The Philadelphia Eagles hosted the New York Jets in the first-secondish week of NFL preseason football. Both teams added great talent from the draft and during the offseason, so it was an exciting football game for both teams to get to see their new players in action. The Jets beat the Eagles in a literal last minute touchdown, 24-21.
Now, it’s just a preseason game.
But it was a good indication of the improvement that the Eagles needed from last season. Especially with their (potential) future quarterback, Jalen Hurts.
Just to give you a frame of reference. The Eagles’ first preseason game was last year, around this time, against the Steelers. I don’t remember how many drives Hurts played in, but he threw 3-for-7 for 54 yards. Obviously the team was finding its footing with a new quarterback and new head coach, but it was still a rough game for Hurts.
That’s the past, and now, Hurts showed improvement. Slow and steady, and the team will get there. Tonight, Hurts had a perfect game on paper throwing 6-for-6 for 80 yards and one touchdown.
Fantastic. Love that. It’s giving #FlyEaglesFly.
I missed much of the game due to the fact that I was covering events at the Salem County Fair, however, I saw (and heard) some positives from tonight’s game.
Start Hot, Finish Hot
I wouldn’t say they are “keys” to winning, but there are patterns I’ve seen that aid to the success of a team in a game. Starting hot is one of them.
Ripping the momentum from the other team early on will keep the game going in the Eagles’ favor. The Eagles did in fact start hot, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. Then, what happened? There was nothing in the second or third quarters. Big no-no.
I know I said you need to start and finish hot, but don’t take it too literally.
A score every quarter makes the heart grow fonder – or however that saying goes.
On the flip side, the Jets started slow and finished hot. The only difference, scoring something in each drive is going to help.
But again, it is preseason, and both teams are figuring out their depth and how to best utilize their skilled players.
A positive I have is that there was one drive where A.J. Brown was not targeted and the offense still managed to drive down the field. There may be games where they’ll have to do that or vice versa with DeVonta Smith and their other wide receivers.
The offense has glimmers of hope, it’s just a matter of everyone being on the same page to start and finish hot, and keeping up in the middle of the game.
I was very excited to hear about how the rookies played tonight. The Eagles acquired great picks in this year’s draft, providing some much needed help in the holes the team had last season.
I was very happy to see Nakobe Dean get five tackles – definitely doesn’t seem like his injury past affected him during this game. Better yet, fellow Georgia defensive duo, Jordan Davis blew up a run during one play and Dean cleaned it up. That 1-2 defensive punch is going to be so fun to watch in regular season games.
I hope people aren’t too quick to compare Jason Kelce to rookie center, Cam Jurgens, but the man does show glimpses of the same talent and skill.
As mentioned by the defensive rookie, Davis, in training camp, Jurgens and he both had their battles. This tells me that both players are in it and really going to fight in the trenches when game time comes. Games are won in the trenches and Jalen Hurts is going to need all the protection possible in order to compete.
And Offseason Acquisitions
Going off of that, I’m just as happy with the veterans the Eagles acquired as a result of first-round draft picks or absolute steals from the team’s general manager, Howie Roseman.
New linebacker, Kyzir White, welcomed himself to Philly Friday night with an interception. This is what we like to see.
And, if I’m being fully honest, I hope the Eagles learn to play aggressive, defensive football again (see Body Bag Game in 1990.) The team has all these big guys on defense, and we can’t have them tiptoeing around the offense of their opponents that they have the ability to beat.
Regardless, I am more than happy to see the rookies learning from the veterans and (hopefully, because I don’t want to jinx anything) create a dynamic Eagles football team.
Passion for the Game
I have to end with this because you’re not an Eagles team if you have no passion. I haven’t seen a team so full of life, brotherhood and absolute anger when one of their one gets a late hit in a game.
After the late hit by Jets linebacker, Quincy Williams to Hurts, Eagles teammates quickly came over to the Jets sideline to confront Williams. Nick Sirianni was famously, and unsurprisingly, furious at the hit. Luckily, the refs didn’t miss the penalty on the Jets and acted accordingly.
Later in the press conference, Sirianni addressed the anger towards Jets coach Robert Saleh, saying, “It was just emotions of the game. I was just sticking up for Jalen. I’ll never apologize for sticking up for my players,”
After seeing what a terrible hit can do to an Eagles quarterback, it’s no surprise that Hurts’ teammates came to his support. He was not injured and continued his dominating drive.
Brown also said that he wasn’t a fan of the late hit also noting that Hurts should have slid to the ground instead of trying to move the drive along.
That’s just one example of lots of chemistry and fun this Eagles team has had this offseason and into training camp. I am certainly not jinxing anything and am just stating another pattern I see in football, but this team is very much chemistry-driven much like their 2017 team.
But, we know how that turned out. That’s a long road away.
The Philadelphia Eagles will have joint practices with the Cleveland Browns next week before competing in the second preseason game on Sunday, August 21 at 1:00 p.m.
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