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Eagles Preseason Progress Report

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This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

Roster cuts are coming and the regular season is around the corner. The Eagles have many balls to juggle -€” keeping their eyes open for highly-rated players cut around the league and continuing the evaluation of the current roster on the way to 53 players.

Through two preseason games we've seen some great, some good, some struggles and a lot in between with this football team. Some observations ...

  • Quarterback Sam Bradford has thrown the ball very well. He's moving in the pocket, he's getting his throws out on time and he seems to have a strong command of the offense. After a three-snap performance against Tampa Bay, Bradford played an entire half in Pittsburgh and put the ball where it needed to be. A couple of costly penalties stymied some drives, but for the most part Bradford played well. Bradford should have a chance to make some plays and put points on the board on Saturday against a Colts team that is really hurting at the cornerback position, so his true tests will come in the regular season. How will he hold up against the blitz? Can the Eagles protect him? Can they run the ball well enough to keep the defense out of the backfield? And, of course, the wide receivers ...

  • Progress is measured in small increments with this group. You see how much Jordan Matthews means to the offense. Josh Huff is up and down, as he's been in his Eagles career. Chris Givens has not factored into the offense in the preseason. Rueben Randle looks so good and he has that kind of tantalizing talent, but can he put it all together on a consistent basis? Nelson Agholor looked better in Pittsburgh and he needs to keep his focus this week to generate some good thoughts. Dorial Green-Beckham is probably going to be here as the Eagles use him in limited packages and try to take advantage of his obvious gifts -€” big body, ability to go up and snatch a 50/50 pass and speed to stretch defenses. Paul Turner? He's small and he's not particularly fast. But he catches the football and that makes him worth a longer look. Maybe he gets some reps against the Colts' first-team defense this week out of the slot. The Eagles need to find out if he can play against starting-caliber players.

  • Allen Barbre is going to give a professional performance at right tackle and the Eagles will help him there, but the big question with him is how he will handle the likes of Ryan Kerrigan with Kerrigan's speed off the edge. It's a speed thing. Barbre is a good athlete, but he's not a natural in the same class as Lane Johnson. The loss of Johnson, should it happen as it seems everyone is anticipating, is a blow for this offensive line.

  • Thinking about special teams here. Who among the backup wide receivers plays special teams? Huff is the best of the group, and he's no guarantee to make this roster. How about backup linebackers? Is Stephen Tulloch a special teams guy? The point is, I've got some concern about who will cover kicks and who will block on returns. Bryan Braman, who is really not a factor at defensive end, has to make this roster, right? Chris Maragos, for sure. Trey Burton has to be there. Chris Pantale might have to make this team as a fourth tight end and a special teams player.

  • Would it surprise anyone if the Eagles pick up 4-5 players off the waiver wire when cuts are made around the league on September 3?

  • The defensive line is by far the deepest position on this roster. Can the Eagles keep 10 linemen, including Braman? The ends: Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith/Steven Means. The tackles: Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart, Destiny Vaeao. Add in Braman and that's 10.

  • Tough injury at a bad time for cornerback Aaron Grymes. An AC sprain takes 2-6 weeks to heal. I see him as a practice squad player. Can he squeeze in as a fifth cornerback?

  • There is a need for a sixth linebacker here. Waiver wire, anyone?

  • Keeping fingers crossed that rookie running back Wendell Smallwood gets some playing time against the Colts. He needs to show he can play at this tempo and that he can pick up the blitz and that he can catch the football in the passing game. Big test for Smallwood this week.

  • Pencil in four safeties here: starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod with backups Jaylen Watkins and Chris Maragos.

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By DAVE SPADARO
Eagles Insider