Four Thoughts From Eagles-BrownsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Nick Foles came through with another impressive performance against the Browns on Friday night. The rookie completed 12 of 19 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He might have even had a third score if rookie wideout Damaris Johnson had been able to keep his feet in bounds on a near-catch in the second quarter. Foles outplayed Cleveland starter (and first-round pick) Brandon Weeden, and has shined more brightly than any other rookie on the team.
Once again, the most impressive thing about Foles wasn’t his numbers, but rather his poise. He’s shown that he has a short memory, and can easily shake off an interception or a big hit. He turned the ball over on the first possession of the game after underthrowing a deep pass to DeSean Jackson, but kept his head up and came back strong.
He’s the unquestioned number two quarterback right now. Foles has completely blown away the weak-armed Mike Kafka, and the coaches should have no problem trusting the rookie after watching him enjoy such a high level of success with the first-team offense.
2. Another Bad Game For Nnamdi
How can you not be alarmed by the play of Nnamdi Asomugha this preseason?
In Friday’s game, the veteran corner allowed three completions, and was a major reason that the Cleveland offense was able to move down the field against the Birds’ first-team defense.
Throughout the preseason, he’s been indecisive, and hasn’t made many good plays while defending the pass. This guy is supposed to be on the level of Jets’ corner Darrelle Revis, and throughout his career we’ve seen a player who has been average at best.
The Eagles need Asomugha to be great, and he’s been anything but that. Sure, one could argue that he’s not being put in the best position to succeed by defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, but if he was truly one of the game’s great cornerbacks, he’d be able to make the necessary adjustments to succeed in whatever scheme he’s put in.
3. Difficult Decisions Ahead
Cut-down day is approaching fast, and the Eagles are going to have a lot of tough decisions make when they select who stays and goes on this roster.
Is Mike Kafka still a lock to make this team? Trent Edwards doesn’t overwhelm anyone, but his previous starting experience and his play this preseason should warrant him some serious consideration to stick on the roster. Unlike Edwards, Kafka has accomplished nothing in this league, and there are serious questions about his physical abilities. If the Eagles are now sold on Foles as their backup, what value does Kafka provide as the third-string guy? I’d rather have a veteran at the end of the depth chart than another developmental-quarterback with physical limits and no proven track record.
Bryce Brown is without a doubt going to make the team, but it will be difficult for the Eagles to release Chris Polk. Polk turned in his best game of the preseason, picking up 39 yards on six carries. His running style doesn’t fit the mold of what Andy Reid typically looks for in a running back, but he’s been very impressive.
Keenan Clayton looked like his name would be among those released at final cuts, but a strong performance on Friday got him back into the running for a job. He blocked a punt on special teams, was in on three tackles, and also broke up a pass. The talent has always been there for Clayton, but for some reason he’s never earned the trust of coaching staff.
4. Veterans On The Bubble
Does Casey Matthews make this team? I think he’s got to suit up and play well in the final preseason game to lock up his roster spot. He’s sat out the last two games, and it isn’t clear what, if any, role the former fourth-round pick has on this team. Jamar Chaney and Akeem Jordan are better options at any of the linebacker positions than Matthews at this point, and personally I like what Keenan Clayton brings to the table more than Matthews. The second-year man hasn’t shown anything exceptional since entering the league, and all he’s ever seemed to have going for him is his last name.
Jaiquawn Jarrett has only shown that he can’t play in this league, and even a decent showing against the Jets might not be enough to save his roster spot. The Eagles will probably have to look to the waiver wire to pick up some additional depth at safety.
Demetress Bell just hasn’t been working out. He’s not showing anything to make me think he’ll be the starter at left tackle on opening day, or at any point during the season. As I’ve mentioned previously, the whole situation is very reminiscent of Stacy Andrews’ time in Philadelphia. The Eagles awarded Andrews a huge deal in the off-season, only to bench him for the remainder of the season just one week into the 2009 year. I don’t know that the Eagles would be so quick to flat out release Bell, but I think they’ll be in the market for some help at offensive tackle.
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