First, we will run down every position battle, and I will give you my opinions and analysis of the players who are involved in the battle. I have already re-watched the game, focused on the battles, and have written down what I saw from each and every competition.
The segment, “Eagle Eye Evaluation”, is designed to give a more in-depth look of key position battles, rookies, and the “longshots”. The segment will follow every preseason game, and give the readers a look at all the stuff that you don’t worry about while watching the game. It’s time for the first edition of “Eagle Eye Evaluation” to be unveiled…
3rd Running Back
Eldra Buckley vs. Lorenzo Booker
This battle has been heating up ever since training camp began. Consisting of a “longshot” who has been rising each and every day, and a disappointment in recent years, this battle will last all preseason long. I will begin with Eldra Buckley. The former San Diego Charger put on a show last night. Last night, Buckley started off with a solid run, a 4 yard run off the right side for his first touchdown. In the next possession, Buckley followed with 4 yard run down the middle, followed by a 1 yard run, and capped off with a 1 yard pass from A.J. Feeley to Buckley to score his second touchdown. Buckley continued to show his skills, after making two key receptions on the next drive to set up an Akers field goal. Now Lorenzo Booker… The underachieving back also had a very good outing. Booker had a few successful gains, but his play of the day was a deep catch down the right sideline for 25 yards. Booker finished with just 3 carries for 13 yards, and only 1 catch for 25 yards. Buckley put up a better performance against the Patriots, but Booker certainly didn’t disappoint.
Jason Avant, Shaheer McBride, Brandon Gibson, Reggie Brown
An interesting battle between two veterans and two young guys. I’ll start this off by featuring the top two performers from tonight’s game, Jason Avant and Shaheer McBride. Avant led all of these receivers with 2 receptions for 33 yards. He displayed his great route running, in which he caught a short pass down the left side, but then later stretched out a deep pass down the left sideline for 22 yards. McBride, who is not known by many Eagles’ fans, had a very good night. He made 3 receptions, and proved that he can make some plays after the reception. He caught a short pass down the left side and managed to stretch it out for a 12 yard gain. The two weaker performers out of the crop were Brandon Gibson and Reggie Brown. Though they didn’t perform awful, they showed some signs that they may not be the answer. Reggie Brown desperately needs to show he’s back to what he was a couple of years ago, but last night he only caught one ball for 11 yards, while Gibson had two catches for 20 yards. Both men will have a lot more chances in the coming weeks, so this battle will last a while.
Left Defensive End
Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker, Jason Babin
Though Abiamiri did not play last night, he will certainly be a leading candidate to win the job. Newly acquired Jason Babin put on a show, though. He led the team in tackles with 4 and also had the lone sack of the night. Babin proved himself as a valuable addition last night, and as of now, he may be in the lead slightly over Abiamiri. As for Juqua Parker, who is already dealing with the fact that he has gotten into trouble with the law, finished the night with just one tackle. Parker must put up a better showing, or Babin will run away with this competition.
Joe Mays vs. Omar Gaither
A battle for the starting MLB position just recently developed after Stewart Bradley’s ACL tear. Last night, Joe Mays got the start. He played tight defense while he was out there, but only had 1 tackle. Don’t go by his stats in last night’s game, for after I re-evaluated the game, I saw that he showed he can cover the pass well and clog the holes. As for Omar Gaither, he did not record one stat last night. Both guys will definitely need to play better in the next preseason game, or they will both be passed by the new guy, Matt Wilhelm. Wilhelm made two tackles last night, and was apart of many rushes on the Quarterback. He may not be a heavy favorite to start at Middle Linebacker this season, but if he can play as solid as he did last night, he may steal a spot on the team, and possibly get the start.
Sean Jones, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris
We all know Quintin Mikellwill start at Strong Safety, but the other side is still open. Demps has been receiving a lot of praise, but Jones has had a lot of success in the NFL, while Harris is young and talented. Against the Patriots, the rookie Macho Harris finished with the better night. He started off poorly as he allow ed a pass to go by him, but once he got settled in, he was a weapon. Harris nearly had a sack on Andrew Walteras he bolted through the middle, and forced a bad pass. Sean Jones performed well, finishing the night with 2 tackles. As for Demps, he only had one tackle, and he will need to prove himself more valuable to receive the starting role.
Lesean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin
Though this is not a position battle, I feel it necessary to discuss these two rookies. McCoy had a great night, proving he can run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. McCoy led the game in rushing yards with 55, and also added 2 receptions for 12 yards. As for Maclin, he showed his playmaker ability. With 44 receiving yards on 2 receptions, Maclin made a huge impact on special teams. During kick returns, Maclin totaled 100 yards on 4 returns, and 21 yards on 2 punt returns. Maclin looked like a proven vet out there, as he made great cuts, set up blocks, and found the holes when he had the ball. This concludes the first edition of “Eagle Eye Evaluation”, and look for more following the next preseason game.