The Philadelphia Eagles saw everything they could have possibly wanted with their first two groups Friday night but weren’t able to come away victorious.
A late fourth-quarter rally by Chris Streveler helped the New York Jets beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in the first preseason game for both teams in the 2022 season.
While the final score didn’t show it, there was a ton to love about what the Eagles did on Friday night.
The offense shined, the defense was stout, and there were little to no concerning issues that came up from Friday’s contest. Let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
Stock Up: Jalen Hurts
When you go 6-6 for 80 yards and a touchdown pass, your stock is going to be scorching. Hurts was excellent Friday. He was quick with his reads, he moved the pocket when he was under pressure, and answered small pieces of adversity with big responses.
There really isn’t anything more to say but you can tell he’s worked in the off-season on his mechanics, when he’s scrambling, his eyes were always downfield and he made accurate throws.
Hurts also looked to protect himself. On a scramble play where he almost picked up the first down, Hurts immediately ran out of bounds but was hit in an egregious play that had the entire team up in arms. It’s not Hurts’ fault that he got hit in a cheap shot way, but it’s good to see him being patient and not trying to take chances.
Stock Down: Special Teams
Very small issue from yesterday. Jake Elliot made all his extra points and Arryn Siposs looked solid as a punter.
Unfortunately, the kick return coverage is a thing to worry about. The Jets averaged over 30 yards of kick returns and over seven yards in punt returns. The Eagles had a lot of things to be happy about, but special teams cannot be as bad as they were on Friday.
It’s a small issue in just the team’s first preseason game, but in a game where almost everyone was looking good, it’s a tad concerning that special teams were not so special.
Stock Up: Nick Sirianni
When a head coach goes crazy to protect a player, it’s an energetic shock for an entire team and can rally a group. That looked to happen on Friday. After Quincy Williams delivered a cheap shot on Jalen Hurts, Sirianni went AWOL screaming at the refs, Jet players, and even Robert Saleh.
It’s a small moment. It could be inconsequential when the real games begin. But it’s clear that Sirianni has his player’s backs. It’s also clear that the team is appreciative of it. Old Eagle teams have had issues with coaches relating to their players, or even bad eggs in the locker room. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the 2022 Eagles.
Stock Up: Rookie Draft Class
The top three picks for the Eagles all stood out in great ways Friday. Jordan Davis broke through a couple of double teams and showed he is clearly ready to take more reps with the starters.
Cam Jurgens had people seeing a clone of Jason Kelce throughout the first half with his speed and athleticism. Nakobe Dean was also all over the field with the second team. He tallied over five tackles in just one series and showed his relentless pursuit and tackling ability.
The draft picks weren’t the only players who had stood out as rookies though. Josh Jobe, an undrafted corner out of Alabama was actually running with the second team. It’s a surprise because Tay Gowan and others weren’t originally with Zech McPhearson and Jobe was.
It was a superb day for the Eagle rookies.
Stock Up: Eagles Linebackers
When was the last time an Eagles linebacker dominated and stood out in a game? While you think of an answer when was the last time that MULTIPLE linebackers dominated for the Eagles?
Nakobe Dean was excellent as we mentioned, but TJ Edwards was very good against the run on Friday as well. Unlike in 2021 when the first units were gashed against the run, the 2022 squad dominated the trenches and it was in large part due to their backers.
Kyzir White came away with the defensive play of the day as well. The former Charger’s linebacker picked off Zach Wilson on a great read that got the entire crowd at the Linc roaring.
The Eagles haven’t had a linebacker core this good in years.
Stock Down: Jalen Reagor
Let me be clear – Jalen Reagor did not have a bad game Friday. He just did nothing to separate himself from a roster spot. Reagor had three catches for 26 yards and played a relatively solid game. But Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins were more impactful.
Even Britain Covey looked good as a returner before Reid Sinnett stupidly broke his hand on a 2-yard dump-off.
Reagor needed to show that he could stand out in action against other players who are on the roster bubble and he just didn’t do it. My guess is that the former first-round pick is going to be traded at some point in this pre-season period.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire