The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-0 in the 2015 NFL preseason after beating the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 36-10.
Here are 10 things to be learned from this game. There is a lot to discuss, so let's get right to it.
1) Mark Sanchez wasn't pretty
Yikes. Just not a good showing from Sanchez. If he hit Trey Burton in stride on the first pass of the game, that would have been a touchdown. Later, he overthrew a wide open Jordan Matthews for a score. He also prevented the Eagles from moving the chains by by overthrowing Darren Sproles on third down. If you're looking for a silver lining, I would argue this was Sanchez at his very worst, not his average performance. He looked jittery. It was the first preseason game. Maybe he had some nerves. He obviously needs to be better moving forward.
2) Nelson Agholor looks legit
His touchdown was aided by bad defense from the cornerback but the rookie wide receiver flashed legitimate talent on the play. The catch Agholor had to make on the bad Sanchez pass was so good. As I've said before, he really just plucks the ball out of the air. His ability to get yards after the catch is even more impressive. He gets the ball and he's gone. He did have a bad drop, which is a reminder that he's still a rookie with some issues to work out. Overall, it's hard not to be impressed with the team's 2015 first round pick.
3) Eric Rowe belongs on the field
Agholor wasn't the only pick from Philadelphia's 2015 NFL Draft class who shined. Eric Rowe really showed up as well. He did a great job of forcing a fumble on Phillip Dorsett in the open field. He was also the one tackling a Colts player when Chris Maragos forced a fumble. Rowe made a really good special teams tackle to end the first half. The rookie might not be a starter right away, but he deserves playing time.
4) Bennie Logan is a beast
He proved his doubters wrong in a big way last year and he picked up right where he left off. Logan had three tackles despite only playing nine snaps! He's pretty good.
5) Cody Parkey is causing concern
Chip Kelly's right: it's not time to push the panic button on Cody Parkey just yet. It is a little concerning, however. Parkey recently had a rough day kicking in practice. He needs to get back on track.
6) The third string quarterback battle is heating up
Matt Barkley looked surprisingly good on Sunday. I don't think anyone expected him to start strong with those two passes like he did. As for Tim Tebow, he clearly looked rough. I'm willing to give him somewhat of a pass considering he's been out of the league for two years and was working with fourth string weapons, but he needs to show more. Overall, I still don't think Barkley is long for the roster even if he outperforms Tebow. The Eagles have shown a willingness to move on from Barkley in the past. I think the team would like for Barkley to play well this summer in order to increase his value so they can trade him.
7) The Eagles might keep a fourth running back
Kenjon Barner finished with 29 yards on six attempts for a 4.8 average and one rushing touchdown. He also had the huge 92-yard punt return for a score. The Eagles went out of their way to trade a conditional draft pick for the former Oregon Ducks player last offseason and kept him on the practice squad in 2014. He's pushing for a potential fourth running back spot.
Also in the mix is rookie undrafted free agent Raheem Mostert. He didn't stand out so much as a runner (33 yards on 11 carries) but his one reception for 40 yards was a showcase of his talent. He's dangerous when he gets the ball in space. If he can't beat out Barner, Mostert is likely looking at a practice squad opportunity.
8) Eric Tomlinson could be the fourth tight end
The Eagles have always kept at least fourth running backs OR fourth tight ends on the 53-man roster since Chip Kelly took over. The team opted to keep four tight ends last year with Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, and Trey Burton. Tomlinson is pushing for the fourth spot this year after a nice preseason debut: five receptions for 61 yards (12.2 average). Tomlinson has looked good in practice recently and he's known for being more of a blocker than a pass catcher so his offensive production is a great sign for him. Keeping four tight ends could make sense due to the fact Ertz is recovering from a core muscle injury.
9) Ed Reynolds is taking advantage of his opportunity
After failing to make the roster in 2014, Reynolds really showed up on Sunday with two picks. Reynolds' performance comes at an especially good time due to the fact roster bubble safeties Earl Wolff and Jerome Couplin are currently injured. The Eagles lack depth at safety and Reynolds could earn a spot on the team.
10) Sam Bradford can't get on the field soon enough
One of most exciting things about Sunday's performance had to be the fact the Eagles were missing so many key players (Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, Zach Ertz) but still looked pretty good.
Bradford's debut is scheduled to take play this coming Saturday. It'll be really interesting to see how he plays considering he's had a great summer.