Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Steelers
Three preseason games are in the books and the Philadelphia Eagles are 1-2. Wins in the preseason do not amount to much as this time is reserved for evaluating the team and trying to figure out which 53 players will be on the roster in week one.
The 31-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers was more dominating by the Eagles than the score indicated.The Eagles had a 31-7 lead after three quarters. It is report card time once again, so without further ado let's get to this week's grades.
Nick Foles - Foles had by far his sharpest game of the preseason and led the offense on two long touchdown drives. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 179 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The interception wasn't Foles' fault because offensive lineman Todd Herremans knocked Darren Sproles down as Foles was releasing the ball on the screen pass. The only criticism I have with Foles performance is on the touch passes. Several of them were just a bit overthrown and fell incomplete.
Mark Sanchez - Sanchez continues to play at a very high level. He completed 7 of 9 passes for 85 yards. So far this preseason Sanchez has completed 25 of 31 passes for 281 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Clearly Sanchez is enjoying the change of scenery in Philadelphia.
Brent Celek - Celek is one of the toughest receivers in the game today. He once again had his helmet knocked off on a big hit after a reception. He continues to be a big threat over the middle and a reliable receiver for Foles. Celek hauled in two passes for 41 yards.
Brandon Graham - Graham has come on very strong this preseason. He provided a solid pass rush and appeared to apply a lot of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. He did a little bit of everything in the game registering a tackle for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
Vinny Curry - Curry, like Graham, continues to impress. He once again provided a decent pass rush and recorded a sack, a tackle for a loss and generally caused havoc in the Steelers backfield.
Michael Tucker - Tucker has put together a solid preseason. He carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns. All total, Tucker has scored four touchdowns this preseason. He is putting himself in great position to make the 53-man roster.
Henry Josey - Josey and Tucker are going to make it very difficult on Chip Kelly and his staff to decide how many running backs they keep and which ones make the roster. Josey looked good last week against New England and followed it up by carrying the ball three times for 36 yards. He had a long touchdown run called back due to a penalty.
Jeremy Maclin - Maclin gave Eagles fans a scare when he went down with an apparent knee injury, but he wound up walking off on his own power and returned in the game. Maclin finished with 6 catches for 43 yards
Riley Cooper - Cooper looked solid in his first preseason action. He and Foles appeared to pick up where they left off last year in terms of chemistry. Cooper caught 3 passes for 25 yards.
Nolan Carroll - Carroll saw his first game action as an Eagle after missing the first two preseason games due to injury. He made his mark in this game by picking off a Ben Roethlisberger pass when the Steelers were driving.
Allen Barbre - I thought Barbre did better than he did in the previous two games, but still was not consistent enough blocking.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews did nothing wrong to earn a 'C' grade, he just didn't get the chance to catch many passes. Foles chose instead to throw to Maclin and Cooper. There were several times Foles looked in Matthews direction, but Matthews wound up in double coverage.
Marcus Smith - Smith is having a hard time getting off the 'C' grade. He did make a tackle for a loss on a running play. His run defense has needed improvement and still does, but there was improvement last night. Smith has also failed to bring much of a pass rush so far.
Cody Parkey - Parkey kicked in this game a little over 24 hours after he was traded to the Eagles. He was marketed as having a big leg on kickoffs and perhaps the short turnaround had something to do with his recording just one touchback on the night. His kickoffs get a lot more hang time than Henery's but need to be just a bit deeper in the endzone.
Alex Henery - Henery made his extra points and a 36 yard field goal. However, he missed a 31 yard field goal attempt. Also, his kickoffs are just not cutting it. They do not get very much height and while he did kick one touchback, his kicks are too returnable.