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Eagles v. Steelers: 11 winners, losers, and I’m not sures

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PRESEASOOOOOOOOOOON! I have takes for you

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Listen there were easily 4 2-pt conversion attempts tonight. Somewhere between 6-8 turnovers, too. Joe Callahan broke upwards of 25 tackles. Over 90 points were scored.

It was the preseason, and it was daggum glorious.

We had some opportunities for a good takeaway or two from the battle against the Steelers, in which the starting offense and defense alike got a few drives under their belts. Mostly our winners and losers will come from the second-team, though, who played the majority of the meaningful snaps.

Winners

Dallas Goedert

Dallas had a game, folks. He looked NFL ready out there, in terms of finding space in zone coverage, working with scrambling quarterbacks, and being willing to work through physicality in his routes. On his touchdown catch, he uncovered quickly and had to wait for Sudfeld to get there, but he continued to adjust with the flow to stay in space. First tuddy for the young’in.

Yeah, he dropped a pass. Happens sometimes. Happens often when it’s your first NFL game, I’d imagine. Rookie jitters are a real thing, and there’s no reason to believe Goedert will have any issues with his hands across his career.

Shelton Gibson

A winner with one catch? Heck yeah. Shelton Gibson was always drafted to just be that guy who did that one thing. He struggled to do it last year; and this year, he opened the preseason off with a bang.

He wasn’t challenged with physicality at all on the line of scrimmage, which has been a major red flag for Gibson in the past. But with that free release, he had the opportunity to immediately stack the slower corner, and boy did his burst shine through. He just ate that poor DB up.

Kamu Grugier-Hill

As a run-and-chase WILL linebacker, you should be all over the field. You should be involved in a lot of tackles. You should make a lot of plays.

And Kamu did what he should have done tonight. He was super active all across the front seven, a demon to block and a hammer into contact. His ability to drop into short zones and and interfere with route concepts shined once again. While Nate Gerry got the first team reps at WILL, it’s very difficult to place him quantifiably above Kamu right now in terms of quality of play. Kamu has looked better, flat out.

Fletcher Cox

Does it feel kinda silly, to make Fletch a winner in a preseason game when he’s already a quantifiable beast? Yeah. Is that gonna stop me? Pshaw.

Fletch just ate David DeCastro alive tonight. Lined up on the interior along with Bennett, Cox, and Barnett, Cox was regularly put in one-on-one situations and demonstrated his typical rolling power and impossible agility. He’s looking for DPOY recognition this season, and for that he needs sack numbers. He got one early on against an NFL starter. Good deal.

Cameron Johnston

MY MAN HIT AN 81-YARD PUNT.

THE LONGEST PUNT LAST YEAR WAS 77 YARDS.

HALL OF FAAAAAAAAME.

Losers

Donnel Pumphrey

Yo man, you gotta play. I don’t know what happened with Pump, and he wasn’t available to ask in the locker room, but it just sucks so hard that he can’t play. He was really looking good during camp—easily the best of the RB4s—and to be potentially gimpy once again would be devastating for a young player who looked to be putting some basic pieces together.

Nate Sudfeld

Nate didn’t have a terrible game—not by any stretch—but he didn’t really show me what I was looking for.

Nate’s issues come with full-field processing, and one of his two picks was a massive mis-read of zone coverage in the flat. He was regularly late to his reads, waiting to see players uncover and hesitating when he had downfield shots available. The ball to Gibson was pretty as all nothing, and he did well to read the safety and come to the 1-on-1 coverage. But all of those underneath dump-offs he had, could have been longer plays.

Elijah Qualls

Some good from Elijah. He’s a rhino out there in terms of leverage and power—just steamrolls over dudes in the most rumbly-tumbly of ways. Wrecking ball stuff that disrupts running play timing and helps spring free other pass rushers.

But he had three penalties: two offsides and a holding. The offsides have been an issue in camp as well. You can have all the natural ability in the world—and Qualls has a good deal—but if you can’t be trusted to not shoot your team in the foot, you’re not going to see significant snaps. That’s the long and short of it, I’m afraid.

Tre Sullivan

Bad night for Tre, who simply couldn’t get a bead on a single tackle all night long. He came far too hot into contact on a lot of plays, over-attacking and surrendering the cutback. Even when he arrived to contact, he looked far too often for the hit and never for the clean wrap and takedown.

I can remember three, maybe four missed opportunities in the open field. Those are going to hurt on tape come Friday, especially because Sullivan played aligned as a LB so often. I liked his camp, but this was a little eye-opening.

I’m not sure

Rasul Douglas

Honestly, I was fine with Rasul’s night. Doulgas also insisted during the post-game interviews that DB coach Cory Undlin was as well. Sul likes to attack the football and the catch point, and those plays typically dictate a boom-or-bust result. He got tripped when in the air on the initial long touchdown to Juju Smith-Schuster, and he was a fraction late getting his hand up on the touchdown to Flippy McFlip against the endline.

He also perfectly split two routes on a Cover 3 responsibilities, which led to a big pick in enemy territory. That was a stellar play, and one he couldn’t and wouldn’t have made as a rookie. We all know Douglas as an up-and-down player, but I’d argue tonight had more up than you’d initially think.

Sidney Jones

Sidney told reporters after the game that he had an ankle sprain and was totally fine—he wasn’t walking with any noticeable limp, from what I saw. His rest was mostly planned, he claimed—though I’m not sure how much I buy that.

He looked pretty good out there: got involved in a lot of tackles, got his first taste of the new helmet penalty—he didn’t like the call—but he wasn’t really tested in coverage. So there’s not much to say about Sidney, the pregame focus of many tonight, besides the hope that he stays healthy.