Eagles Insider

10 things we saw in Eagles' loss that concern us

Eagles Insider

It's easy to dismiss it as just another ugly preseason where the starters didn't play.

So no worries.

But that's not quite the case.

While it's true most of the Eagles' starters either didn't play Thursday night against the Patriots or played very little - 17 of 22 projected starters either didn't dress or played fewer than 10 snaps - there are some legitimate areas of concern that came out of the Eagles' 35-0 loss to the Patriots.

Here's a look at 10 of them:

Zech McPhearson: The rookie 4th-round pick got off to a great start to camp but has come back to Earth and didn't play well Thursday night. He got a ton of snaps – his 51 snaps was second most on the defense – and did have nine tackles, but he’s struggling in coverage, and that’s a concern because right now the Texas Tech alum is the Eagles’ top outside backup. The reason he had so many tackles is because the Patriots kept throwing at him. Most rookies hit the rookie wall. The Eagles need McPhearson to bounce back.

Joe Flacco: Sometimes veteran quarterbacks have the ability to flip the switch once the game matters, and maybe when you’re in your 14th season and you’ve been a Super Bowl MVP it’s hard to get fired up for a preseason game in mid-August. Maybe. All I know is Flacco’s performance did not inspire much confidence. He wasn’t accurate, his pocket presence was shaky and he just didn’t make plays. He’s gotta be better.

 

Nate Herbig: Until Landon Dickerson is ready – and that might not be till next year – Herbig is the Eagles’ top backup interior lineman. In fairness, he’s still new to center, and that’s where he struggled Thursday night. We know he’s a solid guard. But with Luke Juriga on Injured Reserve, Herbig is the next man up at center as well as guard, and it wasn’t a good day for him.

Travis Fulgham/John Hightower/J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: There seems to be a growing gap between the Eagles’ top three WRs – DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins – and guys like Fulgham, Hightower and JJAW. Fulgham, Hightower and Arcega-Whiteside played a combined 35 snaps against the Patriots and were targeted twice – JJAW once, Fulgham once – with no receptions. They’re all fighting not just for playing time but for roster spots, and none of them did anything to help themselves Thursday night.

Second defensive line: A rough day for the backup defensive linemen. With Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox all inactive (and Ryan Kerrigan hurt), the Eagles started Tarron Jackson, Hasson Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill and Milton Williams up front, and Raequon Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu, JaQuan Bailey and Matt Leo all played a ton of reps. Milton Williams drew a couple holds and had a nice pressure, but other than that the whole group struggled. The Patriots netted close to 500 yards and ran for over 200, and the Eagles’ d-line didn’t put up much of a fight.

Nick Mullens: After compiling a 0.0 passer rating against the Steelers, Mullins improved to 16.7 against the Patriots. Through two games, he’s completed six passes to Eagles and three to the other team. He’s 6-for-15 for 31 yards and an 8.3 passer rating. His average pass has gone six feet. He can’t be on this football team.

Richard Rodgers: With Tyree Jackson out for eight to 10 weeks with a back injury and now Jason Croom out indefinitely with a suspected serious knee injury, the Eagles are light at tight end. Undrafted rookie Jack Stoll had a nice day Thursday night – 4-for-33 – and Rodgers had two short catches but also a bad drop. Despite the injuries, I don’t think Rodgers has a roster spot locked up. I like what Rodgers did last year, but he hasn’t had a particularly good camp and bad drops on game day don’t help.

Jalen Reagor: Reagor went into the game Thursday night coming off a very good week of practice, but he wasn’t able to transfer it onto the field. It didn’t help that Flacco played the first half and Reagor didn’t get to work with Jalen Hurts, but Reagor didn’t really have a lot of success creating separation and getting open. He played 22 snaps, was targeted three times and caught 1-for-5. One of the other targets was an interception Reagor really couldn’t have done much about.

 

Nick Sirianni: Even with the starters either not playing or playing very few snaps, 35-0 is not something you want to see on the scoreboard and doesn’t reflect well on the coach. Yes, it’s preseason. Yes, it doesn’t count. Yes, it doesn’t mean anything in the big picture. But for a coach who is constantly preaching competitiveness, getting outscored 35-0 (and 52-0 in the last six quarters) isn’t ideal.

Hassan Ridgeway: I mentioned Ridgeway up above, but from that whole second defensive line he’s the biggest concern just because with Milton Williams seemingly focusing on defensive end instead of tackle, Ridgeway becomes the No. 1 backup interior lineman. He hasn't looked good throughout camp and really got pushed around Thursday night. All he had to show for 27 snaps was one tackle.

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