Thursday’s preseason game was thoroughly entertaining through the first quarter. The offense flashed on several drives, with Carson Wentz hooking up with both of his new receivers for touchdowns. The defense struggled and got gashed for several large plays, but had some positive moments as well.
And then on the first offensive drive of the second quarter, a collective wave of groans could be heard throughout the Delaware Valley when Wentz and the starting unit stayed on the sidelines and Matt McGloin stepped into action, and immediately threw an interception.
The preseason has been so devalued by NFL head coaches these days.
Not too long ago, starters would play a full quarter in the first game, a full half in the second game, and three quarters in the third game.
And today? They play one series in the first game, maybe a quarter in the second game, and not even a half in the third game.
You can get away with with that if you have an established, veteran team like the Green Bay Packers or New England Patriots. But for a team like the Eagles with a young quarterback and a lot of new weapons, every rep is valuable.
Pederson pulled the plug on the offense because Wentz was taking too many hits, but I still don’t like the decision.
The running game still doesn’t have much of a flow at this point. LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood took a combined eight carries, and while both guys flashed here and there, the sample size was still small.
Alshon Jeffrey And Torrey Smith Flash
During their only quarter of work, both new starting wide receivers made some pretty positive impressions.
Torrey Smith got behind the defense, and Carson Wentz found him for a 50-yard touchdown strike. We’ve heard all throughout camp about how well Smith had been performing, but this was our first proof of that in a game situation. Smith is a guy that I think is going to surprise a lot of people. You can’t say enough about what a terrible situation he’s been in with the San Francisco 49ers the last two years, with garbage head coaches like Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly and garbage quarterbacks like Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick. Smith still has his speed. He’s the same guy that was a big part of the Ravens’ offense a couple of years ago.
Jeffrey caught two passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown pass was a thing of beauty, with Wentz zipping the ball to Jeffrey at the perfect moment on a slant route that got the big receiver into the endzone.
Darby Does A 180
A week after looking one of the defense’s new heros, cornerback Ronald Darby was victimized for several big plays against Miami.
Darby gave up a long reception to DeVante Parker that set up Miami’s first touchdown, and was beat later by Kenny Stills and was forced to commit a pass interference penalty that gave Miami the ball one the one-yard line.
Darby is still getting familiar with the defense, and I wouldn’t be too concerned about what happened to him tonight, but it was certainly sobering to see him targeted and give up several big plays.
- I can’t say enough about how badly I wish the Eagles would move on from Jason Kelce as the starting center. His size is such an issue. I keep holding out hope that he’ll at least be on a short leash, and the team could shift Isaac Seumalo to center, but Kelce seems to just eternally get a pass for his shortcomings here.
- Mack Hollins looks like such a player. Its a shame he’s been saddled with Matt McGloin as his quarterback through most of the preseason, otherwise I believe he’d flash even more.
- Speaking of McGloin, he was predictably terrible once again, just bringing very little to the table. He threw a terrible interception on his first drive, and most of his completions were either of the checkdown variety, or came on short to intermediate routes. Its tough to evaluate where a lot of the guys on the second team are really at with McGloin playing so poorly.
- Corey Clement just goes out and makes a strong case for himself to be on this roster each week. I’m just not sure how the Eagles make room for him. The Eagles seem committed to Blount, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood. Its going to be tough for them to cut Donnel Pumphrey loose after spending a fourth-round pick on him. But Clement just looks like he belongs, while Pumphrey is more of a project. My hope is that the Eagles find some kind of phantom injury to essentially redshirt Pumphrey, while keeping Clement, but I don’t know that such a thing will happen.
- Pumphrey took 12 carries and managed just 37 yards.
- Was it really necessary to give McGloin nearly three quarters of work, while giving Dane Evans a token drive at the end of the game?
- I sure hope the Mychal Kendricks we’ve seen in these preseason games carries over to September. Kendricks came up with yet another interception, and came close to picking up a sack on Jay Cutler. He’s been locked-in during these games, and he’s played as well as we’ve ever seen him play.
- We have a Vinny Curry sighting! Curry got himself a strip-sack of Jay Cutler in the first quarter.
- Bad combined missed tackle by both Rasul Douglas and Terrence Brooks in the second half that led to a long catch-and-run touchdown for Jakeem Grant.
- Jaylen Watkins got some work in at corner, and came down with an interception in the second quarter.
- Don Cherry looked good in the second half with an interception and a nice return to follow.
- It’s only preseason, but Dave Fipp’s coverage units just haven’t looked as sharp as they’ve been in the past.
- Caleb Sturgis, who has struggled a bit this preseason, connected on his only field goal attempt.
I don’t like that the starters didn’t play more than a quarter of football tonight, but you still have to be pleased with what they did show on offense while they were out there. I can’t wait to see Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffrey, and Torrey Smith really open things up once the season begins.
On a positive note, the team has gotten the starters through the preseason with no major injures. None of the first-team will play against New York next week, so there’s no need to worry about that game.
One more miserable preseason game, and the summer of McGloin will be at an end.