Eagles preseason

A clunker for Clayton Thorson, strong night for D-line in report card for Eagles' preseason finale

A clunker for Clayton Thorson, strong night for D-line in report card for Eagles' preseason finale

The good news is the Eagles’ defense held the Jets to six points in the fourth and final exhibition game of 2019 on Thursday night. The better news is the preseason has concluded.

The bad news is the Eagles’ offense scored zero points. Didn’t even get a field goal try.

The overwhelming majority of these guys won’t be on the Eagles’ roster come Saturday, so we can probably cut them a little bit of slack. That being said, we’ve got a report card to fill out, and at least in one phase, it wasn’t pretty.

Quarterback

Clayton Thorson: 12/26, 84 YDS, INT

Early on, it didn’t look like Thorson was getting much help, which is sort of the nature of these preseason finales. Yet, as the rookie’s confidence waned, so too did his performance. Thorson took some hits and threw to some blanketed receivers. He also missed a bunch of opens targets and made a poor decision with the pick. Looking like the practice squad is in his future.

Grade: D

Running backs

Wendell Smallwood: 7 ATT, 23 YDS

It probably doesn’t matter, but Smallwood’s fumble killed the Eagles’ only decent drive — though he did log the backfield’s only gain over three yards. Not much running room in general, but too much dancing from the Josh Adams and Boston Scotts of the world.

Grade: D

Wide receivers and tight ends

Marken Michel: 2 REC, 30 YDS

Were the receivers not open or was the quarterback not able to get them the ball? Little of column A, little of column B. The highlights were a 15-yard reverse by Greg Ward and a diving, one-handed catch by tight end Alex Ellis, which gained five yards on 3rd-and-forever.

Grade: C-

Offensive line

Not great, but certainly not the Eagles’ biggest problem. For what it’s worth, the unit only surrendered five quarterback hits and two sacks, even if Thorson did not have to move in the pocket on occasion. Then again, there’s a reason backs carries 15 times for 22 yards.

Grade: C-

Defensive line

Kevin Wilkins: 7 TKL, 4 TFL

Can’t say enough about Daeshon Hall’s preseason, and he led the way again with three quarterback hits, a sack and a forced fumble. Plenty of strong performances here, though — especially Wilkins, now no longer just the guy who carried the starting D-linemen’s pads after practices.

Grade: A

Linebackers

Alex Singleton: 12 TKL, QBH

Singleton and T.J. Edwards combined for 22 tackles and were generally solid or better, even if they made few splash plays between them. Chris Worley also showed nice awareness on an interception — granted, it was more of a poor throw/decision/busted play than anything.

Grade: B+

Defensive backs

Josh Hawkins: 6 TKL, INT

The Eagles’ secondary had a rough preseason, particularly its young cornerbacks, so it was nice to see Hawkins get a pick and make some nice tackles. Jets quarterbacks still completed 76.3 percent of their passes for 6.6 yards per attempt, which seems high for a preseason finale.

Grade: C+

Special teams

Alex Singleton: 2 TKL

Coverage was excellent all around, but Singleton stood out, perhaps making his case for a roster spot. Cameron Johnston’s job was never in question, but dropping five of six punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line is impressive nonetheless.

Grade: A-

Coaching

No Carson Wentz. No starters at all. Nothing to talk about.

Grade: N/A



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If Daeshon Hall doesn't make Eagles’ roster, what are we doing?

If Daeshon Hall doesn't make Eagles’ roster, what are we doing?

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Daeshon Hall is going to sleep easy tonight. He’s earned that and more. 

Because if the 24-year-old defensive end doesn’t make the Eagles’ roster based on his dominance this preseason, why are they even playing the games? 

Hall, who joined the Eagles during the season in 2018, was a standout throughout this preseason despite a nagging shoulder injury and a stinger he suffered on Thursday night. He led the Eagles in sacks (4), tackles for loss (4), QB hits (11) and forced fumbles (3) and he was among the league leaders in every category too. 

Heck, it seems like we shouldn’t be talking about whether or not Hall has the roster made, but about what his role should be this season. 

Maybe that’s why he isn’t worried. 

“I’m relaxed,” Halls said on Thursday night. “I feel like whatever is for me is for me. Whatever God has in store for me is going to happen. Whether that means me being here or me being on another team. I’ll be grateful for whatever opportunity comes.”

For a long time, it seemed like Hall might be the casualty of a numbers game. The Eagles have their top three defensive ends in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry. And they used fourth-round picks in back-to-back years on Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller. Hall was once a third-round pick, but the Eagles didn’t draft him. 

You can forget all that, though. Hall has done enough to earn a roster spot. And if he doesn’t get it, the devalued preseason means even less than we thought. 

Doug Pederson has admitted that when the Eagles evaluate players, they care more about practice than games, but it should be impossible to ignore what Hall has been able to do over these four preseason games. Sure, you can argue the competition Hall faced wasn’t great. He has been going against some players who will never play in the league, but so have Sweat and Miller. … And Hall simply outplayed both of them all summer. 

Hall was happy with his performance over the last month, but wouldn’t say whether or not he thought he did enough to make the roster. That’s a question for the coaches, he said. 

“I feel like I did a lot,” Hall said, “but there’s always plays you wish you could have back. Just like stuff with your technique and stuff you wish you could have back. I just tried to give my best effort.”

The Eagles have to have their 90-man roster whittled down to 53 players by Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline, but Hall won’t be sitting by his phone, stressing. He said he will be resting, catching up on some sleep. Maybe he’ll watch some TV or a movie or play some video games. 

He’s eagerly awaiting the release of NBA 2K20. The release date for that game is Sept. 6, two days before the Eagles open the season at home against Washington. 

I have a hunch he might be busy then. 



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Eagles at Jets 2019 preseason: Start time, TV schedule, live stream and storylines

Eagles at Jets 2019 preseason: Start time, TV schedule, live stream and storylines

This is the last game that doesn’t count. 

With the Eagles’ regular season just over a week away, Thursday night’s preseason game will be a chance for non-starters to make a last push for a roster spot or put out more positive film. 

As they always do, the Eagles will finish the preseason against the Jets. This one will be in North Jersey. 

6 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBCSP
7 p.m.: Eagles at Jets on NBC10 
10 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBCSP 

The television broadcasters will be Scott Graham (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst) and Dave Spadaro (sideline).

Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will have the call on 94 WIP.

The end of the road 

The preseason is too long and hopefully, eventually, the NFL fixes it. With how much emphasis teams are putting on practice, especially joint practices, we don’t really need four preseason games anymore. Yet, here we are. 

And while practice counts more toward the evaluation of a player these days, a good showing in a game (even the fourth preseason game) can help a player trying to make a roster. 

Hey Joe! 

The Eagles’ former vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas is now the Jets’ general manager, so we’ll see Douglas at the game. It’ll also give him a closer look at some players he helped bring to Philly who might be cut in the next day or two. Don’t be surprised to see at least one Eagles cut end up back in North Jersey. 

The best battle 

One of the most fun battles still going on is at defensive end. The Eagles’ top three are Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry, but after that, they have young players trying to prove themselves. The three-headed battle of Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall and Shareef Miller has been a fun one this preseason. 

Cuts start soon 

The reality here is that most of the guys you see in the game on Thursday night won’t be on the team after 4 p.m. on Saturday, when cuts are due. For some of them, this will be their final NFL game. The aim here isn’t to get sappy — this is life in the NFL — but to remind everyone that while the product isn’t great, this game means an awful lot to some of these players. 

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