It’s time to look forward to the Washington Redskins in a little more than a week.
The Eagles’ preseason ended with a 6-0 loss to the New York Jets. The loss gave them a 1-3 mark in the exhibition season.
It was the last chance for several Eagles to make one final push to earn a roster spot.
Some did well; many did not.
Let’s get to it:
Who I liked
Daeshon Hall. Head coach Doug Pederson said in the days leading up to the game that the fourth spot in the defensive end rotation was still up for grabs, mentioning Hall, Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller. Hall shined again, coming up with yet another strip sack fumble. He ended his preseason with 10 tackles, 11 QB pressures, four sacks and three forced fumbles. If he doesn’t make the team, then the preseason truly is meaningless. Miller did some nice things. Hall, again, did not do much.
Hall’s production was such that, he could end up becoming the No. 3 defensive end, surpassing Vinny Curry, who I am not totally sold on as a pass rusher.
Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards. These two have been inseparable all preseason long with their production. If I had the guts, I would release Nate Gerry and keep both these two on a roster that would have six linebackers. I think either Edwards or Singleton make the roster, I just can say with any certainty which one.
Singleton had a team-high 12 tackles and played well on special teams. Edwards had 10 tackles.
I do believe that if the Eagles cut Edwards, another team would claim him.
I also know this: Singleton has told me he would have to give serious thought as to whether or not he would accept a practice squad spot or just go back to the CLF, where he was a star for the past three years. He sounded like he was leaning toward returning to Canada, saying that he was 25 and wasn’t sure how much more he had to learn and he wanted to play in games, not just practice all the time.
Cameron Johnston. The second-year punter continues to boom the ball. He had seven punts and averaged more than 50 yards. He also started the second half with a dropkick kickoff, something head coach Doug Pederson said the team wanted to see just in case something happens to kicker Jake Elliott during the season. It had nothing to with a potential injury to Elliott.
The interceptions. The Eagles hadn’t had one all season, but got their first of the preseason with about 1:30 to go in the third quarter when Josh Hawkins snared one. Linebacker Chris Worley added one later. Neither player will be on the final roster, but the turnovers were still nice to see.
Who I didn’t like
Clayton Thorson. The rookie fifth-round pick played the entire game, though using the word “played” wouldn’t be accurate. Thorson was not very good. He couldn’t even throw for over 100 yards, ending his night 12-for-26 for 84 yards, a passer rating of 38, and one interception that the Jets turned into one of their two field goals. He had 12 chances to move the ball and didn’t do anything with those opportunites.
Meanwhile, Cody Kessler stayed parked on the bench and will likely be one of the first cuts the team makes.
Thorson won’t make the team either, but he is a sure bet to be added to the practice squad on Sunday because he was a fifth-round pick. But that’s the only reason. Franky, I’m not even sure he deserves to be on the practice squad.
The offensive line. The third-team went the distance and looked like this: left tackle Matt Pryor, left guard Keegan Render, center Nate Herbig, right guard Anthony Fabiano, and right tackle Brett Toth. It was OK in pass protection, but abysmal in opening holes in the run game.
The offense had just 103 total yards, with 39 rushing. It was just two-for-11 on third down (18 percent). The offense was so bad it didn’t even get close enough to attempt a field goal.
Opponent’s third downs. Getting off the field on third down was a problem all preseason for the defense, and it was again against the Jets, who converted eight of 19 (42 percent).
In his postgame press conference, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson touched on a few things with reporters:
- Pederson said that receiver DeSean Jackson will be fine for the season opener despite breaking the ring finger on his left hand during practice this week.
- The coach said that more tests will done on Jordan Mialata, who was not on the sidelines Friday night after missing practice this week with a lower body injury, and that he would know more on Monday when Pederson meets with the media.
- Pederson did not rule out Wendell Smallwood (pictured above) making the team (though I’m not buying it), even after Smallwood fumbled in the first quarter. “Wendell’s a player we know. We have a lot of history with him. It was unfortunate that one run tonight, we had a trap inside, the (linebacker) made a tackle on the ball and it came out. Wendell is a guy that we understand. We kind of know him. … He’s right in the mix.”
- As for Mack Hollins (one catch, six yards), and whether or not the receiver did enough to make the roster over someone like Greg Ward, who had a nifty 15-yard run on an end around, Pederson said: “We just got to go back and look at the tape, the full body of work. Obviously his health coming in was an issue. He battled through that, got himself healthy, got himself back on the field … we just have to look at the whole body of work and make some tough decisions on these guys.”