NFL football has finally returned to the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t disappoint with a 36-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts and it was a good showing for a team that many questioned whether or not it would all come together.
The positives outweighed the negatives during the team’s first preseason game. Nelson Agholor caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Punt returner Kenjon Barner had a 92-yard return for a touchdown, keeping up with the pace of the Eagles’ special teams high performance in 2014. Tim Tebow, in his first game back since his 2013 preseason with the Patriots, threw for 69 yards and had a rushing touchdown.
Luckily, the bad notes were few but worth noting. Cody Parkey looked a little shakey, Mark Sanchez couldn’t seem to find a comfortable spot in the pocket while missing multiple wide open receivers and Jaylen Watkins missed an important tackle that allowed the Colts to score a rushing touchdown. The first-team defense allowed two long third down conversions from Andrew Luck. But there were other accomplishments and areas to work on that Chip Kelly highlighted during his post game press conference.
One of the more notable absences from the Eagles preseason game was DeMarco Murray. The former Cowboys running back was an exciting addition to the team during the offseason and many had high hopes for him. However, training camp left many with only glimpses of Murray. He was out a few days during week one and was battling both an illness and dehydration.
Sunday also saw an absence of the runner and without a good explanation, it’ll be a little while longer to see his big debut. If Murray does indeed hit the field Tuesday, it might be in a limited capacity but hopefully, we’ll see the full scope of Murray’s skills soon.
There was a big showing by all of the newest Eagles during the game. Nelson Agholor registered his first touchdown in Eagles green after a 34-yard pass from Mark Sanchez. Eric Rowe made up for poor coverage by making Colts wideout Phillip Dorsett fumble and the Eagles recovered the ball. Rookies have been excelling in Kelly’s program and both Agholor and Rowe are trending upwards.
Rowe has played some nickel corner since JaCorey Shepherd tore his ACL and according to Chip Kelly, “it was all part of the plan”. Both players still have a little bit of time to adjust to the NFL but they seem headed in the right direction.
Nelson Agholor has been one of the most talked about rookies during Eagles training camp. His performance in today’s game is only proving how well Agholor has begun to adjust to Kelly’s offensive style of play. He really showed his speed during the first quarter with his impressive 34-yard touchdown from Mark Sanchez. Agholor also caught three passes for 57 yards.
He’s been hit or miss with the ball during practice and it showed during a missed 15-yard pass from Matt Barkley. He’ll continue to adapt to the NFL style of play while his confidence and hands will all come together. Kelly has high hopes for his star rookie and following his impressive performance today, there is an exciting future.
Rasheed Bailey is proving his worth during his time with the Eagles. As an undrafted free agent, he might not seem like he’d be of any particular importance. Even though he spent his college career playing at Division-III Delaware Valley College, now Delaware Valley University, his stats during his senior year proved more than impressive.
He wouldn’t see much field time considering the Eagles have a talent packed receiving core but he had a chance to make an impressive catch on an 18-yard lob from Tim Tebow. Kelly seems to like Bailey’s potential and he’s certainly a practice squad candidate worth keeping around.
Tim Tebow surprised many during the game today but had a very up and down performance overall. He had a few nice throws which Kelly was happy about but it was obvious that he had been out of the game for awhile. He started his stint 4 for 4 for 36 yards but then went 2 for 8 for 26 yards. He was sacked three times and his rustiness hasn’t helped his case for a starting job.
Kelly thinks that Tebow has the potential to develop into a good quarterback within his system but Tebow doesn’t have the decision making skills that are needed for even a third-string quarterback. His rushing touchdown was a high point and maybe with Kelly backing him he’ll have a shot at a final 53-man roster spot.
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