It seems we have reached a low point in recent Philly sports history. It will be (more or less) an entire year without a playoff appearance for a local Big Four team and things aren’t looking too bright for 2015 either.
The Eagles and Flyers are both on the outside looking in as far as postseason competition goes, and the Phillies and Sixers are years away from vying for any sort of championship.
So as many world citizens vow to lose weight, quit smoking or spend more time with their family, here are some wishes, from Metro, for Philly’s struggling sports franchises.
Phillies: Fire GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
It’s probably fair to assume the Phillies are sticking with their GM, as decisions regarding front office personnel typically takes place before the offseason really picks up steam. But this calendar year, before 2015 ends, the Philsmust hire a new general manager.
Since Amaro took over in 2009, the Phillies have literally dropped from first place in the entire NL to the bottom. In the six seasons he has called the shots, the Phillies went from World Series runners up to trading Jimmy Rollins to begin a way overdue rebuilding process.
Some other crimes against Amaro: Trading Hunter Pence for peanuts, Signing Ryan Howard to a debilitating contract extension, mismanaging the Phillies scouting department while failing to adequately replenish their farm system and acquiring the untradableJonathan Papelbon.
Flyers: Get the front line some help
The Flyers have been playing better hockey as 2014 comes to a close. But it’s clearly the work of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek–each man entrenched near the top of the NHL scoring list and each burdened with carrying the weight of the offense with them.
Sure, the Flyers need to get quicker at the blue line and need a healthy Steve Mason to get back into position for a playoff spot. But the secondary scoring assets, guys like Vincent Lecavalier and R.J. Umberger can’t just skate around collecting paychecks, they must produce.
If the Flyers can get some more scoring help and stop the bleeding with their penalty kill, they could jump up the standings in a hurry.
Eagles: Give the secondary an overhaul
The Eagles have one of the best offenses in football. They have a special teams unit that was probably the best in the NFL in 2014 and a pass rush that has produced sack after sack all season long. What’s the weak link?
The Eagles’ secondary has been putrid. It’s been awful. When not committing third down penalties to give opposing offenses new life, it’s getting burnt down the field by Dez Bryant or DeSean Jackson. There is little doubt that even an average secondary (one that doesn’t include liabilities Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams) would have gotten the Birds into the playoffs.
Chip Kelly still defends Fletcher’s play: “I think Bradley has played well during the year. You talk about how he got beat a couple times by [Cowboys WR] Dez Bryant, but on Thanksgiving he didn’t get beat by Dez Bryant; he actually played well in that game.”
However, don’t be surprised if he comes to his senses once he can watch the tape — a new secondary is coming.
76ers: Keep on losing
What else can we say? Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams have shown glimpses of being NBA playoff-type pieces. But the Sixers are far from playoff contention. Adding Joel Embiid and Dario Saric in upcoming seasons could make the 76ers a defensive powerhouse, but they’ll need to keep getting draft picks and top rookies, and that’s what losing will do.
If the 76ers can keep getting more and more talent while keeping tons of cap room, as they are doing right now, they’ll be able to line their roster with young up-and-comers. They’ll also be able to go after top free agents with money to burn, and will be able to trade for a superstar once their experiment finally pays dividents.
The caveat here is for Sixers fans to be as patient as Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown are being.