EVERYTHING matters. If that’s to be believed, then why didn’t our starters play at least a series on Thursday? Don’t hand me injuries. These are football players. They aren’t fine china. They need to be ready and up to speed for opening day, and from what we saw in this first game, at least the depth on this roster looks anything but ready.
The coaching staff having so many players not even warm-up, speaks either to fear of injury, or a casual attitude towards the preseason. Neither is good for programming the mindset of rookie players. It’s hard to teach them that “everything matters” in practice, and with diet, and with study, and with training, when the staff regards some games as not mattering.
Instead, we were served up second stringers given the opportunity to impress, and push for more playing time during the season, (if not a re-order of the depth chart). However, few of those players did anything to catch an eye. There was an appalling lack of urgency and energy on their part. It didn’t really look as it much was at stake for them.
Some players showed up. TE Dallas Goedert made the most of his opportunity, looking downright uncoverable against starting level talent.
QB Nate Sudfeld looked poised and polished, even after his injury. I was confident about him when I wrote my Pre-Draft Prediction in April, and he’s been everything I said he was. Rookie LT Andre Dillard already has me thinking he should be above OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the depth chart at LT. MLB Zach Brown looked like a seasoned pro, and LB L.J. Fort, looked like a roster must-have.
Some players who entered the game as second stringers, may have hurt their cases to make the final roster. DE Josh Sweat has yet to make his presence consistently felt. He seems incapable of stringing two good downs, back to back. LB Nate Gerry simply doesn’t the instincts for LB. The coaches want to see him as a fast, athletic LB; but really he’s a slow S, playing about 15 to 20 pounds too heavy. OL Matt Pryor is a guy I’ve been pulling for, but his mental errors are drive killers. Being a penalty magnet will have officials paying him more attention, and that alone could be enough to keep him off a roster. The fumble by RB Josh Adams held open the door for unremarkable RB Wendell Smallwood.
Many people would include WR Marken Michel as a standout, but his 75 yard TD catch was just one catch, on one attempt, of a 50-50 ball. A larger sample size is needed. Conversely, SS Johnathan Cyprien blew an assignment and helped give up a TD pass. That’s from a relatively small sample of downs, from a player who just got here, with a year’s worth of rust to knock off.
As a fan I’m hoping that the Eagles pick it up, and look sharper in this next preseason game. I have my doubts about that however. RT Lane Johnson has already been shutdown for the remainder of the preseason, due to a knee issue that he’d play through during the season. Thus, he will not log a single down before he sees Redskin OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Week One. (Pretty cool, right Carson?)
There is no push from behind and no pull from ahead, so far. If the Eagles don’t start treating things like they truly matter, the derailment of this 2019-2020 season will be an inside job. That’s the everything. That’s what we have to understand. After that, nothing else matters.