Trading Places

Posted: August 15th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 12 Comments »

JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s most notable catch as an Eagle came today, when he caught a plane out of town. JJAW was traded to Seattle for safety Ugo Amadi, who most consider to be a combination of Brian Dawkins, Wes Hopkins and Malcolm Jenkins.

JJAW was a good guy, but not a good player. The Eagles gave him time at WR and that didn’t work. They moved him to TE this year and that didn’t work. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good.

No need to analyze the JJAW situation anymore. It simply didn’t work out. Good luck to him in Seattle.

Amadi wasn’t going to last long in Seattle. They were thinking of cutting him so this deal makes sense for both teams. They move players who weren’t likely to make their rosters.

I think the Eagles get the advantage because Amadi has been the better pro to this point. He’s started 12 games, has 125 career tackles and an interception. Amadi obviously isn’t great or he wouldn’t have been available, but he can help a couple of weak areas on the Eagles.

Safety depth was a question mark coming into the summer. The addition of Jaquiski Tartt seemed to be a help, but he’s been a bit quiet. He also missed some time for personal reasons. K’Von Wallace hasn’t done anything to show the coaches that he’s ready to play key snaps. Reed Blankenship is a UDFA who’s been solid. Andre Chachere has looked good in camp, but didn’t stand out in the preseason opener.

Help was needed. In fact, Josiah Scott played safety in practice on Sunday. Per Jimmy Bama:

Josiah Scott recently started getting reps at safety. Today he got safety reps with the first team defense, and I can’t recall seeing him at corner recently. He might just be a safety now. In my opinion, this transition should be viewed as positive news, as opposed to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s last gasp move to tight end this offseason.

If Scott’s move to safety is indeed an encouraging sign for Scott, that should be viewed as alarming news for backup safeties like K’Von Wallace and Jaquiski Tartt.

Now the Eagles have brought in some outside help. Amadi gives them another veteran to add to the mix. He also has STs value. While in college at Oregon, Amadi was a punt returner. With Britain Covey out for a few weeks and not a sure thing even if healthy, the Eagles needed some PR help. That doesn’t mean Amadi has the job. He can just compete for it.

Jalen Reagor caught punts just fine in the opener, but showed nothing as a returner. Jimmy mentioned that AJ Brown caught punts in practice on Sunday. I can see using him in key situations (late in games), but you don’t want someone that valuable returning punts all game, every game.

There is more time left to continue fine-tuning the roster. There is also time for some players to step up. We’ll see what happens. Thankfully we’re talking about role players and not key starters.

***

One other key note from practice…DeVonta Smith returned to action. Good to see him back on the field.

***

Enjoy this.

And this.

Kennedy Brooks has limitations, but I like him. He has good vision, runs with feel and can make things happen. You can see some of those traits in this series of clips from Friday night.

I like him better than Jason Huntley. I hope Brooks gets a lot of work on Sunday in the next preseason game.

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PS #1 – NYJ 24, PHI 21

Posted: August 14th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 12 Comments »

The Eagles preseason opener was a tale of two halves. The starters and primary backups led 14-3 at the half. The Jets were better in the second half, 21-7, and won the game 24-21. There was more good than bad for the Eagles so they should come out of this feeling pretty good.

Let’s go over a few things in regard to the preseason. The first game is the toughest to evaluate. Some players are rusty. Some are nervous. Backups play most of the game and that can lead to a lot of false-positives. You’ll see some guys play really well, only to never reach this level again. Other guys will struggle and then look much better the next week. I went back and re-read notes from last year. Jason Kelce was sloppy in the opener. He did kinda okay during the season.

Also, style is more important than results. We’re trying to see who can play at the NFL level. Going unblocked for a sack doesn’t tell us much. We need to see the skills and traits necessary to succeed in the NFL.

I’m not going to cover every player, just those who stood out to me, good or bad.

QB

Jalen Hurts only played the opening series. Got pressure on the first play so he rolled right and hit Watkins with a dime for a gain of 28. Smooth throw with good velocity. Threw on the move. Very good opening play. Got pressure on the next play and dumped the ball off to Sanders. That resulted in another first down. Hit Stoll over the middle on the next play. Quick read, easy throw for 6 yards. Hit Watkins over the middle on the next play. Another quick throw.

The next play was 3rd/5. Hurts had a pretty clean pocket, but bailed to his right. He couldn’t find anyone open so he tucked it and ran. Went out of bounds and took a big hit on a cheap shot. That did get the Eagles a first down. I didn’t like the decision to bail. He should have stayed in the pocket. I also didn’t like his decision to get everything he could on the run. Get out quickly in that instance. He saw the LB closing on him. It was a cheap shot, but don’t give him the chance to hit you there. Play it safe in the preseason opener. Your health is way more valuable than a yard or two. Hurts wasn’t hurt so it worked out. I just hope Hurts realizes how valuable he is and is more judicious in the future. There are times to fight for yards and there are times to just go out early and play it safe. I get that he expected the LB to pull up, but don’t give him the chance to hit you in August. Save that for when it matters.

The next play was a screen that got 9 yards. Good throw from Hurts let Sanders get going quickly. Well-executed. Hurts ran for a TD on the next play, but that was called back for a questionable hold on Mailata. That led to 2nd/12. Hurts stayed in the pocket and hit Goedert for a 22-yard TD. Good read, solid throw. Nothing special, but a good play.

Hurts mostly made good decisions. He was accurate. I liked the fact he used the whole field. It is critical that he do much better at working the middle of the field. I thought Hurts looked good mechanically. Very promising start to the season. Finished 6-6-80 with a TD.

Gardner Minshew had a solid showing. He’s been unimpressive in camp, but looked worlds different in a real game. Made good decisions, both in terms of passing and running. Got the ball out quickly and made good reads. 8-12-81 as a passer. Ran 3 times for 11 yards, including keeping the ball on an RPO on 4th down. No one expected him to keep that. Good slide and easy 1st down.

Reid Sinnett played the 2nd half. Looked like he might have been too amped up initially. Settled down and got better. Made a beautiful throw to Cain down the left sideline, but it was dropped. You can see why the coaches have interest in him. Looks the part of an NFL QB. Solid arm. Moves pretty well. Hit RB Kennedy Brooks for a short TD to give the Eagles the lead late in the game. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to win.

RB

Miles Sanders was 2-20 as a receiver and looked good. No dancing, just got upfield. Caught the ball smoothly both times.

Jason Huntley got a huge chance to show what he can do. And I don’t think it was nearly enough. Was 16-48 on the ground. Numbers aside, the tape just wasn’t good. Showed some speed, but he’s hardly explosive in a game setting. The real issue for me is his lack of physicality. You don’t expect him to be Jordan Howard and knock guys back, but Huntley has no pop. Goes down too easily too much of the time. Had multiple chances to converty on 3rd/4th and short and really struggled. Must have a clean hole. Can’t get enough push to win at the point of contact. Best run came late in the 2nd Qtr. Went outside to the left for a gain of 8. Worst run was on 4th down late in the half. Needed half a yard for the first. Blocking wasn’t good, but that’s when you need the RB to be able to fight for the yard. Came up short.

4-39 as a receiver, one of them going for 24 yards. When Huntley is in space, he can be dangerous.

Kennedy Brooks played less than I expected. Showed potential. Patient runner with a bit of burst. Finished 7-26 on the ground. Best run went for 8 yards and was up the middle. Pile just kept moving. Had a good cutback on 3rd/5 run that went for 6 yards. Caught a short TD late. Doesn’t have long speed, but I’d like to see more of him the next two weeks.

WR

Quez Watkins was up and down. Made a good grab for 28 yards to open the game. Caught a short pass over the middle and then lost yards from the catch point. Can’t always outrun the D. Sometimes you need to just go upfield even though there are DBs there. Had a pass from Minshew go through his hands on 3rd down near scoring territory.

Zach Paschal caught a pass on 3rd/short on a drag route. Got upfield for the first. Open for TD on the next play but the ball was a bit late and the DB got a hand on the ball. Hauled in a pass for a gain of 32 yards. Finished 2-41. Good route runner. Smooth hands. Good size, physicality. You can see where he’ll be a valuable role player for this team.

Jalen Reagor was 3-26. Solid showing, but didn’t do anything special.

Devin Allen didn’t play much. If you predicted that his highlight would be making a tackle in punt coverage, let me know. I’d like you to pick some Lotto numbers for me.

TE

Dallas Goedert caught a 22-yard TD. Bounced off hit by safety and went over a pair of defenders for the score. Looked in midseason form.

Jack Stoll caught the only pass that came his way.

Noah Togiai had a solid game. 4-29 as a receiver. Caught the ball well. Had to adjust to one pass thrown behind him. Blocking was mixed. Poor block on run play to his side. Let the DE get outside and bounce the run deep/wide. Better on the move than in-line.

OL

  • Starting OL was — Mailata – Opeta – Jurgens – Seumalo – Johnson
  • Backup OL was — Dillard – Opeta – Jurgens – Anderson – Driscoll
  • Third OL was — Sills – Anderson – Tom – Awosika – Driscoll
  • Fourth OL was — Sills – Awosika – Tom – Dunkle – J Williams

Several false start penalties. That needs to get cleaned up.

Jurgens made his NFL debut and really impressed. He showed excellent athletic ability. His highlight was on a screen to Sanders. Jurgens flew upfield and engaged a defender. He sustained that block for almost 15 yards. Good block on Huntley’s TD. Helped double the DT and created a gap for Huntley to hit. Put a defender on the ground on a quick screen to Reagor. Always looking for someone to block. Very active. Poor block on 4th/1. Didn’t get his hands cleanly on the DT so didn’t get any push. Has some things to work on, but you can see outstanding potential.

Opeta got pushed back on opening play. That pressure forced Hurts to scramble. Sloppy on the next play as well. Didn’t get his hands on the rusher quickly enough and the guy pressured Hurts again. Needs to be better with his hands. Missed block on 4th/1. LB helped to stuff the run. Okay overall, but more sloppy than you would like.

Dillard was the backup LT. Had a good combo block on run. Showed good awareness in pass pro. Still doesn’t anchor as well as you’d like. He’s improved, but gets pushed back more than you want.

Jack Driscoll played RT and looked good early on. Got beaten by DE on one pass play, but Minshew ran for short gain. Struggled some in the 2nd half. Seemed to get worse as the game went on. Not sure if this was him being rusty or playing with the 3’s just brought out the worst in him.

Anderson had high pad level on 3rd down. Allowed DT to get under and then around him to pressure Minshew. Good seal block on Huntley’s TD. Got driven back several yards by DT on pass play. Beaten by spin move in the late 3rd and DT hit the QB. Looked better at RG. Better run blocker than pass protector.

Sills struggled at LT. That’s not a position he’s built to play. Not a natural edge protector. Did show the ability to pull. Comes off the ball well on run plays. Would like to see him playing OG. Interesting potential.

Awosika saw time at RG and LG. Not a good showing. He impressed me last year, but didn’t build on that on Friday night. Got pushed back on some plays. Beaten by quick DT in pass pro. Didn’t stand out on plays where he got in space.

Dunkle played RG. Got some push in the run game. Poor footwork in pass pro. Also sloppy with his hands.

Tom played C and saw a lot of action. Pretty good movement skills.

DE

Josh Sweat played RDE. Got held on 3rd down rush and still hit the QB. Just missed a sack.

Brandon Graham came in on the fourth play and took over at LDE. Drove the TE backward, shed him and stuffed RB for a loss.

Tarron Jackson played DE and SAM. Had chance for sack on bootleg play. Shed the RT and went for QB, but let him get outside and escape. Poor angle on that. Went straight for him instead of playing it outside-in to contain him. Blew up a run play by beating a TE with an inside move. Looped to the inside on third down and got pressure on QB. Forced a poor throw and incompletion. Had a chance for a sack in the mid-2nd, but went for the RB on play-action instead of the QB. Still got pressure. Did show good awareness on a play where he was left alone. Stopped his rush and got into the passing lane. Able to deflect a quick pass and force a punt.

DT

Milton Williams had a solid showing.  Quick. Athletic. Active. Stout on some plays. Used hands well. Ate up double team with good leverage to blow up a running play. Got under the LG and stood him up, which forced RB to cut back. Was then tackled for no gain. Got blown off the ball by a double team on a later run.

Jordan Davis played well. First highlight came in the first quarter. Drove the C back and put him on the ground. Then chased the QB outside and back up the field. Good motor and some speed on that play. Had another play where he pushed the C back and then shed him. RB cut the other direction. Backside OG tried to block him on run and Davis shed that and helped to blow up the play. Ate up 3 blockers on one play. Disruptive. Impressive debut.

Marlon Tuipulotu played his best game as an Eagle. Make sure you have that in context. He’s come a long way from last summer, when he really struggled. Tui looked athletic. Used his hands well. Got some push on pass plays. Chased QB out in space, but not athletic enough to get close. Got pushed off the ball on 3rd/1. Need him to be more stout than that. Showed good effort in chasing plays.

Kobe Smith had a solid showing. Played with good leverage. Good motor. Had a gift TFL when QB fell down and all Smith had to do was touch him. Got on the field in the 2nd Qtr so the coaches have him ahead of bigger names like Wilson and Wren. Stuffed a run in the 3rd. Anchored vs blocker and got to RB.

Marvin Wilson had some good moments. Showed the ability to shed blocks and be disruptive vs the run. Didn’t show much as a pass rusher.

LB

Kyzir White had a good game. Stuffed a RB for minimal gain on the first play. OL totally missed the block and White kept his eyes on the runner. Easy stop. Made a big play when he read the QB’s eyes and went underneath a WR to pick off a short throw. Returned it inside the 25. That’s the kind of play you want to see from LBs.

T.J. Edwards got a solid hit on Graham’s TFL. Edwards was unblocked and flew upfield to hit the RB after Graham had secured him.

Nakobe Dean had a good debut. Sees it and goes and gets it. Physical. Tackled RB on 3rd/short run. RB got the first, but nothing more. Tackled RB on next play for no gain after the guy got away from Davis. Dean’s highlight moment came in the mid-2nd. Read a play correctly and attacked a pulling blocker, knocking him into the RB, who was tripped up for minimal gain. Didn’t come away with a great feel for his athleticism. Was more downhill than out in space. Finished with 5 tackles.

Patrick Johnson had a good game. Played SAM and DE. Good awareness on boot and forced QB to throw to short receiver. Set the edge well on multiple plays. Good motor. Beat the RT and got some pressure on red zone pass play. QB had to get rid of the ball. Beat the RT late in the half with a good dip move and got good pressure on the QB. Johnson hasn’t been talked about much this summer. Good showing for him and helps his case to be the backup SAM.

Davion Taylor did some good things in coverage, vs TEs and RBs. Still moves as well as ever.

Shaun Bradley got a stuff on his first play. Missed tackle of TE after catch. TE almost converted on third down because of that.

Kyron Johnson was a bit quiet. Played DE and LB. He looked good in coverage on a pass play to a TE. The pass was completed, but Johnson was in good position. Has good movement skills. Natual athlete. Needs to develop positional skills. Was hoping to see more from him.

S

K’Von Wallace didn’t stand out live, but was better on review. Active. Hustled to get to the ball. Got off blocks and showed good awareness.

Andre Chachere was in on 4 tackles. Didn’t do anything to stand out.

Reed Blankenship had a good game. Led the team with 7 tackles. Played fast. Attacked the ball and tackled well. Didn’t get much of a feel for his cover skills.

CB

The starting CBs didn’t play much.

Josh Jobe was the LCB with the #2 defense. Made a good tackle of WR on his first play. Pressed WR on 3rd down. Beaten to the inside and gave up first. Did make a solid tackle. Had chance to get RB for a loss on 3rd/1, but couldn’t make the tackle. Good effort, poor results. Give RB credit for making him miss. Gave up several completions, but tackled well and limited YAC.

Zech McPhearson did some good things. Made a good open-field tackle of a RB in the early 2nd Qtr. Physical coverage on Mims on a sideline throw that went out of bounds.

Josiah Scott was the backup slot. Shot inside to get RB for short gain. No hesitation and made a good tackle.

Tay Gowan had some good plays in coverage. He’s physical and he will compete.

Josh Blackwell was the #3 slot. Good game for him. Had 4 tackles. Blew up a WR screen with a good wrap-up tackle. Active game.

STs

Jake Elliott was 3 for 3 on PATs.

Arryn Siposs got off a 59 yard bomb. Had 2 punts downed inside the 20. Solid showing for him.

Blocking unit for early PATs:  Stoll – Dillard – Driscoll – Awosika – Lovato – Seumalo – Opeta – Mailata – Togiai. This can give you a hint as to which backups are being looked at among the OL and TEs.

Britain Covey didn’t stand out as a returner. He wasn’t deep enough on the first punt so he had to go backward to make the catch. Did get away from first defender, but limited return. Great effort. Caught the ball smoothly on all his returns. Did have a 25-yard KOR.

Huntley had a 43-yard KOR. Showed good speed in the open field. Tackled by the kicker, but was a legit, quality tackle.

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Jets Stun Eagles in Instant Summer Classic

Posted: August 13th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Eagles lost their preseason opener on Friday night, falling to the Jets 24-21, but Eagles fans should be plenty happy with the team’s performance. When the starters left the game it was 14-0 and the Eagles were clearly the better team. The score was 14-3 at the half. The Eagles third and fourth stringers struggled and that’s when the Jets came alive and stole the game.

The biggest win of the night is the lack of major injuries for the Eagles. Britain Covey tore some thumb ligaments and will miss time. Jets QB Zach Wilson hurt his knee and is waiting to find out if he’s got a torn ACL or just a bone bruise. Hopefully it won’t be the ACL.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was 6-6-80 with a TD. The biggest moment of the night came when he ran out of bounds and took a big hit from a defender. Hurts was hit in the head and that made Eagles players and coaches irate. Hurts wasn’t hurt, thankfully. Coach Nick Sirianni went nuts and yelled at the Jets sideline “That’s f*cking bullshit!” He said after the game he was upset with the player, not the coaches. That was as fired up as I’ve ever seen him.

Hurts played well. He showed good command of the offense, making some plays on schedule and others through improvisation. Hurts looked confident and made good throws. He hit Dallas Goedert for a 22-yard TD. And Hurts had to deal with a pair of penalties. The offense was good enough to overcome them and march in for the score.

The Eagles didn’t run the ball on that drive. Someone asked Sirianni about it after the game. You don’t gameplan for the preseason. You focus on things you want to work on. The Eagles proved last year they could run on anyone. The passing game is what needed work. Sirianni was smart to have the starters throwing the ball. That’s good coaching.

Cam Jurgens got the start at center and he played well. You could see what a good athlete he is. Not only did he move well, he was able to block effectively in space. You can see that he ‘s going to be a good starting center in the future.

After the Eagles got up 7-0, LB Kyzir White jumped a route and picked off a pass to set up a short field. Gardner Minshew and the backups then marched 44 yards to put the Eagles up 14-0.

Life was good.

Things got sloppy after that. Even Sirianni talked about how bad the third quarter was. The offense rallied in the fourth quarter and came up with an 18-play drive that resulted in a TD to put the Birds up 21-17. Then the defense and STs fell apart. The Jets had a 52-yard kickoff return to set up the winning drive. A 23-yard scramble put the Jets deep into Eagles territory. The Jets got a 5-yard TD pass to re-take the lead.

Overall Sirianni has a lot more to be happy about than frustrated with. The offense moved the ball and executed well in the red zone. The only turnover came on the final play of the game when the Eagles were in desperation mode. The defense came up with a takeaway and only gave up 111 yards in the first half.

Sirianni won’t be happy with the penalties (7-45). The STs play was less than ideal. NYJ had KORs of 52 and 31 yards. They also had a 14-yard PR. The Eagles punt return unit didn’t do anything. The number three offense really struggled at times. Blocking wasn’t good. QB Reid Sinnett struggled. The RBs weren’t making things happen. There were dropped passes. It wasn’t pretty. Sirianni won’t be happy with third down conversions. The Eagles were 5 for 17 for the game (only 2 for 7 in the opening half). That must get fixed in a hurry. The team gave up five sacks. That’s on the QBs, the blockers and the receivers. The Jets weren’t sacked at all. The Eagles were only credited with three QB hits. That’s not good, even with the backups playing most of the game. You must get to the QB more than that.

I came away from the game feeling pretty good. The key players played well and that’s what you focus on. Here are some quick thoughts on specific players.

G Minshew – Played pretty well after struggling for a lot of camp. Feel better about him after this showing. Games really do bring out the best in him.

Jason Huntley – Up and down game. 16-48 on the ground and 4-39 as a receiver. Showed some burst on a few plays. Had some success on inside runs, but you could also see his limitations. Doesn’t get much push. Isn’t going to create his own yards. He did have a 43-yard KOR that showed his speed. I just wanted to see more out of him at RB.

B Graham – Got a TFL on his first play. It was great to see him back in action and looking good.

Jordan Davis – The real deal. Showed the ability to control the middle of the line. Pushed blockers back on multiple plays. Showed a good motor and speed on a play where the QB scrambled.

Nakobe Dean – Credited with 5 tackles. Physical. Smart. Looked good.

Patrick Johnson – He was a bit of an afterthought with the addition of Reddick and the drafting of Kyron Johnson. I thought Patrick was one of the best defenders on the field. Played SAM and DE. Good job of setting the edge. Physical vs the run. Flashed on a couple of pass rushes. Caught my eye several times.

Reed Blankenship – Led the Eagles with 7 tackles. Came up aggressively and really attacked his targets. Good showing for a UDFA trying to get the coaches attention.

I’ll have more thoughts after I have a chance to re-watch the game. This is just some of the stuff that stuck out while watching it live. Good start to the preseason. And the game was even interesting. Some preseason games get ugly and painful to watch. The third quarter was ugly, but the fourth quarter was fun, despite the outcome being less than ideal.

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Preseason Opener

Posted: August 12th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

We get to see the 2022 Eagles for the first time tonight. We’ll only see the starters for a series or two. Then we’ll get to see the key backups for a bit. The second half will be the guys at the bottom of the roster fighting for their roster lives.

The preseason opener is always the worst game. This is the first real tackling of the year. This is the first live special teams action of the year. Some players are rusty. You can get big time false reads. Some players who struggle will end up turning into good players. Some guys who look terrific will never amount to anything. Be prepared for a weird night.

There is a chance Nick Sirianni will change his mind at the last minute and not play his starters at all. I hope we get to see them. That makes the games more interesting. I think we’d all love to see Jalen Hurts hit AJ Brown for a TD.

The focus will be the backups. So here are some thoughts on the guys I’m most looking forward to seeing.

Jordan Davis – I don’t think Davis will play a lot, but I’m looking forward to every snap he’s out there. There have been glowing reviews out of Training Camp. Davis seems like the real deal and could develop into a special player. I’m most interested in seeing how he moves. We know he’s big and strong. I want to see how his movement skills translate to the NFL.

Britain Covey – The Eagles need a return specialist. Covey can handle punts and kickoffs. This will be his first chance to do that in a game setting at the pro level. The first thing to look for is how smoothly Covey catches punts. He’s looked smooth in practice and did a good job at Utah, but you always need to see it in games. Beyond the catch, you want to see if Covey can makes defenders miss. I’m also interested to see how he does as a receiver. Covey has a legit shot to be the RS and #6 WR if he plays well in the preseason games.

Cam Jurgens – With Jason Kelce out due to elbow surgery, Jurgens will be the starting center. I’m curious to see how much he plays. Sirianni could leave Jurgens out with the backups as well to get him extra reps. Sirianni could pull him out for fear of Jurgens getting hurt and then being out his top two centers. Jurgens played at a big school (Nebraska) and has looked good in camp so Sirianni may play it safe and limit Jurgens snaps.

Milton Williams – Williams had a solid rookie season. He showed excellent potential. Williams now needs to take the next step and become more consistently disruptive. Last summer he was learning. This summer Williams should know what he’s doing. I want to see him make plays. It will be interesting to see where he lines up. Williams could be DT, NT, 4i, and even DE.

Tarron Jackson – Another second year DL worth watching. Jackson didn’t play much as a rookie. He’s had a good showing in camp, getting to the QB on a regular basis. I’m excited to see how his game has evolved. Is he winning with speed, moves, effort, etc.?

Nakobe Dean – Normally fans would be clamoring for a player with Dean’s accomplishments to start. With TJ Edwards having a great camp and Kyzir White also playing well, Dean can work his way in as a role player. I’m most interested to see Dean’s athleticism. Dean is more player than athlete. Is he good enough to fly around and make plays in the NFL. I’m also interested to see if he’s able to shed blocks and play inside runs well. He did that at Georgia, but the NFL is a different animal.

Jason Huntley – We know Huntley can fly. This summer he’s shown more physicality. Huntley has a legit chance to make the roster if he can show that he is a functional RB. Watch how he does on inside runs. Does he go down on first contact? Does he run behind his pads? Does he try to bounce everything outside? Huntley can really help himself with a good showing.

Andre Chachere – The Eagles like their starting safeties. They brought in Jaquiski Tartt to help with depth. Chachere and K’Von Wallace are fighting for the last spot at safety. Chachere has made more plays in camp and would seem to be leading. He’s also the better STs player and that is critical when talking about role players. I want to see his tackling and how quickly he closes to targets.

Josiah Scott – The Eagles love versatile players. Scott can play in the slot or outside. This summer he’s also gotten reps at safety. That tells you the coaches have real interest in developing him.

Kayode Awosika – Speaking of versatility, Awosika has played OG and LT. He is a good run blocker. I want to see where he plays and how he holds up in pass protection. I don’t know that he’ll ever develop into a starting level player, but Awosika could become a good backup.

Kyron Johnson – Watch for Johnson on defense and STs. He is listed at SAM, but will also play DE in some packages. Johnson is a gifted athlete who could give fits to backup OTs. At SAM, I’m interested in how he covers. Johnson could be a standout on STs. He runs well and is fearless, always a good combination for someone covering kicks.

Josh Sills – A UDFA with good potential. Making the roster this year would be tough, but Sills could make the practice squad and develop into a player for the future. He has good size and strength. I think he’ll be a good run blocker. I’ll be interested to see how he handles athletic DL in pass pro. Might remind you of Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta.

Marlon Tuipulotu – What a difference a year makes. Tuipulotu struggled in a big way last summer. This year he came to camp in better shape and he’s played well. Tuipulotu didn’t do much well last year. I want to see how he looks this time around. At USC, he had a good motor and showed good athleticism for a DT. I look forward to seeing him in action.

Reid Sinnett – Gardner Minshew hasn’t played well this summer. Maybe the preseason game will bring out the best in him. Sinnett has opened some eyes and has gotten reps with the second team in a few practices. I want to see him in action. Let’s get a feel for what he can do.

CBs – The Eagles have a ton of young corners to keep an eye on. Who will stand out? Zech McPhearson has been quiet this summer. UDFAs Mario Goodrich and Josh Jobe both have good potential. I just hope someone plays well and takes the lead for the backup spots.

Obviously the most important thing is for the Eagles to stay healthy. Fingers crossed on that.

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Building Depth

Posted: August 8th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 3 Comments »

You need stars to win in the NFL. The Rams have Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp and Matt Stafford. Those elite players helped them to win the Super Bowl. The Rams also had good depth.

TE Kendall Blanton started two games in the regular season, but there he was starting the Super Bowl. A’Shawn Robinson didn’t start at all in 2020. He started 14 games last season and was a key part of the DL. Safety Nick Scott only started one game all year. He started in the Super Bowl.

Starters are going to get hurt. You must have good players behind them.

Depth was less than ideal for the Eagles last year. The pass rush struggled after Brandon Graham got hurt in Week 2. The Eagles had to rely on rookies like Tarron Jackson and Jack Stoll more than they would have liked. The Eagles had to rely on mediocre veterans like Alex Singleton and Greg Ward more than they would have liked.

This year feels different.

Jordan Davis could be an impact rookie. He might not start, but he will play a key role in certain looks. If anything happens to Javon Hargrave or Fletcher Cox, you have Davis instead of Haason Ridgeway. That’s a major upgrade.

Milton Williams is in his second year and will provide depth all over the DL. He can play inside or outside.

Even a guy like Marlon Tuipulotu could help this year. He’s made plays in camp on a regular basis. Check out this note from Jeff McLane.

Making gains. Marlon Tuipulotu might not have made the 53-man roster last year had he not been a draft pick. He struggled in camp and the preseason. But he apparently took the necessary steps in the ever-important first full offseason. Several teammates have noted Tuipulotu’s improvement. Fletcher Cox said earlier Sunday that the defensive tackle lost about 15 pounds.

Jimmy Bama has also been impressed.

  1. Marlon Tuipulotu had the best rep of the night. He beat Cam Jurgens on a push-pull-swim move. Tui has been significantly better in this camp than he was a year ago.

You want the guys at the bottom of the roster to show improvement. Tuipulotu didn’t play much last year, but he seemed to learn some lessons. He’s been much better this summer and might actually earn a spot with his play. He got very lucky last year.

Ben Fennell had this to say about Williams and Jackson.

Second-year defensive lineman Milton Williams also had a really impressive rep where he won with quickness off the ball.

Also, the young Tarron Jackson continues to flash, not just in team drills but in these one-on-one sessions as well. One thing I really appreciate about Jackson’s approach is that you can see that he’s always working on different rush moves. He has a lot of tools in his toolbox, and he’s constantly trying to find new ways to sequence his rushes and attack opposing linemen. He’s had a sneaky good camp.

Williams is the more important player. He’s looked good this summer after flashing at times last season. The coaches will have a defined role for him. Jackson is more of a pure backup. Last year he was more of an effort player than anything else. Jackson now has a toolbox and a better understanding of how to beat blockers. He should be more effective when he’s on the field.

This isn’t all about the DL. Here is Jimmy Bama on RB Jason Huntley.

Jason Huntley had a few highlights. He made Patrick Johnson whiff in the flat on a nice cutback. He also found a huge lane on the left side of the line, ran through it, and then turned on the jets, leaving Josiah Scott (playing safety) in the dust. Scott looked like he had angle on Huntley, but Huntley just exploded right past him. I think Huntley has to make this team.

Nick Sirianni loves explosive plays. Huntley has the speed and burst to deliver them on runs, passes or kickoff returns. One of the questions with Huntley is whether he’s physical enough for the NFL. Huntley had a play recently where he ran over a defender. I’m sure he’s getting the coaches attention with his improved play. He just might be in the middle of winning a roster spot.

Speaking of returners…WR/RS Britain Covey has come alive in recent practices. Here is Mr Bama sharing his take.

• In our Day 6 notes, I noted that Britain Covey was starting to make some plays, and I wondered if we might see him get some first-team reps. Ask and ye shall receive. Covey got first- and second-team reps today, and he made the most of them, making catches all over the field, and getting yards after the catch. Gardner Minshew found Covey down the field for a big play on one rep, and over the middle in the intermediate part of the field on another.

Jeff McLane as well.

Great Britain. After watching a couple of spring practices and the first few of training camp, Britain Covey didn’t stand out much. If anything, the 5-foot-8, 173-pound wide receiver garnered attention because of his relative lack of size. He got knocked around some. But Covey has made an impression since the full pads have come on. He had his best outing Saturday and likely earned some repetitions with the first team offense on Friday as a result.

We know AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins will be the key receivers. Jalen Reagor has been good recently and will probably be the #4 receiver if he’s not dealt. Zach Pascal will also be part of the rotation. Covey could force the team to keep six receivers if he continues to play well. He needs to do a good job on punt returns in the preseason games to help his cause. This could be the end of the Greg Ward era.

Let’s talk about the OL. The Eagles have had a ton of injuries at LT. That opened the door for Kayode Awosika to get reps there. He did not look good, but it says something that the coaches trusted him enough to give him a shot. Awosika will push for a spot as a backup OG and possibly RT.

Will the loss of Nate Herbig hurt depth at OG? Jimmy doesn’t think so.

  1. Sua Opeta had a good season in 2021, and he’s having an excellent camp in 2022. In my opinion, he is better than Nate Herbig, and it’s not really even that close. Opeta will very likely be the first guy of the bench at both guard spots, and he could start on a lot of teams.

Interesting. I’ve never seen Opeta look as good as Herbig so that’s high praise to me. Not that Herbig was some star, but he was a functional starter. Opeta has flashed potential, but only has four starts (Herbig had 17). It would be great if the starters could just stay healthy. If that doesn’t happen, Opeta will get a chance to show what he can do.

QUICK HITTERS

WR Deion Cain has very little chance to make the team, but he’s consistent and productive. He’s doing everything he can to make the team.

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DB Josiah Scott has mainly played in the slot, where he’s at his best. He also has gotten reps at safety. That’s a good sign for his chances of making the team. Backups must be versatile.

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Rookie center Cam Jurgens has impressed on a daily basis. It looks like the Eagles found a good successor to Jason Kelce.

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