Eagles

10 players to watch in Eagles’ third preseason game of 2019

10 players to watch in Eagles’ third preseason game of 2019

The Eagles will play their third preseason game tonight, which used to be the all-important dress rehearsal game. Things have changed.

After two joint practices this week and as the NFL (and the Eagles) continue to place more value on practice over preseason games, things have changed. Sure, some starters will play on Thursday night, but don’t expect to see Carson Wentz. If he does play, it would just be a cameo appearance.

With that in mind, here are 10 players I want to see against the Ravens:

Josh McCown

In his very first practice with the Eagles, McCown was already checking a play at the line of scrimmage. I think the 40-year-old vet will be fine to play in this game. After the injuries we’ve seen this preseason, maybe McCown shouldn’t play a lot, but I’d like to see him in there a little bit.

Clayton Thorson

After breaking out in last week’s game, the rookie quarterback had what was easily his best week of practice. He just looked way more confident than we had seen him before. It’ll be interesting to see if he can continue that in a live game. If Thorson finishes the preseason strong, he’s probably going to force the Eagles to keep him on their 53-man roster so he doesn’t get claimed off waivers.

Rodney McLeod/Corey Clement

I’m lumping these two together because they’re both coming off injury and I don’t know if they’re going to play. Both thought there was a chance they’d play but weren’t positive. We probably haven’t talked about McLeod enough, but he’s an important piece of this defense. While the team added Andrew Sendejo and Johnathan Cyprien, McLeod is really the only guy ideally suited to play that deep safety role when Malcolm Jenkins is up in the box.

Sidney Jones

This has been an encouraging summer for the supremely talented Jones. With Ronald Darby’s return, either Jones or Douglas are going to be heading to the bench and that’s going to be a tough decision. Despite what Douglas has done, I still think Jones is the more talented player with the higher ceiling. I’d like to see if he can flash in this game.

Daeshon Hall

This preseason, Hall leads the NFL in sacks (3), TFLs (4), QB hits (6) and forced fumbles (2). Let’s see if he can keep it going through the last two games. If Hall doesn’t make this roster, then we’ll know how little preseason games count in evaluations. But if Hall doesn’t make this roster, he’ll be on another 53-man somewhere.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Brandon Brooks was cleared to participate in 1-on-1s this week and from what I saw looked good. But we’re nearing Week 1 and it’s not definite that he’ll be ready. If he’s not, then Big V will step in. Vaitai has looked solid this summer, but I’ll be closely watching him again against the Ravens.

Josh Perkins

With the injury to Richard Rodgers, Perkins is now in line to be the Eagles’ third-string TE to start the 2019 season. Perk has had a good summer and is far ahead of where he was this time last year. But I wonder if tight end is a position the Eagles would be interested in upgrading after final cuts.

Stefen Wisniewski

The guy who started at left guard in the Super Bowl might get cut. It’s been a tough summer for Wiz, who all of a sudden can’t seem to snap the ball. The Eagles have even replaced him at second-team center in recent practice days. With a good game on Thursday, Wiz could either help his cause to make the Eagles roster or perhaps raise his trade value.

Josh Sweat

While Hall and Shareef Miller have shined so far this preseason, it’s been a quiet two games for Sweat. And then he even missed a practice day this week with a knee injury, which is even more notable for Sweat. There was a lot of hype around the second-year DE coming into the summer and he started off practices strong, but let’s see it in game action.

Miles Sanders

While I have already seen enough to know Sanders should play a ton in his rookie season, I’d still like to see more. A few more runs and a few targets his way would show everyone what those of us at practice every day have seen. I think he’s the most talented running back on the roster.

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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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