Eagles 39 – Packers 26
1Q: PHI 25 GB 0
2Q: PHI 14 GB 14
3Q: PHI 0 GB 6
4Q: PHI 0 GB 6
Saturday the Eagles had their regular season dress rehearsal. They had their most impressive performance of the preseason jumping out in front of the Packers and never looking back. We will break it all down and take a look at the good, bad and the ugly.
They got off to a great start with a 62 yard kickoff return by Raheem Mostert. I thought Bradford was outstanding. Plain and simple. He improved off of last week where I thought he looked a little jumpy. Which is understandable after 2 years of no live action. Against the Packers Bradford anticipated throws, hung in the pocket and was extremely accurate. Two plays stand out right away. He was able to drop a dime to Sproles as the pass was put right on the money. Eagles fans don’t get used to seeing Sproles on LB’s during the season. Often in these preseason games teams aren’t game planning for one another. The second play was a 4th & goal where Bradford was able to get deep in the pocket, wait for Burton to clear, took a big hit and delivered the ball for a TD. He would add another TD pass to Celek and finished 10/10 for 121 yards and 3 TDs. Sam Bradford finished the preseason 13/15 with 156 yards and leading 4 TD drives, 3 of which game via the passing game. Mark Sanchez entered the game after a couple drives by Bradford. Sanchez improved off of his first two starts. He looked sharp at times and seemed to hold on to the ball a little too long at other times. Sanchez was able to hit Burton for his second TD on a drive to close out the drive. This was an outstanding drive starting inside the Eagles 10 yard line lasting only 1:01.
I thought Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow were awful. It’s pretty hard to have consecutive 3 & outs in this offense at this pace but that’s exactly what Barkley did to start the 3rd quarter. In Barkley’s defense there were a couple drops ultimately killing drives however he missed some throws as well. If you listen to our podcasts (birdsscoop.podbean.com) you know my writing partner and I are not the biggest Tebow fans. He has done nothing this preseason in my opinion to change how we and others value his place on this team. At this point the game was already over and the Eagles were simply running out clock. Tebow was able to run for a first down however he also fumbled a read option play but was able to recover the ball. All the Tebow fans can tell me how great it was that he recovered the snap.
The RB’s as a group put on another outstanding performance. Chip gave Murray multiple touches in the beginning for his work load and was able to get him out of the game. Murray looked solid as usual and again provided a nice security blanket for Bradford out of the backfield. Ryan Mathews has impressed me so far this preseason. When he was in San Diego I always thought he was a soft runner with fumbling issues. He is much bigger than expected, has a knack for breaking tackles and has some elusiveness in his running style. As the games move into the second and 4th quarter he will be able to punish defenses. We can’t seem to go a preseason game with Kenjon Barner making a fantastic play. On the before mentioned 1:01 drive with Mark Sanchez started off with a 50 yard screen pass to Barner. The Eagles gave Barner some other roles saturday night as well. He was gunner on multiple punts and even covered some kicks as well. This is a good sign for Barner if he wants to make this team. Chip Kelly and Dave Fipp want to see what he can do in multiple roles.
I thought the WR’s were solid overall. Jordan Matthews continues to be able to high point balls with smaller DB’s on him. Agholor made some fantastic catches to keep the chains moving. What impresses me about Agholor is his ability make people miss after he catches the ball. Rasheed Bailey continued his case for a roster spot with another multiple catch performance. He was able to haul in a low throw from Tebow and also connected with Barkley one another occasion. In the end I’m not sure if he can crack the 5-6 guys they will keep. He will however make an excellent addition to the practice squad.
Trey Burton had an excellent game from the TE position. This guy just continues to make plays when his number is called. Burton’s ability to get downfield rounds out this TE group and might make this one of the better TE trios in the league. Not to mention what he gives you on special teams where he blocked multiple punts last year.
You didn’t here much OL commentary during the broadcast which is never a bad thing. Like I mentioned before in previous blogs when the OL is being talked about it usually means someone got beat. Gardner and Barbre continued to play with the second unit just to get some extended reps. Barbre had some trouble on a few screen passes but overall he wasn’t bad. The only hiccup came on a possible Lane Johnson ankle injury but everything seemed to be ok. John Moffitt went from possibly starting if Gardner struggled to now possibly not making the team. I think Moffitt is in a battle now just to be apart of the 53. He has struggled the past two weeks leaving his spot in doubt.
The defense as a whole was good not great as far as I’m concerned. They gave up some long plays, in particular a couple screen plays and a 60 yard screen from Ty Montgomery. Malcolm Jenkins took a bad angle and Montgomery got free. The defensive line was outstanding. The combination of Cox, Logan and Thornton is un-blockable. Teams simply will not be able to run against this front. Logan in particular continued his dominating preseason. He looks like a man possessed. It was nice to see Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart get some burn with one’s. This is a make or break year for Hart. The Eagles know what Bair can do. We were suppose to see the full complement of ILB’s but that was not the case. Kiko Alonzo was scratched pregame with a leg injury. Chip said it was unrelated to his knee. It was good to see DeMeco out there to get some of the rust off. Mychal Kendricks made his 2015 debut after his nice contract extension. I thought he struggling some but for a first performance it wasn’t bad. Yesterday on 97.5 The Fanatic Geoff Mosher said Kendricks is much better “playing forward than backwards.” Which means coverage isn’t his best attribute. This makes sense as he was tagged for a interference penalty in the end zone chasing the TE up the seem. He just couldn’t get his head around fast enough. With the departure of Emmanuel Acho after his hand injury Najee Goode looks in prime position for a roster spot. He hasn’t had a great preseason up to this point but really played well Saturday. At one point he stormed through the A Gap and almost took the handoff from Hundley.
The secondary played better last week vs the Ravens in my opinion. Aside from Walter Thurmond’s pick 6 where the TE slipped and the ball should have never been thrown there was nothing eye opening. Eric Rowe had his “welcome to the NFL game.” He was beaten on multiple occasions including one on a double move. Mayock kept referencing during the broadcast this is good for him. It’s better to happen now than during the season he continued to say. The coaches can use this as a teaching point. There are a few “roster bubble” guys that either really helped themselves or hurt themselves on Saturday. Mayock is under the impression EJ Biggers is a lock to be the 4th corner. From what I saw Saturday I wouldn’t agree with that assessment. He was beat often and had a bone headed penalty on a 3rd & long where he reached out and committed a PI. Jaylen Watkins put forth his best effort of the preseason. He was a factor on special teams and flashed in the defensive backfield. He hasn’t been as good as I thought he would be and the Eagles might be thinking the same thing. There just seems to be something missing from his game.
There still looks to be a spot open at safety. Ed Reynolds didn’t play particularly well and often looked undersized and small during parts of the last 2 games. I have a feeling Prosinski will be on the 53 from a special teams standpoint however I would expect him along with Reynolds to get a big look come Thursday in the defensive backfield.
Special Teams were anything but special this game. Chip tried to go for 2 twice with Tebow and it didn’t work out. Unknown to myself or most people I would assume Cody Parkey is dealing with a minor groin injury. Chip did say if this were a regular season game Parkey would have kicked. We got an extended look at Kip Smith and it’s about all I need to see from him. Hopefully Parkey will be good for some live game reps come Thursday. It would be good practice for him.
As we have ended this blog the past month, no major injuries and the Eagles will most likely start the season with all hands on deck.
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Episode 5 of the BS podcast will be available next Tuesday.