The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their 2016 preseason schedule with a win on Thursday evening. The Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a final score of 17 to 9.
The game was ugly, but such is preseason football. There's a lot to talk from the game about so let's get right to it.
First team offense
The Eagles started with great field position due to Najee Goode forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff. Sam Bradford threw a checkdown on his first pass attempt, because of course he did. Then the Eagles pounded the rock and Ryan Mathews capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Philadelphia used a three tight end set on the touchdown run, which is something we could see a lot of this season.
First team defense
The starting defense forced the Bucs into a three-and-out. On Tampa Bay's second drive, Fletcher Cox strip-sacked Jameis Winston and recovered the ball.
Philadelphia didn't stop Tampa Bay on their third drive. The Bucs marched down the field and Winston connected with former Eagles receiver Russell Shepard on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Leodis McKelvin was beaten in coverage. Then the kicker that the Buccaneers spent a second round pick on missed the PAT!
Caleb Sturgis kicked off to start the game. His kick looked to be intentionally short into the end zone (or right near the goal line) in order to encourage a return. It worked. The Buccaneers returned the ball and the ball was knocked out by Goode. Chris Maragos recovered. Eagles special teams picking up right where they left off in past years under Chip Kelly.
Sturgis nailed a 42-yard field goal. He's done nothing to erase his lead in the kicker competition. Sturgis and Cody Parkey both went 1/1 on extra point attempts.
Sam Bradford: 1 for 1 (100%), 3 yards, 3.0 average, 0 TD, 0 INT, 79.2 rating
Chase Daniel: 4 for 10 (40%), 15 yards, 1.5 average, 0 TD, 0 INT, 42.4 rating, 1 rushing TD
Carson Wentz: 12 for 24 (50%), 89 yards, 3.7 average, 0 TD, 1 INT, 41.8 rating, 15 rushing yards
McLeod Bethel-Thompson: 1 for 1, 7 yards
Bradford's only pass attempt was a checkdown.
Daniel didn't look very good. It's not like his protection was great and receivers were running open, but still, it was ugly. Eagles fans started to chant "We want Wentz!" with over 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Daniel threw a pass that easily should have been picked off by a Buccaneers defensive back. Fortunately for him, it was dropped. Unfortunately for him, it caused fans to start booing.
Wentz came in late in the second quarter to a huge ovation from Philly fans. He stuck his pointer finger in the air in acknowledgement. Wentz had a great strike to Zach Ertz over the middle after climbing the pocket. He really fired the ball in there. Wentz made a nice move to avoid an unblocked rusher and fire a strike while on the run. Wentz looked really fast when he ran. Also: he can slide! Another impressive play from Wentz was when he recognized a corner blitz and immediately threw to the receiver that the corner left.
The rookie quarterback wasn't without mistakes. Wentz threw a pick in the red zone when he threw too high above Paul Turner over the middle. He also overthrew an open Cayleb Jones for what would have been a 25 yard gain. Wentz has struggled with his accuracy this summer.
Wentz took a few big hits on Thursday night. He got completely flipped after taking off on a running play. Then he took a big hit in the pocket late in the fourth. Wentz stayed in, but he was slow to get up and crouched for a little bit.
Bethel-Thompson took over for the Eagles with just under four minutes to go.
Fourth string tight end Chris Pantale got some first team fullback snaps. That's what we've seen in practice.
Jalen Mills got burned deep by Mike Evans. It would have been a touchdown for Tampa Bay if Winston didn't overthrow the wide receiver. For as good as Mills has been this summer, his long speed is a weakness. The bad night for Mills continued. The rookie got penalized for pass interference. He also got lost in coverage and then whiffed on a tackle attempt.
Jaylen Watkins had a chance to pick Winston but dropped the pass. Still a nice pass breakup. He also had a good form tackle. And then another pass breakup later on. Watkins has had a strong summer. He's really pushing to be the No. 3 safety.
Josh Huff caught a pass and then fumbled it forward. Rueben Randle got penalized for batting the ball out of bounds. I think Huff will make the team, but it's hard to justify his spot. He's really struggled this offseason.
Maragos jacked up a Bucs punt returner along the sideline. Later in the game, he picked off a deep overthrow from Mike Glennon.
Taylor Hart had a nice tackle for loss.
Eric Rowe got lost in coverage against a Bucs receiver. Yikes. He was lucky to be bailed out by a very tacky offensive interference penalty. Not a great night for Rowe.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai totally failed to get out of his stance and gave a Buccaneers defensive end a free rush at Wentz. Not good.
Joe Walker had a few nice tackles. He also whiffed really badly on one play.
Ed Reynolds made a nice stop in the backfield.
Steven Means recorded a strip-sack. He's had a really good summer and could push for a depth spot at defensive end.
Destiny Vaeao blew up a running play behind the line of scrimmage.
C.J. Smith stripped the ball from a Bucs receiver shortly after it was caught, knocking it into the air. Don Cherry then tipped it before Quentin Gause came up with the pick. Funny looking play. Smith also had a pick late in the game to prevent us from having to watch preseason overtime football. The real MVP.
Reserve safety Nick Perry dropped an interception after jumping in front of the receiver on a deep throw over the middle. Should have had that one.
Starting right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a right biceps injury and didn't return. It sounds like he'll be OK. Backup offensive lineman Josh Andrews limped off the field with an ankle injury and went to the locker room for x-rays.
The Philadelphia Eagles have off tomorrow on Friday, Aug. 12 before returning to training camp practice on Saturday, Aug. 13. Until then, stay tuned to BGN for more Eagles coverage.