Philadelphia's 10 Most Intriguing Athletes of the Week
With the Major League Baseball season coming down the stretch, the NFL season getting under way, and Team USA competing in the basketball World Championships, the Philadelphia sports scene has reached a fever-pitch.
In case you were down the shore this weekend and missed it, here is a look at the 10 most intriguing Philadelphia athletes of the week.
10. Donovan McNabb, Former Quarterback
Just as Phillies fans have kept tabs on Cliff Lee all season, watching how he performs compared to Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt (advantage: Roys), so too will some quantity of fans keep an eye on Donovan McNabb and the Redskins.
After one week: McNabb 1, Eagles 0.
When asked if he'd paid attention to the Eagles' 4 p.m. game against the Green Bay Packers while he was getting ready for his Sunday night debut against the Dallas Cowboys, McNabb answered, "No. Who won?"
9. Jayson Werth, Outfielder
Jayson Werth came to the Philadelphia Phillies four years ago as a former prospect gone bad.
He totally remade himself in Philly, and this was supposed to be his big year—his free agent year—when he would put it all together and get ready to become one of the highest paid players in baseball.
But 2010 has been a mixed bag for Werth, featuring run-ins with fans, a couple of slumps, and a horrendous batting average with runners in scoring position.
Now it is September and Werth is slumping again. As the rest of the lineup begins to heat up, Werth is hitting .245 for the month with 13 strikeouts and only one walk.
Meanwhile, numerous news reports have Werth firing his agent and looking to hire a new agent over—and this is ridiculous—commission rates.
Can Werth get back on track in order to get the Phils to the playoffs, help them succeed in the playoffs, and salvage what's left of what was going to be a handsome offseason payoff?
8. LeSean McCoy, Running Back
With Brian Westbrook leaving this offseason, 2010 was supposed to be the year that LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver were going to be the "thunder-and-lightning" of the Philadelphia Eagles.
But in Week 1, McCoy had only seven rushes for 35 yards. Meanwhile, Weaver was lost for the season to a torn ACL, and Michael Vick actually led the team in rushing.
Can McCoy rebound? Can he succeed in a one-back system?
7. Roy Oswalt, Pitcher
In nine starts since joining the Philadelphia Phillies, Oswalt has gone 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA, and the Phillies have won eight of his nine starts.
Over that same period Cliff Lee has gone 3-5 with a 4.36 ERA for the Rangers. The other day, the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer asked the question, "Cliff who?"
6. Jimmy Rollins, Shortstop
Say what you will about Jimmy Rollins's numbers: J-Roll has come up big in September and October for the Philadelphia Phillies in each of the last four years, and they need him to do it again.
Let's all hope this hamstring strain doesn't linger.
5. Kevin Kolb, Quarterback
Quarterback gets drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft, then spends three seasons riding the bench and waiting his turn.
Quarterback finally gets his turn, has a mediocre half of football, then gets tackled from behind and ends up with a concussion.
Quarterback watches his backup light up the football and almost bring the team back for a come-from-behind victory.
Such is the life of Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
4. Roy Halladay, Pitcher
With Josh Johnson out for the rest of the season, the NL Cy Young race essentially comes down to a pair of 18-10 aces: Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright.
Now that the Phillies bats have warmed back up, which should provide all the run support Halladay needs, can he win 20 games and beat out the Cardinals ace for the hardware in his first season as a National Leaguer?
3. Andre Igoudala, Guard
As the No. 1 stunner and star of the Philadelphia 76ers, Iguodala has been a relative disappointment, a lone star stuck in a talent wasteland.
But in the 2010 FIBA World Championships this past month, Iguodala was surrounded by some of the finest talent the NBA has to offer, and he absolutely blossomed. As ESPN.com's Bill Simmons said:
"One of the frustrating things about this tournament: Iguodala has been a revelation as a fourth banana/swing defender/energy guy/uber-athlete, which really should have been his NBA destiny—mega-glue guy on a great team, like a much more devastating version of Trevor Ariza on the 2008-09 Lakers—only we don't have nearly enough quality players to fill 30 NBA teams, so instead he's forced to carry a lottery team, take terrible shots, play with inferior teammates and do everything that the basketball gods never meant for him to do."
That says it all.
2. Ryan Howard, First Baseman
Ryan Howard is the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Every September, he puts away his bats and brings out his bazookas.
Howard is heating up again at just the right time and looks poised to make a run at his fourth RBI title in five years, which would absolutely be historic.
1. Michael Vick, Quarterback
Forget who he is and what it all means and just wrap your head around this:
16-for-24 with 175 passing yards; 11 rushes, 103 yards.
If not for a fumble by Eldra Buckley in the Eagles' first drive to start the second half, and (yet another) bad play call on 4th-and-1 coming down the stretch, the Eagles would have absolutely won this game against the Green Bay Packers, whom many have picked to make a run at the Super Bowl, after an absolutely punchless first half.
Yes, this is still Kevin Kolb's team. Yes, the Packers didn't have a game plan for Michael Vick.
But if you can't get excited about what we saw on Sunday, then you aren't a football fan.