Eagles TC Report: Weapon X is Back in the Nest
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - On a day where the pads went on for the first time in 2016 and there was a marathon, three-hour practice session in front of selected season-ticket holders, it was what happened off the field that dominated the news cycle at the NovaCare Complex.
Brian Dawkins is back in the fold as the Eagles announced that the eight-time Pro Bowl selection, has been added to the team’s scouting department as the franchise’s first recipient of the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, a new program launched by the NFL aimed at introducing former players to the world of player personnel and the duties of an NFL scout.
For Dawkins it's the just part of his ultimate goal to learn everything about football operations in the NFL.
"Bigger is bigger," the former safety told reporters when asked where this might lead him. "I don't know what bigger is but I do know it's bigger than where I'm standing right now."
In his new role with the organization, Dawkins will study and work closely with all phases of the scouting and football operations departments but will remain based in Colorado, where he ended his career with the Denver Broncos.
"It's not just scouting, I'm trying to grasp the whole gambit of football operations and how a team is run," he said. "I'm learning about the scouting part of it, I guess the terminology and all those things but sometimes it's either you have an eye or you don't and I've been blessed to have an eye to see talent so if I can help in that respect great but I also want to learn everything there is to know about running a football team."
Other great players have sometimes struggled to impart what they know when they move into a career of coaching or scouting but Dawkins doesn't believe that will be a hinderance for him.
"I know how to communicate," he said. "I'm a simplistic dude and I'm also a visual cat too, so to be able to break things down and get these guys to grasp it, I don't think that will be a problem."
One of the most popular players in team history Dawkins earned the city's respect with his relentless playing style and passion for the game, playing 13 years in Philadelphia and becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (183) and interceptions (34).
Originally a second-round pick out of Clemson in 1996, Dawkins was recognized as a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, was voted the starting safety on the Eagles 75th Anniversary Team by, and was a five-time All-Pro selection.
DAY 6 NOVACARE NOTES:
-As you can imagine three hours in a physical environment in the oven that was South Philadelphia on Saturday morning had its effect on certain players. Staring right corner Nolan Carroll tweaked an ankle, rookie receiver Marcus Johnson suffered some tightness in his quad while veteran receiver Rueben Randle, cornerback Ron Brooks, and tight end Chris Pantale all suffered with some cramping.
-Carson Wentz had a bit of a bounce-back day, throwing a 50-yard TD pass to Josh Huff and really excelling while extending plays and climbing the pocket. The inconsistency remains but you can see that there is plenty to be excited about.
He was also moving blockers and changing blitz pickup in one nickel drill, which is extremely unusual for a rookie this early and speaks to one of the major reasons the Eagles like him so much, the fact that he played in a pro-style offense and had autonomy at the line of scrimmage at North Dakota State.
-Chase Daniel was wearing the Go-Pro on his helmet today so the Eagles should have a lot of good on-field shots of the back of Dennis Kelly's helmet.
-Marcus Smith actually has a good day today, applying heavy pressure at times during team drills and also beating his opponent like a drum on two occasions in individual work. It's still too early to proclaim this a success but Jim Schwartz's simplified system and the move to weak-side DE could save the former first-round pick's career.
-Caught up with ESPN's John Clayton during practice and the long-time NFL writer is like a lot of us in that he is concerned with this team's depth.
-Huff remains inconsistent catching the football at times and it's pretty obvious that he's never going to be a great route runner. This staff seems to have figured that out but they also recognize Huff is special with the ball in his hands and during the install period there were three different times in which it manufactured touches for the Oregon product.
-A day after getting his one-year extension the 33-year-old Darren Sproles looked as spry as ever as he continued to handle first-team work in place of the injured Ryan Mathews (ankle). Veteran guard Stefen Wisniewski also continued to handle the tight guard spot in place of starter Brandon Brooks (hamstring).
-The Eagles first open practice of 2016 will take place on Sunday morning at Lincoln Financial Field.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen