Eagles Postgame Report: Birds Fall to Baltimore Ravens In First Preseason Game

Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles entered Saturday for their first preseason games with quite a few younger players competing for spots on the roster.

As expected, there wasn’t much of any starters on the field, just those competing for spots.

In the running back rotation, Gainwell and Scott sat as Swift, Penny and Sermon duked it out. At safety, Blankenship took a rest as those competing for a spot aside him played. Even the second-string defensive line barely played for the Eagles in this one, appearing in just one drive (a three-and-out).

Ultimately, the score doesn’t matter, but if you’re looking at what went wrong, it was Ian Book. The fourth quarterback off the bench was just terrible with only short runs, a few passes (only one of which would even be considered competent) and a lot of standing around staring at wide open targets that he didn’t throw to. The Eagles would be wise to either bring in another QB or let McKee get some extra reps going forward – tough to evaluate anyone else out there with Book when the whole offense becomes watching a single player stand still before he gets pressured into a run for no gain.

Offensive MVP: Tyrie Cleveland

There were a lot of moving parts on the offense, but Cleveland was perhaps the player that stood out most. You could argue Eli Ricks, but that was against the third/fourth-team. Greg Ward also did, but Cleveland seemed to have more of a rapport with McKee. Cleveland had five receptions and 68 yards. While much of the talk around camp has been the impressiveness of players like Joseph Ngata, Cleveland was the most sure-handed receiver other than Ward in this match.

Defensive MVP: Jalen Carter

There wasn’t really any player on the defense the popped out in this game other than first-round pick Jalen Carter. He was only on the field for a handful of snaps, but quickly recorded a sack against a veteran offensive linewan in incredible fashion.

Game Notes

  • Not a surprise with the recent moves to bring in Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham, but the linebackers had their struggles in this game. There was certainly the flashes that showed what the Eagles see in Christian Elliss: there were quite a few plays that he read incredibly well and got into position to stop. The problem is he simply didn’t finish those plays. Solid tackling and he’d have flashed big time.
  • When it came to the passing offense, it was really only Greg Ward and Tyrie Cleveland. Both receivers were incredibly productive and made any play that was within their grasp to make. The Eagles should be looking to these two as their fifth (and perhaps potentially fourth) receiver. It’d be a surprise if both aren’t with the team come the season unless one of the pair is claimed by another team and can’t be added to the practice squad.
  • Justin Evans was not particularly impressive in coverage, but he was hitting guys hard. It’s something that should make him stand out. A penalty against him in coverage also made him stand out in a negative way, though.
  • For the running backs, Swift certainly looked like the best of the bunch. It’s a bit of an unfair comparison since Swift is a more elusive back and Penny is a contact runner who was behind a line that struggles, but that’s the way it went down.
  • It’s no wonder Cam Jurgens is the starting right guard. Third-round pick Tyler Steen had been expected to compete for the spot, but he was the clear weak link on the second-string offensive line. He missed assignments and was regularly pushed onto his backside or into the quarterback at left tackle. He did not look ready at all. Josh Sill, playing next to him, did a solid job of making Steen’s poor play at the position less noticeable.
  • Recently-signed Josh Andrews looked much better with the second team than Dennis Kelly did on the edge for the third team.
  • Dan Arnold is competing for a depth tight end spot, but the veteran being unable to make a first-down and running side to side for so long left a bad taste in my mouth, it’d seem he’s on the outside looking in.
  • Another veteran, Greedy Williams, certainly had his own embarrassing moment, utterly failing to make a tackle in bounds and allowing the Ravens 3 points they shouldn’t have gotten just before the half. That’s the kind of play you’d expect from an undrafted rookie, not a four-year veteran who was a second-round pick.
  • Tanner McKee showed some skills in his time as the third quarterback once Mariota was lifted. It would seem the sixth-round pick has the inside track to sticking with the team as the third active QB. That’s something some former picks like Clayton Thorson did not have.
  • He didn’t play until later in the game, but Sydney Brown seemed to always be around the ball in the end of the game. In fact, his play reminded a bit of Reed Blankenship’s last preseason, though he’s getting a bit more opportunity in coverage since the Ravens did actually throw the ball while he was on the field.
  • Eli Ricks was the clear standout among corners in this one. He broke up passes, had a pick six and was generally the only player that seemed like a lockdown. He seemed to have a better game than nearly any other corner that saw time.
  • Ian Book was a bane on this offense. If the Phillies weren’t getting blown out, it’d have been better for fans to watch them when the offense came on following his appearance.

Injury Notes

  • Shaun Bradley was carted off the field with an injury suffered on a punt. He was unable to put weight on the leg

Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens – August 12, 2023

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Eagles 3 10 0 6
Ravens 0 10 7 3