Rob's Rants: Eagles preseason opener, Chris Long and Odubel Herrera

Rob's Rants: Eagles preseason opener, Chris Long and Odubel Herrera

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.

Crisp Carson
Cue the ESPN 30 for 30 narration. 

What if I told you that in the Eagles' first preseason game, Carson Wentz would go 4 for 4 passing and lead his team to a touchdown on his only drive of the night. He would also convert a fourth down with a man in his face and a 3rd-and-13 while flinging aside a rushing Clay Matthews for a 38-yard touchdown. 

Wentz's physical prowess and football growth were on full display. There aren’t many quarterbacks who can fight off a 6-3, 255-pound freight train with bad intentions and still have the wherewithal to keep their eyes down the field and complete a pass. Wentz's combo of size, strength and athleticism is a lethal mix.

The first-team defense would hold the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers to a three-and-out and on the next possession force a fumble. 

I’d say, barring any major injuries, which didn’t occur — success. Big picture: Focus on what the Eagles' starters accomplished last Thursday in Green Bay. Everything is typical preseason fodder.

Can we just fast-forward to Sept. 10 already?

Out of his lane
I never understood the "stay in your lane, stick to sports if you’re an athlete" thing. If Eagles defensive end Chris Long wants to tweet his opinion about what’s happening in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, why is he any different than anyone else who has a take, other than he has a platform? Because he plays sports for a living and gets paid handsomely to do so, he isn’t afforded the same rights as a “regular guy?”

If you check his timeline or listen to interviews from him in the past, giving opinions outside of sports is something Long has done virtually his entire career. This is not a concert setting where an artist is forcing political opinions down the throat of a captive audience who just wants to hear his or her songs. If you don’t want to listen to Long or any other athlete, don’t follow them on Twitter and don’t listen to their interviews.

El Torito
As hard as it may be for some, I think we just need to accept that Odubel Herrera is a really talented player who also can be a bonehead. He can be both; they are not mutually exclusive. 

Herrera is just 25 years old and in only his third season. But he’s been around long enough that these inexplicable brain-dead plays should not be happening.

Pete Mackanin and the organization are in a tough spot. Herrera can hit for average and power. Entering Monday, he was hitting .342 with a .970 OPS since June 1. He already has 15 more doubles (an NL-leading 36) than he had all of last season.

And although he will swing at garbage, bat flip on a fly out and do things on the bases that make you throw your remote, the positives outweigh the negatives (see story). He may take a circuitous route to the ball, but his speed and ability to track a ball in center are special. His lapses in judgment may keep him from being a franchise player, but even with the warts, he is still a damn good, proven big-league player, and one the Phils should think long and hard before moving.

Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

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Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

Brian Dawkins has chosen longtime teammate and close friend Troy Vincent to introduce him this summer at Dawk's Hall of Fame induction.

Dawkins was selected in February for enshrinement in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.

"The presenter that will actually be on the stage will be Troy Vincent," Dawkins said in a video posted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.

"My teammate in Philadelphia. We came there the same year. Almost from Day 1 he kind of ... not kind of, he took me under his wing on becoming a professional. Not just a football player but a professional. The details. The details that he went through, the particulars of how he played the position of cornerback was the same way he lived his life (and ran) his businesses that he had off the field.

"He's a guy I can call anytime. Any time of night. And tell him 100 percent all what's going on with me, and I know he's not going to judge me, and it's not going to leave his lips (for) anybody else.

"And the most important thing for me, being a man of faith, is that I know he's going to pray with me. So all those things combined are the reasons why Troy was the perfect guy to introduce me to the Hall of Fame."

Vincent, a native of Trenton and graduate of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before signing an offer sheet with the Eagles before the 1996 season that the Dolphins didn't match.

The Eagles drafted Dawkins in the second round a month after signing Vincent, and the two spent eight years together in the secondary, reaching the playoffs five times and the NFC Championship Game three times.

During those eight seasons, Vincent reached Pro Bowls and Dawkins made the first three of his nine Pro Bowls.

Vincent retired after the 2006 season and Dawkins after the 2011 season.

Dawkins, Vincent and Eric Allen are the only Eagles defensive backs picked to five or more Pro Bowls.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

Dawkins' former Eagles teammate, Terrell Owens, will also be inducted. He hasn't yet announced who will present him.

Dawkins will be the 21st former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent the majority of his career with the Eagles.

Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

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Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

Offseason quarterback controversies are a rite of passage in the NFL. A time-honored tradition, really. 

We’ve certainly had our share in Philadelphia over the years. There were calls for Ron Jaworski to sit in favor of a young Randall Cunningham. Then cries for Jim McMahon to take Randall’s place. When Andy Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, that began a groundswell that he was the better choice than Donovan McNabb. Of course, most recently we had the Michael Vick/Nick Foles back and forth. To look back now, it seems silly these were even debates.

Most of the time, when you have these “controversies,” it generally means you have no quarterback on your roster. Not always. The 49ers in the late-80’s and early-90’s had Joe Montana and Steve Young, both Hall of Famers and all-time great quarterbacks. Both also won Super Bowls for San Francisco. But that is the exception. So is the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ situation.

I use the word “situation” and not “controversy.” Because there is no controversy. If Wentz is cleared by the Eagles’ medical staff, he starts Week 1. Period. What Foles did was incredible and will go down as one of the great — if not the greatest — stretch we have seen in Philadelphia sports history. He came up as big as you can. But Wentz he is not. That’s no disrespect to Foles. There are a handful of people on the planet who are in Wentz’s class.

Just a refresher course on what Wentz did in 13 games last season (his second in the NFL, by the way). He threw for 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 3,296 passing yards and had a 101.9 passer rating. The 33 TDs were the second-most in the NFL despite his missing the final three games. He also led his team to an 11-2 record before succumbing to that knee injury late into that Rams game that clinched the NFC East. He would have been the league MVP had he not gotten hurt.

There is a great luxury having Foles on this team. Wentz does not have to come back before he is able. If he’s not ready, you have the best backup in the league to start the season. But that’s the only scenario in which Foles plays Week 1. Simply put: Wentz is the better quarterback. And he has earned the right to start the opener if cleared. 

Some people read into Wentz's Instagram video of himself throwing earlier in the week as him somehow sending a message to Foles. I don’t buy it. I think Wentz’s message was to the fans and himself that I’ll be back, better than ever.

Wentz and Foles are both good teammates who put the team above themselves. Sure, Foles is a competitor and would likely prefer to start. But there won’t be any behind-the-scenes maneuvering to undercut Wentz. And Wentz is secure enough to be able to handle a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and all that goes along with that. Not to mention a coaching staff and organization that won’t allow outside noise to become a distraction.

Wentz over Foles. There’s no quarterback controversy.