Preseason Week Three Report Card: The Eagles' running back depth is ridiculous

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are three games into the preseason and it is safe to say we have no idea what we are going to get from this team. Michael Vick is now the starting quarterback and fans got to see nearly a full game of his play with the first-team offense on Saturday night. While he made a few mistakes, he played fast and spread out his targets. The team itself is still clearly up-and-down but that is somewhat to be expected. This team will cut several players by the beginning of next week and some players did step up and will likely stick around for next Thursday's preseason closer.

What We Know

  • Vick needs solid blocking to succeed. The offensive line was not terribly impressive in this game against the Jaguars, who are filled with considerably terrible pass rushers. The veteran quarterback did throw a pair of terrible balls and one of the worst veteran interceptions in a preseason game you will ever see, but he did face a ton of pressure all night long.
  • Bryce Brown needs to hold the ball correctly or he needs to be benched. While he ran for 92 yards on just 11 carries, Brown cost the Eagles points on a play in which he otherwise looked impressive. He is a weapon and his four-yard touchdown proves that, but he's to show he is not a liability.
  • The Eagles have an extremely impressive running back group. Chris Polk and Brown showed that the Eagles have great depth at the position and Matthew Tucker kind of rammed the point home in the 4th quarter. Most importantly, it is great to know that LeSean McCoy isn't the only guy that can catch out of the backfield. Polk and Brown both had rushing touchdowns on Saturday night.
  • Vinny Curry has to be on the field this season. He is so quick of the line that it is almost embarrassing to offensive linemen. He was great for the third straight preseason game, accumulating a sack and a forced fumble.
  • Travis Long was extremely successful against backups this week. He absolutely destoroyed the Jaguars right tackle for a sack of Matt Scott in the third quarter. It will be interesting see if he has a shot at the roster.
  • Free agent addition Connor Barwin is extremely athletic and impressive in coverage. His interception of Chad Henne was not only athletically awesome but showed remarkable focus as he batted the ball in the air and was able to catch the ball as he fell to the field. He also had a sack.
  • The inside linebacker battle for backup positions is about to get really interesting. Casey Matthews was everywhere Saturday night and had a sack while Emmanuel Acho and Jake Knott continued their impressive play. Jamar Chaney will be lucky to make it past first cuts.
  • Russell Sheppard has finally shown up on offense. He had back-to-back plays on a third quarter drive on Saturday. He had two catches for 38 yards including a 29-yard grab and run.

Remaining Questions

  • Will Ifeanyi Momah make it to Monday?
  • Why was the Eagles' offensive line so mediocre against a terrible pass rush?
  • Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart?
  • Who is going to be the fifth wide receiver (Greg Salas or Shepard)?
  • Was naming a starting quarterback after the second game that good of an idea?

Hot

  • The running corp has ridiculous depth. It is at the point where it doesn't matter who is behind McCoy. Tucker could legitimately have a shot at winning a roster spot.
  • Riley Cooper ran a great route and Vick made a fantastic throw to connect on a nine-yard touchdown, following the Barwin interception. Cooper could be a redzone weapon this season, more so than before.
  • Travis Long and Russell Shepard made some great plays after two weeks of barely being noticed. They will be around for preseason game number four.
  • Trent Cole and Brandon Graham got in the backfield a few times in the game and that is very good to see. They weren't dropped into coverage much.
  • Lane Johnson looks like a very good pick thus far. He stonewalled several pass rush attempts on Saturday night.

  • Brandon Boykin is clearly the Eagles' best defensive back. He was in on a ton of plays. If only he could catch interceptions!
  • Jason Avant made a ridiculous catch off a batted ball in the 2nd quarter of the game. His ability to catch the ball is awe-inspiring. He has the best hands in the entire division.

Not

  • The Eagles' run defense struggled mightily against the Jaguars. Jordan Todman, the Jags' third-string running back, tore through the Eagles' defense in the first-half. Todman had a 63-yard touchdwon run that was made largely by Luke Joeckel.
  • The Eagles' secondary is up-and-down and it seems the coverage goes through phases of okay and then awful. Bradley Fletcher in particular was beat on a few catches against Jaguars' wide receivers.
  • Turnovers were awful on Saturday night. Vick threw a horrendous interception off his back foot that ended up in the hands of Dwayne Gratz, Damaris Johnson had a bizarre return fumble and Brown had a touchback after fumbling into the endzone. This needs to stop.

Miscellaneous Musings

  • Todd Herremans is clearly the Eagles' worst offensive lineman. I am not sure if that is a compliment to the offensive line or if Herremans has just been bad. He was beat inside a few times against the Jaguars but still played well for most of the game.
  • Nick Foles looks like he is going to work the intermediate routes if he ever has to replace Vick. He went 10-11 for 112 yards but his a lot of his passes were definitely forgettable dump-offs. He does lead the offense well though.
  • Unfortunately, the safety spot opposite Patrick Chung will likely just be given out by default. I am excited by Earl Wolff, but I'd rather he not be rushed into action.
  • If you are having reservations about buying tickets to an Eagles' game this year, you should know that watching the team's offense in person is much more fun than on television. They are blisteringly fast.
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