As expected, the Eagles didn’t play their starters on Sunday afternoon. Neither did the Browns. And so it’s hard to draw a ton of meaning out of this game that the Eagles won by a final score of 21 to 20.
That said, there was still value to be had from watching players compete for more playing time and/or a spot on the team. Roster cuts down to 53 players loom later this month.
Here’s what we observed on Sunday.
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
• Pregame highlight! Check out Dave Spadaro here:
• Starting offensive line: Andre Dillard, Sua Opeta, Cam Jurgens, Jack Anderson, Jack Driscoll.
• Jurgens had a great block out in space to pancake a Browns defender on a long Boston Scott run.
Eagles Pin/Pull concept executed perfectly. Great job by Opeta on the move and what else can you say about Jurgens?! Fantastic vision on the move and really strong finish to pancake his guy. pic.twitter.com/NOkdNPxmlR— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2022
• Scott looked good both running and catching the ball on the Eagles’ first drive, logging 11 (!) total touches. Scott made some defenders miss and also fought through contact to convert a 4th-and-short before eventually punching it in to the end zone. He’s just been better than Kenneth Gainwell, whom the Eagles seemingly want to be their RB2.
Eagles running a really run heavy offense this drive. Under center with only RPOs as pass plays. This maybe DUO? (not sure) but great run by Scott. He has such a low center of gravity and has really really good contact balance. pic.twitter.com/ObYZ8ICBoU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2022
• The Eagles’ backup offensive line dominated on their opening drive.
Eagles OL is phenomenally well coached. Even the 2nd team are in perfect sync. Look at the the push that Jurgens gets on this one!! Also great block by Jack Anderson, coming off his double and stonewalling the linebacker. pic.twitter.com/xGzOjmOtgh— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2022
• Tay Gowan made a good special tackle on the Browns’ first kick return.
• Josh Jobe made an open field tackle on a jet sweep.
• Andre Chachere was unable to sack Joshua Dobbs on a blitz, only managed to rip his undershirt. Should’ve been able to bring him down. Dobbs escaped the pocket and it was a bad job by Davion Taylor to not push Joshua Dobbs out along the sideline on what turned out to be a long run by the QB. Didn’t need Taylor to be Quincy Williams there but had to at least make sure the QB was out instead of allowing him to slip by.
• Not a good first series by the Eagles’ backup defense as a whole.
• Quez Watkins had a nice catch. Not sure why he was playing in this game, though.
Simple double slant from empty. Great release from Quez Watkins and excellent spin and acceleration to get the first down. pic.twitter.com/uKfTW3OWD4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) August 21, 2022
• Gardner Minshew underthrew an open Jalen Reagor along the right sideline despite having time to throw. Would’ve gone for at least 10 yards.
• Gainwell put a nice juke on Richard LeCounte on 3rd-and-13 draw to pick up a first. Good to see that shake.
SECOND QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
• The Eagles’ backup offensive line powered another scoring drive. Gainwell lowered his shoulder to power his way into the end zone for a short touchdown run.
• Chachere broke up a Dobbs pass to a Browns receiver along the right sideline.
• Jurgens got pulled out of the game about halfway through the second quarter. Anderson shifted over to play center with Kayode Awosika taking over at right guard.
• Jason Huntley came in on the Eagles’ third drive. He did not impress. Just not a volume ball-carrier.
• Deon Cain had two really nice catches on back-to-back plays to set the Eagles up in goal-to-go territory. The first was a contested grab and the second was a back shoulder catch along the right sideline. Cain’s had a good offseason dating back to OTAs.
Minshew up the sideline for 24 yards. Nice catch by Cain pic.twitter.com/XrufS6u06J— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) August 21, 2022
• The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-goal and Minshew’s throw in the flat was a pick six ... had it not been dropped by the Browns defender. Yikes!
• The Browns took over with just 1:57 left in the first half and drove into field goal range. Not a lot of pressure from the Eagles’ backups. A nice throw by Dobbs got the Browns into goal-to-go territory. Dobbs took off running for the end zone but Chachere managed to knocked the leaping QB out of bounds to prevent a touchdown. Jobe knocked down a Dobbs pass to force 3rd-and-goal with 0:01 left on the clock. The Browns settled for a field goal. Nice job by the defense to ultimately hold them to three.
THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
• Ugo Amadi was playing at cornerback, not safety.
• The Browns went 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. Not much defensive resistance.
• Reid Sinnett took over for the Eagles’ first drive of the second half.
• The Browns did not seem scared of throwing the ball Kary Vincent Jr.’s way. KVJ got Mossed at one point.
• Shaun Bradley made a nice tackle after fighting through traffic to stop a run to the outside.
• Kobe Smith batted a Josh Rosen pass down to bring up a 4th-and-7.
• After a very quiet camp, Devon Allen finally made a play! The Olympian burned the Browns’ defensive backs to get wide open down the field for a 55-yard touchdown. Ball from Sinnett was on the money. Allen celebrated with a hurdle celebration, naturally. Dude is fast.
• Kyron Johnson came up with a pressure that drew a holding penalty and forced a Browns punt. Nice to see a flash from him.
• Cain made another nice sideline grab to end the third quarter. Strong hands and the body control to keep two feet in.
FOURTH QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
• Sinnett was able to shake off a sack from a blitz and run up the middle for 12 yards and a first down.
• Richard Rodgers made a really good one-handed catch over the middle ... for four yards.
• Sinnett could’ve thrown a better ball to give Cain more of a chance on a 4th-and-2 at the 50-yard line. Instead, turnover on downs.
• Gowan pushed a Browns receiver out of bounds as he was catching the ball to force an incompletion. Only able to get one foot in.
• Reed Blankenship made a nice tackle on a run to the left to bring up a 4th-and-5. Amadi came unblocked on a blitz and failed to tackle the Browns runner ... but the Birds got the stop anyway with Jaquiski Tartt putting a big hit on the RB.
• Bradley got his hands on a Rosen pass to force a turnover on downs. Couldn’t make the pick but the ball looked a little too wide of him to be able to do that.
• Carson Strong made his NFL preseason debut with just over three minutes left in the game. They did not let him throw on a 3rd-and-2, though the Eagles were trying to run out the clock. They did let Strong throw on 3rd-and-12 ... and he targeted Allen, who got mugged but there was no PI call. The ball looked a bit underthrown/off target.
• Gowan was in position to down an Arynn Siposs punt around the 1-yard line but he couldn’t handle the bouncing ball.
• Mac McCain broke up a pass by tackling a Browns receiver right as the ball got to him. McCain also had good coverage on the Browns’ final pass attempt to force a turnover on downs.
Jalen Hurts: DID NOT PLAY
The Eagles rested their starters.
Gardner Minshew: 14/17 (82.4%), 142 yards (8.4 average), 0 TD, 0 INT, 101.5 passer rating
Minshew looked like what he is: a quality backup quarterback. He didn’t have to do a lot of heavy lifting with the offensive line and run game leading the way. To his credit, Minshew made some good throws and was mostly efficient. The dropped pick-six was pretty bad, though. Had that been an interception, his passer rating would’ve dropped to 77.0.
Reid Sinnett: 4/9 (44.4%), 69 yards (7.7 average), 1 TD, 0 INT, 108.1 passer rating ... 3 rushes for 16 yards
Sinnett’s touchdown throw was pretty impressive. Legit arm. There’s going to be debate whether the Eagles should keep a third quarterback or not but methinks they value his potential. Not to mention Minshew will be a free agent after this season.
Carson Strong: 0/1 (00.0%), 00 yards (0.0 average), 0 TD, 0 INT, 39.6 passer rating
Strong was mostly in the game to hand off as the Eagles tried to kill the clock.
• Josiah Scott got hurt late in the second quarter. He was down on the ground but eventually walked off on his own power. Shortly after, Scott left the field.
• Patrick Johnson and Marvin WIlson got banged up early in the third quarter. They both returned to game action.
• Shaun Bradley appeared to suffer a shoulder injury late in the third quarter. He returned.
The Eagles are off on Monday before traveling to Florida on Tuesday to face the Miami Dolphins in joint training camp practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The Eagles will then play their third and final preseason game on Saturday.
Note: the Eagles must trim their 85-player roster down to 80 before 4:00 PM Eastern this Tuesday.