Are you over last night’s embarrassing Eagles game? Yes? Ah. Sorry in advance. Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from the horrifying 35-0 preseason defeat against New England.
After missing two weeks due to a knee sprain, the rookie wideout didn’t waste any time in turning heads. Breaking ankles and creating a ton of separation at the top of his routes, Smith struggled with some drops in the early going (although anyone would with where Flacco was placing the ball) but ended up registering a pair of catches that flashed his YAC potential. There was a lot to like here.
The former Vikings Safety just keeps showing up on tape. He’s best known for his ability around the football and demonstrated some of that tenacious hitting power again last night, forcing another incompletion. He’ll be fun to watch this season.
Tyree Jackson was out of the lineup and will be for the next 8-10 weeks with an injury, while Jason Croom was carted off during the game after injuring his leg. This opened the door for UDFA Jack Stoll to shine. He caught four passes for 33 yards and showed real toughness, pushing through contact and driving for extra yardage. With Jason Croom now injured, his chances of sneaking onto the back-end of the roster, or at least having a huge opportunity to shine next week, just increased.
All of his carries came within the space of about 6 players as if Nick Sirianni decided to just mash the ‘Tempo’ button on Madden and hammer the run for a while. Even so, Gainwell looked rapid and decisive for the second week in a row. We haven’t seen him properly breakout on a big play just yet, but he was active as both a rusher and a receiver, fell forward after contact, and looked by far to be the most dangerous Eagles RB on the field.
For the second time in as many weeks, the rookie DT flashed off the edge, highlighting his versatility. He did register a QB hit, but what really stood out was the fact he’s already starting to draw holding calls. This isn’t something that’s touched on much, but it’s an additional 10-yards added to the offensive situation and is probably the next best thing when discussing sacks and fumbles. For Williams to have so much torque in his lower-body that he’s overpowering much bigger tackles and forcing them to reset their hands, drawing a flag, is huge for someone so young.
Something isn’t quite right here. The Eagles linebackers were by far the most effective positional group on the night…which is a terrifying thought. In all seriousness, Alex Singleton was a nightmare for Patriots running backs, knifing through traffic consistently and proving to be a menace. There were a couple of missed tackles, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact he was on the field for pretty much every defensive snap for the first half and was bound to run out of energy at some point.
T.J Edwards had himself a night too and was unlucky not to come away with a leaping interception. The entire group looked stellar, from Shaun Bradley’s tackling, to Eric Wilson’s coverage. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
This doesn’t need much explaining. Joe Flacco and Nick Mullens were atrocious and there is absolutely a conversation to be had about finding a consistent arm to work behind Jalen Hurts. Flacco looked solid in week one but his accuracy and pocket awareness dropped like a rock last night. Nick Mullens didn’t have either to begin the preseason with and still found a way to regress. Not great.
Outside of a PBU on a two-point conversion, McPhearson was bullied by the Pats receivers all night. It’s infuriating because he’s 5’10 and was used predominantly outside, yielding the same results as when Avonte Maddox has faced trials by the boundary. It’s not like the Eagles need him to play outside and it can’t be good for his confidence. Hopefully he sees some time in the nickel next week.
After a quiet summer, Fulgham needed a big preseason to try and stay in good standing amidst a surging room of receivers. That hasn’t happened and his roster spot is in jeopardy. As the speedy youngsters all trend upwards, the big-bodied Fulgham did see some snaps as a big-slot wideout, which is promising, but wasn’t targeted at all which is only going to hurt his stock.
Snapping a ball so high that it leaves the stadium is never a good look. Herbig ended up playing 100% of offensive snaps, which is puzzling. I still can’t work out whether that’s good or not, but with Landon Dickerson waiting in the wings, the team may be trying to get a handle on how he plays at center and guard to see where they can plug their second-round pick.
Herbig did look more comfortable deeper into the game but was far, far from perfect…which can’t exactly bode well. If Brandon Brooks comes back at RG and Isaac Seumalo stays on the left, it’s pretty much center or bust for a player who was sound at guard last year…and the odds aren’t in his favor.
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