Kenjon Barner is making strides. Philly.com:
“I think Kenjon has had really good OTAs in the offseason and training camp,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said this week. “And obviously he’s shined in special teams, as well (returning seven punts for 25 yards and two kickoffs for 61 yards). Kenjon, I think he’s a good runner. I think he has an elusiveness to him that obviously shows as a punt returner. So when you get him in the backfield out in space, whether it’s catching a pass out of the back field, or get(ting) him on the edge running the football, (he’s effective). But he’s had a nice couple of inside runs as well. That’s important.”
Who to watch vs. the Colts. Philly Mag:
This will be the rookie running back’s first NFL game, but he shouldn’t be limited at all tomorrow night and he’s expected to play with the first-team offense. Smallwood has really impressed the Eagles’ coaches throughout the spring and summer by being a receiver out of the backfield, and the Birds need all of the help they can get in the passing game, so I expect Pederson will try getting Smallwood involved in that area of the game. I’m also going to keep a close eye on Smallwood’s pass protection, because that will play a significant role in how big of a niche he can carve out for himself in his first year. Kenjon Barner has had one of the best preseasons among players on both sides of the ball, so Pederson probably doesn’t need to see much more of him, allowing Smallwood to get some additional reps in Indianapolis.
Who stays at linebacker. Philly.com:
The Eagles could keep as many as six linebackers, and back when they were a 4-3 defense under Andy Reid, they often did. Linebackers, typically, make for multifaceted special teams contributors. But I think the Eagles keep just five this year for a couple of reasons. For one, they don’t really have an obvious sixth man. And two, I’m assuming that six defensive ends make the squad, with Bryan Braman and Marcus Smith as the last two. Braman might as well be a “linebacker.” He’ll play on all four core special teams and won’t sniff snaps on defense – unless there’s an emergency. Smith has also started to practice on all four units, which should increase his chances of hanging on for another year.
Marcus Smith finally showing improvement. CSN:
Final cuts are a little over a week away. Marcus Smith is trying to impress a coaching staff that didn’t draft him. Steven Means has had a very good preseason. Smith has little to show for his first two NFL seasons. If time is running out on the former first-round pick from Louisville, it’s not weighing on him.
Game review against the Steelers. Iggles Blitz:
To be fair, it is hard for an offense to come together quickly with so much change. Andy Reid’s Eagles scored 29 points in their first 3 preseason games and I’m not even sure how the D and STs affected that total. Doug Pederson has more talent to work with, but this isn’t a dynamic bunch. They did improve in just about every area from the first game to the second. The biggest jump was with the blocking. Jason Peters returned to the starting lineup, which pushed Matt Tobin to backup LT. Those moves improved both lines and settled things down in a big way. With functional blocking (or better), QBs had time to drop back and read the defense. Receivers had time to get open (or at least try).
Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks join Eagles Postgame Live. CSN:
CSN, the cable home of the Philadelphia Eagles, announced that former Philadelphia Eagles Seth Joyner and Barrett Brooks are joining the network’s Eagles game day programming. Seth and Barrett will join Michael Barkann and Ray Didinger on the set of “Eagles Pregame Live,” “Eagles Postgame Live,” and “In-Game Live” on CSNPhilly.com. Derrick Gunn and Reuben Frank once again report from the field. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell also returns this season.