Rob's Rants: Brian Dawkins, Rhys Hoskins and Ozark

Rob's Rants: Brian Dawkins, Rhys Hoskins and Ozark

Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which CSNPhilly's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.

Coach Dawk
When Brian Dawkins rejoined the Eagles organization as a football operations executive prior to last season, his role appeared to be that of a scout and/or conduit to the younger players to help teach them the ropes of the NFL. But something that’s become apparent at this year’s training camp is this: Dawkins has been doing some coaching and on-field instruction as well. Two players in particular he has been working with this summer are rookie corner Rasul Douglas and second-year man C.J. Smith. 

What better resource to have as an added voice for a young player than Dawkins? He’s played the game at the highest level. He’s not too far removed from the game, having retired in 2011, that these guys haven’t seen him play or don’t remember him. And no player epitomizes or understands this city better than Dawk — and what it takes to succeed here. Dawkins had incredible talent but was driven by an insatiable work ethic. Here’s hoping the young Birds defensive backs have half his talent and all his drive. 

16 > 18
I’ve never been a proponent of expanding the NFL regular season schedule to 18 games. I fully understand how brutal four preseason games are and how bad it stinks for fans to have to pay for these so-called exhibitions. 

The problem is, the NFL is a league of attrition. A major injury can derail a team's season. Accordingly, the ones in the preseason play sparingly. Yes there’s injury risk, but it is on a much smaller scale. Add in two more regular season games, and you’re all in – and therefore the injury risk increases dramatically. Not to mention the long-term, cumulative effect increased blows to the head could have on these players at the end of their careers. 

That said, the preseason is useful evaluation tool to fill out the bottom of a roster. While camp and OTAs are important in gauging talent, coaches like to see these guys in game conditions. Reducing it to two games would make it more difficult to for the under-drafted or undrafted to carve out a roster spot.

Out in left field
Why did it take until Aug. 7 for the Phillies organization to try Rhys Hoskins in left field? This could be an extremely short-lived experiment if Hoskins is a butcher out there, but shouldn’t the club have tried this a little earlier in the year? 

As things look now, the big league club could have the makings of three starters in Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams.  And I realize Altherr's trip to the disabled list may have changed things. But while the club was slogging through Michael Saunders and Cameron Perkins and Ty Kelly in the outfield earlier this year, Hoskins' call-up could have been expedited instead of being blocked by Tommy Joseph at first if they had tried this in May or June.   

"Couple of weeks ago, they said, 'Hey, go run around the outfield a little bit during BP,'" Hoskins said pregame Monday in an interview with CSNPhilly's Marshall Harris. "It was good, get my conditioning up, keep it up towards the end of the year here. Then they told me, 'Hey, start taking it a little bit more serious, getting reads off the bat.' They talked to me about it a little bit, I felt comfortable out there and here we are tonight."

Matt Klentak has been steadfast in saying that Hoskins needed nearly an entire season of Triple A at-bats, and he’s put up big time offensive numbers. But if Hoskins had showed some promise early in the outfield at that level, is there a chance we could have seen him sooner in South Philly? The Phils tried to move Joseph at the trade deadline to no avail. His offensive power numbers are decent, but his other metrics are poor. If Joseph had been moved, this conversation is moot and Hoskins is playing first. But it seems strange to do this now. 

Let me start by saying, I have never seen a full episode of Game of Thrones. Don’t @ me. I realize I am in the minority. My colleagues in the newsroom here at CSN, when not watching or talking Philadelphia sports, are discussing Thrones. The only way I can sum it up is, it’s not my cup of tea. I will however give a ringing endorsement to Ozark on Netflix. I’ve always been a big Jason Bateman fan, and he is excellent both as the lead and directing several episodes. It’s dark and twisted, but the story arc is intense and the acting is phenomenal.          

Weekly meetings helping Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz get on same page

USA Today Images

Weekly meetings helping Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz get on same page

It doesn't seem like such a big deal at first. The head coach and quarterback get together and talk? 

So what?
Doug Pederson said Saturday it is a big deal and said his wide-ranging weekly 1-on-1 shoot-the-bull sessions with Carson Wentz have become an important part of Wentz's success as a quarterback, Pederson's success as a coach and the Eagles' success as a team.
Pederson said before practice Saturday morning that every Thursday night -- or Friday night the week of a Monday night game -- once most people have left the NovaCare Complex, he and Wentz sit down and just talk.
"We kind of talk about a lot of things," he said. "A little bit about football and a little bit about life."
The Eagles are 5-1 going into their huge Monday night showdown with the Redskins at the Linc, and Wentz and Pederson, both in their second year, are both enjoying considerable acclaim. 

Wentz, with 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions, is having an MVP type of season so far, and Pederson is an early favorite for Coach of the Year.
They're clearly on the proverbial same page, and Pederson said something as simple as a weekly brainstorming session with nobody else around is a key part of that success.
“I think it’s important for myself as a play caller and (Carson as) a quarterback that we kind of get on the same page," Pederson said.
"I want to hear his thoughts from the week of practice and he wants to hear my thoughts. We spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes talking football and the rest of it is we’re talking deer hunting stories. He loves to deer hunt and all that and I do too. I talk about my days in Green Bay with Brett.
"It’s just that time where he and I can just sort of take a deep breath and exhale and really kind of get on the same page going into the game basically. I think it’s important we continue to do that."
Pederson said he and Wentz met individually occasionally last year and earlier this year, but in recent weeks the Thursday night sessions have become a regular and important part of his and Wentz's regular routine.
Obviously, the head coach and quarterback meet all the time, but Pederson said these sessions are a unique opportunity because it's late in the week, it's just the two of them and the conversations aren't just limited to football.
“Andy (Reid) would do it during the week, not necessarily 1-on-1 at night or anything like that, but he would pull Alex (Smith) aside during the day," Pederson said.
"I know back when Donovan (McNabb) was here, even then he would have conversations with him. Marty Mornhinweg would do it with Michael Vick.
"I’ve been around coordinators or play callers who have done that with the quarterback. I just think it’s important that that line of communication is open, the dialogue is there and I want to make sure he and I are seeing the same things going into those games."

Eagles Injury Update: Hicks, Kendricks should be OK; Darby questionable


Eagles Injury Update: Hicks, Kendricks should be OK; Darby questionable

It's still unclear whether or not the Eagles will have Ronald Darby for Monday night's game, but at least they'll have their linebackers. 

Both Jordan Hicks (calf) and Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) will be OK to play against Washington on Monday night, head coach Doug Pederson said. 

"Both of them will practice today," Pederson said on Saturday morning. "They're both doing well. Just to get a couple extra days of rest. And Mychal has actually practiced all week. Jordan's been the one we've kept out. Both of them will go today and we'll get a better understanding of where they're at but they'll be fine for the game."

Hicks, Kendricks and Darby were the only three Eagles who were limited in Friday's practice. 

Darby (ankle) will be listed as questionable for the game, but earlier in the week Pederson said "stars have to align" for the cornerback to play this week. The 49ers game on Oct. 29 is probably more likely. 

Darby, who dislocated his right ankle in Week 1, returned to practice for the first time this week. 

"[Darby has] looked well. It's just day by day with him," Pederson said. "We'll get through today's practice with him. Obviously, have limited his reps during practice. He is doing well and we'll get through today and tomorrow to make a decision for [the game]."

The Eagles will practice on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. and the injury report will come out later in the afternoon.