The Eagles may have lost to the Steelers last night, but it’s not the score that counts. Players are fighting for their NFL futures and spots in the rotation, making the matchup important for many. But who were the biggest winners and losers from the affair?
Nick Mullens stunk it up while Flacco was able to play smartly, work the ball around the offense and take checkdowns, managing the game as required and nudging himself back past Mullens in the battle for QB2. It was a solid day at the office for Flacco who wasn’t flashy, but reliable…and that’s frankly all you need from a backup.
Watkins reminded the world just how scarily fast he can be. A 79-yard screen touchdown reception was impressive, but he was also narrowly missed on an overthrow after gaining separation through the stem of a 9-route. There was a lot to like here for Watkins, who is forcing his way into some major playing time this season.
The Army graduate picked off a huge pass in the second half, breaking on the ball with tremendous burst and making a really aggressive play. The Eagles have an interesting picture at Safety right now and the return of Blake Countess only makes things harder for Riley to gain an edge. Making plays like this will absolutely do that.
The ‘6’7 tight end convert looked fluent in his routes and made a pair of really nice catches, one of which saw him break contact and drive upfield. Jackson has been a real standout this Summer and that momentum gracefully rolled into preseason.
It might not show on the stat sheet, but Williams was a real menace last night. He penetrated into the backfield consistently with an array of pass-rushing moves and demonstrated versatility lining up both inside and outside, making his presence felt from every spot. All signs point towards a truly dangerous pass-rusher marinating in Philadelphia.
Singleton has missed the majority of preseason so far due to being placed on the COVID/reserve list. With Davion Taylor shining in his absence, it looked as though the scales were tilting out of Singleton’s favor…until he rocked up to preseason and flew all over the field making big-time stops. Proving doubters wrong once again, it was a big night for the young linebacker.
He may not have had a breakout game, but his route-running was beyond crisp. There were a couple of plays where he was able to stop on a dime and completely lose the CB, while his ability to burst out of his cut on an out-route made an all-too-easy window for Flacco to target. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
Epps has sort of become the forgotten man of the Eagles secondary despite flashing at times last year. Considering that there’s a chance he might see a huge chunk of playing time this season, a tenacious preseason opener with some heavy hitting is exactly what the Doctor ordered.
There was one play where the rookie knifed into the backfield and looked like he was going to make a huge hit but it unfortunately wasn’t to be. Jackson had a couple of moments like that, including a big TFL. He’s raw, but like most young Eagles players, has a very tantalizing athletic upside.
The Eagles lacked any kind of pass-protection from running backs last year. Jordan Howard bursts onto the scene and absolutely drops a blitzing corner. Things we love to see.
While he’ll be remembered this game for picking up a minor injury that scared everyone, Johnson was flying across the field making some strong tackles. It was a solid day for the rookie who could take on a hybrid role in this defense.
Considering he only joined the team three days ago, leading the team in tackles during the preseason opener is one way to make your mark. Again, he’s working in a crowded room of Safeties, but if he can now pick up some steam in camp, it can only bode well.
Stayed the same
Surprisingly, I don’t think Jalen Hurts moved the needle that much in either direction. He showed some of his athletic ability and what impressed me most was the play where he darted out of the pocket and threw the ball away. It sounds silly, but how many times did Wentz take an unnecessary hit, or try to launch the ball out while being sacked last year?
However, Hurts did end up missing a couple of key throws. Consistency will be the key moving forward.
Completing more passes to the other team than you do your own is never a good look. Bad day at the office for Mullens, who, in fairness, was playing behind some really bad OL play.
I was really hoping to see something from Seymour as I’m a huge fan of his skillset. Unfortunately, he ended up being relatively silent on the night. Not good for a CB room that’s very top-heavy and leaves little in the way of room for long-term growth right now.
It was a similar story for Michael Jacquet, although his scenario was much worse. There was one play where he gave up a pass down the sideline and seemingly lost both the ball and player in one fluent motion. Impressive, but for all the wrong reasons.
Every running back not named Jordan Howard
Running backs falling over, running backs dropping passes, running backs struggling to hit the hole hard. It wasn’t great. The highlight of the night came form rookie Kennny Gainwell, who managed to fall forward after being tackled, but if that’s the bar, it’s not good.
For someone who could well be the only backup behind Jason Kelce, allowing that much pressure is really poor. Juriga struggled to identify stunts, struggled to set his hands, and was often knocked off balance. Jeff Stoutland will have surely been seething.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire