The Philadelphia Eagles finished their 2015 NFL preseason schedule with a 3-1 record after losing to the New York Jets by a final score of 24-18. Here are 10 things we learned from this game. There is a lot to discuss, and not a lot of time, so let's get right to it.
1) Tim Tebow is probably making this team
Let's compare the overall preseason stats:
Tim Tebow: 21/36, 286 yards (7.94 y/a), 2 TD, 1 INT (82 rush yards on 12 attempts, 1 rush TD)
Matt Barkley: 27/52, 351 yards (6.75 y/a), 0 TD, 2 INT
It's happening. Those reports about Tebow having a "very good chance" to make the Eagles roster? They seem to be true, especially after this performance. Tebow looked the best he's been in an Eagles uniform. For the most part he was accurate and made good decisions. His worst pass was an interception that came on a play where he basically had to force the ball into coverage since it was 4th and long. Now the Eagles will hope they never have to play Tebow for an extended period of time, if at all, this season.
2) Matt Barkley's career with the Eagles is probably over
Barkley just hasn't been good enough. He's been especially disappointing when you consider this is his third year in the system. He got outplayed by a guy in Tebow who's been out of the NFL entirely for the past two years. Barkley never really showed any kind of promise the Eagles hoped he would after trading up in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft to select him.
3) Kiko Alonso was active in his debut
Alonso looked good out there. He only played a few snaps but he made a few tackles. He got caught a little out of a position in coverage one time but that could have easily been some rust. It was good for the Eagles to get him a few snaps and then get him out.
4) Raheem Mostert looks good, but...
... it doesn't look like he's going to make the team. The Eagles seemed to give Kenjon Barner the night off for the most part, which could means the former Ducks running back is going to make the roster. Don't get me wrong: Mostert has had a pretty good preseason for the Eagles. The undrafted rookie free agent running back has stood out as a runner, a receiver, and a returner. It just doesn't seem there's room for him on the roster. It's possible he gets claimed on the waiver wire, but that's not something to panic about. Remember how awesome Henry Josey looked last preseason? Well, he didn't get claimed and he's not even in the NFL anymore. Mostert might very well be better than Josey, but my point is he's not worth freaking out about. The Eagles have a very talented group of running backs. Philadelphia will probably try to get Mostert on the practice squad.
5) Eric Rowe needs some time
After struggling against the Packers, Rowe also failed to look sharp against the Jets. It's nights like these that serve as a reminder Rowe is a converted safety. He's new to the position and he's working through some struggles right now. Rookie cornerbacks don't generally tend to be studs right away so Rowe deserves some time to develop. He definitely has some things he needs to work on, though.
6) Jordan Hicks flashed potential
If all goes according to plan, Hicks should never see the field much as a rookie. He's stuck behind the likes of Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and DeMeco Ryans. He'll make his living on special teams to start out. But Hicks definitely flashed some potential against the Jets. He made several good tackles, including a solo stop where he exploded into the backfield on 3rd-and-short to force a New York field goal. Philadelphia's inside linebacker depth is so much better than it was a year ago.
7) Jaylen Watkins is up and down
Watkins got beat badly early on in the game but made up for it later by jumping a route and picking off a pass. "Up and down" seems to perfectly describe Watkins' career to this point. He needs to be more consistent in a good way.
8) Bryan Braman is a beast
The dude has been feasting on backup offensive linemen and making plays all preseason long. I feel like the Eagles should experiment with giving him a snap or two in the outside linebacker rotation. He's earned it.
9) No one separated themselves in the backup safety battle
I'm not sure Ed Reynolds nor Jerome Couplin really did enough this summer to lock up a roster spot. I think the Eagles will only keep four safeties, with neither of them making it. Both players could probably benefit from another year on the practice squad.
10) The preseason is OVER!
Finally. Real Eagles football begins in a little over a week on Monday, Sept. 14. It's going to be a fun season.