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 third edition of “Eagle Eye Evaluation” to be unveiled…
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.
3rd Running Back
Eldra Buckley vs. …..
That’s right, Buckley’s previous competition, Lorenzo Booker, was missing from the game, as he barely appeared on the field. Booker may be on the verge of being cut, and the “long-shot” Eldra Buckley may be able to snatch a spot on the team.
In last night’s game, Buckley began his performance with a bone-jarring hit on special teams, something that the coaches have been searching for from him. With Buckley proving himself on special teams, he also continued to play well out at the Running Back position. He only carried the ball 3 times, averaging 2.7 yards per rush, with his longest being a 7 yard scamper, but he shined in the receiving game, as he once again made a couple of catches out of the backfield, totaling 17 yards on 3 receptions.
Kyle Eckel vs. Marcus Mailei
In a battle that has just risen (due to Leonard Weaver’s injury), both Eckel and Mailei are looking to capture the backup fullback spot, or at least a spot on the practice squad. Against the Jaguars, Eckel continued to play poorly. On one of his touches, Eckel fumbled the ball, resulting in a costly turnover for the Birds. With just 1 reception for no gain, Eckel also needed to prove he could block, but failed to do so on multiple occasions.
With Eckel’s poor play, the Weber State product, Malei, was given a golden chance to make some plays. He certainly did help his cause last night, as he made a huge touchdown on a 3 yard reception in which he dove for the right pylon. Along with his touchdown, Mailei proved himself worthy in the blocking game, and will give the coaches another tough choice as to who they should keep.
With DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin locking up their spots, there is only room for one, maybe two more receivers. Starting with the reality star himself, Hank Baskett, I must say he hurt himself the most last night. On a fade route in the corner, in a jump ball situation, Baskett was unable to reel in the pass. With the missed opportunity, he appears to be nearing a possible end of the line in Philly. On a positive note, he made 2 receptions for 17 yards.
Now to the talented, but struggling receiver, Reggie Brown: If he can play as he did in his first couple of years with the team, he would have no problem making the team. Lately, though, he’s been quite inconsistent, and is attempting to stick with the Birds. Last night, Reggie helped himself out, as he hauled in a 9 yard TD pass from Kevin Kolb. Brown finished the night with 3 receptions for 38 yards. With his good performance, he may have improved his chances to make the team, or be traded for some value.
With Baskett moving down and Brown on the rise, Gibson needed to keep up his good play. Unfortunately for the 6th-round draft choice, he only hauled in 2 passes for 9 yards, but stats are not everything. He showed his soft hands when he caught a bullet near the sidelines, something that Brown and Baskett haven’t shown yet.
This battle heated up last night, as all three players were either significantly good or bad during the game. I’ll start with the top performer: Eugene Bright. Bright, the converted Defensive End out of Purdue, hauled in 2 balls for 38 yards. He made the longest catch of the night on a 38 yard run-and-catch. Topping off the successful night, Bright showed he could handle the blitz, a must for any Tight End in the NFL. The two losers in the battle last night were Matt Schobel and Rob Myers. Both were unable to record any statistics, but with Myers’ 4 receptions in last weeks game, Schobel is currently last in this battle. Look for Schobel to see the pink slip soon.
A battle that started off with just Mays and Gaither, the rookie Fokou has played his heart out this preseason and put himself in the mix to possibly start on opening day. Fokou led the team in tackles with 7 on the night, but also showed that his aggressiveness is a huge asset to the team. No one has made a bigger rise on the depth chart for the Eagles as Fokou has, who may have played himself into the starting role. Fokou’s biggest weakness appeared to be in the passing game, but last night he showed no signs of that.
Joe Mays needed to have a great game last night, but was unable to do so. Granted, he did finish with 2 tackles, but he showed some signs that he may not be a great option to start. During the game, Mays split time with Fokou for the first time in the preseason, meaning the coaches want to see more from Mays. Other than the top position battles mentioned above, there are still other battles going on. These battles weren’t as active as the others, but they are none the less a big part of the Eagles’ team. Below are the less significant battles:
Free Safety: This is the one battle that has been explained in detail in the previous two Eagle Eye Evaluations, but the battle wasn’t as fierce as it had been in the recent past. Quintin Demps only had one tackle, while rookie Macho Harris also had one tackle , but suffered an injury to his ankle during the game. The other Free Safety, Brandon Harrison, followed suit, only totaling one tackle on the night.
Quarterback: With four QB’s on the roster, it appears that one has got to go. Last night, Mike Vick made his debut, going 4 for 4, mostly consisting of shovel passes. Kevin Kolb went 10 for 18 for 102 yards and 1 touchdown. The lone QB that didn’t play was A.J. Feeley.
Look for another evaluation after next week’s matchup at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets.