Preseason Week 4 Report Card: Eagles turn the New Meadowlands into "Sack City"

Al Bello

The Eagles' preseason is over and the results have been mixed. The team ended up going 2-2 in the exhibition season following a 27-20 loss at New Meadowlands Stadium against the New York Jets. The offense really struggled until late in the game and the defense was up-and-down. The game certainly sets the stage for an intriguing final weekend of the offseason. The Eagles have a ton of decisions to make and could add several new faces in the coming days.

What We Know

  • If Emmanuel Acho doesn't make this team, I will be crushed. I have said on Twitter several times that he has easily been my favorite new Eagle this offseason and I have been extremely impressed by his instincts and speed. The guy is easily the third best inside linebacker on the team and could eventually take over for DeMeco Ryans. I will talk more about Acho later in the report.
  • CFL product Chris McCoy is now an NFL player. If he doesn't make the Eagles roster (spoilers: he will), then he will play somewhere. He was fantastic Thursday night and has been throughout the preseason outside of Week 3.
  • If anyone on the offensive line gets hurt, the only reserve you can feel comfortable with is Allen Barbre. Honestly, the second unit was horrific against the Jets, who normally have zero pass rush. I wouldn't be surprised if the team cut everyone but Barbre as backups and brought in two or three new guys.Matt Tobin has a shot though and they seem to like Julian Vandervelde for some reason.
  • If the Eagles cut Matthew Tucker, he will likely be claimed. A lot of the fanbase wants him on the practice squad, but after these last two games and the Giants and Cowboys suffering running back injuries, I can't imagine he isn't claimed. I think he has proven he can be valuable in the redzone and I could see the Eagles keeping four running backs with the speed of the offense.
  • Zach Ertz has a serious issue with drops. If you watch his college tape, you'll notice he is about as accustomed to drops as he is touchdowns. I am not overreacting, as he has had issues hanging onto the ball all summer. With James Casey dealing with a hamstring, it is imperative that Ertz's hands show up to start the season.
  • Nick Foles clearly doesn't want to leave Philadelphia, because his performance on Thursday night left a lot to be desired. Kelly blamed the offensive line for his struggles but Foles did hold the ball too long at times. His wide receivers and tight ends made his stats look worse than what they were with several drops, but Foles clearly didn't play all that well. Then again, he was working with pretty poor talent.
  • Everette Brown clearly wants to play in the NFL. Unlike Aaron Maybin with the Bengals, Brown is making sure his last stand in the league actually works out. If Brown isn't on the Eagles' roster come Monday, he won't be on the street very long. He has been able to get to the quarterback with relative ease. Now, let's also keep in mind that he did so against players that could be washing cars or working at Pei Wei in a couple of weeks. So let's not get ahead of ourselves with his performance.

Remaining Questions

  • Who will be the starter at free safety?
  • Does Everette Brown have staying power?
  • Will Howie Roseman work his "something for nothing" mojo this weekend?
  • And obviously, who will make the final roster?

Hot

  • Everette Brown, as previously mentioned, has awaken over the last three games. While he may not be able to stay in Philadelphia, he will be in this league next season. Brown doesn't fit the big guy mentality of the new regime but he may force their hand with his recent performances. However, his two sacks and a force fumble against the Jets were impressive.
  • There maybe no hotter player on the roster than Emmanuel Acho. The guy was in on every play last night and showed well in coverage, blitzing and against the run. He had two sacks, a forced fumble and double-digit tackles. According to our own Jimmy Kempski, Acho has led the team in tackles in three of the four preseason games. Acho has been everywhere and it would hardly be a surprise if he ended up a starter in the next few years.
  • Chris McCoy is awesome rushing passer and does very well in coverage. He has made this team and shows much better potential than Phillip Hunt. Let's not compare the two just because they have similar pedigrees. McCoy is way more dynamic.
  • Allen Barbre continues to impress, even on a horrible second unit. He has been a great story this summer.
  • The backup running backs are just really, really good. Chris Polk and Bryce Brown could both start on the Packers, Steelers or Colts and those teams are perennial playoff attendees. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise has been the play of Matthew Tucker. He may force the Eagles to keep four running backs. He had two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Tucker could be a serious redzone weapon down the road.
  • Vinny Curry is so fast off the line, you can't blink when he is in the game. He wasn't as dominant as he was in past games but he did definitely cause problems for the opposing offensive line. Curry has really shut up a lot of doubters this preseason.
  • Brandon Graham had a solid outing with a sack and a safety. He is a situational pass rusher and has no business in coverage. This will likely be his one and done year with Billy Davis.
  • In case you were wondering, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff both played relatively well. The issue is that Wolff is better against the run and Allen is better against the pass. I think you go with the veteran because you don't want to stunt Wolff's growth. He definitely has starting potential down the road.
  • Definitely a body-catcher and showed up too late to make a difference, but Ifeanyi Momah finally caught some balls. He had three catches for 42 yards and that's worth acknowledging.

Not

  • I don't mean to sound like Bernie Kosar, but the entire right side of the second-team offensive line should be ashamed of themselves. Julian Vandervelde, Danny Watkins and Michael Bamiro looked awful against future All-State agents and carnival ride attendants. Bamiro is more of a project than a life-size puzzle of the Titanic and Watkins makes firefighters prefer Kurt Russell as a representative of their profession. The fact that Vandervelde is viewed higher by the coaching staff than Dallas Reynolds is very hard to believe following the last night's game. As I said above, I wouldn't be surprised if Barbre was the only backup retained. I think Matt Tobin has a real shot of making it. He was crucial on the first Tucker touchdown and the follow-up two-point conversion.
  • The drops of wide receivers and tight ends. Just going off of notes from the first half, Zach Ertz, Clay Harbor, Greg Salas, Will Murphy and Chris Polk all dropped catchable balls. If you want to make the roster, you catch the ball when it hits your hands. It's a very basic rule, like putting the toilet seat down when you have a lady in the house.
  • Brandon Boykin really needs to stay on the inside. He gave up a few passes and looked outmatched on the outside. That said, he wrapped up extremely well and his tackling has greatly improved.
  • Matt Barkley is not ready to start at all this year. He has been incredibly erratic during the preseason and I don't feel like he sees the field as much as he thinks he does. He has talent and led two touchdown drives but his pick-six was just lame.

Miscellaneous Musings

  • It is funny how much Eagles' fans are against keeping Matthew Tucker on the roster. People need to realize this team is going to need a lot of backs.
  • The game plan seemed to favor throwing to Jeff Maehl. Darkhorse for a roster spot?
  • I will be watching the waiver wire for cornerbacks like there is no tomorrow (because there won't be if we don't upgrade our depth).
  • I know he is greatly disliked by most of the fanbase, but I am just not sure how anyone can genuinely dislike Kurt Coleman. The guy is the definition of a team player and really showed a lot of courage by playing cornerback tonight. If he was absolutely awful, that could have really stuck out to other front offices and he could have been done. Instead, he wanted to stay in Philadelphia, so he went out to prove he will do whatever he is asked. At this point, I like Colt Anderson's special teams prowess, but I would keep Coleman over him in a heartbeat. Anderson can't play safety for more than a few plays a game.
  • Guys like Jake Knott and Damion Square make me smile. While you typically don't want several undrafted rookies making your roster, these guys have just proved that scouting isn't an exact science. Knott looks better than a mid-round pick like Casey Matthews ever has. Square is a Cedric Thornton-like diamond in the rough despite coming from a major program (Bama). They are both going to make this roster in my opinion.
  • The CSN Philly crew thinks Clay Harbor is getting traded. They predicted the David Sims trade last year so it is worth noting. Stay tuned to the Harbor situation as the team could look to add a cornerback or safety in a deal.
  • Prepare yourself for a mass exodus of offensive linemen. There are currently 15 on the roster and the Eagles are only likely to keep eight to nine guys. At least one of those spots could be filled by a linemen that's not on the team.
Well, that's it for the preseason report cards. What are your thoughts on the finale? Anybody I leave out on the "Hot or Not" lists?
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