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JJ Redick says Sixers in position to grow into 'one of the elite teams in the NBA'

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JJ Redick says Sixers in position to grow into 'one of the elite teams in the NBA'

Philadelphia 76ers fans are quickly learning what hardcore NBA fans have known for years: JJ Redick is great on podcasts.

The Sixers' splashy free agent signing joined the HoopsHype Podcast with Alex Kennedy on Friday to talk about his adventurous offseason, joining the Philly franchise, and becoming a key piece of the Process.

They covered a ton in the hour-long chat, but it was the part about joining the Process in its still relatively early stages on a one-year deal instead of "ring chasing" that jumped out to me.

"The opportunity to be a part of something that’s been built from the ground up and to be joining it at a pretty opportune time, for a team on the rise especially in the East, there’s an opportunity for us to make a jump," Redick said.

"As these guys get older and get more experience, I think there’s an opportunity to make a leap and really be one of the elite teams not only the East but in the NBA. That’s a credit to Sam Hinkie, Bryan Colangelo, and to their owners."

Sounds good to Sixers fans, I'm sure. But what about the fact that he's only under contract in Philly for one season? If all goes well, that shouldn't matter.

"I have talked to Bryan Colangelo and the owners about a continuing relationships. I also understand given their cap situation and the age of their core, even if I do stay for 2-3 years it may only be on one-year deals. I understand that. The reality is if I play well and the team does well I think I’ll be back."

Not exactly groundbreaking news, but it's different hearing it straight from the three-point-shooter's mouth as opposed to Sixers' fans simply hoping it.

The next question would be what results would the Sixers have to see this coming season for it to be considered the team "doing well?"

Redick isn't sure exactly but he does expect the team to make the playoffs.

"I don’t think you can skip steps. I think the goal should be making the playoffs," Redick said.

"Is that an eight seed at 38-44 or is it a five seed at 48-34? I don’t know. I truthfully don’t know. On paper, the thing I like about our team is we have a lot of skillets that compliment each other."

Redick spoke glowingly about Brett Brown and how he's the right guy for the job at hand. He spoke about joining a team full of millennials and having to learn about Migos and how to bond with them. It won't exactly be conversations about the different wine regions around Burgundy, France.

The whole thing is worth a listen.

Some other highlights:

JJ on getting to know the younger guys and how he's leading

"It’s been great. I started texting Ben Simmons back in March or February. We have a mutual friend in Philly so I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. I’ve gotten to know Embiid. I saw him at the Steve Nash charity soccer game in New York and chatted for an hour and a half. That was like two weeks prior to free agency."

"Since Amir and I have signed there’s a little group chat that we’re all on."

"There’s only so much guidance I can give in text messages. The biggest thing for me is showing the routine of being a professional, getting guys to understand what it takes to win and also what it takes to last in the NBA."

Something awesome Brett Brown texted him

"Brett [Brown] texted me and was like, ‘The city will be on fire if we get this thing rolling.’ So I’m very excited."

Carson Wentz gives Lane Johnson crap for play he got injured on

Carson Wentz gives Lane Johnson crap for play he got injured on

Carson Wentz seemingly got hurt on the play where he rushed for a touchdown against the Rams that was called back thanks to a holding penalty on Lane Johnson.

Thanks a lot, Lane! *Warning: the GIF of the hit is graphic.*

In a pretty interesting video shared to running back Kenjon Barner's Instagram page, you can hear Wentz giving Lane the business about it after the Eagles win.

"I ran in two touchdowns today and you took them both away," Wentz said.

"You got a lot of nerve coming at me like that," you can hear Johnson respond.

Check it out: 

There's definitely some laughter taking place, so it's unclear how much friendly ribbing is going on or if Wentz is actually upset. Judge for yourself.

It also makes you wonder what the team's policies on sharing behind-the-scenes footage of team-related stuff on social media is these days? I don't suspect this is something Wentz and Johnson particularly wanted to get out in the public eye.

I suppose it's good to see Wentz is in relatively positive spirits despite being lost for the season.

Ugh. A city's hope is now in the big hands of Nick Foles.

Eagles in good hands with Nick Foles

Eagles in good hands with Nick Foles

Carson Wentz's season is indeed finished, yet the Eagles aren’t exactly slumming it at quarterback with Nick Foles.

Foles’ first tenure with the Eagles admittedly hasn’t aged well. The last time he started a game for the club in 2014, he was leading the NFL in giveaways nine weeks into the season. Traded the following offseason, Foles’ hasty demise with the Rams appeared to vindicate his critics.

Okay, so maybe Foles isn’t exactly franchise quarterback material. But the Eagles would be hard-pressed to find a more accomplished backup.

Foles has led a team to the playoffs. He’s been to a Pro Bowl. He has a winning record as a starter.

How many other backup quarterbacks around the league can check off all three of those boxes?

Just one. No, not Colin Kaepernick. Only Teddy Bridgewater for the Vikings.

Foles is no hobo. He was a third-round draft pick who needed to outperform Michael Vick to earn the Eagles’ starting job. The statuesque Foles was so much better, it no longer mattered Vick’s legendary mobility could be a true asset in former coach Chip Kelly’s read-option offense.

The 2013 season turned out to be a history-making campaign for Foles. He tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game, and set another with a 27-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the year — the latter mark having since been broken by future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

Despite losing to the Saints in the first round of the first round of the playoffs in 2013, Foles played well in that game, completing 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns. The last time the offense was on the field, the Eagles held the lead, only to lose on a field goal as the clock ran empty.

Even assuming that series of events will wind up as the high point in his career, we learned a lot about Foles. We know he has some talent. We know he can perform at a high level when given a great supporting cast. And we know he can play well in January.

As for the last three-and-a-half years, those probably haven’t been as bad as you think.

Foles came back to earth in 2014, as did the Eagles. Yet, turnovers aside, the team was better with him than without, going 6-2 in Foles’ starts until he was sidelined by a broken collarbone. Before the injury, he was on pace to throw for over 4,300 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Things continued to go south for Foles with the Rams in 2015, although the franchise hadn't finished with more than seven wins or better than 21st on offense since ’06 prior to this season. The issues in St. Louis ran a lot deeper than who was under center.

Foles spent 2016 rehabilitating his image with the Chiefs, completing 36 of 55 passes for 410 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in three games and one start. If nothing else, the 28-year-old proved he can be a fine backup under the right circumstances.

Which brings us into 2017 with the Eagles. Does this squad present “the right circumstances” for Foles to flourish?

The Eagles have a stable of running backs, multiple weapons in the passing attack, a decent offensive line and an excellent defense. It’s difficult to imagine a better situation for a backup quarterback to step into.

It’s not entirely unlike the situation Foles stepped into in ’13. The O-line probably isn’t quite as good, but the defense is vastly superior this time around.

And the Eagles don’t necessarily need Foles to be Wentz. They can lean on the running game. They have receivers who can bail out their quarterback on occasion. Their defense is capable of forcing stops and creating turnovers.

Foles has a 20-16 record in 36 career starts, with a 60.5 completion percentage, 7.2 yards per pass attempt, 56 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in 45 games. Those are quality numbers. It’s not as if the Eagles are sending Tim Tebow out there.

Does Wentz’s injury lessen the Eagles’ chances of winning the Super Bowl, or even mounting a deep playoff run? Of course. Dramatically, in fact.

But this season isn’t totally lost just yet. Foles only needs to be good, not great, to keep this Eagles team in the race.

There was a brief period where – misguided or not – the Eagles had to at least consider the possibility of Foles as a franchise quarterback. That obviously wasn’t the case, but if he can fake it again for the next two months, there’s a remote chance everything will be alright.