PASSING YARDS – BUCS 298 EAGLES 95
RUSHING YARDS – BUCS 31 EAGLES 92
TIME OF POSSESSION – BUCS 28:19 EAGLES 31:41
TURNOVERS LOST – BUCS 5 EAGLES 1
3RD DOWN PERCENTAGE – BUCS 21.4% EAGLES 29.4%
If Lane Johnson is suspended the Eagles will be in huge trouble:
I’m stating the obvious there but after watching that first game it’s clear the Eagles have major depth issues along the offensive line. This can’t come as a surprise. This is what happens when you don’t draft any OL during the 14 and 15 draft. Dennis Kelly and Andrew Gardner were awful, AWFUL! Both of these guys drew multiple penalties and beaten on a consistent basis. I’ve said if Lane were to be suspended the replacement would come within. I’m not so sure of that now. The Eagles scouts I’m sure are locked into other teams possible cuts. I was high going into this game on Stefan Wisniewski. Similar to what will happen with Jalen Mills I’ll need to “pump the brakes” a bit on him. He was very underwhelming. A few penalties combined with a few missed blocks, most notably on pulls. One guy I did like was Josh Andrews. He ultimately was forced to leave due to injury but he overall I liked what I saw. He was solid at the point of attack.
This WR Core has a chance to be worst in Eagles history:
I don’t think that’s an overstatement. Based on what I’ve seen in camp or should I say haven’t seen. The drops have carried over from last year. For the Eagles to remain competitive all year someone from this unit has to break out outside of Jordan Matthews. I’ll throw Zach Ertz into this group as well. If Nelson Agholor wasn’t a 1st round pick he would be on the street. I can confidently say that. He simply doesn’t do anything. Pair that with the poor effort from Ruben Randle (Jimmy Kempski has a great read on this) and you got nothing out of your 2nd and 3rd WRs. I counted at least 4-5 big drops. Huff was up to his usual tricks. Flashing a great play and then fumbling. If I’m Roseman and Pederson Huff isn’t on this roster. He might be saved because of his ability to return kicks but I’m pretty sure Kenjon Barner can handle that. One guy that I really liked was Paul Turner. I mentioned him before the game as a guy I liked. I thought overall he was solid. He caught 6 balls for 34 yards. Most notably ZERO drops. I’ll get a better look at his play when the I look at the All 22 but it’s a nice start for a guy who I think can play in this league.
Carson Wentz showed some flashes:
It took forever to get through the garbage Chase Daniel put out there. We waited and waited but it was worth it. Carson Wentz’ play was overall up and down however was exactly what I expected. He was inconsistent at times which mirrors his play during camp. He’ll have a good day followed by a bad day. What really stuck out was his pocket awareness. I loved the way he climbed the pocket, most notably during his first throw. He remains calm under the pressure and it’s clear he’s not afraid to take a hit. He took 3-4 big hits. He looked down the barrel of the gun, new he was going to be popped however delivered the throw. At times he got a little sloppy with his mechanics. Mayock noted on several occasions his right elbow. When his elbow drops the ball sails. He missed high often with one leading to a redzone interception. Overall a nice start. I look forward to his growth next week against the Steelers.
Chase Daniel Blows:
I’m not breaking any news here. Daniel was awful. Now I understand there were some protection issues and penalties. Combined that with the WRs who couldn’t get open this was a receipt for disaster. Daniel was sacked 4 times did not look downfield at all and was inaccurate. Wentz clearly out played him. Yes Daniel played against the Bucs 1’s but it’s clear he will never be a starter in this league. If anything happens to Bradford during the course of the year Carson Wentz needs to be the No. 2 option.
No Issues with Doug Pederson:
One thing I wanted to look at during this first game was Doug Pederson. How would he manage the game? Would there be any time management issues? All in all I was happy with how he called the game. I was surprised with the amount of the shot gun early on. It almost felt like a Chip Kelly led team however the pace was much different. Pederson changed his play calling strategy by delivering the plays himself to the QB as opposed to through Frank Reich and then to the QB. This left the Eagles QBs with time to review and recognize what he defense was doing. One thing I thought was odd was the amount of time some of the starters were left in. In particular Zach Ertz. Ertz essentially played the whole first half. After signing a nice contract I would have gotten him out a little sooner.
Steven Means flashes:
Defensive end Steven Means was a topic of conversation in our 5 questions blog leading into the Tampa Bay game. Means did not disappoint on Thursday night and made a strong case moving forward to be a part of the 53 man roster. He played the most snaps on the defense with 44 and Marcus Smith being out with a concussion certainly benefited him. Means put a great spin move on the left tackle flushing Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon to his weak side and eventually led to an errant throw which was intercepted by safety Chris Maragos. The following drive Means beat his man off the snap and forced a quick throw to the outside for a minimal gain. Lastly, he came off the edge in the third quarter and swiped the ball out of Ryan Griffin’s hand. That’s the type of play you love to see from a defensive end. Means played very well in his first showing as an Eagle and next week against the Steelers will be a nice test for him.
Solid start from the Defensive Line:
First off Bennie Logan is going to be just fine making the switch from nose tackle to Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 scheme. Logan put a nice move on the Tampa guard and knocked the ball out from Jameis Winston which was recovered by Fletcher Cox. Beau Allen and Taylor Hart were the first two backups in at defensive tackle as Mike Martin missed this game. I thought Allen did a nice job pushing the pocket on passing downs as I had concerns over his ability to generate any kind of pass rush. Taylor Hart had a flash play where he beat the guard across his face right off the snap and brought down the ball carrier in the backfield for a loss. You didn’t see much or any of that from Hart the past two seasons. Undrafted rookie free agents, Destiny Vaeao and Aziz Shittu, didn’t do too much as each played 36 snaps. Vaeao did do a nice job on a first down run play where he knifed into the backfield and created a big loss. These two will need to show more moving forward if they hope to beat out either Allen or Hart.
Eagles might have found a steal in the 7th round:
I loved the way Joe Walker played on Thursday night after mentioning his name in our lead up blog. Walker was a busy man playing 38 snaps on defense and another 17 on special teams. He came in for starting middle linebacker, Jordan Hicks, and held his own in both aspects. Walker does not have great size or speed, but as Mike Mayock mentioned during the broadcast he has a knack for being around the football. He’s also a good tackler as well which us Eagles fans haven’t seen too much of from the linebacking corps in recent seasons. He made two strong plays in the backfield one of which came on a 4th down where he shot the gap and wrapped the running back up. It’s great to read the play and get to the ball, but it’s a whole other story to actually make the tackle once you get there. Walker has been a nice find as an unknown 7th round draft pick and looked pretty comfortable dropping into zone coverage as well. Najee Goode was another standout at linebacker on Thursday. He knocked the ball loose on the opening kickoff leading to an Eagles recovery, and also had a nice blindside blitz where he blew up the quarterback in the third quarter. Goode is a nice depth, special teams player to have at linebacker.
Jalen Mills not quite ready for primetime:
The Hall of Fame bust design can be put on hold for rookie cornerback Jalen Mills. Mills has been a standout by all accounts during training camp, but he struggled at times during his first NFL game. I can tell right away Mills likes to be physical with receivers and sometimes in the NFL that will come back to bite you. He was called for pass interference on a third down play where the receiver ran a stop fade and Mills didn’t get his back around to locate the football. This is another common occurrence with Eagles corners of recent history. Mills also allowed a completion along the sideline where he proceeded to whiff on the tackle and the receiver picked up an extra 15 yards or so. Tackling is a key area where you can stand out as a rookie. Mills did have nice coverage on a play where a phantom offensive pass interference was called. He had safety help over the top and did a great job undercutting the dig route ran by the receiver leading to the pass breakup. Undrafted rookie corner, CJ Smith, had a nice game and may have earned some increased reps for the rest of the preseason. He had a tipped ball on a slant pattern which was intercepted by linebacker Quentin Gause, and also displayed solid coverage skills during two other plays. Smith has good size for a corner and would be a nice addition to the practice squad.
Jaylen Watkins giving the Eagles depth at Safety:
Jaylen Watkins was the best player on defense for the Eagles against Tampa Bay. Watkins drew the start at safety opposite Rodney McLeod with Malcolm Jenkins out. On two occasions he was step for step with Bucs tight end Cameron Braite and had pass breakups. He had another play in the third quarter where he should have had an interception, but at least was in the right position to make the play. Watkins was strong in both areas including sticking his nose in making tackles for the running game. In past preseasons, Watkins has been featured at corner and seemed hesitant on most occasions as if he was unsure of himself. He did not display any of those tendencies last night and played very well.
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Offensive series written by Ryan & Defensive series written by Brian.