Three things is the theme with third preseason game on horizon
The Eagles’ third preseason game will be Thursday (7:30 p.m.) against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial.
So that’s my theme: three things.
Here they are:
Three on the rise
Josh Perkins. The tight end may have locked up a job after Richard Rodgers, who spent the first nine games of last season on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, suffered a foot injury during Monday’s practice and will miss multiple weeks, according to the team. Perkins has had a strong summer and has two catches for 18 yards in the first two games.
“Josh [Perkins] has done a really good job,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “He's come in there and we've asked him to do different things as far as even in the run game with the blocking and he's a talented route runner, has good speed, good agility. And he's obviously a special teams player, so he's right in the mix.
“This will be a good opportunity for him obviously now again, moving forward these next couple weeks of camp and just look forward to him playing in these next few games.”
VIDEO: Ronald Darby on his recovery from knee surgery
Boston Scott. The 5-7 runner had a terrific game against the Jaguars, with seven carries and 43 yards with a 1-yard touchdown, with a long gain of 20 yards. His yardage leads the team in preseason, which doesn’t mean much. Still, I believe if the Eagles did not bring back Darren Sproles back, Scott probably would’ve had a job. Not now, though one wonders if the Eagles are making the right decision keeping Sproles – without evaluating the 36-year-old in any preseason games. Sproles has only played nine games the past two seasons due to injuries. It would be a shame to lose Scott, who I think can play in this league, to a player who is a Hall of Fame talent but one who may not have much left.
Nate Herbig (pictured above, No. 67). Maybe a surprise here, but the undrafted free agent from Stanford got some backup reps at center with Stefen Wisniewski shifting to guard with the second team. Wisniewski has had some snap troubles, and the Eagles could be looking hard at Herbig as a potential backup to Jason Kelce and somebody who can also play guard.
Three on the bubble
Mack Hollins. Everyone thinks the receiver is safe. Maybe he is, so I am outside the box with my thinking here. But he isn’t doing himself any favors with two dropped passes in three practices leading up to Thursday night. Both drops would’ve been touchdowns. I know, I know, he is a special teams stud, but at some point is will that be enough, especially with players such as Greg Ward, Marken Michel and Carlton Agudosi nipping at his heels.
Nate Gerry. The linebacker has struggled to get off blocks and his coverage skills, which should be a strength sine he played safety at Nebraska, haven’t exactly been standout quality, either. Making life difficult for him is the strong play of undrafted free agent T.J. Edwards and CFL star Alex Singleton.
Josh Adams. He led the Eagles in rushing yards last year, but this is a crowded position. He has looked good in practice, but a midfield fumble in the preseason opener and some sluggish running in two games (8 carries, 10 yards) haven’t helped. I have, however, been impressed with Adams out of the backfield in the pass game. He has four catches for 37 yards.
Three I’d like to see more
Eli Harold. The defensive end was acquired in a trade for undrafted free agent tackle Ryan Bates, who may not make the Bills’ roster. Harold likely won’t make the Eagles, either, but he is a proven veteran the team could use on the outside of the line. He got just 17 snaps in his Eagles debut last week, but needs more to properly evaluate him.
Alex Ellis. The tight picture is murky now that Rodgers will miss time. Ellis saw his snaps increase from 11 in week one to 24 last week. Still, he has not been targeted in the pass game, though he looks like a capable blocker in the run game. Maybe that’s what the Eagles will look for should they go with a fourth tight end.
Hassan Ridgeway. Acquired in a draft weekend trade with the Colts, the defensive tackle sat out last week’s game with an injury. He played 21 snaps in the opener and made one tackle. It will be interesting to see what the Eagles do along the defensive line. I think they keep 10, but will it be a five/five split between tackles and ends or do they go heavier at end?
Three things I’d like to see
The Eagles stand tall on third down. So far they have allowed opponents to convert 50 percent of their chances (18-for-36). I know that much of their defense hasn’t played, with so many of the injured (Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett, Nigel Bradham, Ronald Darby) not playing, but the inability to get off the field on third down cost the Eagles some games last year.
Meanwhile, the offense hasn’t been as successful as you’d like to see, either, making first downs on just 29.2 percent (7-for-24) of their third down tries.
An interception. The Eagles have been shut out thus far in intercepting several different quarterbacks in the first two games. Sure would be nice to get one here. The secondary had four of them in the final practice sessions with the Ravens on Tuesday – three from backup defensive backs Tre Sullivan, Ajene Harris, and Jeremiah McKinnon and one from defensive end Vinny Curry.
Josh McCown play, and play well. It’s uncertain that the 40-year-old veteran will get any snaps after just signing a handful of days ago. I think he will play, perhaps the entire fourth quarter. McCown will likely enter the season as the primary backup to Carson Wentz, so it would be nice to see him not just play, but move the ball against the Ravens’ deep reserves late in the game.