Eagles vs Colts Preseason Game 1 Recap

Eagles 36 – Colts 10

1Q: PHI 13 IND 3

2Q: PHI 10 IND 0

3Q: PHI 0 IND 7

4Q: PHI 10 IND 0

The Eagles offense was in mid-season tempo yesterday as they beat Colts 36-10 in front of 69,000 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.     Despite a heavy list of inactive players the Eagles were able to move the ball up and down the field.  The Quarterbacks left “a little meat on the bone” quoting Matt Barkley after the game.  Barkley was talking about his performance but it really applies to  everyone under center.

Before getting into my game notes there were a few players who jumped off the screen.  On Defense: Bennie Logan, Ed Reynolds and Brad Jones really stood out.  On Offense: Nelson Agholor, Kenjon Barner and Eric Tomlinson really put on some good tape.

Sanchez was very inconsistent during his two drives.  A little inaccurate as he missed Jordan Matthews on an easy TD and was bailed out by Agholor on a high flanker pass in which Agholor made a man miss and took the distance.  Sanchez did show good poise and footwork in the pocket, eluding the rush and picking up a key 3rd down at the start of his second drive.  Kenjon did a nice job running between the tackles but really showed up in the return game.  He was solid and fundamental on all punts and even took one the distance to close out the first half.  Does Kenjon Barner have a chance to make this roster?  In the end I don’t believe he will.  The Eagles are not going to let go of Sproles, however another return or two from Barner and he will make it hard for the Eagles to let him go.  Perhaps they do keep four running backs…?

Barkley took over on the 3rd drive of the game.  As I predicted in my game preview blog he was able to get the ball up and down the field.  He looks to be grasping the offense now in his 3rd year.    Overall it wasn’t an outstanding performance but he did enough in my opinion to still have a leg up in the race for the 3rd QB spot.  Barkley was 12/20 for 192 yards 0TD and 1 INT off a tipped pass.  Again not a great performance but he accomplished more than Tebow.  Tebow took the reins during the end of the 3rd and the entire 4th Q.  He looked probably as all fans expected him to look.  Made some nice throws and ran for a TD but simply held on to the ball entirely too long.  The main difference between him and Barkley was the amount of time it took for the ball to be in route.  In all fairness Tebow has been in this offense for a few months while Barkley has been in a few years.  As we have stated in our podcast (birdsscoop.podbean.com) if this is a true QB competition Barkley will win 10 out of 10 times.  Tebow finished 6/12 for 69 yards and had 4 rushing attempts for 15 yards and 1 TD.

Nelson Agholor really gave Eagles’ fans a glimpse of what could be a bright future.  He was involved early and often and really had a nice debut.  All 3 of his catches went for first downs and one for a score.  He did drop two balls, one on a third and 12 and the other during Sanchez’ first drive over the middle.  Not an easy catch but one an NFL WR must make.  There is no excuse for the 3rd and 12 drop and he knows that.  For a first NFL game he did just fine.

It looks like the RG spot will be a two man race between Andrew Gardner and John Moffitt.  Barbre looks like he has locked up the LG spot.  Matt Tobin did not see a snap at RG however did see some at RT.  Gardner got the start and looked like he belonged as he held his own against the Colts’ Kendall Langford.  Moffitt got extended playing time as the game moved on.  There is a chance he might get a start at some point during the preseason so the Eagles can get another look at him.  A player who I thought had a chance to have a nice game and solidify himself with a roster spot was Kevin Graf however that was not the case.  Graf found himself in the QB’s lap play after play being bull rushed.  He also committed a false penalty.  He needs to play better.

It’s only one game but the Eagles may have found a steal in Eric Tomlinson.  The Eagles need to see more out of him but it was a nice start.  Tomlinson is a big bodied TE with good hands and has a knack of breaking tackles.  To be honest he reminded me of a young Brent Celek.  Those are lofty shoes to fill but Tomlinson did a nice job.  The Eagles kept 4 TE’s last year so assuming they do this year I expect him to be part of the 4 (I also personally picked him to make the 53, so I’m rooting a little harder than most).  Trey Burton was able to stretch the field on a number of occasions filling in for Ertz.  I expect Burton to fill that H-Back flanker role Casey had for the last 2 years.  He should have had a nice completion on the opening series of the game however Sanchez under threw the ball.

Marcus Smith might have seen more snaps than anyone on the Eagles.  The Eagles need to know what they have in the former 1st round pick.  At times Smith looked liked he belonged and at some points made me questioned if he was really going to contribute this year.  Mike Mayock (who I love as an analyst) said Smith had a “Upside down” skill set.  Meaning for a OLB he is much better dropping into coverage than putting his hand in the ground and getting to the QB.  A number of plays involving Smith backed up these statements.  At one point he couldn’t keep his feet and was continually on the ground.  There were multiple times where he didn’t keep his contain and let Colts’ QB Brian Bennett get by him on the read option.  A play that shouldn’t happen as the Eagles Defense practices against the read option every day in practice.  On another occasion Smith got too far up the field, allowing Bennett to step up and run for a 3rd conversion.  Smith did however do a nice job on a 3rd down play covering a Colts’ TE in the end zone forcing an incompletion.

It was a good day for the Eagles secondary.  It is obvious that Cory Undlin is stressing footwork and technique.  Ed Reynolds was the standout here intercepting 2 passes including 3 passes defensed.  Reynolds did an excellent job reading Brian Bennett’s eyes and baiting him into a couple throws.  Reynolds had a diving chance at a 3rd INT but couldn’t come up with it.  Earl Wolff did not suit up and it remains to be seen if he will ever make an impact with the Eagles.  Another performance like this from Reynolds and Wolff might be history.  In my opinion I would cut bait with Wolff right now as injuries and toughness have derailed his career.  Eric Rowe had a nice little battle with Colts’ Rookie WR Phillip Dorsett from Miami.  Dorsett got by him over the middle.  Rowe was able to catch up and punch the ball out forcing a TO.  A good sign as the Eagles stress these things in practice.  It shows the youngster is paying attention.  Anytime you can transfer practice tendencies to the game your doing a good job.

Cody Parkey struggled in his 2015 debut missing one extra point and another 34 yarder.  I’m anxious to see how he responds.  These extra points under the new rule could really get into a kickers head.  You miss one or two and your confidence could really take a hit which is never a good thing.  Overall I think Parkey will be fine but this could be something to keep an eye as the Eagles move through the preseason.  He was a pro bowler last year so again I expect him to be just fine.

Most importantly regardless of outcome, no major injuries reported.

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