PFT: Castillo gone, is Vick next?

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PFT: Castillo gone, is Vick next?

By Mike FlorioProFootballTalk.com
On Monday, Eagles coach Andy Reid offered tepid support for quarterback Mike Vick and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. On Tuesday, Reid fired Castillo.
Undoubtedly, Mike Vick is next.
Though it may not (but still could be) a bye-week benching, Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg surely will spend the next 12 days getting rookie Nick Foles ready to take over, whenever Reid decides to flip the switch. (Yes, Foles and the rest of the players will get several days off during the bye, but that wont stop Foles from studying film and getting further ensconced in the playbook.)
The handwriting on the wall has become an engraving in the form of a middle finger to the man who secured the job after Reid fell out of love with Donovan McNabb and then out of lust with Kevin Kolb. The new object of Reids affection is Foles, and its only a matter of time before Foles is flinging it.
Consider the evidence. With rampant reports and speculation regarding the team dumping Vick after the next Super Bowl to avoid guaranteeing 3 million of a 15.5 million salary in 2013, the Eagles have said nothing publicly and theyve done nothing privately to push a message of support for Vick. Then, Reid once again dropped a strong hint that Vick is in trouble with that today, I am response to the question of whether the head coach remains committed to the quarterback.
What secure starting quarterback gets treated that way? The Cowboys bend over backward whenever Tony Romo bends over forward for an opposing team, and the Chargers remain resolute regarding Philip Rivers after the kind of Monday night debacle that would have gotten Vick run out of Philly before the final gun sounded.
So its coming. Whether its this week or next week or at halftime of the next game or after the next game, itll happen. The only way to stop it will be for Vick to turn the clock back to 2010 with any remaining chances he has to persuade Reid to keep him on the field.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

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Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 25, the Boston Celtics had the perennial title contenders on the ropes with the lead in the fourth quarter only to lose it and the game, 109-103.

On the road at Houston, one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Celtics led in the fourth quarter and wound up losing their Dec. 5 matchup 107-106 as Al Horford missed what would have been a game-winning lay-up as time expired.

Boston played well in both games, but not well enough to win which unfortunately for the Green Team has been how things have gone when they’ve faced some of the better teams in the NBA this season.

They are hoping to break that trend tonight when they hit the road and face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder (14-9) come in with a slightly better record than the Celtics (13-10).

Boston’s issue isn’t that they can’t play with the better teams.

It’s their finish that needs work.

Boston has lost five of its six games this season against teams that are currently among the top-4 in their respective conferences. 

Losses to San Antonio and Houston only highlight Boston not being able to make the late-game runs needed to win.

Even in their 101-94 loss to Toronto on Friday, it was the Raptors’ ability to make one clutch play after another when it mattered most, that proved to be what was needed to propel them to victory.

“That’s what good teams do; they execute at the end of the game,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “We just have to execute better and get stops at the end of the game. That’s what it comes down to.”

And while the Celtics have a number of returners from last season, every season brings about a different team and with that, a need to learn how to collectively be successful especially down the stretch in close games.

“We’re learning,” Bradley said following the Raptors loss. “We’re moving on to the next game.”

And that would be the Thunder who come in having won six of their last seven games.

Of course when it comes to the Thunder, everything starts with Russell Westbrook who is on everyone’s short list for league MVP.

He is averaging a triple-double this season with 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game.

“He’s amazing,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier who will likely spend some time defending Westbrook tonight. “He’s going to be aggressive. We have to try and find a way to stop that. He’s putting up video game stats. It’s tough but we gotta do something.”

The Celtics will likely lean heavily on Marcus Smart and Bradley, a first-team all-NBA defensive selection last season, when it comes to trying to slow down Westbrook.

“Russell’s a good player,” Bradley said. “I look forward to every matchup. If it’s him, whoever it is, I look forward to it. That’s what this league is about.”

It’s also about growth and development of franchises into title contenders, something the Celtics are eager to continue pushing towards tonight.

Horford spent the previous nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, advancing to the playoffs every season.

He saw first-hand how they went from a team that could barely get into the playoffs, into one that produced four all-stars in one season and had the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Horford saw the loss to Toronto as an example of a really good team doing what great teams do and that’s finding a way to win regardless of how things are going most of the night.

“We made a run early (against Toronto), they stayed with it, didn’t rattle and eventually got over us,” Horford said. “We’re growing as a group.”