Well, that’s it. Preseason has come and gone and we’re now just one week away from the season opener at Lincoln Financial Field between the Eagles and Falcons. For some, this will be their final night in an Eagles uniform, while others will be snapped up by other practice squads or maybe, just maybe, push onto the final 53. Here are five players who saw their chances of doing just that increase heavily tonight.
Leading the team with 6 tackles is one thing, but Reaves delivered a hearty pass-breakup in the second half, reading the play perfectly and breaking on the ball to leap over the receiver and force the incompletion. The young Safety showed plenty of grit and aggression in his playing style and although penalties followed, he delivered big-hit after big-hit, solidifying himself as a player built in the perfect mold for Jim Schwartz and Corey Undlin to develop.
On a night where Wendell Smallwood was inactive, but Donnell Pumphrey and Josh Adams both showed their strengths, it was Matt Jones who stole the show. After a poor preseason to date, Jones rushed for 54 yards in the second half for the Eagles, pushing them to a late comeback and eventually catching the winning touchdown pass too. Jones looked dominant, dangerous and more importantly, reliable. The fourth running back spot is a real head scratcher, but Jones has his claims.
Steven. Means. Business. It’s a saying that has become cliche by now, but 3 sacks in the preseason finale really do re-emphasize that point. Means always shows up when it counts and it did on Thursday night. The defensive end has been around the team long enough at this point to know that nobody is safe and a decimating night where the ‘Means Hammer’ was dropped 3 times may just keep him afloat.
The man needs no introduction. The former Rugby star had his finest game yet (and we’ll be sure to deliver a third and final Eagles Film Room episode on him to break it all down), handling the Jets pass-rush with surprising ease and again building on what we saw last week. At this stage, it’s almost certain that he makes the final 53 as the Eagles wouldn’t want to expose him to waivers.
This offseason has been huge for the Eagles linebacker group and Joe Walker has been lost in the mix. Starting at the middle spot today, Walker gave up a couple of poor plays, but made four tackles and helped set the tone for the defense. Injuries have always plagued him, but Walker may have proven that he has enough to back up a slightly injury prone Jordan Hicks, prompting the Eagles to go one heavier at linebacker.
The Eagles could be looking for some extra wide receiver depth over the next week or so and it will be kept very quiet. With Alshon Jeffery’s injury being followed by minor setbacks to nearly every other starting wideout, it leaves a window of uncertainty, one that an underdog would be chomping at the bit to fill. Wilson was the best of the bunch on Thursday, adjusting like Neo from the Matrix to catch a ball thrown behind him in the second half, totaling 28 yards on the night. Wilson’s name had been lost in the mix prior to the preseason finale, that is the case no longer.
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