The Offense Comes Alive

Posted: August 16th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on The Offense Comes Alive

Amazing what a difference a week makes. Apparently when you quit making mistakes and start making plays, good things happen. The Eagles used that formula on Thursday night to beat the Jaguars 24-10.

Nobody is all that concerned by the result, but how it happened is important. The Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage all night long and made key plays on offense and defense. There were still mistakes to overcome, but not as many as last week.

The big news is that QB Cody Kessler took a big hit early and was removed from the game. He was put into concussion protocol. We should find out more about him today. That moment scared everyone. Not because of Kessler’s health, but rather because it meant almost a full game of Clayton Thorson.

Hide the kids, this could get ugly.

But it didn’t. Thorson took a huge step forward and showed some of the talent that got the Eagles to draft him in the fifth round. He was mobile. He showed a good arm. He put good touch on some passes. He looked like…an NFL QB. Thorson still has major issues to overcome, but this really was a big night for him. He handled adversity, made plays and led his team to a win. I’m sure he thinks he’s Tom Brady this morning.

One of the things that Thorson did is give his players a chance to help him out. He was off-target to Greg Ward, but Ward adjusted to the ball and made the catch. He then outran a couple of DBs and went for a 38-yard TD. That wasn’t a perfect throw, but it was close enough. Give your guys a chance.

Eagles receivers did nothing in the opener. They played much better as a group. Ward, Charles Johnson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Carlton Agudosi all caught multiple passes. TE Will Tye had a 25-yard catch and run.

Thorson finished the night 16-26-175 with a TD and an INT. Canton won’t be calling for the game ball, but that’s a big night for a rookie who struggled mightily in the spring and summer. He should feel good today.

The running game came alive. Miles Sanders was 5-31 and had a couple of impressive runs in there. You could see his vision and athleticism. That was exciting. Five different Eagles had a run of 10 or more yards. That’s a good run game. Boston Scott looked terrific late in the game. He was 7-43 and had a couple of Sproles type moments. Even Donnel Pumphrey looked good. He made one nasty move on a DB and left that guy looking like a fool. Pump was 5-29. Where has this been?

The O-line played better. They protected the QBs and opened holes in the run game. The OL still was too sloppy. There were missed assignments and more penalties. Stefan Wisniewski had multiple errant snaps and isn’t endearing himself to the coaches. Matt Pryor and Big V had some trouble with the DTs in pass pro early on.

It is hard to quantify just how good the defense looked. Why? The Jags OL was bad. I mean bad. Brandon Graham played early and looked like the greatest pass rusher of the last decade. The RT had no chance. Vinny Curry played well. Daeshon Hall came into the game and had two sacks. He got close on other plays. Josh Sweat had his moments, but is clearly the #5 DE on this team right now. In the second half, Shareef Miller, Kasim Edebali and Eli Harold continued collapsing the pocket and pressuring the QB.

The DTs had another strong game. Bruce Hector played a lot and looked good. Azziz Shittu was highly disruptive late in the game. He gave them fits.

Nate Gerry played better this week. TJ Edwards played well in the second half. Alex Singleton led the team with 6 tackles and was once again fun to watch.

Malcolm Jenkins played early and was a force against the run. Tre Sullivan didn’t stand out to me, good or bad. Johnathan Cyprien had a couple of forceful tackles.

The starting CBs were good. The backups continued to struggle. Josh Hawkins has zero chance to make the team. Jeremiah McKinnon had good coverage on some plays and continued to hit and tackle well.

You want to see your team get better from week to week, especially from the preseason opener to the next game. Players get game film and studying that can make a huge difference. Coaches can use those examples to really highlight certain things that need to be worked on. The Eagles took a big step forward.

The key thing now is to figure out Kessler’s situation. If he has a bad concussion, the team will have to put him on IR and go find a veteran QB to help the next two weeks. Based on the way he’s played so far, he should probably be cut no matter what. I just don’t see what the coaching staff does. Thorson is flawed, but at least he has NFL talent. Kessler struggles to drive the ball, whether out wide or down the field. That would be fine if he made quick reads and was a very accurate passer. We haven’t seen that from him. What exactly are you getting…experience?

Nate Sudfeld is out. Now Kessler is hurt. Carson Wentz is in protective bubble wrap and Clayton Thorson is going to be a busy man. There’s nothing quite like preseason football.

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