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Eagles’ biggest moves are with coaching staff, Anyone notice the Flyers are the best team in hockey? And “Fast Eddie” Chambers starts his climb back up the ladder

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With the uncertainty surrounding the NFL and a potential lockout, every team in the league goes into this off-season differently then most. At the moment, NFL owners walked away from the negotiating table last Wednesday when the NFLPA proposed to take an average of 50 percent of all revenue generated by the shield, according to player sources.

As of now, the NFL has denied there were any collective bargaining negotiating sessions scheduled this week, as a union official had claimed two days ago on Monday.

No one wants to give in here.

Every team in the league is impacted by this, and every organization needs to go about their business and still prepare for next season.

For the Philadelphia Eagles, as crazy as it sounds, they needed to do one thing right off the bat. On Tuesday, Philadelphia tagged Michael Vick with the franchise tag, and we will investigate that move soon enough.

However, first and foremost, the team needed to round out their coaching staff and they did.

Yes, I know it sounds so simple, but the Eagles have never overhauled their coaching staff quite like they have in 2011.

Granted, despite some rumors that ran amuck, Andy Reid is still at the helmJuan Castillo- the Eag;es new defensive coordinator?  Photo: BusinessInsider.com and with these changes, perhaps 2011 just might be Reid’s last year with Philadelphia. Who knows?

Of course, eye brows were raised with the promotion of offensive-line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. To be honest, I am just going to let this one play out. I think it is much easier to kill the Eagles on this move, because the decision comes way out from left field.

However, as we have seen over the years, the Eagles keep things very close to the vest, and they do not always go the traditional route when making moves or inking players (See: Vick)

By all accounts, Castillo is a hard-working no-nonsense guy, and that is always strength. Will he be able to make the transition from offense to defense, and improve a horrible red-zone defense?

One strong move was the hiring of Howard Mudd, who helped keep Peyton Manning upright for over a decade, and the Eagles are hoping he can reshape that o-line to do the same for Vick.  

Jim Washburn is a man’s man, and he knows how to get his defensive players down and dirty in the trenches. He has had that reputation with the Titans and the Redskins, and the Eagles are lacking that nasty attitude they had under the legendary Jim Johnson.

It starts and ends with defense going forward for the Eagles, who for years were able to just impose their defensive wills over their opponents. It has not been like that for the past several years, but the pieces are in place with the coaching staff to provide that spark again.

Flyers streaking through the Eastern ConferenceFlyers beat the Lightning. Photo:xano.org/sports-flyers-beat-lightning-in-7th-...

If a puck was dropped inside the Wells Fargo Center and no one was around to hear it, does that mean the puck wasn’t dropped? Ok, now I have your attention, has anyone noticed how well the Philadelphia Flyers are playing this season?

The orange and black sit alone atop the Atlantic Division with a 37-14-5 mark, five points better than the Sidney Crosby-less  Pittsburgh Penguins, thanks to Tuesday night’s thrilling road win in a shootout against Tampa Bay, which seemed to have the Flyers’ number of late. The Flyers avoided a season-series sweep with a 4-3 shutout win.

Philadelphia leads the Eastern Conference and they are doing it in such an unorthodox way, they have to be commended.

The age old adage in hockey is “if you have two goalies, you really don’t have a number one goalie.” But, for the Flyers, deciding who to stick between the pipes every night  is working for them and that is in large part to the gut feelings of head coach Peter Laviolette, who has a veteran netminder in Brian Boucher and a sizzling rookie in Sergei Bobrovsky to tinker around with.

Take what happened back on February 1st for example, and you can see the madness behind Laviolette’s moves.

Bobrovsky started that Tuesday contest against Tampa Bay, the first game following the All-Star Break, and he was very shaky, allowing three goals on just six shots in the first period alone. Laviolette didn’t hesitate and pulled him in favor of Boucher, who played the second and third periods. Despite, the 4-0 loss, the veteran netminder was solid in the setback, and one would suspect he would get the call the two nights later in Nashville.

Nope, Laviolette went back to Bobrovsky and played Boucher against Dallas on Saturday, and the Flyers rebounded and won both games. A goalie in hockey is like a jump shooter, you go 3-for-18 one night from the floor, you can bounce back with a 12-of-16 performance. The trick is having a short-term memory, and Laviolette tested his goalie with that notion against Nashville.

The Flyers are dominating at home, which could pay dividends come playoff time. They have been very consistent all season long, and now with the Kris Versteeg trade, they really do not have any weaknesses that need to be addressed.

They just keep winning, and Tuesday night’s win against a top-tier team like the Lightning, goes a long way come spring time.

“Fast Eddie” ready to climb the ladder again"Fast Eddie" Chambers photo: http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=26892&more=1

Boxing is a funny sport, you can be on top of the world one moment, and with one crushing left hook or jab, be on the bottom the next.

For some fighters, getting a second chance at glory comes around but maybe once if you are lucky.

Philadelphia’s “Fast Eddie” Chambers  is one of those boxers, and Friday night in Atlantic City, his journey towards the top began with a hard-fought win over Derric Rossy. During the bout, Chambers dropped the much-improved Rossy, and would win on points.

Chambers stopped Rossy in the seventh round when they met back in 2007, and didn’t fight his best fight in the rematch, but got the win in his first fight in almost a year.

He was dubbed “America’s” next great heavyweight, and he looked the part early one, starting his career 30-0 and leaving a wake of opponents behind. He had his first shot at glory against Alexander Povetkin in 2008, when he fought the Russian for the USBA heavyweight title.

He lost a 12-round unanimous decision, but rebounded and reeled off five straight wins in a row before meeting Wladimir Klitschko  in Germany for the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight crowns.  A win, and you are king of a division that has been ruled by Europeans through the years.

Klitschko laid waste to Chambers in a one-sided beating and brutal 12th-round knockout.

Things would be different this time around. Prior to his rematch with Rossy, Chambers’ camp believed a win can propel the native of Philadelphia back into the swing of things in the heavyweight division.

“I have had world class sparring with Steve Cunningham, Chazz Witherspoon, and Yusaf Mack,” the 28-year-old Chambers said last week. It’s good work and we help each other in the process.”

Chambers is very talented and undersized but he is tough and has heart, and he is not the type of fighter who just wanted his opponent hand picked for him.

“I am grateful that the IBF kept me in this position to where I am able to have this significant fight which will be the first step back into regaining my number-one spot so I can fight for the title yet once again.”

Fitting, the fight was in Atlantic City, where some people rolled the dice against Chambers (36-2), who didn’t want it any other way.

In a division that needs a great American boxer, Chambers might be the ace card up the IBF’s sleeve.

Rich Quinones is a freelance sports broadcaster, sports writer, and host and creator of "On Q" Sports Talk, which can be heard every Thursday night from 10-11PM on 1460 WIFI AM.

He has over 13 years of broadcasting experience, most recently spending the last three as afternoon drive-time host for 1290 The Ticket, a Fox Sports Affiliate in Delaware. He has worked for various news and sports radio stations in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Ohio and the “First State,” where he won numerous awards for his own-air work. A national freelance sports correspondent for several different media outlets across the country, Rich has covered every sport over the years as well as the local teams in our backyard, and is known for his “hard-hitting,” passionate style behind the microphone. His work has been published online as well as in SJ Magazine and South Jersey Magazine. He is also play-by-play voice for the NAFL and served as lead blow-by-blow announcer for Dave Tiberi’s T.N.T Boxing.

“Q” covers the sweet science on a daily basis and is set to launch his own show online. Rich is also an advocate for retired NFL Players, who are struggling in life since leaving the game and need some guidance. He has partnered up with several former NFL players, who also believe in this cause.

Contact Rich at rquinonesmedia@hotmail.com

Castillo Photo: www.businessinsider.com