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10 things we saw in Eagles' loss that concern us


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10 things we saw in Eagles' loss that concern us


It's easy to dismiss it as just another ugly preseason where the starters didn't play.

So no worries.

But that's not quite the case.

While it's true most of the Eagles' starters either didn't play Thursday night against the Patriots or played very little - 17 of 22 projected starters either didn't dress or played fewer than 10 snaps - there are some legitimate areas of concern that came out of the Eagles' 35-0 loss to the Patriots.

Here's a look at 10 of them:

Zech McPhearson: The rookie 4th-round pick got off to a great start to camp but has come back to Earth and didn't play well Thursday night. He got a ton of snaps – his 51 snaps was second most on the defense – and did have nine tackles, but he’s struggling in coverage, and that’s a concern because right now the Texas Tech alum is the Eagles’ top outside backup. The reason he had so many tackles is because the Patriots kept throwing at him. Most rookies hit the rookie wall. The Eagles need McPhearson to bounce back.

Joe Flacco: Sometimes veteran quarterbacks have the ability to flip the switch once the game matters, and maybe when you’re in your 14th season and you’ve been a Super Bowl MVP it’s hard to get fired up for a preseason game in mid-August. Maybe. All I know is Flacco’s performance did not inspire much confidence. He wasn’t accurate, his pocket presence was shaky and he just didn’t make plays. He’s gotta be better.

Nate Herbig: Until Landon Dickerson is ready – and that might not be till next year – Herbig is the Eagles’ top backup interior lineman. In fairness, he’s still new to center, and that’s where he struggled Thursday night. We know he’s a solid guard. But with Luke Juriga on Injured Reserve, Herbig is the next man up at center as well as guard, and it wasn’t a good day for him.

Travis Fulgham/John Hightower/J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: There seems to be a growing gap between the Eagles’ top three WRs – DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins – and guys like Fulgham, Hightower and JJAW. Fulgham, Hightower and Arcega-Whiteside played a combined 35 snaps against the Patriots and were targeted twice – JJAW once, Fulgham once – with no receptions. They’re all fighting not just for playing time but for roster spots, and none of them did anything to help themselves Thursday night.

Second defensive line: A rough day for the backup defensive linemen. With Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox all inactive (and Ryan Kerrigan hurt), the Eagles started Tarron Jackson, Hasson Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill and Milton Williams up front, and Raequon Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu, JaQuan Bailey and Matt Leo all played a ton of reps. Milton Williams drew a couple holds and had a nice pressure, but other than that the whole group struggled. The Patriots netted close to 500 yards and ran for over 200, and the Eagles’ d-line didn’t put up much of a fight.

Nick Mullens: After compiling a 0.0 passer rating against the Steelers, Mullins improved to 16.7 against the Patriots. Through two games, he’s completed six passes to Eagles and three to the other team. He’s 6-for-15 for 31 yards and an 8.3 passer rating. His average pass has gone six feet. He can’t be on this football team.

Richard Rodgers: With Tyree Jackson out for eight to 10 weeks with a back injury and now Jason Croom out indefinitely with a suspected serious knee injury, the Eagles are light at tight end. Undrafted rookie Jack Stoll had a nice day Thursday night – 4-for-33 – and Rodgers had two short catches but also a bad drop. Despite the injuries, I don’t think Rodgers has a roster spot locked up. I like what Rodgers did last year, but he hasn’t had a particularly good camp and bad drops on game day don’t help.

Jalen Reagor: Reagor went into the game Thursday night coming off a very good week of practice, but he wasn’t able to transfer it onto the field. It didn’t help that Flacco played the first half and Reagor didn’t get to work with Jalen Hurts, but Reagor didn’t really have a lot of success creating separation and getting open. He played 22 snaps, was targeted three times and caught 1-for-5. One of the other targets was an interception Reagor really couldn’t have done much about.

Nick Sirianni: Even with the starters either not playing or playing very few snaps, 35-0 is not something you want to see on the scoreboard and doesn’t reflect well on the coach. Yes, it’s preseason. Yes, it doesn’t count. Yes, it doesn’t mean anything in the big picture. But for a coach who is constantly preaching competitiveness, getting outscored 35-0 (and 52-0 in the last six quarters) isn’t ideal.

Hassan Ridgeway: I mentioned Ridgeway up above, but from that whole second defensive line he’s the biggest concern just because with Milton Williams seemingly focusing on defensive end instead of tackle, Ridgeway becomes the No. 1 backup interior lineman. He hasn't looked good throughout camp and really got pushed around Thursday night. All he had to show for 27 snaps was one tackle.


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I only saw 2 things that concerned me terribly:  The 2nd and 3rd string players. That is all.

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Some thoughts on this article and the preseason in general.

1. Mullens isn't as bad he has looked. He has started games in the NFL and looked fine. The reason he is struggling is because he is being asked to drop back and make reads, which doesn't play to either his strengths or that of his receivers. In San Fran, he was okay when he could roll out and throw to receivers on a single read or off play action pass, or when he could just throw it in the general direction of Kittle, who always gets open and who catches everything.

2. The oline has looked bad because guys are playing new spots. Herbig is adjusting to being a center. Driscoll is adjusting to being a guard. Pryor is just bad. The second team line yesterday was Dillard/Clark, Toth, Herbig, Opeta and Driscoll. That is a much better line, although I would put Clark or Pryor in at guard, but they seem committed to giving Toth every opportunity.

3. As noted, the receivers aren't running routes they are good at. During the season we will see a lot of mesh routes, slants and quick hitters designed to get receivers like Reagor and Watkins the ball in space. Instead they are being asked to get releases off the LOS and winning on their own, which Smith does really well, but which no one else does. So we are really easy to defend.

4. The defensive line is overmatched and being asked to do too much. Tarron Jackson, Raequan Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu, JaQuan Bailey and Matt Leo all played a lot of snaps, and those guys are not ready for the NFL. If our second team dline was Josh Sweat, Milton Williams, TY McGill and Ryan Kerrigan, does anyone think our pass rush and run defense wouldn't have been a little bit better?

5. The corners haven't looked great, but they are in a zone defense with zero pass rush. I am not sure we have a viable backup at outside corner on the roster, but I wouldn't rush to judgement about the performance of our corners under the worst possible circumstances.

Overall, I am not worried about the team. All our starters are likely to play week one (knock on wood), with the only exception being McLeod, and Epps will be fine. Maddox has looked good at slot, which is one of the bigger question marks going into the season. Smith had a good game against the Patriots. Milton Williams looks like he will be a beast.

Would I like to see the team play better? Of course. Does it matter as to how they will play in the regular season? I don't think so. People freaking out because Marlon Tuipulotu can't dominate second team guards seems like something we can all laugh about in a few weeks.      

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I'm disappointed on Dave Zangaro who wrote this article. It's a total reach. 

Think about it - his first 7 items are concerns about guys who won't be on the field when the Eagles kick off in Atlanta. Back up corner, back up QB, back up C/G, second unit receivers, second DL, THIRD QB, and THIRD TE.

  • Then he points out Reagor which might or might not be reasonable considering the QB's who played
  • Siriani, because why?
  • And then it's back to concern about back ups.

How about we go back in time a couple of months. Would you believe that an article about 10 concerns would only cite one starter.  

Give me a break. 


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1 hour ago, Rob331 said:

Think about it - his first 7 items are concerns about guys who won't be on the field when the Eagles kick off in Atlanta. Back up corner, back up QB, back up C/G, second unit receivers, second DL, THIRD QB, and THIRD TE.

Point taken, but poor depth is a real concern.  Guys are gonna go down.  Some positions are pretty bad to begin with, and the depth behind the starters is paper thin. 

QB is a real concern.  Hurts may struggle and we've got absolutely nothing behind him. 

WR is a concern.  We're counting on DeVonta and Jalen to make some big steps.  What if one (or both) of those guys go down?

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Sure, but..... A couple of months ago the whole roster was being trashed. If the concerns now are depth, that's a dramatic improvement in the analysis. 

I guess with our Philly media the glass is always half empty. 

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