Rob's Rants: Keep running, Doug; Embiid's status; OBJ's celebration

Rob's Rants: Keep running, Doug; Embiid's status; OBJ's celebration

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.

Run Doug, run
The Eagles' running backs carried the ball 33 times for 171 yards against the Giants. They averaged more than five yards per carry. That’s the balance many of us have been seeking. The ability to establish and stay with the run served them very well on a day when Carson Wentz was just OK. He did not commit a turnover, a huge step in his development. He also delivered a clutch throw to Alshon Jeffery with one second left in regulation that put the Eagles in position for Jake Elliott’s improbable 61-yard cannon shot of a game winner. Wentz averaged just 5.7 yards per completion. He also missed some big plays down the field. It was not one of his better games. It’s going to happen. The other guys get paid too, and he’s played only 19 NFL games. 

What’s incumbent upon Doug Pederson is to stay committed to the run and take some of the heat off of his young quarterback. He cannot lose himself in the moment or whatever seems to happen when he falls into these wildly imbalanced games like the 56-to-13, no-carries-for-LeGarrette-Blount Chiefs mess. His mentor, Andy Reid, despite a lot of success here, would do the same thing. He would have one or a stretch of those games where the Birds would lose, he’d ignore the run, and Donovan McNabb’s arm would be hanging off. Then he’d remember he had a guy like Duce Staley or Brian Westbrook in the backfield and he’d proceed to hand them the ball and get back on the winning track.      

Learn from your Yoda’s ways, Doug. By the way, the Chargers, the Eagles' next opponent, are the second worst team in the NFL against the run, allowing 146.7 yards per game on the ground. 

JoJo a no go?
So six months after having meniscus surgery, Joel Embiid is still not ready for 5-on-5 action?  The Sixers' big man has a long and varied injury history. But this a meniscus here we’re talking about. Here was Embiid at Sixers media day Monday on his status:

“I think the timetable, we’ve been focusing on the first game of the season. We’ve got a couple preseason games, might play in those. But if I’m not 100 percent, they’re not going to put me out there. It’s not just about rehabbing. It’s also about being in the best shape possible, which I’m not yet at that level.” 

I get everyone’s healing process is different. I understand he needs to get into basketball shape. And as long as he’s ready to go on Oct. 18 in Washington when it counts as he said, that’s ultimately all that matters. But it is troubling he can’t go full bore now. 

This is what Sixers special advisor, Jerry Colangelo told SiriusXM Radio, via Liberty Ballers, in April after Embiid’s surgery:

"It was much more minor than it could've been. And so, you know, the anticipation is that he will go through the normal healing process and we're hopeful that he will be at full bore going into next year's training camp."

Is this just the Sixers organization following the tradition of being incredibly overcautious? Or is there something more? Stay tuned … 

Not buying it, dog
A.J. Willingham, a CNN Trend and Franchise Editor, put this tweet out Monday regarding Odell Beckham, Jr’s dog/relief act he performed after scoring his first touchdown Sunday against the Eagles. 

Here was Beckham’s response.

To put things into context, if that’s possible, Beckham’s action could have been in response to President Trump's calling NFL players who protest the national anthem a “son of a bitch.” But I’m not buying it. If that was his intent or reasoning for the canine/shower, he would have copped to it when asked after the game. Rather than just saying this (via New York Post):

“I was in the end zone, I scored a touchdown — I’m a dog, so I acted like a dog.”

I’m pro celebrating and allowing these guys to have fun and I was thrilled when the league came to their senses and lightened up on penalizing their players for expressing themselves. But Beckham’s actions, statement or not, were classless. Period. 

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

USA Today Images

Jay Gruden 'very upset' Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz

Washington head coach Jay Gruden has faced Carson Wentz just three times so far.

That's all he needed to think Wentz is special.  

"I think he's progressed at a rate as fast as anybody I've seen really," Gruden said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday. "His ability to make plays in the pocket, his ability to stay in the pocket in the face of a rush and still deliver balls accurately, his command of the offense. 

"I think he's already proven this short in his career that he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, quite frankly, and he's going to be for a long time. And I don't know how he got to Philadelphia. And I'm very upset about that." 

Wentz is 1-2 against Washington in his first three games, but that first win came in this season's opener on the road. In that game, Wentz completed 66 percent of his passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and one pick, for a passer rating of 96.8. 

And Wentz has gotten even better since then. He's now the favorite in Vegas to win the NFL MVP. 

When asked how daunting it might become to face Wentz twice per season for the foreseeable future, Gruden pointed out that it's similar to the Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Then he pointed out they still have to face Eli Manning twice per season. 

"Every week it seems like we're playing against an excellent quarterback and knowing that Wentz is going to be there for a long period of time just puts a few more gray hairs on my head," Gruden said. "But love the competition and it's our job to get after him and make him uncomfortable." 

While Wentz is clearly the Eagles' quarterback of the future, things are a little cloudier in Washington, where Kirk Cousins is in his second year of playing on a franchise tag. 

Gruden said the "intent" is to have Cousins for the long-term, but it's already been a long saga and there's still no deal in place. 

Cousins has had a crazy career path. He began as Robert Griffin III's backup after being taken three rounds later in the same draft in 2012. But he won the starting job and he's started every game for Washington the last three seasons. 

Thursday, on a conference call with Philly reporters, Cousins said he thought there was a good chance the Eagles were going to draft him in 2012. He felt that way after meeting with Howie Roseman and Andy Reid before the draft. But instead, the Eagles took Nick Foles 14 spots ahead of him. 

After watching the Eagles rotate quarterback since then, Cousins doesn't have any hard feelings. 

"I think the Eagles have ended up with the guy that they want," Cousins said. "I think they're really excited about Carson Wentz and for good reason. They're one of the best teams in the league on third down, and some of the plays he's making off-schedule are very special. I think they're very content and I'd like to think the Redskins are as well. Hopefully, it can make for a great rivalry that a lot of fans can get behind and get excited about, hopefully, for many years ahead."

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

USA Today Images

Doug Pederson responds to Chris Thompson's comments about Eagles fans

Redskins running back Chris Thompson doesn't want to bring his family to the Linc Monday night because he's afraid of what Eagles fans will do.

Doug Pederson hopes Thompson changes his mind.

"Philly fans are some of the meanest fans I've ever experienced," Thompson told ESPN radio's Washington affiliate, ESPN 980, on Wednesday, according to a story in the Washington Post.

"I heard that's the one stadium you keep your family from going to. My family will be (up from Florida) this week, and they were like, 'I want to come to the Philly game.' I said, 'Absolutely not, you're going to have to wait until Dallas comes around. … I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away."

Pederson said he loves Eagles fans and the energy and passion they bring but also said he hopes Thompson or any opposing player feels comfortable bringing his family to the Linc.  

"I just know that playing at home is a great advantage for us," Pederson said before practice Thursday. "Our fans are great, they're energetic, I love playing at the Linc. 

"You know, I hope every family can watch their sons play. I think it's important that they're there and have a chance to watch their siblings play, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents.

"Right now in the league, every stadium is great for the home team and ours is no different. We're just excited now to finally be getting a stretch of games where we can play for the home fans."

Thompson, a fifth-year running back out of Florida State, has played at the Linc twice, in 2015 and 2016, both Redskins wins.

The Eagles, 5-1, host the 3-2 Redskins in a national TV game Monday night at the Linc. The Eagles are 8-2 at home under Pederson, including a 2-0 mark this year, although they're only 4-6 at home against the Redskins over the last 10 years.