We can see it both ways.
It’s meaningful for the Eagles to beat Dallas. The Eagles could potentially capture the No. 6 seed in the playoffs with a win Saturday. You don’t want to go into the playoffs feeling rusty.
On the other hand, with a division title out of reach, risking the health of key players — some of whom might have just recovered from COVID-19 — when a playoff spot has already been clinched could be plain stupid.
Should the Eagles rest their starters?
— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport
What do you think about resting the Eagles’ starters? email@example.com
After fans fell out of the stands Sunday, with the FedEx Field rail collapsing nearly onto Jalen Hurts, the Eagles quarterback thought about it and decided to write a letter to the Washington Football Team and the NFL. He’s asking what they’re going to do to avoid this happening again. After some injured Eagles fans claim they weren’t offered assistance at the stadium, Hurts is stepping up to the plate to ask for accountability.
With disaster being averted, Hurts can focus on a playoff game that will be remembered by many for how he performs at a time when it appears undecided whether he’s the team’s quarterback of the future. How will the Eagles judge him? To former team president Joe Banner, Hurts’ grade is an incomplete at the moment, and he addresses how the team could weigh his overall performance by avoiding recency bias.
Is Jimmy Rollins a Hall of Famer? A Phillies legend? There’s no doubt about the latter. The catalyst for 10 winning seasons in 11 years? You bet. But does he deserve a plaque in Cooperstown among the game’s all-time best?
Our Hall of Fame voters at The Inquirer are split on that question. Hayes voted for Rollins, who he says stands behind only Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter in the Golden Era of Shortstops. But Scott Lauber has a different view. Rollins might be a franchise icon, but that doesn’t mean he belongs in the Hall. See Dale Murphy with the Braves, Don Mattingly with the Yankees, and Dwight Evans with the Red Sox. Lauber points to the advanced metrics as the sticking point for Rollins’ case for Cooperstown.
What do you think? Is Rollins a Hall of Famer? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off the Dribble
Joel Embiid went on a tear in December, averaging 29.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists and earning NBA player of the month. He has also helped the 76ers rise in the standings in the Eastern Conference, with his team putting together a respectable 9-6 record in the month.
Acting coach Dan Burke has marveled at Embiid’s performance and the improvements he has made in recent years. While he once took published shots at Embiid as an Indiana Pacers assistant, Burke now gets to see Embiid up close every day and he’s been impressed, as he told The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell.
Next: The Sixers play the Orlando Magic tonight at 7 at the Amway Center in Orlando. (NBCSP).
On the Fly
Another day, more Flyers on the COVID-19 list.
On Tuesday evening, the Flyers placed captain Claude Giroux and defenseman Ivan Provorov on the COVID protocol list. Just how big are those losses? Giroux leads the team in points with 29, and Provorov had previously never missed a game in six seasons (403 games).
The news on the ice wasn’t much better as the Flyers lost, 4-1, to the Anaheim Ducks to finish the road trip at 1-2-1. The one positive was 20-year-old defenseman Cam York, who made his season debut and impressed in 20 minutes of ice time, logging two shots on goal, three hits, and two blocked shots.
Next: The Flyers return to home ice Thursday when they host the Metropolitan Division-rival Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu).
Worth a look
Stop it, Herbstreit: Numerous college football players who are headed to the NFL draft decided to skip bowl games, so let’s stop giving them a hard time, Mike Jensen writes. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit went on TV and questioned whether such players truly love football. Well, that’s just silly.
The Wright Way: Eric Dixon is the latest Villanova basketball player to break out in his third year on campus, following the path of former Wildcats such as Mikal Bridges. Averaging 11 points and 8.6 rebounds in Big East play, the big man is the latest to prove Jay Wright’s gradual player development strategy continues to pay dividends.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Marcus Hayes, Mike Sielski, EJ Smith, Josh Tolentino, Scott Lauber, Gina Mizell, Mike Jensen, and Tyler Small.