defensive rebound and pushing the ball the other way with endless options is downright scary. 

And the perfect complement to Simmons' skill set is Markelle Fultz. Similar to Wentz, the Sixers' front office identified their man and, with the ammunition, made their move. Fultz's versatility on and off the ball should allow Brett Brown the freedom to move Simmons all around to create the kind of matchup nightmares the club envisions.     

Rhys Hoskins' start to his Phillies career has been nothing short of spectacular. He is not just a one-trick pony. While the 24-year-old has shown immense power, he is a hitter first. He works counts and he’s not afraid to operate from behind in the count. He has something not many Phillies batters have had in recent years: an approach.

You can also throw in Nick Williams, who has had a somewhat quiet, yet very strong rookie season. Of course, there is Odubel Herrera and, in the very near future, Scott Kingery. Aaron Nola, last two starts aside, has been ace-like since his return from the disabled list. There aren’t many other answers with the club’s arms.

Overall, the Phils appear to be building a core of regulars that could be pretty potent.

Despite starting last season at the ripe old age of 19, Ivan Provorov proved to be the Flyers' best player. His poise and skill were on display from the jump. The blue line will be the club’s foundation going forward and Provorov will be the leader of this group.

If this year’s No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick’s injury history becomes nothing more than a footnote, the orange and black could have two foundational pieces to go along with Shayne Gostisbehere that move them out the malaise they've been in the last few seasons. 

While it’s not time to block off parade routes, if these players continue down the path they're currently on and they get some help, the fortunes of this city could be changing sooner rather than later. In the meantime, enjoy the youngins.

Jason Kelce explains his 'temper tantrum' at Eagles practice

Jason Kelce explains his 'temper tantrum' at Eagles practice

By now you've seen the video.

If you haven't, you have to. 


It's Jason Kelce kicking at practice. Which would be normal if he was the Eagles' kicker. But he's an offensive lineman. And he wasn't kicking a football. He was kicking a recycling can inside the team's practice bubble.

It was weird enough seeing Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill kicking a few weeks ago. But Kelce?

Turns out Kelce got "cleated," or spiked by a teammate, causing a deep gash on his right shin. He showed pretty good form kicking the three-foot-high receptacle, which went tumbling into a nearby wall. Then he stormed outside for a moment before returning to practice.

"What happened is I'm an idiot. You'd think at 30 years old I'd be able to control myself a little bit better than that. I got cleated in a drill and I had an ankle sprain a couple weeks ago. The best way I can equate it anybody out there who's done yard work, and you hit your thumb with a hammer and you throw the hammer halfway across the yard because of that. That's about as close as I can get to it.

"Nothing serious. I got cleated in one of the drills and it was just a stupid reaction. Very minimal damage long-term, but it hurts like a b**** in the moment."

Kelce, who had a pretty good gash on his shin, gestured toward Chance Warmack on his way to the trashcan. Since Kelce plays center and Warmack generally plays left guard, it seems Warmack was the likely culprit. But Kelce wasn't saying.

"I wish I had a good excuse or a good reason," Kelce said. "But I don't. A little bit of a temper tantrum there.

"Sorry, I got nothing else for you. Not a better story."

As for his ankle, Kelce said it actually is feeling better than it has the last two weeks.

"It's a lot better," he said. "This is the best it's felt since it happened a couple weeks ago. It's good."

Jason Kelce storms off practice field

Jason Kelce storms off practice field

One member of the Eagles' offensive line returned to practice on Thursday, but another might be added to the injury report by the end of the day.

Starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski was practicing for the first time since hurting his ankle against the Rams on Sunday. It was not immediately clear whether Wisniewski would be a full or limited participant, but it appears he will have a shot to play against the Giants this week.

Wisniewski exited Sunday's game in the first quarter and was unable to re-enter the contest. He was replaced by Chance Warmack, and later Isaac Seumalo.

Doug Pederson said Wisniewski was "doing good" when he last spoke on Wednesday.

Though Wisniewski was back, Eagles center Jason Kelce temporarily left practice on Thursday only to return shortly thereafter. It was unclear whether Kelce was injured, but his absence was preceded by a demonstrative outburst.

Kelce threw his helmet, then slammed a recycle container before storming out of the Eagles' practice facility visibly upset. The seventh-year veteran returned minutes later and was participating in drills toward the end of the media portion of practice.

Kelce was not on the Eagles' injury report as of Wednesday but was listed during the week leading up to the Rams game with an ankle injury.

In other returns, Eagles tight end Brent Celek was back on the practice field Thursday. Celek was excused from the previous day's practice to attend the birth of his child.

Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones was also a participant, showing no sign of setbacks from his first practice on Wednesday. The 2017 second-round draft pick has been on the reserve/non-football injury list while recovering from a torn Achilles but is eligible for a spot the 53-man roster within the next 20 days.