The700Level

Embiid makes Whiteside look silly on the court and then on social media

Embiid makes Whiteside look silly on the court and then on social media

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside aren't meant to be friends.

Last season, an apparent rivalry started brewing when Whiteside implied that Embiid shouldn't be getting All-Star consideration, and Embiid fired back (see story).

The two centers were back at it again during and after Friday night's preseason finale.

After drawing three fouls early in the first quarter on the Heat big man, Embiid made sure to tell the Miami bench to get Whiteside out of the game (see video).

And though Embiid, who sat out the second half, only scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds in 15 minutes of a 119-95 Sixers' win (see observations), he was still in a trash-talking mood after the game.

First, Whiteside responded to a fan who called out Embiid's subpar shooting numbers (1 for 7).

Then Embiid, as he tends to do, went on the attack.

Still boiling, Embiid then fired off another tweet, again using #Softy to describe the 7-foot, 265-pound Whiteside.

For the record, Whiteside's plus/minus was minus-9. Embiid's was plus-13.

Embiid then wrapped up his trash-talking storm with a likely dig at Kevin Durant and, of course, a shoutout to "the process."

Whiteside thought he had the final word with one last tweet.

Until Embiid ended things with a special description of his location on Instagram.

Maeanwhile, Ben Simmons seemed amused by the whole ordeal just like the rest of us.

Former Sixer Andre Iguodala also enjoyed the banter, with a nod to Embiid.

It's going to be a lot of fun to watch two of the best young centers in the NBA battle, both on the court and online, over the next decade-plus. Too bad we have to wait until Feb. 2 to see them share the floor again.

Penn State head coach James Franklin responds to Texas A&M's reported interest

usa-james-franklin-penn-state.jpg
USA Today Images

Penn State head coach James Franklin responds to Texas A&M's reported interest

Penn State football is a perfect 6-0 on the season and currently ranked No. 3 in the country. 

The Nittany Lions went to the Rose Bowl last year and are on track to make the College Football Playoffs this season.

So why would head coach James Franklin want to leave after building a championship-caliber program at Penn State?

He probably wouldn’t, as everyone knows. Well, everyone besides Texas A&M, that is.

The Aggies have reportedly shown interest in making Franklin their next head coach.

Franklin responded to the rumor via his Twitter Friday morning.

That's pretty clear Franklin isn't going anywhere. Now in his fourth year in Happy Valley, Franklin signed a six-year extension worth $5.738 million per year before the season. 

Maybe the Aggies should give Johnny Manziel a call. He's available.

Grading the Eagles' 28-23 Week 6 win over the Panthers

Grading the Eagles' 28-23 Week 6 win over the Panthers

QUARTERBACK

Carson Wentz: 16/30, 222 YDS, 3 TD

Wentz is the real deal, plain and simple. Under intense pressure for much of the contest, the second-year quarterback kept his composure and continued to come up big in clutch situations. The Eagles were only 5 for 14 on third-down conversions this week, but it was enough, and Wentz's lone turnover occurred on a strip-sack in the first quarter. The numbers may not look incredible, but he got the job done, guiding his team to victory, on the road, against a quality opponent and defense (see 10 observations).

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS

LeGarrette Blount: 14 ATT, 67 YDS

All numbers aside, this group struggled mightily in pass protection, especially Kenjon Barner. Barner wasn't effective with the ball in his hands, either, carrying five times for seven yards and catching one pass for nine yards. Blount was fantastic again, and the case could easily be made he should've touched the ball more. Have to think his limitations in the passing game keep him from being on the field more, although it's not as if somebody else was deserving of those snaps.

Grade: B-

WIDE RECEIVERS

Nelson Agholor: 4 REC, 55 YDS, 1 TD

Agholor is on a roll. He now has four touchdowns this season and really showed his wheels on this one, turning a short reception over the middle into a 24-yard score. Nice night for Alshon Jeffery as well with a team-high 71 yards on four receptions. Rookie Mack Hollins added two catched for 38 yards, and give Marcus Johnson a catch for 16 yards, as the Eagles spread the ball around and got everybody involved.

Grade: B

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz: 2 REC, 18 YDS, 2 TD

It was a quiet night for Ertz, from the standpoint that he was targeted only five times, but he certainly made the most of the limited opportunities. The Eagles needed their tight ends to block here — not exactly Ertz's strong suit, but nobody is complaining when you score twice. That false start in the fourth quarter sure could've hurt though.

Grade: A-

OFFENSIVE LINE

Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Started at RT

Starting in place of Lane Johnson, Vaitai experienced his share of shaky moments (see breakdown). The backup right tackle had a hand in two sacks, one of which went for a forced fumble. Granted, Wentz likely could've got rid of the ball sooner. Vaitai would eventually settle down, and once he did, the offensive line was fine. The Eagles rushed for 103 yards with a 4.1 average (minus kneeldowns), while Wentz took three sacks and sustained eight quarterback hits — though much of that damage was inflicted early.

Grade: B

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox: 2 TKL, 0.5 SK, 2 QBH, 1 PD

This was one of the most dominant performances against the run that I can recall. Granted, Carolina has struggled in this phase all season, but outside of Cam Newton, they literally could not get anything going on the ground against the Eagles. Panthers running backs carried 13 times for one yard. Unreal performance, and it made the Panthers offense one-dimensional. The front four also registered 2.0 sacks and nine quarterback hits. Cox in particular was a beast making his return from a calf injury, forcing an interception (see story).

Grade: A

LINEBACKERS

Nigel Bradham: 10 TKL, 1 TFL, 2 PD

This was probably Bradham's best game of the season (see story). He prevented Newton from getting out of bounds during a two-minute drill. He held Christian McCaffrey short of the goal line to force a Panthers field goal. He sacrificed his body to make a pivotal third-down stop in the third quarter. The numbers speak for themselves. Jordan Hicks exited the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury but finished with four tackles, while Mychal Kendricks finished with a whopping 15 tackles in extended action.

Grade: A+

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Rasul Douglas, Patrick Robinson Jalen Mills: 1 INT each

Newton completed 28 of 52 passes for a 53.8 completion percentage, 4.6 yards per attempt with one touchdown pass and three interceptions. It should've been four picks, but a ticky-tack pass interference penalty against Jalen Mills wiped it away. Douglas led the way with three pass breakups (see rookie report), but the whole unit was solid in coverage. The longest play from scrimmage for Carolina in either phase was a 20-yard completion.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jake Elliott: 2/2 FG, 2/2 XP

The Eagles nearly made a rare special teams miscue. Barner got clipped by his own man while attempting to field a punt and muffed it. Fortunately, Robinson was hustling on the play and there to clean up the mess. Otherwise, another strong effort. Elliott was good from 50 and 48 yards, and Donnie Jones averaged 51.0 yards per punt with one inside the opponent's 20. Jones also did a nice job handling a tough snap on Elliott's 50-yard try. Special teams captain Chris Maragos and Hollins both exited the game with injuries in the fourth quarter.

Grade: A-

COACHING

Eagles' record: 5-1

I'm sure you could nitpick all sorts of calls and decisions, but the record speaks for itself. Furthermore, to go down to Charlotte on a short week, with a hostile crowd and officiating crew, and beat a strong Panthers team speaks volumes about the job Doug Pederson is doing right now. They're winning on the road. They're winning close games. They're winning, period. If the season ended today, the Eagles would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and it's a credit to Pederson and his staff.

Grade: A+