In the preseason finale the secondary is a group to watch. Philly.com:
The roster must go from 75 to the regular-season limit of 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday, and right now it feels as if the Eagles have more cornerback options than a decagon. The safety situation seems a little clearer, at least to us outsiders, whose evaluations might be completely wrong. The uncertainty there might be more in the mix – how many safeties make it vs. how many corners, taking into account that Malcolm Jenkins and, to a much lesser degree, Jaylen Watkins can perform both jobs. The “real” starters won’t play Thursday, in most instances. The Jets will see Eric Rowe and Jalen Mills as the starting Eagles corners, Rowe and Mills confirmed. It’s hard to believe Rowe, a 2015 second-round pick who played well last season, is fighting for a roster spot, but if we take the coaches at their word, he kinda is. Mills, the seventh-round rookie from LSU who started off camp like gangbusters, has been much less dominant lately, slowed by a hamstring injury. The Eagles likely are deciding whether he makes the 53, or whether they can risk waiving him and bringing him back for the practice squad.
The season may depend on a handful of games. Philly.com:
You might’ve had the Cowboys as a possibility before you found out Tony Romo could miss half the season. Even with Romo, a home game against the Bengals and road games in Green Bay and Pittsburgh would’ve been tough. Now, it’s tough to know what to think about any of it, even Weeks 3 and 4, when they host the Bears and then travel to San Francisco…As we turn our attention toward the regular season, I have the Giants as my favorite. But they went 6-10 last year, so I’m not sure we should be penciling them to win any of these games. One thing is clear, though: while there is plenty of reason to be pessimistic about the Eagles’ chances for a playoff berth, given what we seem to know about the roster, there is also some reason for hope, given what we know about the rest of the division.
The receiving corps is embracing their youth. CSN:
The Eagles’ oldest wide receiver is Josh Huff, who’s 24. The Eagles’ most experienced wide receiver is Jordan Matthews, who’s started 23 games. The Eagles’ average wide receiver? He’s 23 years old. There’s always a chance the Eagles will add a veteran wide receiver before opening day a week from Sunday against the Browns. But right now? They have one of the youngest wide receiver crews in modern NFL history. Matthews and Huff are 24. Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Paul Turner are 23. David Watford, Cayleb Jones and Marcus Johnson are all 22 or 23. Of this group, only Matthews has more than 35 career receptions. When the Eagles released Rueben Randle and Chris Givens earlier this week, it left them without a wide receiver older than 24. “It’s crazy,” Matthews said. “My rookie year I was the youngest dude on the whole team. Now, me and Josh are the oldest. It’s kind of different but I like it. I like situations where everybody feels like they’ve got to go get it. Where everybody feels like they have to work. When guys get to year nine, year 10, you see that, like, ‘OK, I got this.’ And that works for some people. But me personally? I like rooms where everybody feels like, ‘I’ve got to go get it.’”
Malcolm Jenkins is setting lofty goals for himself. Philly Voice:
I expect to build more on last year. I’m starting to find a nice role here in Philadelphia. I feel comfortable here. I love the city — it’s why I moved here and live in Center City. I’m starting to come into my own and I feel that I’m at a stage in my career where I’m becoming the best player I can be. I’m setting my eyes on the goal of another Pro Bowl, and helping this team get to a Super Bowl. I’m greedy [laughs]. I won one [with New Orleans]. I want another, especially here.
Is Sam Bradford a hot target now that teams need QBs? Philly Voice:
The Cowboys are seemingly in the market for a player who can back up Prescott until Romo returns … or in other words, a temporary No. 2 who will soon become a No. 3. Thus, they are not going to be willing to take on any kind of big salary to do so. That would immediately eliminate Chase Daniel, for example, who just signed a three-year deal worth $21 million. The Vikings would make more sense as a suitor for one of the Eagles’ quarterbacks, more specifically Sam Bradford, seeing as many believe they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season. However, we’ve already been through this drill. Remember when the Eagles had the very same three quarterbacks (or rather Bradford and Daniel, with a Carson Wentz to be named later), and a Bradford-to-the-Broncos deal made sense? That never materialized because the Broncos reportedly felt the Eagles wanted to too much for Bradford, which makes sense, seeing as the Eagles appear determined to win this year.
Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz have a big decision to make on Marcus Smith. PhillyMag:
The defensive end has only played in two preseason games, one of which was against a weak Colts offensive line, but he still showed something. His performance in Pittsburgh, when he recorded four tackles, including two tackles-for-loss and one sack, earned him praise from Jim Schwartz, who doesn’t hand out compliments lightly. “Marcus was doing really well. He just had a setback with the concussion and missed time. But he sort of picked up right where he left off. The thing I’m most proud about with Marcus is that he’s done a good job in the run game,” Schwartz said. “He’s a very skilled athlete. He’s fast and he’s smooth. I think he was a quarterback when he first went to Louisville. I mean, that stuff shows. Where he’s really making good improvement is setting the edge of our defense [and] attacking tackles. He did that against a physical group from Pittsburgh. That was a great sign.” Smith attributes the success he’s had to his shift from a 3-4 outside linebacker under Billy Davis to a 4-3 defensive end under Schwartz. Virtually every Eagles defensive linemen — including Smith — said in the spring that Schwartz’s scheme would be perfect for them, and early returns suggest they’re right…The problem? Schwartz’s scheme is also a significant reason Steven Means, who is possibly Smith’s biggest obstacle to making the 53-man roster, has been even better throughout training camp and the preseason. Means has twice pressured quarterbacks into throwing interceptions, and he’s also recorded a strip-sack.
Most of the starters won’t play tonight but that doesn’t mean starting jobs can’t be decided. PhillyMag:
After the Eagles’ second preseason game, Isaac Seumalo had a huge advantage in his competition against Stefen Wisniewski to start at left guard when Allen Barbre moves over to right tackle. Seumalo was once again set to get all of the first-team reps both in practice and against Indianapolis, but then he got hurt, opening up the door for the veteran who has started 77 games in the NFL. Seumalo still has the clear edge, but Wisniewski was significantly better against the Colts than Seumalo was against the Steelers. If Wisniewski has another strong outing tonight, the Eagles may want to plug him in next week against the Browns instead of the rookie.