Roob's Random Points, part 1: Eagles' power ranking, playoffs, I-95 traffic tips

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Roob's Random Points, part 1: Eagles' power ranking, playoffs, I-95 traffic tips

Are the Eagles the best team in football? Parking in Northern Liberties? Carson craziness? And Modern Baseball's final shows?

You can find it all in Part 1 of this week's 25 Random Points! Look for Part 2 at some Random time in the near future!
1. Watching football all day Sunday, it was impossible to ignore the reality that the Eagles are as good as anybody out there. One after another, the teams you wondered where the Eagles stacked up against lost. The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers and then lost meekly to the Vikings. The Falcons, once unbeatable in Atlanta, lost at home to the Dolphins. The undefeated Chiefs lost at home to the Steelers. The Broncos, who come to the Linc in a couple weeks, lost at home to the winless Giants. The Redskins barely hung on at home against the winless 49ers. And meanwhile, the Eagles just keep on winning. If I had to rank the 32 teams right now, the Eagles would be at No. 1. I'm sure the Chiefs would have something to say about that based on a head-to-head win and an identical 5-1 record. But as far as where everybody is today? You can make a compelling case that the Eagles are the best team in football. Yep.
2. A big theme on Twitter since Thursday night has been fans saying, "Calm down, don't get carried away, settle down, it's only six weeks." You know what? This team hasn't done anything since 2008 and they're now 5-1 with four straight wins, a hot quarterback and the best run defense in the NFL. There's nothing wrong with getting excited!
3. Of all the areas he's improved, Carson Wentz's interception ratio is the most dramatic and most important. He's seeing the field better but more than anything he's just not forcing throws like he did last year. With three INTs in 207 attempts, he's got the sixth-best INT ratio in the NFL out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks (1.45 per 100 attempts). This after ranking 17th out of 36 last year (2.31). Based on all 281 QBs in NFL history who've thrown 750 passes, Wentz now has the eighth-best career INT ratio at 2.09.
4. I'm crushed that they shut down the giant free parking lot behind the Acme across the street from the Piazza where Germantown Avenue hits 2nd Street. There is now officially nowhere to park in Northern Liberties.
5. Once the Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention, Philly's streak of consecutive seasons without a team advancing in a postseason series increased to 21. That goes back to a 76ers team led by Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday eliminating the Bulls in an Eastern Conference first-round series on May 10, 2012. That streak includes six Phillies seasons and five 76ers, Flyers and Eagles seasons. Not only is that streak about to be smashed to smithereens, I also wouldn't be surprised at all if all four teams advance in a postseason series over the next year.
6. Speaking of the Smithereens, they are without a doubt one of the most underrated American rock bands of the last quarter century. Here's my Smithereens Top 10: 1. Strangers when we Meet, 2. Behind the Wall of Sleep, 3. A Girl Like You, 4. Only a Memory, 5. Blue Period, 6. Yesterday Girl, 7. Top of the Pops, 8. Time Won't Let Me, 9. Drown in my own Tears, 10. House we used to Live In.
7. The Eagles are only the 10th team since 1970 with 750 or more rushing yards gained and fewer than 400 rushing yards allowed after six weeks.
8. Wentz's current streak of eight straight games with one or more touchdown passes and one or fewer interceptions is the longest by an Eagles quarterback since Randall Cunningham had a 12-game streak in 1990.
9. If he throws three touchdowns Monday night, Wentz will become the first Eagles QB to throw three TD passes in three straight games in 64 years — since Bobby Thomason in 1953 (three at Pittsburgh, four vs. the Giants, three vs. the Colts). Only one QB has thrown more than one TD pass against the Redskins this year. Wentz. Of course.
10. Attending one of Modern Baseball's final three shows over the weekend was a genuinely moving experience. Modern Baseball — or MoBo, as they're affectionately known because MoBa looks stupid — is a beloved Philadelphia pop-punk band whose lyrics by co-songwriters Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald are deeply personal and resonate in a powerful way with the 17-to-22-year-olds who make up most of their massive world-wide audience. MoBo over the past seven years made a completely unexpected and meteoric rise from playing basements at Drexel to 20,000-seat arenas opening for Brand New. But the band is going on hiatus — perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent — because, as Ewald wrote on the band's Facebook page, "The project we started as a source of joy and positive expression had become something that was slowly eating away at our mental health and our friendships." But I'll tell you what … seeing 1,500 fist-pumping, body-surfing kids at Union Transfer joyously singing along to literally every word to every song Friday night really makes you realize just how much this band meant to so many people. A powerful, profound experience.
11. I once sat on a flight next to the manager of a Hard Rock Café. He had a great quote: "We're not a restaurant. We're a T-shirt store that also sells hamburgers."
12. LeGarrette Blount played in his 100th career regular-season game on the final day of last year with the Patriots. Thanks to the wonders of the Pro-Football Reference, we can compare his rushing average in all his games since No. 100 with every other running back since 1950. The result? Blount's rushing average of 5.6 after his 100th career game is the highest by any NFL running back in Game 101-on since Doak Walker averaged 6.2 yards from 1953 through 1955.
12½. Pro Tip: When there's an accident on 95 South near Center City, take the 2nd Street ramp off 95 and then turn left on Market and get back on 95 South. Even if you haven't passed the accident, the ramp is so long — 9-10ths of a mile — it will get you past a ton of blocked traffic before dropping you back on 95 South. 

Roob's 25 Random Points: Cory Undlin, Mike Golic and access to the zoo

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Roob's 25 Random Points: Cory Undlin, Mike Golic and access to the zoo

As the Eagles get ready for their first game in the Los Angeles area in 27 years, we look back at what was at stake the last time they played here. 

Also in today's 25 Random Points we ponder MAC cards, Cory Undlin, Eagles quarterbacks drafted by the Rams, the SEPTA regional rail station that doesn't exist at the Philadelphia Zoo, Mike Golic and a South Jersey band called Pine Barons.

And lots more!
1. Undlin deserves a big ol' boatload of credit for his ability to teach the Eagles' young cornerbacks and get them ready to play. We've spoken a lot about how far Jalen Mills has come and how comfortable rookie Rasul Douglas looks, but behind their development is a very tough, very involved and very detail-oriented position coach who gets the most out of what he has. Watching Undlin at training camp is always a trip. He is so engaged in what he's doing, and he's got this perfect combination of being a hard-ass and a tough, demanding coach. He's also funny as heck and able to keep his guys loose and having fun. And he spends so much time and energy on every guy on the roster. A special teamer like Chris Maragos, who had only played one snap on defense since opening day 2016, was forced to play the entire game at safety, but he was ready. Factor in a born leader like Malcolm Jenkins, a Pro Bowler with a Super Bowl ring, and Brian Dawkins, who's around the team a lot, this is a very healthy environment for young defensive backs. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this group.

2. Last time the Eagles played in L.A. was Week 3 of 1990 against the Rams at Anaheim Stadium. The Eagles were 0-2, and whispers — very loud whispers — were that owner Norman Braman was so fed up with head coach Buddy Ryan that he had made up his mind to fire Buddy if the Eagles lost to the Rams and fell to 0-3. But Randall Cunningham threw TD passes to Mike Quick and Calvin Williams, Mike Golic had an interception and a sack, Anthony Toney rushed for 103 yards, and the Eagles got out of town with a 27-21 win and saved Buddy's job. At least for a few months. Despite a third straight double-digit win season, Braman fired Buddy after a third straight playoff loss. "I've been fired for losing before," Buddy said that day. "I've never been fired for winning."

3. Golic, by the way, is the last Eagles defensive tackle with a sack and interception in the same game. 
4. Doug Pederson was technically correct Monday when he said his analytics guys told him that 4th-and-8 was a 33 percent play. Using the Pro Football Reference database, we can determine that teams have converted 32.4 percent of the time since 1994 (as far back as stats are available) on 4th-and-8. That's 103 conversions in 318 attempts. But that includes every 4th-and-8 in every situation: The last few seconds of a game, when defenses are playing a soft zone. Kneel downs. Fake punts. Plays when the opposing team has a 51-point lead, etc. So again using the PFR database, we can get extremely detailed information about situational 4th-and-8 plays. For instance, the Eagles went for it on 4th-and-8 with a seven-point lead. Teams with a lead are going to be defended a very specific way on 4th-and-8. Historically, teams with a lead of seven or more points convert on 4th-and-8 only 14.5 percent of the time (8 for 55). The last conversion came in 2010 when Browns punter Reggie Hodges — a former Eagle — ran 68 yards for a first down on a fake punt against the Saints. He was tackled by Malcolm Jenkins. What about historical 4th-and-8's when a team is up by a touchdown and outside the opposing 40-yard-line in the first half? Then it's a 0 percent play. So technically, Pederson was accurate when he said 4th-and-8 is a 33 percent play. But in that situation, it was anything but. That's the problem with analytics. They're great in theory — and sometimes certainly in practice. But there is no way to express all this information in the brief few seconds between plays. You might learn that 4th-and-8 is a 33 percent play. But what about in the specific situation the offense is in? I don't know how it's possible to express all that in such a limited time. Then you end up basing your decision on flawed data. And you don't really have the same odds to convert that you think.
5. Carson Wentz has hit only seven passes of 20 or more yards so far this year, tied for 18th-most in the league after three weeks. At this point last year, he had hit on nine — with inferior receivers. The Eagles won Sunday without a completion of 20 yards, the first time that's happened in eight years. I think there are a lot of factors that play into this — not having great chemistry yet with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, losing Jordan Matthews, uneven pass protection and just missing some open guys. There's been a lot of talk about Wentz missing on the deep ball, but the Eagles need to get the mid-range game going as well.
6. I've never liked Alex Smith as a quarterback. I even thought Big Red made a mistake cutting ties with Nick Foles and keeping Smith. But I may have to rethink that stance. Smith has opened the 2017 season by becoming just the second quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 75 percent of his passes (minimum of 20 attempts) in each of his first three games. The other was Tom Brady in 2007. Smith took a beating in the Eagles game and stood in the pocket and made all the throws he had to make. It's only three games, but Smith is completing 77 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions for the undefeated Chiefs. Heck, he's almost halfway to his entire 2016 total of 15 touchdowns. Smith is 33 years old and has won only two playoff games, but he's playing better than ever. Andy Reid is usually right about quarterbacks. Maybe he was right about Smith. 
7. The couple sitting next to me on the nearly six-hour flight from Philly to Los Angeles was very nice. They also brought nothing to do, nothing to read. So they sat there reading the vomit bag instructions for six hours. I mean, it's not a secret how long the flight is. Bring a book? A crossword puzzle? A magazine? Something?  
8. This one is crazy: There have been 19 players in Eagles history who've rushed for 2,000 or more yards, and 16 of them are players the Eagles drafted. That's incredible. The only exceptions are Herschel Walker, Timmy Brown and Ricky Watters. The last five to reach 2,000 yards were all Eagles draft picks — Shady, Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter, Donovan McNabb and Duce Staley. And only two of those 19 backs were first-round picks — Clarence Peaks in 1957 and Keith Byars in 1986. Who'll be the next one to hit 2,000 yards? My money's on Wendell Smallwood. He can play.
9. How is there not a SEPTA regional rail station at the zoo? The tracks run literally 14 1/2 feet from the zoo. You can actually see the lions and tigers in Big Cat Falls in the back of the zoo as you ride the train out of 30th Street Station. It's a pain getting to the zoo and parking. A station with an elevated walkway and dedicated zoo entrance would make the zoo so much more accessible (and ease traffic on the Schuylkill as well). Heck, if that's unrealistic, make it a shuttle that runs a few times a day during peak season from 30th. The Zoo Train! Just seems ridiculous that you can actually see the animals from the train, you just can't get to them.
10. I didn't like the new National record. Found it boring, heavy-handed and lacking dynamics. Boring as heck. Then I saw them play the thing in its entirety at Union Transfer, and now I love it. Funny how that happens.
11. Man, Rick Pitino involved in a scandal?!?!?! That's just a flat-out stunner.
12. This just blows my mind: Wentz, just three weeks into his second season, already has the fifth-most wins in franchise history by a quarterback the Eagles drafted. The list looks like this: Donovan McNabb [92], Randall Cunningham [63], Sonny Jurgensen [17], Foles [15], Wentz [9], Pete Liske [7]. What's even crazier is that as many quarterbacks drafted by the Rams have at least 10 wins quarterbacking the Eagles as quarterbacks drafted by the Eagles: Ron Jaworski [69], Norm Van Brocklin [20], Bobby Thomason [18] and Roman Gabriel [12] were all Rams draft picks who won 10 or more games for the Eagles. Throw in Sam Bradford [7], and five of the 18 winningest QBs in Eagles history are Rams draft picks.

13. I still call it a MAC card.
14. With Nelson Agholor’s TD catch with 14 seconds left against the Chiefs and Jake Elliott’s game-winning field goal Sunday against the Giants, the Eagles have scored in the final 20 seconds of back-to-back games for the first time in 17 years. Last time it happened was in 2000, when David Akers made a game-tying field goal against the Cowboys with 11 seconds left in regulation at the Vet and a game-tying field goal as time expired a week later against the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium. Akers won both games in overtime.
15. There's been a giant sign at the intersection of Byberry Road and Bustleton Pike for a month stating, "road closed local traffic only." This is kind of a big deal since Byberry is the only access to Woodhaven Road and ultimately I-95 from the Somerton section of Northeast Philly. But here's the thing. The road isn't closed. And it never was closed. And it probably never will be closed. And you can still get to Woodhaven Road off Byberry. There's not even a detour. The only thing that's closed is a tiny section of Byberry between the entrance to Woodhaven Road and Roosevelt Boulevard — near the old Nabisco plant. And you can still get to the Boulevard pretty easily just by hopping on Woodhaven and taking the first ramp. You might think the fake road closed sign might help with traffic but no. It still takes 46 minutes in the morning to get to Woodhaven.
16. Two weeks ago, I wrote here that I heard the worst song ever. I heard one that's worse. It's called "In the Name of Love" by Martin Garrix and Babe Rexha. And it really is worse.
17. Since Douglas began playing a couple weeks ago and performing at a high level, people have been looking for an Eagles cornerback to compare him too. I've heard Bobby Taylor, and yeah, they're both tall and rangy, but Douglas is way more physical than Taylor ever was and not as fast. Sheldon Brown? Yeah, they're both terrific tacklers and love to come up and support the run. But Brown was 5-foot-10. Douglas is 6-2. Troy Vincent? Troy was a tremendous cover corner who had size (6-1) and could run and also didn't mind mixing it up at the line of scrimmage. He's probably closest, but he's also a five-time Pro Bowler and Douglas has only played in two games, so it's a little premature to even go there. But as far as tall, physical corners with coverage skill, that does seem to be the best comparison. I really wonder if the Eagles would have made the trade with the Bills for Ronald Darby if they knew what they had in Douglas.
18. The interesting thing about Vincent — he didn't make a Pro Bowl until his eighth season. Clyde Simmons didn't make one until his sixth season, Jermane Mayberry and Jon Runyan both made it for the first time in their seventh season. Even Dawk didn't make one until his fourth year in the league. Why am I always preaching patience? This is why. Players get better. What you see as a rookie or even in a guy's second or third or even fourth year isn't necessarily the final product. That's why you don't cut Donnel Pumphrey after a few bad preseason games. Time is an amazing thing.
19. Let's just stop for a second and consider how underrated Jason Avant was. During his heyday with the Eagles, the six-year period from 2007 through 2012, Avant caught 83 passes on third down, and 68 of them went for first downs. That's 82 percent, and that's ridiculous. Think about it — over a six-year period, he only had 15 catches on third down where he didn't move the sticks.
20. Is it weird that when I'm in an office building or hotel room and I can see my car out the window a few flights down I like to make the hatchback go up and down?
21. I can't stand rotating offensive linemen. I just don't like it. Put the best guy in there and leave him in there. Stefen Wisniewski right now is the Eagles' best option at left guard. He outplayed Chance Warmack throughout the preseason, he should have been in there at halftime in Kansas City, and he should be in there the whole game Sunday against the Chargers. Period. There's a reason nobody rotates guards. 
22. Hey, this would be a good time to look at the Eagles' 2018 schedule. Their opponents at home, in addition to their three NFC East rivals, will be the Falcons, Panthers, Texans and Colts. On the road, they'll face the Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers and Titans in addition to the NFC East opponents. They'll also play on the road against the NFC West team that finishes in the same spot in the standings and at home against the NFC North opponent that finishes in the corresponding spot in the standings.
23. I feel like people who whistle in public should be arrested, and I really don't think that's extreme.
24. Last weekend at World Café Live was the inaugural Philadelphia Music Festival, an ambitious non-profit endeavor that was the brainchild of Philly lawyer and music nut Greg Seltzer, who founded the festival to showcase the burgeoning Philly indie music scene. The two-day festival, which also featured local artwork and craft breweries and raised about $15,000 for local arts groups, featured 26 artists from Philadelphia and South Jersey performing all day Friday and Saturday on World Café's two stages. Something like this wouldn't have been possible five years ago. There weren't enough good bands and the scene hadn't developed yet to the point where people would support an event like this. But Philly has become the center of the pop music universe, and you could easily book another 26 quality bands next year without repeating one. That said, here's my top-10 from this year's festival (with the caveat that I missed Strand of Oaks): 1. Pine Barons, 2. Dominic Angelella, 3. Cheerleader, 4. Eric Slick, 5. Sports, 6. Harmony Woods, 7. Slomo Sapiens, 8. Slaughter Beach, Dog, 9. Kississippi, 10. Tiny Hueman.
25. And 10 Philly bands I'd like to see play next year's festival, which will be held the weekend of Sept. 28-29: The Obsessives, Weller, Sheer Mag, Pilkington, Hemming, Cherry, Restorations, the Whips, Thin Lips and Mercury Girls.

Roob's 25 Random Points: South Jersey RBs, Lane Johnson and the race to 300

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Roob's 25 Random Points: South Jersey RBs, Lane Johnson and the race to 300

South Jersey running backs, Shady and Chip, comedy from Jeff Lurie, success with Lane Johnson, RG3 and what do DeSean Jackson and Caleb Sturgis have in common (the answer is not nothing!).

Sure sounds like a 25 Random Points is on the way!

1. Brandon Graham has developed into one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers. Nelson Agholor certainly looks at least like a serviceable NFL wide receiver. Two first-round picks, two guys quickly labeled busts, two guys who had big roles in the Eagles' opening-day win Sunday in Washington and certainly figure greatly in the Eagles' hopes to end their playoff drought this year. Every player in the NFL progresses — or doesn't — at a different rate, and there are so many factors that go into whether a guy has immediate success. How good a scheme fit is he? How does he adjust to life away from home, perhaps for the first time? How does he handle suddenly having a ton of money? How quickly can he process the massive amount of information thrown his way and transform it into plays on the field? There are so many reasons the NFL draft is an inexact science and why every year players who looked so dominating in college struggle to find their way. Everybody handles all these factors differently. Some are stars from Day 1. Some never make it. Some take years. The Eagles' draft history is littered with the Leonard Renfros, Bernard Williams and Fireman Danny's who never figured it out. But it's always wise to err on the side of patience because today's bust could be tomorrow's stud. This all struck me this week because I got so many tweets about Donnel Pumphrey, with people - understandably - assuming that once he goes on Injured Reserve it's the last we'll ever see of him. But as Howie Roseman pointed out a couple weeks ago, if you like a player enough after watching his film, interviewing him, going to his pro day, tracking him at the Combine and bringing him into your facility, why would you release him after a few sluggish preseason games? You trust your scouting and stick with him because that guy who looked so bad in his rookie preseason could turn out to be an important piece of your puzzle in the future. Pumphrey is out for the year with a torn hamstring, but I would just caution people against writing him off. Or writing off any rookie, no matter how over-matched he looks. These things can take time. Graham and Agholor are evidence of that.

2. Doug Pederson said on Friday, "We have to run the ball better." In other words, we have to stick with the run because you can rarely establish a running game when your lead back has seven carries in the first 16 minutes of a game and then three carries in the next 35 minutes. The Eagles' 58 rushing yards in Washington were their second-fewest in an opener since 1972 (they had 51 in Atlanta in the 2005 opener). On Sunday in KC, they'll face a Chiefs defense that did allow 124 rushing yards to the Patriots in the opener, so you'd think the Eagles can get something going on the ground. If they don't, I don't know how they beat this team. If they do, at least they have a chance.

3. For the record, there have only been three instances in Eagles history where they've had fewer than 60 rushing yards in each of their first two games -- 1940, 1962 and 1971.

4. For all the talk about Colin Kaepernick being out of the NFL at the age of 29 and just four years after leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl, it's way more remarkable to me that RG3 is out of the league -- and wasn't even in a training camp -- at the age of 27. Robert Griffin III, who started against the Eagles for the Browns on opening day last year, certainly has had a tough run of injuries since his amazing rookie year in 2012, but unlike Kaepernick there isn't a single non-football reason for a team to at least bring him into a camp. He's not a distraction, he's never been in trouble. RG3 hasn't been a special player in a few years and maybe the injuries he suffered starting that second year in Washington have left him simply unable to function as an NFL quarterback anymore. But I have a hard time believing there are 85 or 90 better quarterbacks in the league than RG3.

5. Nice win for Sean McDermott in his NFL head coaching debut last weekend, and his bell-cow was none other than LeSean McCoy, who had 110 rushing yards on 22 carries and added five catches for 49 more yards. Shady now has 29 career games with 100 rushing yards and a 5.0 average, and only 12 other running backs have had more before their 30th birthday (eight of those 12 are in the Hall of Fame). Shady also increased his career yards from scrimmage total to 12,043, which is 13th-most in NFL history by a player before his 30th birthday. And 10 of the 12 ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame.

6. Hey Chip, what were you thinking omg???? 

7. I just heard the worst song I've ever heard, and it's called "Panic Cord" by someone named Gabrielle Aplin.

8. Anyone who parks in front of a restaurant or take-out joint and leaves his car running while ordering food and then waiting 15 minutes till its ready, car idling, blocking people, interfering with traffic, polluting the neighborhood, when there is a parking space available within 500 feet, should lose his license for a year. Do it again and lose your license for five years.

9. In 2008, Andy Reid drafted DeSean Jackson, and in 2009 he drafted LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. Then he goes to Kansas City and drafts Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt in the first five years. Talk about having an eye for skill players. Now, Reid isn't the GM in Kansas City, but he certainly has a say in personnel, and his knack for spotting gifted running backs, receivers and tight ends is remarkable. He's got a pretty good track record for quarterbacks, too, and while the jury is obviously still out on Pat Mahomes, if he's as good as advance notice, the Chiefs are stocked at the skill spots for the next decade.

10. Also interesting that Reid has drafted two running backs with the last name Hunt in the third round. Tony rushed for 25 yards in his career. Kareem rushed for 148 yards in his first NFL game.

11. The Eagles have scored two or fewer offensive touchdowns in 13 of their last 14 games. The only exception was the Dallas game the last day of last season when the Cowboys played their scrubs much of the game.

12. Since July 16, the Phillies are 27-30, which isn’t great, but it’s respectable. The Phillies were 30-60 through 91 games, a historically bad .333 clip, and with the lineup now filled with promising young bats, they’re playing .474 baseball since. That puts them 17th out of 30 teams in winning percentage over about two months. I know it's a mistake to put much credence in meaningless wins. But what I like is that during that 57-game span, the Phils are hitting .268 (seventh-best in baseball) with a .773 OPS (ninth-best). The problem is they also have a 4.73 ERA during that span, which is 20th-best. But the bats are there. Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph, Freddy Galvis, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera all have at least 50 RBIs, and going into play Saturday night Nick Williams needed two to get to 50. The last time the Phils had six guys 27 or younger with 50 ribbies in a season? It was 2001 (Bobby Abreu, Marlon Anderson, Pat Burrell, Travis Lee, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins). Before that it was 1893 and 1932. So this is a rare group. If the Phils can surround Aaron Nola with a few more capable starters (Corey Seidman has more on that), this could be a very good baseball team in two years.

13. I hate when people try to be clever and say an old guy is like "88 years young!"

14. I wouldn't mind seeing Corey Clement get some carries.

15. Speaking of Clement … you know what's amazing? How many insanely talented running backs South Jersey has produced. Franco Harris (Rancocas Valley) is a Hall of Famer. Ron Dayne (Overbrook) set the NCAA career rushing record at Wisconsin. Lydell Mitchell (Salem) had a brilliant NFL career, with three straight Pro Bowls and the most yards from scrimmage in the league from 1973 through 1978 for the Colts. Mike Rozier (Woodrow Wilson) was the 1983 Heisman Trophy winner for Nebraska. Avon Cobourne (Holy Cross) rushed for over 5,000 yards at West Virginia -- ninth-most in NCAA history when he graduated -- and went on to have a tremendous career in the CFL, where he was 2009 Grey Cup MVP. Gordie Lockbaum (Glassboro) was third in the 1987 Heisman balloting after playing running back and safety for Holy Cross and was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. Wali Lundy (Holy Cross) set an ACC record with 52 rushing touchdowns. William Greene (Holy Spirit) was a first-round pick of the Browns in 2002 after an All-America career at Boston College. Albert Young  (Moorestown) once held the South Jersey rushing record and had a very good career at Iowa. Adam Taliaferro (Eastern). Shonn Green (Winslow Twp.) was a consensus first-team All-America at Iowa and spent six years in the NFL. Jonathan Taylor (Salem) ran for 2,815 yards and 35 touchdowns -- just as a senior -- in high school and is off to a torrid start as a freshman at Wisconsin, with 438 yards, five TDs and an 8.3 average in three games, including the Badgers' win over BYU Saturday. Isaac Redman (Paulsboro) spent parts of five years with the Steelers after rushing for over 5,000 yards in high school and a Boise State-record 3,300 yards. And then there's Clement, who ran for 6,245 yards at Glassboro before a great career at Wisconsin. What a list!

16. On Wednesday night, I had the thrill of a lifetime when I got the chance to play keyboards with the band Illinois at Union Transfer when they opened for Mondo Cozmo. When I walked on stage and Illinois singer Chris Archibald introduced me, and everybody started yelling, "Roooooooob," I can't even explain how good that made me feel. I love everybody.

17. This shouldn't be possible, but Caleb Sturgis and DeSean Jackson have scored the exact same number of points in an Eagles uniform. 234.

18. Also fascinating probably only to me is that Sturgis, who's only been the Eagles' kicker for a couple years (and is now hurt), is tied for the second-most 50-yard field goals in franchise history. Sturgis is actually 7 for 11 from 50 and out since joining the Eagles after Cody Parkey got hurt early in 2015. David Akers made 15 50-yarders in 32 attempts and Tom Dempsey was 7 for 16, but Akers played in 188 games, so he made a 50-yarder once every 12 ½ games. Sturgis has seven in 30 games as an Eagle, so he's averaging one every 4.3 games. Dempsey actually averaged one every 6.7 games.

19. Since the start of his NFL career in 2013, the Eagles are 30-21 when Lane Johnson plays (.588) and 5-9 when he doesn't play (.357). They've only lost one game with Johnson in uniform since Doug Pederson became head coach -- that 24-23 loss at Detroit last October. The last game the Eagles lost at the Linc with Johnson on the field was against the Redskins in 2015 -- Chip Kelly's last game as Eagles head coach. Lane is good.

20. Since McCoy in 2011, only two Eagles have made a Pro Bowl in their first three seasons in the NFL -- Parkey and Nick Foles. From 2000 through 2007, seven Eagles did that -- Trott, Donovan, Westbrook, Lito, Michael Lewis, Shawn Andrews and Trent Cole. Young home-grown talent. That's how you become an elite team.

21. My pal John and I decided back in December we would have this little competition in 2017 where we would actually have a race to see who could see 300 bands the fastest. John and I, both being huge live music fans and stupidly competitive, quickly set some ground rules for what became known as #TheRoadTo300. You could only count a band once, no matter how many times you saw them. To count a band, you had to stay for at least four songs. Unless it was at a festival with multiple stages, in which case you only needed two full songs. We both got off to fast starts with the seven January triple bills at the Boot and Saddle for a variety of terrific local charities. We both hit 100 in March and 200 in June. He cleaned up at Boston Calling, I cleaned up at the Havertown Festival. We hustled obsessively at the XPoNential Festival to see as many bands as humanly possible, even bands we hate. We even started a blog where we post rankings of all the shows we've seen in 2017 along with several other lists. So what's the latest? Going into Tuesday, he will be at 298 and I will be at 297. And he's going to see a triple bill at the Fillmore Tuesday night and I'm headed to World Café Live, where there are two bands upstairs and two downstairs. So after 8½ months and literally hundreds of bands, the winner will be determined by whether the second band at the Fillmore finishes its fourth song before the third band at World Café finishes its fourth song. It could come down to a matter of minutes. Maybe even seconds. It's going to be tough for one of us to lose this race! But you know what? We still have 3½ months left. There's always #TheRoadTo400!

22. Get this: The Chiefs are 4-13 in Week 2 since 2000, tied with the Lions for the worst Week 2 record in the NFL during that span. Like that one? (The Eagles are 8-9 in Week 2 during that span.)

23. After the Eagles-Redskins game in Landover, Maryland, Sunday night, I headed over to the nearby Amtrak station, New Carrollton, Maryland, to wait for my train back up to Trenton. Now, New Carrollton is the worst train station you can imagine. Not only is it a dank, filthy, gloomy rat-hole, there isn't a single bench in the place. Nowhere to sit. Nowhere. How do you have a major train station along the Northeast Corridor that serves both Amtrak and regional rail with nowhere to sit?!?! So with some time before my train and tons of work to do, I had no choice but to plop down on the wretched concrete floor of the musty corridor leading to the escalators that go up to the train platforms, get out my laptop and start working. Other than the laptop, I must have looked like a homeless dude sitting there on the floor surrounded by my weathered backpack and a bottle of water. A few minutes later, there was a commotion around the corner and I saw some cops clearing the entire corridor of pedestrians and travelers, although they somehow missed me. A few minutes after that, the Eagles walked by. The entire team. And front office. I had forgotten the team travels from New Carrollton to 30th Street Station following games in Washington via an Amtrak charter. Here they were arriving by bus at the station to board their private train. First guy to notice me plopped down on the floor? Jeffrey Lurie. He looked over at me, shook his head in mock sympathy, reached into his pocket, and started to hand me a dollar! One of the funniest things I've ever seen.

24. Seriously, how do you have a train station that serves about 10,000 riders per day and doesn't have one freaking bench?

25. I made a good honest attempt at seeing all 32 performers on four stages at the seventh annual Havertown Music Festival last weekend. Fell short but still saw 28 of the 32. Here's my Top 10: 1. Matthew Sweet, 2. I Think Like Midnight, 3. Somerdale, 4. The Weeklings, 5. Skip Denenberg, 6. Jonny Drucker, 7. Jesse Gimbel, 8. The GTV's, 9. Dennis Selfridge, 10. The Barrel Fires.