Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Jets (Preseason)
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles narrowly avoided a winless preseason with a late touchdown to beat the New York Jets 10-9. The Eagles turned it over four times before Joe Callahan ultimately led them on a game-winning drive that began on their own 32 with 3:28 remaining in regulation.
Nearly all of the household names on the Eagles sat and did not play in this final preseason game. Some players took the field trying to make this roster while others were hoping for a solid showing to put on film for other potential employers.
It was another mixed bag in the final preseason edition of Grayson's Grades:
Jordan Mailata - Mailata played rugby in Australia a year ago, but is a freak in terms of his size and strength. The Eagles brought him in understanding that he would be a project and a work in progress all season should he show enough in the preseason to make the team. He has made a great deal of progress and his footwork looked a lot better in this game. Mailata made some nice blocks playing left tackle and prevented a lot of rushers from getting anywhere close to his quarterback. The ceiling is high for Mailata and he showed enough promise in this game for me to warrant keeping him on the roster.
Joe Callahan - Callahan had a decent showing and a really good finish. Callahan led the Eagles on a game-winning drive that began on their own 32 with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter. He got the start in this preseason game and made some nice throws. He threaded a needle to DeAndre Carter on a slant and it resulted in a 19-yard gain. Callahan later stepped up in the pocket showing nice pocket presence and connected with Carter for another first down. Callahan sat out the second and third quarters before re-entering the game in the fourth quarter. He made the most out of the opportunity and found Matt Jones for the winning score. Callahan finished completing 18 of 26 passes for 164 yards throwing one touchdown and one interception.
Steven Means - Means is on the bubble but should make this team in my opinion. He had a good performance in this game. It included a sack-fumble in the third quarter. Means was also in on a lot of tackles and nearly picked off a pass but could not jump quite high enough to reach it. He finished tied for the team lead in tackles with six. That included three sacks, a tackle for a loss and three quarterback hits.
DeAndre Carter - Carter took the field in this game competing for a potential roster spot as the sixth wide receiver if the Eagles choose to keep six receivers. He took advantage of his opportunity. Carter took a slant 19 yards for a first down. He ran some solid routes and made some plays. Perhaps his only blemish was on a pass thrown just a touch behind him that still hit him in the hands and fell harmlessly to the ground. It looked like it could have gone a long way had he caught it. Carter pulled in two passes for 37 yards.
Cameron Johnston - Johnston is trying to fill the big shoes left behind by Donnie Jones who retired during the offseason. He had a decent evening. It included pinning the Jets in their end of the field on the seven-yard line. Johnston also booted a 62-yard punt. All total, he punted five times with his average at 55.2 yards per punt in this game. That included two touchbacks and one punt downed inside the 20.
Chandon Sullivan - Sullivan was playing to put some good plays on film for a future job and did a good job in this game. He especially did a nice job in coverage downfield to box out a receiver and pick off a pass in the second quarter. It ended a Jets drive and gave the Eagles the ball on their own four-yard line. Sullivan finished with three tackles, one pass successfully defended and a nice interception.
Matt Jones - Jones has had a poor preseason, but turned that around in this game. The question is whether it was too little too late for him to make the roster. Jones was a key factor on the game-winning drive as he ultimately caught a pass and reached the ball across the goal line prior to his knee going down for the score. Jones carried the ball nine times for 54 yards. He also caught four passes for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Donnell Pumphrey - After missing the entire preseason due to injury, Pumphrey had his chance to play and did pretty well. He did not get a ton of opportunities but seemed to make the most of them. Pumphrey showed a glimpse of his speed when he caught a few passes and turned them into some solid gains. He caught three passes for 39 yards. Pumphrey also carried the ball once for three yards.
Josh Adams - Adams is in a competition for the fourth running back spot on this roster with Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey and Matt Jones. Adams had a chance to show his stuff in this game but failed to impress. He showed some patience running but was unable to break off any great runs. Adams did not do enough in my mind to make this roster. He finished with 13 carries for 27 yards. His 2.1 yards per carry average will not help his cause.
Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg had a horrible night. It got off to a bad start and did not get too much better from there. He threw an interception on a clear miscommunication with his receiver. Two possessions later he sailed a pass over the head of his receiver and into the arms of the Jets for another interception. Hackenberg was trying to lead the Eagles down the field in the final minute of the first half but made a bad decision after breaking the pocket to run it up the middle of the field instead of towards the sideline with no timeouts remaining and that is how the first half ended. In the second half, he broke the pocket and tried to run for a first down taking on a defender and then fumbling the ball. Hackenberg completed 7 of 16 passes for 69 yards and two interceptions with one fumble. He also added 66 yards on five carries.