Eagles are Sloppy in Preseaon Opener

Posted: August 10th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Preseason football is all about evaluation so final scores aren’t all that important so the Eagles losing to the Steelers 31-14 isn’t a big deal. To make it as simple as possible, their backups beat the Eagles backups.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what we saw, starting with the good.

Nate Sudfeld started slow. He threw a bad pick. He seemed to be locking onto Dallas Goedert for each pass play. Sudfeld was slow to get the ball out. I was starting to wonder about all the praise the coaching staff has given him since the middle of the 2017 season. Then Sudfeld got his feet under him and played much better. He handled the rush well. He made smart reads and accurate throws. The TD to Goedert was an impressive play. Sudfeld showed elusiveness, awareness, vision and accuracy.

Sudfeld showed potential and playmaking ability tonight. That’s what you want in a #3 QB. He’s not supposed to be a finished product.

Corey Clement looked terrific. He was 5-30 as a runner, looking as quick and fast as ever. He also had a 13-yard punt return.

Josh Adams showed the ability the Eagles expected when they gave him a good signing bonus back in April. He ran well to the outside, showing patience, vision and speed. He caught a couple of passes and looked natural doing it. Doug Pederson said he blocked well. I didn’t focus on that.

Shelton Gibson averaged 27 yards per kickoff return. He hauled in a 63-yard TD pass from Sudfeld. We all know Gibson has speed, but this was the first time we really saw it make a big difference. He ran right by the CB.

Dallas Goedert was outstanding. He was 4-66 as a receiver, including a TD. Goedert did drop one pass. He started to look where to run before he had the ball secured. Goedert has big time potential. He can run routes, get open and snatch the ball when it comes his way. He makes all of this look so easy. I didn’t see much of him as a blocker.

I did think Richard Rodgers had some good blocks. That’s encouraging.

Matt Pryor looked good. He seems unusually confident for a rookie O-lineman.

Fletcher Cox doesn’t need to be mentioned in a piece like this, but he was so dominant at times that you have to mention him. Sack. Chased down a screen. Drove blocker back into the QB. He looks like a man on a mission.

Jordan Hicks did play. He didn’t jump out at me, good or bad. Still, it was great to see him on the field.

Azziz Shittu was the DT who jumped out at me. He was very quick off the ball and disrupted multiple plays. The coaches had to be really happy with what they saw from him.

Winston Craig played both DE and DT. He was in against third stringers, but I thought he flash a few times.

Kamu Grugier-Hill stood out more than the other LBs. Some of that was against backups, but you could see just how athletic he is. He led the team with 6 solo tackles, including a pair of TFLs. KGH helped his cause tonight.

De’Vante Bausby looked very good in coverage, but he had one atrocious tackle attempt. He’ll hear about that from coaches and teammates.

*****

Now let’s talk about some guys who had mixed performances.

Isaac Seumalo was the backup center and blocked well. But he had a terrible snap that killed a drive. Pederson said the coaches are working with him on that.

Jordan Mailata played his first ever football game. And it showed. He gave up a strip sack on his first play. The QB didn’t help him at all on that, but he was beaten cleanly and quickly.  Mailata got better as the game went along. He’s got zero chance to play in the league this year, but you can see hints of his potential, mostly due to his size and natural gifts right now. If he played like that after starting 38 games at LT for USC, I’d say he stunk. Considering his background, there was plenty to build on.

Rasul Douglas gave up a pair of TDs. He also had an impressive INT. Up and down. He just missed the ball on both TDs. While close is good, the problem is that he still missed and gave up big plays. Douglas is in Year 2. He shouldn’t be making those kinds of mistakes.

Elijah Qualls got my attention on a few plays. He showed good strength and was disruptive. He also was called twice for defensive holding. That should happen in a season, let alone one game.

Avonte Maddox showed talent and made mistakes. He was a very aggressive and confident player at Pitt. We didn’t see that same vibe from him in the opener. He’s doing a lot of learning.

Cameron Johnston averaged 45.8 per punt. That sounds good. It sounds even better when you find out he had an 81-yard bomb that didn’t count. Still, some kicks lacked hang time. His ball-placement, both deep and along the sidelines, must get better. Great leg, but inconsistent results.

*****

Bad games.

I thought Tre Sullivan stunk. Maybe I’ll feel different after watching the tape, but I was not impressed at all.

Wendell Smallwood did have a 13-yard run, but he also fumbled. A veteran RB like him can’t put the ball on the ground against backups.

Joe Ostman. Maybe I’m being overly harsh here, but effort just isn’t enough in the NFL. Ostman played hard, but he showed poor awareness and didn’t catch my eye as a pass rusher.

Joe Callahan looked like a #4 QB. He is mobile. He’s got a good arm. He also goes into panic mode way too easily. He’s better than Matt McGloin so all is forgiven.

It is hard to judge the WRs because they’re affected by play-calling, blocking and QB play, but WRs only caught 7 passes all night. That’s not good.

I feel like Rashard Davis always disappoints me. I desperately want him to break loose for a big return, but it never happens. It feels like he focuses too much on trying to make guys miss instead of trying to get yards.

*****

Major issues:

  • Tackling
  • Turnovers
  • Penalties

That kind of sloppiness is going to happen in the preseason opener. Still, there was too much of each. The coaches have plenty of teaching material from this game. You can bet the players will hear about it.

*****

Best news…no major injuries. Sidney Jones hurt his ankle, but it didn’t seem too serious.

_