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.
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.