Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Colts
The third NFL preseason game is frequently viewed as a "dress rehearsal" for the starters. They play more in this game than any other preseason game. However, it is also a vital opportunity for many players to make a final impression before the first big cut day takes place. By this time next week the roster must be cut down to 53 players.
The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 3-0 this preseason behind a solid effort on offense and defense. The starters outscored the Indianapolis Colts first team 24-3. Ultimately the birds took home a 33-23 victory.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
Sam Bradford - Bradford had a very good night. His only blemish was a first quarter interception, but it was not his fault. He threw a perfect pass to Nelson Agholor that went off his hands and turned into an interception. Bradford was very accurate and hit Dorial Green-Beckham perfectly on a fade route for a touchdown. He put it where only DGB could catch it. Bradford completed 17 of 20 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Chase Daniel - Daniel took over for Bradford early in the third quarter. He continued with the same kind of accuracy Bradford showed in the first half. Daniel made some nice throws including a beautiful 28-yard touchdown strike to David Watford. Daniel finished by completing nine of 12 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.
Defensive Line - The Defensive Line once again created a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They were frequently getting into the backfield. Andrew Luck did not have a whole of time to go through his progressions in this game. Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham both came from the ends and helped to collapse the pocket. Fletcher Cox helped to shut down the middle and stuff the run. Beau Allen showed a great bull rush at one point to record a sack. This front four doing so well at getting into the backfield that the corners are not having to cover nearly as long as they did a year ago. It is making a big difference.
Josh Huff - Huff was criticized all week after a lackluster preseason to date. He answered his critics with a solid performance. Huff caught a pass over the middle and tacked on some serious yards after the catch on the Eagles' second possession. It was a 38 yard gain. Huff also showed off his speed when he was given a jet sweep and turned it into a touchdown run from nine yards out. He finished with two catches for 60 yards and a touchdown run.
Zach Ertz - Ertz had another productive day. Tight Ends should expect to have plenty of chances to make plays in this offense. Ertz worked outside and inside catching the ball to help move it downfield. He hauled in five passes for 25 yards. Perhaps more importantly, Ertz did a solid job blocking on a couple of plays that went his direction.
Trey Burton - Burton had a great camp, but was kept under wraps in the first two preseason games and given limited opportunities. He made his chances count against the Colts. He is a versatile tight end who lined up in traditional places for the tight end and he also lined up wide at times. Burton is going to have plenty of chances to make plays. He has great hands and rarely drops a pass. Burton caught five passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Mathews - I like what I see out of Mathews this preseason. We just have not seen him for very long. He is hitting the holes quickly and gained 10 yards per carry. His best run of the preseason came in this game when he made a cut and rumbled 16 yards for a first down in the first quarter. Mathews carried it three times for 31 yards.
Kenjon Barner - The more I see Barner the more I like him. He runs hard and makes nice cuts when he sees a lane open up. He is also doing a very solid job on special teams returning kicks and punts. Barner continues to have a strong showing. He carried it six times for 39 yards. He also returned two punts for 33 yards and one kickoff for 35 yards.
Doug Pederson - I thought Pederson called a very good game offensively. He mixed in a successful running attack with a solid passing game. That was 'A' grade worthy. However, I thought he should have mixed in a couple of pieces with the starters just to get a look at them before the first big cut day takes place on Tuesday. It appears he has moved on from guys like Paul Turner and Reuben Randle at the receiver position. Turner did not get in until the second string took the field. The same is basically true for Randle. I also would have liked to see him use some timeouts at the end of the first half to give his starting offense a shot at the two-minute drill.
Chris Givens - Givens is one of the receivers who is on the bubble with regards to making the team. He needed to have a good night and did a solid job with the opportunities he was given. Givens ran a nice route on third and long on the Eagles first possession to move the chains. That 19-yard reception was his only catch of the game. He also made a nice block on a running play.
Nolan Carroll - Carroll appears to have locked up a starting cornerback spot. His coverage has been solid throughout the preseason. He did miss a tackle in this game that led to a big gain and allowed the Colts to enter the red zone. Carroll made up for it later that drive when he ran a better fade route than the receiver and picked off the pass in the endzone.
Dorial Green-Beckham - DGB appeared in two plays last week and failed to register a catch. With a full week of practice under his belt following the trade from the Titans, he looked much better. DGB caught his first pass and showed a solid effort after the catch to pick up a few extra yards and move the chains. He followed that up later by running a great fade route and Bradford hit him for his first Eagles touchdown. DGB finished with two receptions for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Paul Turner - I have enjoyed watching Turner who has had a very good preseason. I would have liked to see him get some opportunities with the starting unit, but Doug Pederson did not make that happen. Turner had a shot to make some difficult catches. We saw some of what has hampered him as a receiver. He failed to get some separation downfield. Turner was targeted four times and caught two passes for 21 yards.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor had a rough game. He dropped a perfect pass that went off his hands and turned into an interception. It has not been a great preseason for Agholor who is under the microscope as a former first-round pick. Agholor also missed a block on an end around that led to a loss on the play. Agholor was targeted just one time and failed to register a reception.
I - Incomplete
Wendell Smallwood - The rookie running back was supposed to get a nice long look in his first preseason action following an injury. However, on his first carry of the game he took a hit to the head and left the game to have that injury attended to. He never returned. Smallwood has barely appeared and surely he would love to have a redo on the start of his NFL career. There is a lot it appears he can do at this lever, but it remains unknown whether he can in fact contribute. He will have one final preseason opportunity Thursday should the head injury clear up.