The Eagles preseason opener was filled with surprises. From some eye-popping plays to a ball that appeared to be covered in butter, there is plenty to discuss after the loss to the Packers. For the Eagles, a huge chunk of their roster spots will be decided through preseason play. So which players improved their chances of making the final 53-man roster? Here are five big winners from last night’s loss to Green Bay.
If there’s one receiver who stole the show last night, it’s Bryce Treggs. The former Cal standout and UDFA had a difficult rookie season with the Eagles, but was keen to make sure he wasn’t lost in the offseason noise that saw the unit completely revamped. Displaying some soft hands, impressive YAC ability and some blistering speed along the way, Treggs led the Eagles in receiving with 91 yards on 7 receptions in just 3 quarters. Catching all but one pass, you could visibly the see the difference in how Treggs approached his routes compared to last season. Crisp in his breaks and catching confidently with his hands, Treggs had a certain swagger on the field and surged his chances of making the final roster, filling the Eagles need for a deep threat.
The star on the Eagles Defense was undoubtedly Derek Barnett. The Eagles first round pick saw plenty of action against the Packers and made every last snap count. The Tennessee finished the night with two sacks, two quarterback hits and recorded six tackles. Not only that, but he was consistently in the opposing backfield and proved to be a nightmare matchup for the Packers Left Tackles.
Many of you may be wondering by Smith’s name is on here after he gave up a few big plays. But if there’s one thing Jim Schwartz has preached this offseason, it’s consistency. Being able to bounce back after giving up a big play is something all corners strive for but very few can master. Smith was only credited with one tackle and one pass defense, but Smith did well to keep himself together on an island and present some strong coverage after biting on some quick feet from the Packers wideouts earlier in the game. Smith was by no means perfect, but he certainly shows a lot of character and an ability to let bad plays lie…and thats what the Eagles need more than anything.
Hart is another surprise addition on this list, but when Halapoulivaati Vaitai went down with an injury, it was Hart who filled in at right tackle. Not only did he hold his own, but Hart performed well considering the circumstance. When you factor in that he was playing on the other side of the ball just on year ago, the sense of development under Jeff Stoutland is prominent. The Eagles have plenty to decide along the offensive line and a strong performance from Hart in crunch time is going to bode well for his future.
Sure, the former Nebraska Safety may have missed a tackle during his preseason debut, but before that fateful moment he was simply a force to be reckoned with. Gerry ended the night with 3 tackles and a mixed impression. But the one thing that stands out most is his toughness. Gerry showed he can play at the NFL…and play very well. For a linebacker corps craving an extra element, that’s a strong statement for Gerry to make.
Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports