5 Takeaways from the Eagles’ preseason loss to the Ravens

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, left, and quarterback Jalen Hurts watch from the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Wins and losses may not matter to the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason, but there was plenty going on in Saturday’s 20-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Whether it was a rookie quarterback turning heads, or certain position groups struggling, there were plenty of takeaways from Nick Sirianni’s group.

Today we go through the five most important takeaways from Saturday’s preseason loss.

The Eagles are loaded in the secondary

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Zech McPhearson (27) looks on during the preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

One major takeaway from Saturday’s loss was that the Eagles’ secondary is loaded with young, and talented individuals. The combination of Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks, Josh Jobe, and Sydney Brown all came through with quality plays in the loss while making it very hard for Baltimore to move the ball offensively.

Baltimore also uses the preseason to play their immediate backups in the third quarter to extend their preseason winning streak. It’s a shrewd way to operate in meaningless games, but it also makes it hard for teams to judge some of the bottom-of-the-roster players. Luckily for the Eagles, the secondary held very strong in the loss. Eli Ricks recording that pick-six makes the group even harder to judge though.

Who will make the final 53-man roster, and which ones will be plucked by other teams? That answer is still up for debate.

Is Tanner McKee a legit candidate to backup Jalen Hurts over Marcus Mariota?

Eagles nfl preseason
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 06: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) watches the game clock run out from the sidelines during the 2nd half of Sunday afternoon NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers on November 6, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)

It took one pass play for Tanner McKee to show why he might just be a better backup to Jalen Hurts than Marcus Mariota. McKee may have completed only 50% of his passes but he shredded the Raven’s secondary at will on Saturday and was very decisive with the football. It also doesn’t help that Mariota struggled to complete simple downfield throws throughout the first quarter he played in, and was only useful with his legs on money downs.

McKee was one of the winners for the Eagles even if they came away with the loss. If he continues to show that he can make every throw, it’ll be hard for the team to make him the third quarterback: especially if Mariota’s struggles from the pocket continues into the regular season.

The 2023 rookie class looks dominant

Philadelphia Eagles first round draft pick Jalen Carter, from the University of Georgia, takes questions from the media during NFL rookie football minicamp, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. Victoria S. Bowles, who was seriously injured in the January car crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and an athletics staffer, has sued the school’s athletics association and former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter for damages. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

We’ve mentioned a few already but the Eagles 2023 rookie class looked excellent on Saturday night. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith each had quarterback pressures in the game. Carter’s was a highlight that has circulated across the web nationally over the last few hours.

It was the Eagles’ mid-to-late-round picks that showed more though once Carter and Smith were taken out. Tyler Steen had a monster pancake block along the offensive line, and Sydney Brown led the team in tackles even though he only started playing in the second half. We’ve already mentioned how good McKee looked at quarterback, but Moro Ojomo also wreaked havoc along the interior of the defensive line.

Add in a pick-six from the undrafted free agent in Ricks, and some solid coverage skills from Ringo, and the entire 2023 draft class was something to behold on Saturday for the Eagles.

What does the depth at OL look like in 2023?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jack Driscoll (63) sets up to block during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The starting five on the offensive line seem pretty obvious to this point. Their immediate backups however are still up for debate. Tyler Steen surprisingly got the start at tackle on Saturday and looked very comfortable. In his first game action since being removed from the exempt list, Josh Sills also played pretty well. Jack Driscoll is seen as the team’s swing tackle at the moment.

Philadelphia doesn’t have the same kind of depth along the offensive line they had last year, but this group still looked pretty solid on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see how Stoutland works them out over the next couple of weeks with joint practices on the horizon.

DeAndre Swift is very good

DeAndre Swift touched the football twice on Saturday night and in those two touches, showed exactly why the fanbase and organization are so excited to have him.

Swift busted a 22-yard run down the left side of the line and showed the blend of physicality and speed that made him a favorite for the Lion’s running back job. Injuries may have derailed his time in Detroit, but the Eagles needed a back like him to help get back to the Super Bowl. We may not see Swift again in game action until New England in week one, but he has already shown enough to be very excited about.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez