Eagles-Bucs Instant Observations
Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 17-9 win over the Bucs in the preseason opener:
*Carson Wentz became the focal point the moment he took the field with 1:19 remaining in the first half. He flashed the athleticism, arm and ability that enticed the Eagles to move up to No. 2 overall to draft him, and also had a few rocky moments that highlighted the fact that he is still early in his development. He ended 12-of-24 for 89 yards with an interception
— Wentz’s first completion was a 15-yard bullet to Zach Ertz down the seam. He followed that with a short completion to Rueben Randle. His first drive stalled when he threw one high for Ertz while facing a blitz off the edge, and ended the half 2-for-5 for 22 yards.
— Early in the second half, he side-stepped an unblocked defender, scrambled right and found Paul Turner for a 10-yard completion on third down, one yard shy of the sticks.
— Wentz engineered an 11-play drive midway through the third that ended with an interception. He scrambled off the right side for a nine-yard pick-up (sliding just shy of the first-down marker) to the delight of the fans. Followed that with three straight completions to Chris Pantale, M.J. McFarland and Turner. On the Turner completion, he identified a blitzing cornerback and threw it right to where the defender vacated. Smart read.
The next play was an incompletion but impressive nonetheless, as he scooped up a wayward snap and evaded the rush before throwing it away to prevent a loss. Wentz coughed it up moments later, though, tossing one high over the middle as he absorbed a hit and was intercepted by Isaiah Johnson.
— Wentz threw way high on a third down attempt for Cayleb Jones on the next series that landed well out of bounds.
— He took a beating during his two quarters of action. Unwisely took on cornerback Javien Elliott at the end of a run and was upended. Got crushed mid-throw by linebacker Micah Awe. A bit surprising he was able to get up from that one.
— Up-and-down overall, with just enough dazzle to stir the imagination.
*Lane Johnson got the start at right tackle despite reports of a failed drug test that could trigger a 10-game suspension.
*The first-team offense was on the field for all of three plays, taking over on the Bucs’ 18 and quickly cashing in on a Ryan Mathews five-yard touchdown. Brandon Brooks injured his right bicep somewhere in there but the early word is that it’s not serious.
*Good work by Trey Burton making a pair of blocks to help spring Mathews on the TD run. Doug Pederson dialed up a three tight-end set. Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and Burton all lined up on the right side and paved the way. Look for multiple tight-end sets to be a big part of this offense.
*Chris Pantale might even get into the mix, though it will likely be in a fullback role when called upon. He lined up in the backfield a couple times in the first half.
*The second-team offensive line went (from right to left): Dennis Kelly, Stefen Wisniewski, Josh Andrews, Isaac Seumalo, Andrew Gardner. This unit had some issues though in fairness, it was working against Tampa’s first-team defense a good amount. Can’t know for sure, but looked like Wisniewski missed an assignment, allowing Lavonte David to crush Kenjon Barner in the backfield. Seumalo was beat inside late in the first quarter which led to a quarterback hit, and later gave up a sack at the expense of Chase Daniel, who got up shaking his head. He was sacked four times and hit plenty more.
*Daniel had his moment in the sun, though.
Chase Daniel… WHEELS! 🏃💨💨💨
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2016
*Nelson Agholor and Chris Givens got the start at receiver and Josh Huff manned the slot in Jordan Matthews‘ absence. Poor block by Agholor on (the much bigger) David, who blew up a receiver screen to Huff.
*Speaking of Huff: he was stripped following a short gain, though the ball bounced safely out of bounds.
*Eagles center Josh Andrews left with an ankle injury in the second half.
*Dave Fipp‘s crew started right where it left off. Najee Goode stripped Kenny Bell on the opening kickoff and Chris Maragos recovered.
*Leoidis McKelvin and Ron Brooks started at corner, with Nolan Carroll rotating in early. Goode got the nod for the injured Mychal Kendricks. Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin started at defensive end.
*Nice work by Graham and McKelvin setting the edge to close down a Doug Martin run for a short gain. Nigel Bradham showed some pop with a stuff on a Mike James run.
*McKelvin got beat on the 26-yard Russell Shepard TD. He tried to recover late and went for the ball but missed, allowing Shepard to run free. Ed Reynolds came in on a bad angle (perhaps influenced by McKelvin’s positioning) and couldn’t make the play.
*Jalen Mills and Eric Rowe were the second-team corners. Some struggles for Mills. He got away with a potential pass interference and was later flagged for one. He read Bell’s break perfectly two plays later, though, and forced an offensive PI.
*Jaylen Watkins had a couple nice pass break-ups against tight ends. He and Reynolds split time in Malcolm Jenkins‘ spot early.
*Steven Means showed off a nice spin move and forced Mike Glennon to throw off balance, leading to a Maragos interception. In the second half he shook loose off the edge and came up with a strip sack. Marcus Smith sat this one out with a concussion. Means, his main competition for that fourth d-end spot, turned up the heat.
*C.J. Smith — Wentz’s teammate at North Dakota State — stripped former Eagle Jonathan Krause after what looked to be a completion. The ball bounced in the air before Quentin Gause secured it for the interception. Smith added an interception to close out the game.