EAGLES QB Jalen Hurts (6/6 – 100% – 80 – 1 – 0), came out and did his thing. I said that I was going to focus on four other players, and I’ll get to them shortly. However, first there’s some housekeeping to be done. In that same article, I said that I would also be watching the Jalens. Here’s what I saw.
On the surface, Hurts stats look great. What they don’t tell you, is that he was decisive with the ball, threw over the middle, and threw a scoring strike to his left, from the pocket. His first passing attempt was a carbon copy of 2021, but after that, he used the whole field. His feet still dance a little after his drop, but the ball is coming out quicker. Progress is apparent.
Seeing action with the second string, I have to admit that WR Jalen Reagor (4 – 3 – 26 – 8.6 – 0), was reliable. I’m by no means a fan of his, and was hoping he’d get a chance to make an eye-popping play, to increase trade interest. Sadly, he never really had a chance to stand out, as the play-calling was milquetoast. Screens and shallow dump-offs, were pretty much all that was on tonight’s menu.
Now to the meat!
I said I wanted to get a look at J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s transition to TE from WR. I specifically wanted to see his in-line blocking. Didn’t happen. Though he played Special Teams all night, I only noticed him on a couple of Offensive plays in the fourth quarter. One was a pass that was thrown behind him. The other was on the Eagles final play.
How it looks: The Eagles know, just like LB Shaun Bradley (1 – 0 – 0 – 0), JJAW is a core Special Teamer who has upside on regular downs. When they did deploy him, it wasn’t as a blocker, but as a receiver. Even on the “Hail Mary” (that was never thrown), the coaching staff had him out there.
On Defense, I wanted to see if the Eagles used LB Patrick Johnson more like a LB or a DE. They did neither. He played a great deal of that game, coming out with the second unit. He primarily lined up as a 4 – 3 DE, but never put his hand in the dirt. Instead he played in a crouch that had his center of gravity far too high, on every snap.
How it looks: Tonight I guess they wanted to see him at rush DE, but he really didn’t generate much pressure, or influence any plays. In fact, he frequently got washed up-field, past QB’s when pass rushing, and he didn’t set the edge well, vs the run. If the Eagles want him to be a rusher, the coaching staff needs to teach him some counters.
My third subject was WR Britain Covey. His only chance to make this roster, is as a KR/PR. For all the buzz he’s been generating during Training Camp, he looked downright ordinary in his debut. He was even shown-up by RB Jason Huntley (16 – 48 – 3.0 – 1 – 1 / 5 – 4 – 39 – 9.7 – 0), who cracked off a 43 yard return in the 3rd quarter.
How it looks: There is no way a 5’8” 173lb WR without blazing speed, makes this roster. Or even the Practice Squad. Covey has two more games to show that he’s an extraordinary returner. Otherwise, he’s toast.
Finally we come to TE Jack Stoll (1 – 1 – 6 – 6.0 – 0). I wanted to see if the Eagles would go to him as a receiving option. Well, he caught a 6 yarder, less than a minute into the game. Then… Nothing after that. Wasn’t even targeted again.
How it looks: TE Noah Togiai (4 – 4 – 29 – 7.2 – 0) caught all of his targets and even ripped one away from a defender. That said, he looked slow against third stringers, and doesn’t offer much as a blocker. Stoll’s 2022 roster spot and role, are all but etched in stone. That is unless another TE can suddenly become a better in-line blocker.
I didn’t talk about most of the names that everyone else is talking about, because everyone is talking about those. You’ve already read/watched/heard/been tweeted at about those. You don’t come to me for common, so I never give it to you. You come to me, specifically for what you can’t get anywhere else. And I’m glad that you do. (I just wish you would COMMENT more.)
Listen, even with as terrible as announcer Ross Tucker was tonight, he did (ad nauseum) get one thing correct: Some of those second and third string guys, will help determine the outcome of games this year. He mentioned the ascension of RB Boston Scott and WR Greg Ward from the Practice Squad a few years ago.
That had me looking for this year’s eye-catching third stringer.
The Eagles coaches did everything they could to sell us Jason Huntley, but I was far more impressed by RB Kennedy Brooks (7 – 26 – 3.7 – 0 – 0 / 1 – 1 – 2 – 2.0 – 1). He was not easily stopped, and fell forward at the end of his runs. Even his touchdown catch involved him lowering his shoulder to get into the end zone.
I’ve been talking up DT Renell Wren (2 – 0 – 0 – 0) since we picked him up this Spring. He’s a big (6’5, 320), strong, feisty presence. The problem has been injuries, which is why Cincinnati gave up on him. Tonight, he got in on a tackle, and made a stop on a play ran away from him. Wren’s biggest problem now, is who’s ahead of him at DT: Milton Williams, Jordan Davis, Javon Hargarve, and Fletcher Cox.
So far, I’m rooting for these two. They likely won’t make the 47 man, so I’m hoping that we they aren’t stolen (especially by a rival) before we can put them on the PS. I hope to see them pop again next week at Cleveland.