The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Indianapolis Colts 33-23. Here’s my takeaways from the team’s third preseason victory.
Josh Huff in; Rueben Randle out
The Eagles utilized Huff’s play making ability during the first half. Bradford hit Huff on a quick slant that he took for a 42 yard gain, which was later followed by a jet sweep for a touchdown for the dynamic wide receiver.
The role Pederson and co. have in mind for Huff is similar to Albert Wilson and DeAnthony Thomas in Kansas City. The Eagles want to get Huff the ball in space and let his yards after the catch ability take over. His inconsistencies have been highlighted by the Philadelphia fanbase, but the team still seems to be high on Huff and plan to keep him on the 53-man roster.
Randle looks to be the odd man out currently. He didn’t play a single snap with the first-team offense versus the colts and that should be telling. His effort has been questioned and the coaching staff has ignored questions about it. Chris Givens started out with the first-team offense, along with Agholor and Huff, so Randle’s future with the Eagles seems to be heading towards the end. Paul Turner, Givens, or Randle will round out the Eagles’ wide receiver unit. Expect them to carry five wideouts.
Sam Bradford looks sharp
The Colts lacked several defensive starters, but Bradford seems to be getting more comfortable in Pederson’s west coast offense.
Bradford finished the game with 17 completions on 20 passing attempts for 167 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The interception was due to a pass off of Agholor’s fingertips, so no fault should be blamed on Bradford.
The Eagles hope to protect Bradford with a patchwork offensive line due to Lane Johnson’s impending suspension and Allen Barbre replacing him at right tackle and rookie Isaac Seumalo projected to be the starting left guard.
Trey Burton will have a significant role in 2016
The Eagles opened up the playbook versus the Colts that showcased more three tight end formations. Burton finished with five receptions for 35 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Burton thrived in the middle of the field, which should be an expected role for him going into the 2016 season. He also played the decoy role in the red zone, which actually led to his wide open touchdown in the flat.
Burton has impressed the Eagles new coaching staff in training camp and they rewarded him with more playing time and usage in week three of the preseason. Expect that to translate into the regular season as well.
The Eagles defensive line is poised for 45+ sacks.
The Colts offensive line was missing starters and has been known for lackluster play, but the Eagles defensive line continued to feast in the pass-rush.
Brandon Graham continues to thrive in his new role at defensive end in the “wide-nine” technique. Connor Barwin’s transition to defensive end has been incredibly smooth so far into the preseason. Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan continue to look like a top-three defensive tackle duo.
The Eagles recorded 49 sacks in 2014. There’s many reasons to believe they can either exceed or match that number in 2016.