Eagles Armchair: Eagles Fall in Weather-Shortened Match-Up

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles had a lot of guys step up in the second preseason game against the Jaguars.

Their third preseason game against the Ravens did not go nearly as well.

The Eagles played a very ugly first half and saw some less-than-ideal plays from some young guys that had previously come up big for the team.

Just when it seemed the team put it all together and ready to erase a 26-point deficit, lightning forced a delay and the eventual cancellation of the game.

Up-Down Drill

Up: Josh McCown

The Eagles brought Josh McCown out of retirement on Saturday, so he got just a few practices in with the team. He was also thrown into a preseason game with guys that he didn’t even practice with during those couple days. After a slow start though, McCown was on fire. He earned himself a 122.2 quarterback rating with his 17/24, 192-yard performance. He seemed primed to lead the team back from a 26-point deficit until the team decided to put Clayton Thorson out in the fourth quarter. For those who were whining about the team not signing Colin Kapernick, you now see why they didn’t go that route. McCown is one of the smartest quarterbacks and was able to put up this performance with only a couple of days worth of exposure to the offense and a bunch of guys he barely knows. If he sees the field in the regular season, the Eagles will still have a chance.

Up: TJ Edwards

In last week’s Eagles Armchair I included Alex Singleton as a riser and just mentioned TJ Edwards. This week, I’ll do the opposite. Edwards was the Eagles top defensive player on the field last night and he played against the Ravens starters for a while. He recorded eight tackles (one for loss) in the game. He could be the steal of the draft in a very good Eagles draft class and it would be hard to imagine him clearing waivers if he were to be cut. I expect him to be on the 53-man roster to start the season.

Down: Jeremiah McKinnon

For the third straight week, McKinnon was victimized routinely. Why he still wears an Eagles uniform is beyond me. There are plenty of other corners out there and the Eagles just released Jay Liggins a short time ago. At least Liggins showed some potential. The only potential McKinnon has shown is the potential to be awful, even against third-string guys.

Up: Corey Clement

Seven carries for 25 yards isn’t great, but Clement looked like the 2017 version of himself in this game. He was quick, read holes and made some nice cuts for some extra yardage. This was certainly on display, along with his hands, when Cody Kessler threw a backward pass that would have been a turnover had Clement not quickly picked it up in the face of pressure. If Clement is back, the Eagles have four solid running backs on this roster not including the trio of Adams, Scott and Smallwood.

Down: Rasul Douglas

Douglas figures to be a big part of this team, but he looked awful in the third preseason game. His worst plays were allowing a five yard gain on a reception made at the line of scrimmage and a play where he completely blew coverage and then tackles Malcolm Jenkins instead of the receiver. He’s played better than that before, so there’s hope this was an outlier.

Up: Greg Ward Jr.

Four receptions for 45 yards in addition to his special teams play and availability on flea flickers or an emergency QB mean that Ward should probably have a spot on this roster. If Ward could improve his special teams play, he might even be a lock. He has shined in both camp and preseason and, at this point, has looked better than both Mack Hollins and Marken Michel.

Down: Cody Kessler

While his 3 completions on five attempts for 35 yards wasn’t bad, he fumbled the ball on an ill-advised backwards pass and took far too long to release the ball, even taking a pressure on a play where Agholor was open on a short route, Jeffery was open on a crossing route and Clement was open for an over the top, in-stride pass. It’s a shame that he got that concussion last week, but he looks to be without a roster spot.

Up: Rodney McLeod

McLeod missed a lot of time with injury, but he appeared to be back last night. Not only did he move with ease, but he also made a very good play-recognition decision and ended up making a big play on the line. Since he is known for his play in the open field, the play on the line could be a very good sign that the Eagles have a top safety pairing back for the season.

Down: Johnathan Cyprien

Though I had him pegged as a good comeback candidate, Cyprien looked bad last night, especially in the red zone. If the roster decision was based soley on this game, Cyprien would not be on the roster and Tre Sullivan would. He’ll need a strong bounce-back performance next week to make this squad.

Up: Nate Herbig

Herbig has been really good over the past two games, but he got to play with the second-string guys last night. He got a nice block down the field on a run play and seems to be developing really well. Frankly, he has been more impressive that Wiz and Matt Pryor so far. I would expect Herbig to bee the center on the practice squad even if he doesn’t crack the initial 53-man roster.

Injury Report

The Eagles did not experience any major injuries in this one, which is a great refresher from the last year or so of games.

Game Notes

  • While I am not sure that his stock has risen because of how hyped he was following the draft, JJ Arcega-Whiteside had a good game with eight catches for 104 yards. This was something we needed to see as he hasn’t been great catching contested balls in the first two preseason games.
  • Marken Michel raised his stock the first week and Greg Ward has now done it two weeks in a row. Despite constantly hearing how great Mack Hollins is as a special teams player, he hasn’t been all that impressive in the preseason. He added two catches for 15 yards in this one, but he also utterly failed to block a corner for more than half a second which resulted in a play being blown up behind the line of scrimmage. A receiver who stands at 6-foot, 4-inches really shouldn’t have trouble handling a corner for a bit. That is part of the reason both Ward and Michel have outperformed Hollins. It will be interesting to see how the team decides which to keep.
  • I am of the opinion that either LJ Fort or Andrew Sendejo needs to be cut from the roster. I’m just not sure that either is worth giving away a fourth-round compensatory pick for. If one has to go, so far Fort would be the one I cut. He finally had a solid game where he didn’t have some glaring mistakes, but he was still overshadowed by an undrafted rookie and former CFL star Alex Singleton seemed to be as effective as Fort when he was on the field. It might not be fair, but the fact that Fort signing here altered the compensatory pick formula may just be his undoing with the team.
  • The penalties last night were awful. The team really needs to clean that up. It’s surprising that they had all these issues in the third game because so many of the penalties were on guys that had played the majority of the previous two games without incident.
  • What’s Next

    The Eagles will play their final preseason game next Thursday against the New York Jets.

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