First and 10: Eagles Finish Preseason with Loss to Jets
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Nick Foles dressed and even warmed up a bit but when push came to shove it was Matt McGloin under center for the Philadelphia Eagles in Thursday's 16-10 preseason loss to the New York Jets at a sparsely attended MetLife Stadium.
The start-and-stop nature of Foles’ participation this summer has been the story over the past two weeks as the veteran attempts to return from persistent elbow soreness that dates back to his 2016 season while he was in Kansas City.
He was unable to play in any of the Eagles’ preseason games but coach Doug Pederson on has continuously said that Foles will be ready for Week 1 of the regular against Washington on Sept. 10.
Foles agreed with that assessment after the game.
“It feels great,” he said while discussing the elbow. “I’m great. I’ll be ready to go. I’ll continue to strengthen and everything but I’m good. I’m full go right now. I know everyone is worried. But it’s the preseason. Everyone has anxiety. But we’re good, we’re fine."
Pressed if injured reserve was a possibility, Foles was definitive: "No," he said. "I’m back and I’ll be ready to go Week 1. Today was just an opportunity to go out and throw pre-game."
Whether the Eagles can trust Foles to be the backup to Carson Wentz remains to be seen but McGloin didn't really do all that much to stand out in his attempt to convince Philadelphia to keep three quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster.
The veteran completed 14 of 21 passes for 90 yards before being replaced by Dane Evans in the third quarter, a dismal 4.3 yards-per-attempt and at least two of his throws could have been picked even though the Jets never cashed in.
A late fumble recovery by recently-signed linebacker Christian Tagoshave Philadelphia a chance for a another pseudo-Miracle of the Meadowlands but Evans was unable to convert on three opportunities from New York's 6-yard line with under 40 seconds to go.
AND 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
-If pedigree wasn't in the equation, it's tough to say Donnel Pumphrey should be on this team ahead of the undrafted Corey Clement. The Eagles did everything to get Pumphrey involved but he only managed 10 yards on seven rushing attempts with three more on his one target in the passing. He was better as a returner but had a seam on a kickoff and punt but didn't show the second gear of an elite returner. Pumphrey left early with a potential concussion but spoke after the game and said he was fine.
"Honestly, I couldn't even tell you," Pumphrey said of the upcoming roster decision. "[Byron Marshall] did a great job in the preseason. Corey Clement did a great job. I mean if it was for the running back battleit would be a little difficult to choose from, to be honest."
-The Eagles figure to keep five or six receivers on the final roster with Marcus Johnson and Bryce Treggs getting the majority of looks for the final spot(s). If it's five, Treggs was far more impressive early while Johnson didn't look like he was on the same page with McGloin, going 0-for-3 targets. Treggs, though, wasn't exactly great as the game wore on, snaring four receptions on nine targets and getting absolutely no separation when Evans was picked late in the third quarter.
-Rookie defensive tackle Elijah Qualls shows up in games and he's been incredibly quick off the ball. Add in his versatility and ability to play everything from the three-technique to the zero-technique on the interior and he's going to play his way on this roster. The rookie finished with one-half sack and an impressive tackle for loss when he sliced through the line to get Bilal Powell for a 3-yard loss.
-Backup slot cornerback Aaron Grymes was given some work at safety had a tough time tackling in the second quarter and this film isn't going to help the former CFL star in his quest to make the team.
-Former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry also took a step back in extended playing time, struggling to find the football in run support and trailing Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a second-quarter TD in pass coverage.
-Dillon Gordon had a tough night, including whiffing when trying to block Kony Ealy midway through the second quarter. leading to a McGloin fumble. The Eagles' depth at tackle is not nearly what it was at the beginning of training camp when Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin were still here.
-With the starters sitting, Jaylen Watkins got the start at left cornerback with Rasul Douglas on the other side and newly-acquired Dexter McDougle mixing in against his old team in the slot. Initially, the move back to CB didn't look like a good development for Watkins but he's shown up over the past two weeks. The bad news is he was forced to leave in the third quarter with a foot injury but did return briefly.
-Rick Lovato was rock solid with his long snaps during his first game free of Jon Dorenbos competition.
-As expected, a boatload of Eagles did not dress, including all the starters. Notable reserves like Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Trey Burton, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Chris Long, Derek Barnett and Patrick Robinson were also all put in bubble wrap for Week 1 and Washington.
-And finally, you're 53-man roster prediction ahead of Saturday's cutdown:
QUARTERBACKS: (2) - Carson Wentz; Nick Foles
-McGloin just didn't show enough to warrant keeping a third QB.
RUNNING BACKS: (5) - LeGarrette Blount; Darren Sproles; Wendell Smallwood; Corey Clement; Donnel Pumphrey
-Clement deserved to make this team ahead of Pumphrey and it's not all that close but ultimately Howie Roseman isn't giving up on a fourth-round pick so both stick, at least for the short-term.
WIDE RECEIVERS: (5) - Alshon Jeffery; Nelson Agholor; Torrey Smith; Mack Hollins; Marcus Johnson
-It was shaping up as a tough week for Johnson, the Houston-area native who has family and friends sealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and then he was laying an egg against the Jets, failing to get separation and seemingly losing ground to Treggs. Late, however, Johnson got the Jets' secondary with a double move off a zone-read look for a 41-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
TIGHT ENDs: (3) - Zach Ertz; Brent Celek; Trey Burton
-The Eagles like Billy Brown but he didn't so enough to justify keeping for tight ends.
OFFENSIVE LINE: (9)- Jason Peters; Issac Seumalo; Jason Kelce; Brandon Brooks; Lane Johnson; Stefen Wisniewski; Halapoulivaati Vaitai; Chance Warmack; Dillon Gordon
-Gordon remains a major project but the Eagles have no one to push him off the roster.
DEFENSIVE LINE: (10): Brandon Graham; Fletcher Cox; Tim Jernigan; Vinny Curry; Derrick Barnett; Chris Long; Beau Allen; Steven Means; Destiny Vaeao; Elijah Qualls
-This is the deepest area of the Eagles team with Means and Qualls solidifying their standing over the past few weeks.
LINEBACKERS: (6): Jordan Hicks; Nigel Bradham; Mychal Kendricks; Joe Walker; Najee Goode; Kamu Grugier-Hill
-The guess here is that the Eagles try to stash Gerry on IR as he continues the transition from college safety to NFL LB. That enables them to keep special-teams stalwarts Goode and Grugier-Hill.
CORNERBACKS: (6): Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills; Patrick Robinson; Dexter McDougle; Rasul Douglas; Jaylen Watkins
-Watkins versatility to play both corner and safety wins him the final spot over C.J. Smith
SAFETIES: (4): Malcolm Jenkins; Rodney McLeod; Corey Graham; Chris Maragos
-Jim Schwartz is smitten with Corey Graham as the third safety.
SPECIALISTS: (3): P Donnie Jones; PK Caleb Sturgis; LS Rick Lovato
-Cameron Johnston should be punting in this league but Jones has too much left in the tank.
INJURED RESERVE: LB Nathan Gerry; Alex McCalister
NFI: CB Sidney Jones
Practice Squad: QB Dane Evans; WR Shelton Gibson; WR Greg Ward; TE Billy Brown; OL Tyler Orlosky; OT Victor Salako; CB C.J. Smith; S Tre Sullivan; DT Josh Hamilton, RB Byron Marshall
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen