The Eagles lost to the Jets on Friday night. Devastating! Not really. It’s just the preseason. Anyway, let’s sort through some winners, losers, and I don’t know.
The most important thing in the preseason is avoiding injuries. It seems like no Eagles players got majorly injured on Friday night. That’s a win.
Hard to not like QB1’s final stat line: 6/6, 80 yards (13.3 average), 1 TD, 0 INT, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Talk about efficiency.
Sure, it’s a very small sample size against a Jets team that ranked second-to-last in defending the pass last year (103.2 average passer rating allowed). And it’s the preseason.
But it was a stock up night for Hurts. He avoided mistakes. He made accurate throws. There was a good balance of playing on-schedule (multiple quick completions) and making things happen on his own (good throw on the run to Quez Watkins along the right sideline).
Hurts didn’t let a dirty hit from Quincy William that Jets head coach Robert Saleh described as “egregiously awful” rattle his composure.
With Hurts taking a big blow to the head on that play, it was good to see him get right up and not have to leave the game.
That being said, there’s a case to be made that Hurts shouldn’t have put himself in danger in the first place. AJ Brown even admitted as much after the game:
“I told him on the sideline don’t take the big hit, slide. But I think he was just trying to move the drive.”
Hurts bailed a clean pocket and exposed himself to pressure by rolling right on that play. Had Williams not unwisely hit him, Hurts would have gone out of bounds for no gain to set up 4th-and-5.
Still, more encouraging signs than not.
For all of the ire about the Eagles’ training camp practices being too short/soft, the starters looked crisp and ready to play on both sides of the ball.
I would also imagine that players love to see their coach passionately defending their teammate after taking a dirty hit. It’s not fake outrage, either. Sirianni is obviously a fiery and passionate dude. Sirianni was so worked up by that play that he was walking far out onto the field to jaw at the refs multiple plays after Hurts got hit. Eagles vice president of player performance Ted Rath had to corral him back to the sideline.
White’s having a strong summer. He’s flashed in practices, displaying good instincts and speed. White made it a quick night for the starting defense by jumping a short route to pick off Zach Wilson on the Eagles’ second defensive snap. Early signs point to the Eagles’ streak of signing free agent linebackers who failed to make a positive impact for the team coming to an end. With the way they’re playing, White and TJ Edwards have earned their spots as the top two linebackers on this team.
Davis looked powerful and disruptive going up against the Jets’ starting offensive line. His hustle also stands out; he was chasing down Wilson when New York’s quarterback took off running on the play where he got hurt. He’s gonna be good.
Conner McGovern (60) and Laken Tomlinson (78) have combined for 171 NFL starts. Tomlinson who tried to come over and help is coming off his first Pro Bowl season.
Eagles rookie Jordan Davis did this AND finished the play. pic.twitter.com/NBgz54hQZl
— Marc Farzetta (@MarcFarzetta) August 13, 2022
It was really nice to see Dean active in this game after being essentially invisible in training camp practices. Dean finished tied for second in total tackles with five. He was good in run defense, although he failed to make a play on one rushing attempt to the outside.
Jordan Davis pushes Nate Herbig into the pulling TE’s path, stopping his momentum, and Nakobe Dean obliterates him. Dean hit the TE so hard that they basically tackled the RB themselves. pic.twitter.com/QdCDSXNXDE
— IgglesNest (@IgglesNest) August 13, 2022
Jurgens has looked good in practices. He also looked good in his first NFL game action. One should be careful to compare a rookie to a future Hall of Famer who’s made four All-Pro appearances in the past five seasons … but it’s hard to say Jurgens didn’t resemble Jason Kelce out there on Friday night. He’s certainly athletic.
His first three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft looked pretty good!
Of course, the same was said about his top three selections during the summer of 2019. And that didn’t age super well!
One would hope this year’s promise is more real and lasting.
Yet another player who has looked good in camp and is carrying over to game action. Jackson has regularly gotten to the quarterback this summer. He pressured Mike White into a third down incompletion to make the Jets settle for a field goal. Later, he tipped a pass to force an incompletion that brought up a Jets punt. Jackson isn’t going to surpass the likes of Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett on the depth chart. But he’s making the case for more snaps. At the very least, there’s hope for him being much more effective than Ryan Kerrigan was as DE4 last year.
Blankenship led the Eagles in total tackles with eight. Tackles aren’t always a good stat for defenders; they can be an indication of a guy getting picked on in coverage. But that wasn’t so much the case with Blankenship as much as it was him being in good positions to make stops. Blankenship is at least going to make the practice squad. Can he find a way to crack the roster? Not impossible considering the Eagles aren’t exactly loaded with safety depth.
Pascal was actually the Eagles’ leading receiver with two catches for 40 yards. His 32-yard reception was a nice one. Pascal taste drop a touchdown pass … but we’ll give him a pass on that one. He’s looking pretty good for a dude who recently lost 16 pounds due to food poisoning. Bonus points for having fun with the fans:
Gowan was arguably the Eagles’ most impressive corner from the big group that’s competing to earn a roster spot. He had a good special teams tackle on kick return coverage and he had tight coverage on a fade pass to prevent a touchdown. Gowan needed a good night after not standing out in practice as much.
Minshew hardly lit it up but he looked better than he has most of this summer. Had his practice struggles carried over into game action, there might be more questions about his status as QB2. A solid showing from him combined with an uneven night for Reid Sinnett has Minshew secure as the top backup behind Hurts.
Given how much Hurts loves throwing his way, a little surprising he didn’t see a target. So, why is he a winner? This was a strong move:
The UDFA quarterback was a healthy scratch.
He’s now missed multiple practices and a preseason game due to “personal reasons.” One can only hope it’s not very serious. That being said, it’s hard to ignore how his time away is giving him fewer opportunities to convince the Eagles to keep him on the roster. Especially while others (such as Blankenship) are stepping up.
JJAW barely played. When he did, it was late in the fourth quarter. And he dropped a pass. Inexplicably, there seemed to be some level of intrigue when it was announced that he was moving from wide receiver to tight end. There’s no juice there. Just not a good player.
Cain failed to build on his flashes in practice. He dropped a pass on what would have been a big gain. Then he had a false start to turn a 3rd-and-9 into a 3rd-and-14. Cain was never likely to make the roster but a strong preseason might have made the Eagles think a bit harder about keeping him. Not helping his case with an outing like that.
SPECIAL TEAMS COVERAGE
The Eagles’ coverage unit could’ve been sharper. The 52-yard return they allowed near the end of the game contributed to their (meaningless) loss.
Sorry man but I had to do it.
Reagor did have a nice catch for 17 yards. His other two looks resulted in nine combined yards, though, putting him at three for 26 on the night. His two punt returns resulted in one fair catch and one try for no gain. That the Eagles were having him return punts was a little curious since you’d think they’d like to maximize Covey’s reps there. One can only wonder if the Eagles were trying to showcase Reagor a bit; I’m sure they’d love for another team to come calling with a trade offer.
Sinnett was easily on track to be in the loser section before redeeming himself a bit on the penultimate drive. Early on, he looked a lot worse in game action than he had in practice. He finished the night with two dropped picks, although one came when the team was in desperation mode on their final drive. Sinnett does deserve some credit for not totally cratering and leading the Eagles on a scoring drive for the go-ahead touchdown late in the game.
I really want to put my guy in the winner section. But I would have liked to see more from him. The 43-yard kick return was nice; he continues to be the best KR option on the team. But it’s a little disappointing he couldn’t do more as an offensive contributor. His 16 carries went for just 48 yards (3.0 average) while his four receptions went for 29 yards. In his defense, Huntley isn’t meant to be a volume guy or a short-yardage back as much as he’s a change of pace player with home run hitting potential. Such limited value could prevent the Eagles from rostering him, though.
Good sign for him that the Eagles were giving him opportunities to return both kicks and punts. Outside of one solid kick return, though, he didn’t make much of an impact. And he’s reportedly hurt now.
Britain Covey tore ligaments in his right thumb on the fastball Reid Sinnett threw deep on third down #Eagles territory. Obviously going to miss some time
— Ed Kracz (@kracze) August 13, 2022
On the bright side, the Eagles trusted him as a second string cornerback across from Zech McPhearson. Jobe earned that opportunity by stacking some good practices. But Jobe didn’t exactly capitalize in this game by allowing multiple completions.
Nothing too flashy about being targeted four times for four catches and 29 yards. But Togiai did a decent job of getting open and made a tough grab on fourth down to set up a goal-to-go for the Eagles’ late go-ahead touchdown. Togiai has been solid in recent practices as he tries to win the TE3 job. Togiai might be more of a practice squad candidate, especially if Grant Calcaterra is able to get healthy and pick up where he left off early in camp. Although the numbers may be working against him (Tyree Jackson’s recovery bears consideration), Togiai is only helping his case recently.