Eagles

Eagles vets pick young players they want to see in preseason

Eagles vets pick young players they want to see in preseason

After two-plus weeks of taking out their aggression on each other, the Eagles will get to hit some Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. 

Training camp is an absolute grind, so getting to play a game — albeit a preseason game — is a welcome change of pace. 

Doug Pederson wants to get his starters some work this preseason; he said about 65-70 snaps. But that leaves a ton of game action for younger players who are trying to make a name for themselves. We all have some players we want to see in game action — I’ll give you my list Thursday. 

But I also thought about asking several established veterans to give me a name of one of their younger teammates they want to see on Thursday night. 

Here are their answers:

Rodney McLeod 

“I would just say probably Sidney (Jones). Him battling back from an Achilles injury, being picked where he was picked at. Obviously, have high expectations for him, him just working his butt back to even play last year. But now that he’s healthy, he’s looking good, he’s growing each day. I’m excited for him to finally get out there and show everyone what he’s made of and what he can do.” 

Jones was the 43rd pick in the draft last year after tearing his Achilles at the Washington pro day. He would have easily been a first-rounder sans injury. Jones was able to get on the field for the 2017 regular-season finale, but played just 29 snaps against the Cowboys and didn’t play in the playoffs. With a full year under his belt and now completely healthy, there are huge expectations around Jones, who has been playing primarily nickel corner in training camp. 

Brandon Brooks 

(Matt) Pryor. Looking at Pryor, man, he reminds me a lot of myself when I was young. Big dude who has some athleticism, but really needs to experience play. That’s with everything, just more and more reps. I think he’s going to be really f------ good, to be honest. I’m excited to see him play.” 

This answer wasn’t surprising either. Pryor, the 6-7 sixth-round rookie from TCU, has been very impressive during training camp. He can play offensive tackle and guard, but has been mostly working at guard. 

Fletcher Cox 

Bruce Hector. He’s just one of those young guys that he does everything right, he listens. I’m not saying that all the young guys don’t listen, but he’s kind of blooming. I’ve seen him take baby steps right now. You can tell it’s showing up in practice and I’m really excited to see him play.” 

A little bit of a wild-card pick, Hector is an undrafted defensive tackle from South Florida, who has shown something during training camp. He has an uphill battle to make the roster, but has some skills. 

Nigel Bradham 

“You know what? I’m excited to see a lot of people, man. I’m really excited to see Sidney (Jones). I think he’s going to do well. Obviously, Nate (Gerry). Nate Sudfeld as well too. I’m ready to see all the young guys, man. It’s going to be fun.” 

We already talked about Jones, but let’s talk briefly about Gerry. He was a fifth-round pick a year ago from Nebraska. He switched from college safety to NFL linebacker and is now in the lead to win the Eagles’ weakside linebacker job. 

Corey Clement 

(Donnel) Pumphrey. Just because he didn’t get a chance to get much work in last year. I know he’s itching to get back out there. That’s a guy I’m looking forward to being able to showcase his abilities. I know he’s got it.” 

After a terrible preseason last year, the former fourth-round running back looks like a different guy this summer. He’s been much better in practice and now it’s time to see if that translates into games. 

Jordan Hicks

“They’ve all been balling right now. Obviously, Kamu (Grugier-Hill’s) athletic ability, Nate has emerged. I think who I’m excited to see is LaRoy (Reynolds). If I had to pick one, I’d probably say LaRoy because I haven’t seen him play before. And what he’s showed out there on the practice field has been awesome effort, ability to hit, come downhill, his aggressiveness. I’m excited to see him play.” 

Reynolds is an interesting answer because he’s actually a year older than Hicks. But it’s not a bad answer. Reynolds is a veteran in his sixth year who has flown under the radar this summer, but he’s definitely been aggressive and sometimes nasty in practice. He has a shot at the roster. 

Nick Foles 

(Note: Foles was asked which young players fans might notice Thursday.) "I think Dallas (Goedert) has had a great camp, just from the tight end position. I think he’s a really good player that’s coming along every single day. He’s going to keep working every single day, he’s obviously young, but he’s got a lot of great coaches and players around to help him. I think he will be a guy to do well. I think another guy would be Rashard Davis. From a guy that’s undrafted, coming in here in his second year, I think he’s a very talented player, can do a lot of different things when the ball is in his hands, is very dynamic. A lot of guys might not necessarily know much about him, but I think he’s a guy who can do some really special things."

Goedert is a great one. He has been really good in camp. And Davis is a little under the radar, but he's hard to cover, especially during 1-on-1 drills. The former UDFA is a fun player.  

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A-plus for running backs, disappointing defense and more in Eagles-Redskins report card

A-plus for running backs, disappointing defense and more in Eagles-Redskins report card

Another game-winning drive led by Carson Wentz and the defense does just enough to defeat Washington, 37-27, on Sunday — but there was one unit in particular that stood out and earned an A-plus on this week’s Eagles report card.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 30/43, 266 YDS, 3 TD

There’s plenty to nitpick about Wentz’s game, including a bad fumble in his own end, but he threw three second-half touchdowns. The second score was a 15-yard laser on the run, past the outstretched hands of two Washington defenders, and the third, a perfectly placed four-yard over-the-shoulder floater over tight coverage. Wentz also missed some throws that would’ve extended drives, but that’s back-to-back clutch performances for the Eagles’ franchise quarterback.

Grade: A-

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 19 ATT, 122 YDS, TD, 6 REC, 50 YDS, TD

The kid does it all. Sanders averaged 6.4 yards per carry, his vision and physicality on full display. And on his 15-yard touchdown catch, the rookie exhibited veteran instincts, finding a spot all alone in the corner of the end zone, and tremendous body control to stay in bounds. Boston Scott added 65 yards of total offense.

Grade: A+

Wide receivers and tight ends

Greg Ward: 7 REC, 61 YDS, TD

You can see why the Eagles waited until they were literally forced to put JJ Arcega-Whiteside on the field. He dropped one touchdown, killed another drive with a holding penalty and finished with zero catches. Good games by Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Ward, the latter of whom caught the game-winning touchdown, as all three finished with at least five receptions and 55 yards receiving.

Grade: B

Offensive line

Paved the way for a huge day on the ground, with 157 yards rushing on 5.6 yards per attempt. The pass protection was mostly reliable as well, minus a few hiccups, allowing only six quarterback hits and two sacks — one of which was entirely the result of the quarterback holding the ball too long.

Grade: B+

Defensive line

Brandon Graham: 5 TKL, 2 TFL

Not only did the Eagles fail to register a sack against Washington — they didn’t even hit the quarterback as far as the statkeepers were concerned. And a typically strong front against the run didn’t even do a particularly outstanding job there, allowing a 34-year-old running back to amass 66 yards with a 4.1 average. The front was a bit more disruptive than the numbers suggest, but not much

Grade: C-

Linebackers

Nathan Gerry: 4 TKL

It’s a good thing Nigel Bradham returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game, otherwise an Eagles linebacker may not have had his name called all game. That’s a bit of an exaggeration obviously, as the unit combined to make nine tackles, but the unit’s missed tackles were certainly a lot more memorable.

Grade: C-

Secondary

Avonte Maddox: 3 TKL, 2 PD

Washington’s rookie quarterback entered the game completing 55 percent of his passes for 6.1 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. So naturally, he was 19 of 28 with a 9.3 average, two scores and no picks against the Eagles. Maddox had a particularly rough day, with a missed tackle resulting in a 75-yard catch-and-run to the end zone and another touchdown in coverage — though he responded with a pair of pass breakups.

Grade: C-

Special teams

Jake Elliott: 1/1 FG, 4/4 XP

For the second week in a row, Cameron Johnston’s punts were once again critical plays, twice pinning Washington’s offense inside its own 15-yard line on three tries. Neither possession ended in points.

Grade: A-

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 7-7

Not sure how Jim Schwartz managed to make a rookie quarterback who had played poorly up to this point look like a stud, but he found a way. Doug Pederson almost got away from the run at one point mid-game, yet he went back to it and got some big plays. Bottom line, this team is fighting tooth and nail and doing just enough to win in the end. You just have to wonder if effort alone will be good enough to beat Dallas next week.

Grade: B

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Eagles at Redskins live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 15 game

Eagles at Redskins live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 15 game

4:08 p.m.: Greg Ward Jr. just came up clutch with a four-yard touchdown catch. Give credit to Carson Wentz for bouncing back with that drive. That fumble was brutal, but he had another clutch drive. 

The defense got a touchdown at the end to close out the game. 

Final: Eagles 37, Redskins 27 

3:54 p.m.: Dustin Hopkins just drilled a 43-yard field goal to give Washington the lead. They got the ball with great field position after a terrible fumble from Carson Wentz. 

Still 4:52 left: Redskins 27, Eagles 24 

3:41 p.m.: Tie game. Dustin Hopkins just hit a 53-yard field goal to tie it up. 

With 8:02 left: Eagles 24, Redskins 24 

3:34 p.m.: The Eagles answer right back. On a 3rd-and-11, Miles Sanders took a draw and went 56 yards for a first down. Sanders is up to 124 rushing and 170 scrimmage yards today. Good fight from the Eagles’ offense. Let’s see if the defense can finally get a stop. 

Still 9:59 left: Eagles 24, Redskins 21 

3:23 p.m.: The Eagles’ offense finally scored and then their defense gave it right back on a 75-yard touchdown drive. Gross. 

Adrian Peterson just punched in a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Redskins a lead. 

With 14:53 left in the game: Redskins 21, Eagles 17 

3:19 p.m.: We’re heading into the fourth quarter. The Eagles have a three-point lead but Washington is driving at the end of the third quarter. 

After 3: Eagles 17, Redskins 14 

3:11 p.m.: Holy cow! That was an insane throw from Carson Wentz on the 15-yard touchdown to Miles Sanders. Legitimately one of the best throws I’ve ever seen him make. Rolling right, through traffic to Sanders in the back of the end zone. 

Incredible. 

Eagles take a lead. 

Still time left in third: Eagles 17, Redskins 14

2:28 p.m.: That’s it for the first half and we’re in a tight game here in Landover. 

The Eagles are getting out-gained 216-194. They’ve given up two touchdowns and this is just the second time all season the Redskins have scored 14 points in the first half. The other time happened in the opener against the Eagles. Washington came into today averaging 14 1/2 points per game. They pretty much did that in the first half. 

Meanwhile on offense, the Eagles scored on their first two drives and then punted on their next two. 

At half: Redskins 14, Eagles 10 

Eagles get the ball back to start the second half. 

1:57 p.m.: The Redskins just took back their lead on a seven-play, 75-yard drive in 2:55. Dwayne Haskins is having a good game so far. He’s 7/8 for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Haskins hit Steven Sims in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal. 

There’s 6:58 left: Redskins 14, Eagles 10

1:45 p.m.: Miles Sanders just passed DeSean Jackson for the Eagles’ rookie record for scrimmage yards. He’s been great this season and he was good on that drive. 

The Eagles went 75 yards on 6:18 and Sanders punched in a 1-yard touchdown. On that drive, they were bailed out by a weak roughing the passer call that went in their favor. 

Still 9:53 left in the half: Eagles 10, Redskins 7

1:33 p.m.: That was a quick first quarter. The Redskins are up but the Eagles are driving. Zach Ertz was just took a cheap shot from Montae Nicholson, but he looks to be fine. 

After 1: Redskins 7, Eagles 3 

1:26 p.m.: Well, Terry McLaurin didn’t beat the Eagles deep down the field, but he still scored a 75-yard touchdown. He caught a ball in the middle and Avonte Maddox missed the tackle. 

That was quick. 

Later in the first: Redskins 7, Eagles 3 

1:23 p.m.: The Eagles just went on a 16-play, 88-yard drive that took 7:40 off the clock. They eventually had to settle for a 25-yard field goal. Zach Ertz had three catches for 48 yards on the drive. 

Late in the first quarter: Eagles 3, Redskins 0 

1:10 p.m.: The Eagles gave up a few first downs on the opening drive but eventually forced a punt. Dwayne Haskins was getting the ball out quick on that drive. Seemed like a concerted effort to do that. 

1 p.m.: Eagles win the toss, defer. Defense up first. 

11:30 a.m.: Here’s the full list of Eagles’ inactives against the Redskins: 

Lane Johnson (ankle) 
Nelson Agholor (knee)
Jordan Howard (shoulder) 
Derek Barnett (ankle) 
Nate Sudfeld 
Sua Opeta 
Shareef Miller 

For Washington, guard Brandon Scherff is out. That's a big deal and good news for Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan inside. Watch for those guys to eat today. 

11:14 a.m.: A few scenes from early warmups: 

10:13 a.m.: Some good injury news a little over an hour before inactives come out. 

9:56 a.m.: It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Landover. We got really lucky. It was raining all day yesterday and it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. We’ll take a 50-degree day with sun for the game. 

8:28 a.m.: Good morning! It’s game day and I have had my coffee, so we’re good to go. The only injury question heading into today for the Eagles is about Ronald Darby, who is questionable after suffering a hip flexor injury in practice on Friday. The Eagles already ruled out Lane Johnson (ankle), Nelson Agholor (knee), Jordan Howard (shoulder) and Derek Barnett (ankle). 

The Eagles play at 1 p.m. and if they win, it’ll be worth watching the Rams-Cowboys game at 4:25 p.m. If the Eagles win and the Cowboys lose, it’ll set up a situation where the Eagles can clinch the division against the Cowboys in Week 16 and basically give themselves a Week 17 bye. 

But first the Eagles have to take care of business against Washington. Here are five matchups to watch. 

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