It’s that time of year that we gather together to watch football . . . I mean, give thanks. Depending on your viewpoint, that might be a tough task at the moment. Leaving real world concerns aside, here’s what I think Philly sports fans should be thankful for this year.
Carson Wentz: I’m not 100% sold that he’s going to be “the guy” for the next 10 to 15 years, and there’s obviously no guarantee he brings the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia at long last. But at the very least, he’s the Eagles quarterback for the next 5 years. He is the guy they need to build around. They don’t even have to think about drafting a starting QB for quite a while.
“The process” is, essentially, over: It seemed endless. It was stupid. And it never should have happened. But it is, finally, over. Sam Hinkie’s process of tanking, and tanking, and tanking, and tanking, to acquire talent . . . because Sammy couldn’t pick his nose, let alone NBA players, without making the process absolutely mistake-free . . . is in the past. It might not seem like it, since the team is still struggling to win a game a week, but that’s the result of Hinkie’s absurd plan. It’s actually necessary to see if the talent that has been acquired can play together.
Joel Embiid: Again, the wait seemed endless, and the frustration with his limited minutes . . . which is quickly getting old, not to mention questionable, especially since Embiid seems unhappy with it . . . is building. But this is a guy who you stop what you’re doing to watch. If he can stay healthy . . . ohhhh, yeah.
The pending return of Ben Simmons: I just keep thinking, if only Simmons was playing, if only Simmons was playing, if only Simmons was playing. Is it January yet? I know, the anticipation is largely based on his college career and summer league play, but watching Simmons play with Embiiid should be, and, I think, will be, the reward for Sixers fans suffering through Hinkie’s time as general manager. (No, this doesn’t prove him right; there are ways to build a team without sacrificing multiple years to get the number one pick in the draft.) The Sixers cannot put Simmons on ice all year—if he’s healthy.
The Phillies have “turned the page:” So far, there’s been nothing overly exciting coming from the Phillies this off-season, but they seem to have made some nice moves already. I like the trade to acquire a veteran bat in Howie Kendrick, even though at 33 he’s a stopgap. But, as I’ve said before, at least they’ve completely moved on from the teams of 2008 and 2009.
Ron Hextall is running the Flyers: I’ll admit, I’m struggling to pick up hockey. But I still say having Hextall at the helm, and getting rid of the “win now at all cost” mentality is a plus. It seemed like every spring they’d make wholesale changes, bringing in big names who were passed their prime at the expense of young talent, and it never worked.
Chip Kelly’s not here: I’m not quite ready to say that Eagles fans should be thankful for Doug Pederson. In fact, I’m not even close. But at least he’s not that fraud of a coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers are 1-9 under Chip, having only beaten the lowly Rams opening week.