The Eagles went on to win their fourth preseason game in a row (4-0) and ended it on a good note when they defeated the New York Jets, 28-10.
Being the final preseason game, no starters played on either team. It was however still an exciting game (Jets even got their first touchdown) and there are several things to think about for coaches as tomorrow (8/31) is cut day.
There were lots of obvious players who stood out and some who may have "packed their own bags" in the final game. Here are 10 things we know after the Eagles most recent win.
10. Eagles Have A Deep Linebacker Core
If there was one thing to take away from the 2011 season, it was that the Eagles need to drastically improve their linebacking core.
Thankfully, after a successful draft and the acquisition of Demeco Ryans, the Eagles look to have fixed the problem.
Not only that, but they seem to have depth behind the starters.
Right now, the starters are: Akeem Jordan, Demeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks.
Unknown players on the defense, however, are quickly becoming known. No. 45, Ryan Rau, had an incredible first half. He was all over the ball, and probably saved his job.
Brian Rolle played with anger after losing his job to Jordan in the past week. He also secured a spot high on the linebacker depth chart. Look for the Eagles LBs to take a huge leap this year.
9. Brett Brackett: No. 3 Tight End
Brackett has shown week in and week out this preseason that he is a viable option at tight end.
Tonight, however, he may have just locked up a job for the season. He had three catches for 21 yards including a great touchdown catch which he had tip-toed into the corner of the end zone.
It is clear it will take more than one man to bring him down on any given play and he showed great blocking skills as well.
Look for Brackett to get an increased amount of playing time behind Celek and Harbor this year.
8. Backup Safeties Still In Question
The safety position was the second weakest position in 2011, but it looks to improve in 2012 with another offseason under the belts of 2010 draftees Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman. Unfortunately, it looks pretty scary past that.
Jarrett hasn't panned out yet as the hard hitting safety he was supposed to be coming out of Temple a year ago. He doesn't seem to be much of a 'ball-hawk' and has been anything but a big-hitter. He has been better in coverage and run stopping recently, but not enough to justify his position on this team.
To add insult to injury, O.J. Atogwe, recently acquired safety, went down with yet another hamstring injury. Hopefully Nate and Kurt will be enough for 2012.
7. Eagles Are Set At Cornerback Depth
Simply put, Eagles backup cornerbacks are hungry. Not to say DRC and Nnamdi aren't, but tonight's performance proved the backups are ready.
Curtis Marsh came into the game playing with fire. He had a few broken up passes and those who caught the balls went down in a hurry. Brandon Hughes also looked strong and didn't give up any passes that i saw.
The best part, these are the backups for Asomugha and Rogers-Cromartie we're talking about, so it's comforting knowing they are there should something go wrong with the dynamic duo.
6. Eagles Coaches Will Have Tough Time Picking No. 3 RB
Going into Week 4, the running back depth chart was obvious, the top two that is.
LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis sit at the top, while Bryce Brown and Chris Polk compete for the third running back position.
Both players had outstanding games. Brown started the game, and looked electric. He looked incredibly fast and showed great vision finding holes all over the place. He also recorded his first touchdown.
When the second half started, Polk was in the game. For the fourth week in a row, Polk showed he is a force to be reckoned with.
Not once have i seen Chris Polk be brought down by an arm tackle; it takes more than that to bring this guy down. He ran through the Jets' defense, even taking some defenders with him. He finished the game with 13 rushing attempts for 62 yards and also recorded his first touchdown.
What does Reid do? Go with a quick power back or another, almost-as-quick, stronger power back? It may finally be time for Coach Andy Reid to keep four running backs on the roster.
5. Alex Henery Looks Nervous
Alex Henery has gone back to back weeks missing a field goal.
Thankfully neither were a game-winning scenario, but when you hold the rookie record for field goal percentage, your expected to perform in the preseason.
Henery missed his only attempt of the night from 38 yards. I'm sure the coach will have some nice words for him, as he supposed to take the place of Eagle legend David Akers.
Hopefully Henery, like a lot of Eagles players, is just under-performing due to not taking the preseason seriously.
4. The Eagles Have The Best Defensive Line In The League
This originally read, "Eagles Have Deepest Line In The League", but i thought about it and decided to be a little bolder.
When you lead the league in sacks in the preseason and it's all backups, you have something special.
Both Brandon Graham and Frank Trotter each recorded a sack in Thursday night's match up.
Cedric Thornton and Derek Landri have made themselves known as well in the preseason. Pair that with the sack-hunting Trent Cole and the incredible talents of Mr. Babin, and we're looking at a scary defensive line.
Look for the Eagles to top their 50 sacks in 2011 and lead the league.
3. Riley Cooper's Job Is In Trouble
Riley Cooper went down with a collarbone injury in training camp; the rest is history.
Since the unfortunate injury, the receiving core has been ferocious.
The Eagles selected Marvin Mcnutt from Iowa, and by all indications he looks to have a spot on the roster.
Damaris Johnson and Mardy Gilyard have established themselves on this team and have proven themselves as offensive threats.
Damaris Johnson is a DeSean Jackson-eske type of player, in that he is short and lightning fast.
Gilyard on the other hand is a fast, fight for the ball type of player. In Thursday's game he caught a 31-yard touchdown pass and he had to account for Edwards' underthrown pass. So he ran in front of the cornerbacks, fell on his knees, and the ball landed right in his lap: Touchdown.
Cooper, by no fault of his own, looks to be anything but secure as the No. 4 wide receiver.
2. Trent Edwards Is The Eagles No. 3 Quarterback
Like i said in my last article, if there is one player who is out of luck on the Eagles' roster, it is Mike Kafka.
Kafka suffered a broken hand in Week 1 and since than the quarterback roster has been anything but quiet. While technically it is not set in stone, Edwards looks to be the Eagles third quarterback.
For four weeks in a row, Trent Edwards has been a vital part to the Eagles' victories.
In Thursday night's game, Edwards finished 22 of 32 for 197 yards, and two touchdowns. Quite the performance for someone who didn't play in 2011.
There doesn't look like there is anyway Kafka makes this team, unless Reid is comfortable keeping four quarterbacks, which he has said time and time again he is not.
Look for Edwards to wear midnight green in the 2012 season.
1. As Long As there Are Replacement Refs, We're All Doomed
When I say "we", I mean us as fans.
This preseason has shown just how good the normal (professional) referees are at their jobs. We have seen play after play blown by the replacement officials, from missed calls, to calling the wrong numbers, they seem to do it all.
This includes Thursday when they made a muffed call on Cedric Thonton, when clearly it was Brandon Graham who ran five yards past the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped. We know for a fact that these refs will be working Week 1.
There are sure to be some huge mistakes that will inevitably help the original refs get the money they are seeking. Then they'll come back to the league and save the season from certain rent-a-ref induced turmoil.
Until then, buckle up 'cause it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
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