Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eagles vs. Jaguars: What Did We Learn?

This statement sounds self-evident, but I'll say it anyway: preseason games never live up to expectations.

The starters only played a handful of snaps, many of the key reserves also took early seats, and we were left watching an entire half of camp bodies like Dobson Collins, Boo Robinson, and Zipp Duncan.

One of the few roster battles that gained some clarity was wide receiver. Riley Cooper made a strong case for the fourth spot, catching a long bomb on his first play in the game. Chad Hall showed he can be effective as a returner, and also made plays as a receiver and tailback. Kelley Washington was solid in special teams, almost blocking a punt. Hank Baskett is now a longshot to make the final cut.

While there weren't many players that stood out either way, here are a few that cauhgt my eye:

Looked Good:
Kurt Coleman - Coleman was everywhere on the field, making sure tackles and occasionally delivering a big hit. He was also victimized on one of the long TD passes as he failed to get enough depth, but that's a correctable rookie mistake. With Quentin Mikell in the last year of his contract, you wonder if the Eagles have an eye on Coleman as his replacement.
Brandon Graham - He didn't get a sack, but he showed great speed on the edge rush. I don't think he'll have a huge impact this year, rookie DEs rarely do, but he can make a contribution. Will definitely supplant Juqua Parker as a starter by next season.
Martell Mallet - If Mike Bell remains injured, he might make this team and contribute. Sure, it was the Jaguars second- and third-team defenses, but he showed decisiveness and enough burst to get through the hole. Not a superstar, but he won't embarrass himself with 10-15 carries a game in the NFL. Buckley is still ahead of him because of this special teams contributions.
Austin Howard - Didn't play as much as I would have liked, and the Jaguars don't have any DEs of note, but he delivered a couple pancakes and otherwise held up well against the pass.

Looked Bad:
Joselio Hanson - Committed a penalty and still managed to give up a touchdown against first-round washout Troy Williamson. I'll say it again: it was a really, really bad idea to trade away Sheldon Brown.
Geoffrey Pope - Also victimized on a deep route by an also-ran receiver, Pope's one of those bubble guys who doesn't figure to make the cut.

Other Notes:
Jackson and Herremans came off the PUP list today, which means there's a chance they could both be ready for opening day...Nick Cole started practicing again as well, but after McGlynn's solid performance against Jacksonville, he may have to fight to keep his second-string center gig...Kolb looked more mobile than I expected in the game, more mobile than the 250lb McNabb was last season...I heard a Washington beat writer describe McNabb's opening performance as 'uneven' an 'inconsistent', he better get used to writing that...two name mis-spellings in my last post, JaMar Chaney and Ken (not Paul) Lawrie were the victims.


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