Vince Young, Part Two

Vince Young, Part Two

As you are likely aware by now, Vince Young will make his second start in an Eagles uniform today, the level of competition becoming significantly better in round two. We're talking Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots -- winners of three Super Bowls over a four-year span. As I heard on sports talk radio over the holiday weekend, Sunday's opponent is the true gold standard in the NFL over the past decade.

VY is up to the task though. The Birds' faithful largely remain skeptical about Young's ability to quarterback a pro football team, many of them specifically questioning his talent as a passer. However, he has an opportunity to put such notions to rest versus a Pats defense that ranks 32nd in the league when it comes to defending against aerial attacks.

All things being equal, New England faces more passing attempts than most clubs. They have one of the league's most prolific offenses, which means their opponents are frequently playing catch-up, or need to chuck it just to stay in the game. The Patriots have faced the fourth-highest total of attempts, but their opponents' passer efficiency rating ranks 14th, which is still better than the majority.

Still, they are by no means great, plus they're banged up. The Pats are without CB Devin McCourty, their first-round pick in 2010, and SS Patrick Chung. They released starting safeties Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders from a year ago. Some of the names that will be on the field in the defensive backfield are CB Kyle Arrington -- who may have seven interceptions, but was little more than a camp body for the Eagles a few years ago -- and SS Josh Barrett, a seventh-round pick by the Broncos out of Arizona State in 2008.

It's a tad thin to say the least, but shifting the focus back to Young, he certainly stands to capitalize. The rush to conclude he isn't a stellar passer is strong, yet there is plenty of evidence that's not exactly the case. Initially it seemed VY got better as last Sunday night's game against the Giants went on, but the statistics actually confirm that was the case.

Young completed 83% of his passes in the second half at the Meadowlands, going for roughly two-thirds of his yards and the game-winning score. He shook off the rust and led the offense an 18-play, nearly nine-minute drive in the fourth quarter. Of course, it was only one game, but naturally I wasn't surprised. The idea Young isn't a decent passer was debunked pretty easily over the summer by some of our own research.

Young had greatly improved during his final two seasons in Tennessee. All his vital numbers were better -- completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns-to-interceptions, even winning. He was already taking the next step in a career marked with achievements such as a Rookie of the Year award and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Why the VY experiment ultimately failed there is complicated, but it wasn't necessarily performance based.

And when you compare the level of talent from there to Philadelphia, it's no contest. They didn't have an explosive down-field threat like DeSean Jackson, nor a tight end capable of posting a 1,000 yard season like Brent Celek. They didn't have quality depth like Jason Avant or (ugh) Steve Smith, or much emerging talent like Riley Cooper (that should be good for a laugh). The most Vince Young ever had was Chris Johnson when the runner was still blowing through opposing defenses.

Eagles fans need to forget the wonky delivery, the antics that caused him to lose his previous coaching staff and locker room, and understand that Young has never had an opportunity like the one he's getting here, in a huddle supposedly bursting at the seams with talent. Whether or not they can actually beat the Patriots is anybody's guess, but if they don't, it probably won't be for lack of Michael Vick. Young is an able passer, and he'll have an ample number of chances to showcase that this week.

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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Underdog, huh? Eagles headed to Super Bowl

Underdog, huh? Eagles headed to Super Bowl

BOX SCORE

The Eagles have been dead for weeks, right? The only problem is that no one ever told them. 

They're more alive than ever. 

And now, without their franchise quarterback, their Hall of Fame left tackle, their starting middle linebacker, their most dynamic offensive weapon, their special teams captain and their original kicker, the Eagles did it again. 

As improbable as it sounds … the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. 

The Birds got off to a rough start, but clamped down and absolutely demolished the Vikings, 38-7, at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday in the NFC Championship Game (see Roob's observations). They'll see the Patriots in Minnesota in two weeks for Super Bowl LII (see story).  

The fourth quarter became a party as fans were doing the Skol chant — they changed it to "Foles" — mockingly and the entire Eagles' sideline danced along to a Meek Mill song. 

This is the Eagles' first trip back to the Super Bowl since the 2004 season, when they lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. 

They'll get another crack at Tom Brady and the Patriots, who beat the Jaguars, 24-20, earlier in the day. The Patriots won the game but didn't look invincible. They needed to stage a late comeback to take down the Jaguars. 

Nick Foles claimed he was calm and confident all week and he certainly looked like it in the NFC Championship Game. Sure, the play-calling helped, but Foles had a simply incredible game. He played loose and demolished the best defense in the NFL. 

Foles turned in an all-time performance. He completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had a passer rating of 141.4. 

With the loss, the Vikings missed a chance to become the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl it's hosting. Oh well. 

The Eagles actually got off to a terrible start Sunday. All three phases chipped in. First, the defense gave up a touchdown drive to start the game. Then the offense missed chances and had to punt. Then, they got a fair catch interference call on special teams. 

Things were going badly until that Patrick Robinson pick-six. Chris Long forced the pressure and during the 50-yard return, the Linc got so loud the press box shook. 

After last week's divisional round win over the Falcons, head coach Doug Pederson called another masterful game. He put on a clinic against the Vikings, pushing all the right buttons as the Eagles began to push around the NFL's best defense. 

Turning point
Long turned that corner and affected Case Keenum's throw enough to allow the ball to hang in the air for Robinson. After Robinson picked off the pass, he took it 50 yards to the house and momentum had officially swung the other way. 

Key stat
The Eagles' 38 points are their second most in playoff history and their margin of victory (31 points) is the biggest in franchise history. 

The 38 points the Eagles scored are the most the Vikings have allowed all season. They had allowed 34 in their last three games combined. 

Offensive stud
For all the questions about Foles over the last few weeks, he answered them Sunday. Foles was incredible. He got into a rhythm early and is now leading the Eagles into the Super Bowl (see report card)

Offensive dud
This was about to go to Torrey Smith for dropping a deep pass early, but he totally redeemed himself when he caught that deep touchdown pass on the flea flicker. 

Defensive stud
Long is 32 years old, but he isn't playing like it. He's rejuvenated and made some huge plays Sunday. None were bigger than the one that led to Robinson's pick-six. 

Defensive dud
Najee Goode gave up that early touchdown to Kyle Rudolph that gave the Vikings an early lead. It looked like he didn't know what was going on. 

Key plays 
• Foles threw his third touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to cap off a 92-yard drive and give the Eagles a 38-7 lead. 

• On 4th-and-goal in the third quarter, it looked like Adam Thielen caught a ball in the end zone, but the replay showed it clearly hit the ground. The Vikings turned the ball over on downs. 

• Pederson dialed up a flea flicker on his first drive of the second half and it worked perfectly. Corey Clement took the handoff, tossed it back to Foles, who hit Smith down the field for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 31-7 lead. 

• The Eagles got the ball back with just 29 seconds in the half, but Pederson didn't play it scared. Instead, the Eagles attacked and were able to get down the field and kick a 38-yarder to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room. 

• On 3rd-and-10 from their own 47-yard line with under two minutes left in the first half, Foles avoided pressure and threw a 53-yard bomb for a touchdown to Alshon Jeffery to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead. 

• In the second quarter, the Vikings took the ball from their own 15-yard line and got all the way down to the Eagles' 16 before rookie Derek Barnett came around the left tackle and stripped the ball from Keenum. The Vikings' six-minute drive didn't get them any points. 

• Jim Schwartz dialed up a safety blitz on 3rd-and-2 and Malcolm Jenkins came free to force a quick throw from Keenum, who seemed bothered by the pressure. 

• LeGarrette Blount ran over safety Andrew Sendejo on an 11-yard run to get into the end zone early in the second quarter. That gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead. Just before that, Pederson dialed up a little quick pass to Zach Ertz on 3rd-and-short to convert. The Blount touchdown capped off a 75-yard drive. 

• Long got to Keenum to provide pressure and alter his throw that hung up in the air. Robinson picked it off and had an incredible return of 50 yards for a pick-six to tie the game at 7-7. It was the second-longest pick-six in Eagles postseason history. 

• On the Eagles' first drive, Smith dropped a ball he should have had deep and then Trey Burton couldn't get his feet down on a key third-down pass. For some reason, Burton left his feet and jumped to make the catch. 

• Keenum hit Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown to cap the opening drive of the game. Goode, starting in place of Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), looked lost before the play and didn't seem ready. Rudolph blew past him and was wide open for a touchdown.

Injuries
Linebacker Ellerbe (hamstring) was inactive after being listed as questionable coming into the weekend. Ellerbe was questionable last week, too, but was able to play against the Falcons. Goode started in his place Sunday. 

Up next
The Eagles are heading to Minnesota. They'll face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in two weeks.