Written by: Joseph Mooney
With only 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld was driven into the ground, fracturing his left wrist. Despite being carted off the field wearing an air cast and being unable to finish out the first half, Sudfeld was showing great promise, completing 10 of his 18 throws for 177 yards and a touchdown. Sudfeld was surpassing expectations, smoothly moving through his progressions and not forcing anything over the top or into the middle of the field. On his only touchdown drive of the game, Sudfeld aired the ball out to young receiver Marken Michel, resulting in a two-play, 75-yard drive, something Philadelphia fans hope to see a lot of this year from their starter, Carson Wentz. Although Sudfeld had successful wrist surgery on August 8th, this leaves the question up for debate whether the Eagles should go out and sign a new second-string quarterback to the roster or go forward with how the remaining quarterback depth chart looks with Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson. Sudfeld finished the first night with a completion percentage of 55.6 and a QBR of 107.9 and is set to return to action Week 6 of the 2019 NFL season.
Welcome to the Team!
Andrew Sendejo played a key role for the Eagles’ defense in limited action, coming away with a huge pass deflection and a key tackle to kill the Titans momentum early in the first quarter of the Week One preseason game. Sendejo was added to strengthen a young secondary and add great experience with explosive hitting to a ball hungry secondary. Coming off a career year in 2017 and then suffering a groin injury during the 2018 season, Sendejo didn’t seem to skip a beat in Thursday’s matchup against the Titans. With the combination of Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Sendejo, the back end of this Eagles secondary is looking very promising.
Sendejo wasn’t the only newest addition to shine Thursday night, as Andre Dillard, the first overall pick for the Eagles in the 2019 draft, showed why he was selected 22nd in the draft. The 6’5” tackle out of Washington State University showed that he was advertised from draft scouting reports: great footwork, tremendous strength, and the ability to handle speedy defenders coming off the end. Dillard also displayed his high football IQ; during the screen pass in the second quarter of the game, he gave the defending rusher the inside, allowing him to take the outside leverage and creating a good amount of running room for Josh Adams. Although Eagles fans don’t want to move on from beloved tackle Jason Peters, the reality is that Peters isn’t getting any younger and has had a few injuries, forcing a few setbacks. Dillard will be the future of this Eagles offensive line, and he’ll have the job of protecting the blindside of their franchise quarterback for a long time to come.
Next up is JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The young receiver was already on everyone’s watch list, especially to see how he would fit with this high flying Philadelphia offense, and he showed great potential in his first preseason appearance. Hauling in two receptions on four targets in Thursday’s matchup against the Titans, Arcega-Whiteside did more than his stats showed. He started the game-breaking downfield, almost catching a deep ball thrown from Sudfeld in the first quarter that was broken up by the ground, which still electrified the home crowd. Arcega-Whiteside may be a young, big physical receiver out of Sanford, but he showed his excellent route running ability and ability to plant himself in the heart of the defense and sustain a hit. His growth over the next few weeks of training camp should be enjoyable to watch.
We still have a lot of football remaining but for these three remaining contests, Eagle hopefuls have a lot to enjoy during the remainder of this preseason. Hopefully, they reach their true full potential for a top contending Philadelphia team.
Not to Panic
Ever so obvious was the fact that not much was on display Thursday for the Eagles, as many of their top players were seen sidelined wearing street clothes and used as mentors to the young players fighting for a spot. There’s no need to panic in this regard as Jim Schwartz, the team’s defensive coordinator, had the defense amped up as they were very active all night in the Titans’ backfield. The defense was led by Daeshon Hall, who recorded six tackles (three for loss) along with capturing a sack and forcing a fumble, giving the crowd something to cheer for. Fan-favorite Jake Elliot nailed a kick from 53 yards, going 1-2 on the night, also knocking on his only extra-point attempt. Looking ahead to the Eagles’ Week Two preseason matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Eagles will be facing their former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles in a game where we most likely won’t see much of Foles or Wentz. Fans can expect an emotional matchup as this is the first meeting since the departure of Foles. Again, it’s only the preseason, and the first matchup allowed Eagles brass to learn what they need from many young promising players fighting to make the final 53-man roster.