Fleeting Bits of Tid: On Delmon, Donatell, and Hopeful Fevers

by Jerome's Friend

I often have ideas for stories that aren’t very substantive.  Bill Lyon called them “Sudden thoughts and second thoughts”.  So here you go…

Ruben Amaro’s signing of Delmon Young is a very low-risk, high-reward proposition for a player with baggage and potential.  A one year contract for a guaranteed $750,000 is a small gamble for a player who was 10th in AL MVP voting as recently as 2010.  But what he possesses in potential he may lack in heart, hustle, and attitude; necessary requisites for a successful Philadelphia pro-athlete.  If anything this signing could be an attempt by the Phillies to push Domonic Brown into some increased level of adequacy.  However, good ol’ Rube does not have a successful history of these kinds of off-season signings, especially recently.  See Willis, Dontrelle.

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Like everyone, I was surprised by the Chip Kelly hire, impressed by his press conference, and sold on how he seems to have embraced the Eagles franchise (and not just the task at hand).  However, I am not as impressed with the reports of interest in San Francisco defensive backs coach Ed Donatell as a candidate for defensive coordinator.  He has been attributed with building a formidable secondary for the 49ers (ranked 4th in the NFL), but in his seven years as a defensive coordinator with Green Bay and Atlanta (2000-2006) his pass defenses have ranked (in chronological order) 19th, 15th, 3rd, 23rd, 22nd, 14th, and 29th.  I didn’t see how Chip Kelly could possibly be impressed with that resume, so I transposed those results to the 2012 season.  If the passing yards for Donatell’s defenses occurred during this 2012 season, his 2000-2006 passing defenses would rank 9th, 3rd, 2nd, 8th, 11th, 3rd, and 18th.  Quite different.  Looking at this another way, here is how Pittsburgh’s 2012 number one-ranked passing defense would rank from 2000-2006: 7th, 6th, 3rd, 8th, 7th, 9th, and 4th.  The point here is that the NFL has indeed become more of a passing league, even since 2006.  And let’s not forget Donatell was Green Bay’s scapegoat after being victimized by “4th and 26”.  But maybe Kelly is taking stock in Donatell’s recent success with the 49ers, if not looking at his resume a little more differently than most.  Admittedly, it would be pretty cool to see teenage mutant turtles sporting Eagles jerseys at home games.

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Philadelphia has a basketball team playing poorly, but don’t pull the plug just yet.  Philly basketball still has a heartbeat and a strong pulse.  Thanks to Villanova and LaSalle, Philly basketball is alive.  Wednesday night LaSalle (13-5, 3-2 A-10) came away with a great home win over ninth-ranked perennial field-of-64-nuisance Butler.  After the victory, the students left their seats for the court to celebrate LaSalle’s first win over a top-10 opponent since 1980, and Philadelphia’s first win over a top-10 opponent since… well… since Villanova’s (10-7) win over fifth-ranked Louisville a week ago that resulted in another court-storming.  Alert… February Fever is about to sweep the city.  If left untreated, the potential exists for an increase in severity to March Madness.

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Speaking of, the Flyers are playing feverish hockey… and that ain’t a good thing.  After Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils (ugh), the Flyers are now 0-3 to start a season for the first time since 1995.  But wait, there was another, more recent time the Flyers were 0-3.  In May 2010, the Flyers dug themselves into a 0-3 series hole against the Boston Bruins only to win the series in an incredibly memorable Game 7 instant classic (who can forget Laviolette’s timeout, “We need one goal!”).  That seemed to turn out “OK”, and that 0-3 start in 1995 didn’t turn out so bad either – the Flyers eventually became the one-seed in the Eastern Conference.  Yes, this lockout-shortened season is different, especially with a schedule heavily laden with divisional opponents.  But hey, this is Philadelphia, where misery loves company and hope springs eternal.  And history repeats itself, right?

You can follow Philly’s Inferno on Facebook and Twitter (@JeromesFriend).

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