IF you hadn’t already heard, QB Nate Sudfeld has a non-season ending broken left wrist. QB Cody Kessler is your back-up. I’m looking for my whelm, but it’s under something right now.
Until last night I didn’t know that you could waste a meaningless game, but the Eagles sure as hell learned me “reeeal gewwwd”. I expected more urgency and purpose from our coaching staff. Silly me.
Mumble mumble mumble. Bitch bitch bitch. Grumble rant weep string of profanities.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Starters need to play a quarter: NOPE! Didn’t even dress. (NOT DONE)
2) Go deep to DJax: Again, didn’t dress, and even the sideline interview was shallow. (NOT DONE)
3) Look good running the ball: Let’s see… 16 handoffs, for 36 yards. That’s (carry the 12…) 2.25 per tote. You read that right. That’s not a typo. It was two and a motherfucking point two-five yards per carry! RB Jordan Howard (3 – 8 – 2.7 – 0 – 0) didn’t do much to signal that our run game has turned the corner. Then again, neither did anyone else. Isn’t that right, Josh “Do you want fries with that?” Adams? (NOT DONE)
4) Testing LB depth: LB Zach Brown was stout against the run and didn’t invite any passes thrown his way in coverage. That made me happy. I thought that LB L.J. Fort looked very good out there. Especially in coverage. LB Nate Gerry overran his run fit on one play, and gave up a long run up the middle. It was shades of the 90 yard run that he surrendered to Redskins RB Adrian Peterson last season. The middle is probably the wrong spot for Gerry. S Johnathan Cyprien looked good when acting as a LB, but missed his deep S assignment, and helped give up a touchdown that at first looked like it was on Fort. The Eagles need to clearly define Cyprien’s role. (DONE)
So that brings us a Four Things score of 1 out of 4. In a lot of ways this was a wasted week, because any questions you had about the starters are still unanswered. Questions about the back-ups? Still unanswered. Maybe we’ll get some of those answers next week when we go visit QB Nick Foles down at his new digs in Jacksonville. QB Carson Wentz (if he dresses) vs Nick Foles. Should be a hot one!
On The Whole:
The thing about playing back-up exclusively in Preseason Game 4 is that there is no next game, and cutdowns are right on the back of that. There is real pressure to be had in that situation. Players reveal themselves in those moments.
Playing back-ups exclusively in the first game, takes the pressure is off, because they know they get a second audition in PsG 4. Did you see a sense of urgency out there last night? I know I sure didn’t.
I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s enthusiasm, but if the theme of this year is that everything matters, then this game should have looked as if the coaching staff took it seriously.
There were some positives however. LT Andre Dillard looked flat out amazing for a a rookie, in his NFL debut. He was poised and cagey, despite not being physically overwhelming. DE Shareef Miller could end up as the 5th end in the rotation. He did a good job of setting the edge, and pressing the action upfield. His hand-fighting still needs work, though.