So far, in the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have been nothing but a highlight reel.
Fans are eager for the season to begin, and I don’t blame them. The Eagles blew out the Baltimore Ravens 40 – 17 on Saturday and looked unstoppable. Though it is only the preseason, the dominating performances the team put forth in back to back weeks have been mightily impressive, and leaves the Eagles looking like a true contender in the lead-up to the regular season.
Sam Bradford started his Eagles debut with loud cheers and a standing ovation. He went 3-5 in passing attempts for 35 yards and led the Eagles on an 84-yard drive in his only series. This finished with a Ryan Mathews rushing touchdown. One series may not have been enough for Bradford, for he has been itching to play for quite some time, but the coaches saw enough from him as he looked sharp and well-poised. His welcome back also included a late, low-hit cheap shot from Ravens Linebacker Terrell Suggs, which was flagged as roughing-the-passer.
The NFL confirmed that the play was legal but the cheap shot wasn’t taken lightly by fans and teammates around.
“It was a cheap shot at the quarterback… I’m pretty sure he planned it. We practiced against them all week, and I’m pretty sure he was thinking about it.”
The most encouraging sign after the cheap shot by Suggs, was that Bradford was able to get up practically unscathed and continue his drive. This is the first of many hits coming Bradford’s way so he will have to get used to it as he continues his season.
Along with Bradford, DeMarco Murray, last year’s NFL-leading rusher, also made his debut. He was acquired in free agency and last played for the Dallas Cowboys. In his minimal amount of reps, Murray looked confident, finishing with five carries for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Special teams has been a special sight so far in preseason and that continued against the Ravens.
The name who has seen his stock skyrocket is punt returner, Kenjon Barner. Barner had another incredible punt return for a touchdown: a feat he completed in back-to-back weeks, and is making a grand case for himself to earn a spot on the Eagles final roster. Unfortunately, it’s still uncertain because of the position he plays. Darren Sproles is the current punt-returner and stealing that job away from him doesn’t seem likely. The Eagles are also loaded in the running back position so unless the team chooses to keep four, making the team at that position seems unlikely as well. But Barner’s ability is too much to overlook so when the roster cut deadline passes, I am fully confident Barner will be on someone’s final 53 man roster if the Eagles don’t select him themselves.
No preseason game of the Eagles would be complete without the talk of quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow went 1 – 3 in passing attempts for eight yards. Again, Tebow looked shaky under pressure and staying in the pocket has not been his forte, but he continues to excel when he is running the play option. He had a nice scramble for 26 yards off of the play option.
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 23, 2015
The next opponent the Eagles will face is the Green Bay Packers. This showdown is set for Saturday at Lambeau Field. Hopefully the confidence from the last two preseason games will continue, and the team will put forth another dominating performance.
As always, Fly Eagles, Fly!