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May 05, 2015

From Marcus Mariota … to Mark Sanchez?

What if Bradford isn’t 100 percent in Eagles' QB camp competition … and he loses?

According to Mark Sanchez, when training camp finally opens, the Philadelphia Eagles will have an open competition at quarterback between he and Sam Bradford.

Remember, Sanchez has already indicated that he was led to believe that Tim Tebow was only brought into the situation to be an extra arm at camp, so it’s pretty obvious that while most fans believed Sanchez was just a secure backup behind Bradford, he has other ideas.

It sure does seem like coach Chip Kelly confides in Sanchez and looks to him as a team leader and a guy he would feel comfortable with to run the Eagles’ offense. Naturally, the best-case scenario would be for Bradford to be the better quarterback at camp and end any sort of open competition.

The problem with that scenario is that Bradford’s repaired knee might not even allow him to be much of a factor at camp or the pre-season games. Bradford has an injury history that demands he be fully healthy to start taking hits, and that could be later rather than sooner.

So, after about two months of wondering if Marcus Mariota would be the club’s starting quarterback, we now have to wonder if the guy standing in the shotgun behind the Eagles offensive line on opening night will be Bradford and all his promise, or once again Mark Sanchez.

And the real nightmare could occur as early as October if the fans start pining for the good old days of Nick Foles.

• • •

If you want to talk about a sports ripoff, consider last Saturday night’s mega-bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. There is no sympathy here for those who might have thought they were going to see an in-your-face war, because any intelligent conversation about the fight had to indicate that Mayweather is not a brawler.

Mayweather is the individual equal of the old New Jersey Devils. They were winners, but that didn’t meant they had to pull you out of your seat to watch their style of play. The Devils perfected the trap, and they won enough championships that they could stake a claim to one of the best teams and organizations in the world.

If boxing has any chance to make a real comeback the tale of the money has to be pushed to the background. The story has to become fighting for a chance to be the best, not have the biggest bank account.

However, if it was excitement you were looking for, you had to look elsewhere, and they made no apologies.

The disgrace of the fight is that Pacquiao was not 100 percent healthy. He is going to have rotator cuff surgery, so he wasn’t at his best to make the run at Mayweather.

It’s unlikely he would have won the bout even with a rotator cuff borrowed from the Terminator, but that does not change the fact that he should have disclosed the injury to officials before the fight. In that case, the fight might have been delayed, and the payday would have been delayed.

And that brings us to the real underlying problem with the fight and with Mayweather – it’s all about the money. Even going into the fight there was a delay so that so many more people would have a chance to order the $100 pay-per-view, and that statistic became even more important than the so called tale-of-the-tape.

The name of this fight and of so many Mayweather fights is that it has become the tale-of-the-take. How much money can be made; can they assure over $100 million; will there be enough to buy another luxury jet.

If boxing has any chance to make a real comeback the tale of the money has to be pushed to the background. The story has to become fighting for a chance to be the best, not have the biggest bank account.

All in all, instead of the fight being a platform to further the sport of boxing, it turned into another reason to believe return to glory is never going to happen. The clutching has grabbing has become little more than a money grab.

• • •

The New York Yankees are facing some mild criticism in the media for their refusal to pay Alex Rodriguez a $6 million bonus for bashing his 660th home run over the weekend. It is a sordid story of PED violations and the Yankees insistence that they are not getting the marketing boost they had signed for in good faith when they agreed to-A Rod’s contract.

Now, here is the interesting part of this story: The Evil Empire and the Evil player are both going to come out looking good, and that is not easy.

First off, not many people outside of New York have any sort of love for the machine that is the Yankees. However, in this case, most fans are so sick of the PED stories and absurd salaries, they will even support the Yankees decision not to part with some of that pile of cash.

On the other hand, Rodriguez has not made a big deal out of the lost bonus. You might want to argue that he makes so much money a check for $6 million is what he keeps in the glove compartment of his car, but when was the last time you saw an athlete step away from the very last nickel of a deal?

Could it be that A-Rod finally gets it? Could it be that A-Rod is actually taking a high road here, and he will become one of the those unusual sports figures that is despised by the masses, and then rehabs himself to get back in its good graces.

Still a long way to go, but this early-season believe-it-or-not is that both the Yankees and A-Rod have taken the high road.


• • •

Speaking of amazing, the awful offensive start by Phils star Chase Utley borders on the absurd. Utley went into last night’s game in Atlanta flirting with the embarrassing number 100 – as in going under .100 as a batting average.

If this start continues we are not looking is not the Mendoza line, this is the end-of-career line.

In Utley’s defense, there is an argument being made that he has been hitting the ball hard, and he has been the victim of bad luck in terms of great catches, and just hitting ropes into the wrong place.

Well, maybe that will get your early May batting average hovering around .200, but .100 – that would indicate the worst “luck” in the history of baseball.

The guess here is that Utley’s pure and sweet short swing won’t allow him to remain in such a slump very much longer, but common sense has to tell you that sweet swing or not, the Phillies are fooling themselves if they think Utley is till a locked in three-hole hitter.

It is already painful enough to watch Ryan Howard when he struggles, but the specter of Utley hitting rock bottom in the same season is too much for even the most die-hard fan.

It’s just too bad the Pope isn’t visiting Philadelphia until next fall – the Phils could use a miracle before Mother’s Day.