The Eagles finished their preseason undefeated with an easy 28-10 win over the NY Jets, who finished their own preseason 0-4. What will those records mean when the season starts for real? Not much at all. What does matter are the individual performances tonight, so let's take a look at a few of those.
Trent Edwards has certainly done everything he can to get the 3rd QB job. He finished 22-32 for 197 yards and 2 TDs. Its tough on Mike Kafka because he never really had a chance to defend his job. He had poor first couple series against Pittsburgh, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't have finished the preseason strong. For the Eagles, the decision is whether you take a chance on the potential they might see in Kafka or go with the vet, the known commodity in Edwards. When you're talking about the 3rd QB, it's not actually a really easy decision.
Chris Polk had a nice night rushing for 61 yards on 14 carries. Actually, he had a couple of his best runs called back for holding. But all you can ask form the back is that he sees holes and hits them. He hits like a ton of bricks out there, but you can see that he doesn't have the speed of Bryce Brown. When Brown gets space, he takes off. The best evidence was the the sprint play that he scored on. That was not a waltz into the end zone, it took some wheels to get out there and Bryce ended up making it look easier than it was.
But I have to give credit to Polk for his TD. From 3 yards out, he took on Jets DE Marcus Dixon and trucked the guy. Dixon didn't even get up after the play as it appeared he picked up a shoulder stinger or something. It was a killer blow that Polk laid on a guy that's 6-5, 297.
Does it matter who plays on the Eagles defensive line? They racked up another 6 sacks tonight. Vinny Curry and Frank Trotter both had a 2 (Trotter, a DT, has 3 in the preseason) while Brandon Graham & Monte Taylor both had one.
Mardy Gilyard caught a TD pass in the first half and showed really good awareness. Edwards was hit as he threw and ended up tossing an absolute duck. Gilyard saw it and basically fielded it like a punt. It was terrible coverage by the Jets and in a real game he probably would have had to fight for it more than he did, but the recognition and awareness was good. He also smoked a Jets defender when Nick Foles was at QB and either dropped a would be TD pass or got interfered with (ball was underthrown). I was watching the Jets broadcast and they felt it probably could have been interference. If it was simply down to play on the field, Gilyard would make this team over Marvin McNutt. Gilyard finished the game with 5 catches for 71 yards and a TD.
I really liked Chase Ford in this game. He stretched out for a nice catch over the middle with Foles at QB, then did a nice job in the red zone on a screen from Edwards. But what really impressed me was the block he made to seal the edge on the Bryce Brown TD. Did drop a pass in the 2nd half.
Keenan Clayton made a really great special teams tackle late in the first half. That may help him. He also destroyed Bilal Powell on a third quarter hit. Forced a fumble on the play. He's firmly on the bubble right now.
Speaking of guys suddenly on the bubble, I thought Brian Rolle made some solid open field tackles tonight.
I liked Chas Henry tonight. He punted from about his own 40 midway through the 3rd quarter and put the ball right on the 9 yard line. That's right about where the returner will fair catch the ball. Much further and he'll let it go. You have a chance to make one of those great down it on the one plays, but more likely it goes into the end zone. So it was a good job from Henry.
Next up is cut down day tomorrow and then the Eagles do it for real in a little over a week.