Eagles Index: Stock Up, Stock Down after Preseason Game 2
It was a preseason night to forget in South Philly. The Eagles rested or played their starters for one series while fans complained for no reason. If you enjoy 1950s style football of run-after-run followed by a quick button hook, then last night’s game was your nirvana. For everyone else, it was an unenjoyable experience.
The Eagles rested or played their starters for a series, and the Patriots’ starters/backups trounced them 35-0. Luckily, it gave the Eagles’ new coaching staff a great chance to view their younger players against starting-caliber opponents. The second dress rehearsal ended as a disaster for the Eagles, but there are key takeaways in this week’s Eagles Index.
Stock Up: LB TJ Edwards & LB Alex Singleton
Stock Down: LB Davion Taylor (Author’s Note: a bit unfair due to injury)
Last night, these two were all over the field and were the lone bright spots on the second-team defense. Edwards and Singleton combined for ten solo tackles with one missed each and six STOPs or tackles that constitute a “failure” for the offense. Plus, TJ Edwards had a couple of pass breakups in coverage which is a huge improvement to his game. Singleton still needs work in pass coverage as the Patriots targeted him four times resulting in four catches for 50 yards.
Still, this is a massive development for a position of need. Moving forward, the combination of Eric Wilson, TJ Edwards, Alex Singleton, and Genard Avery seems like a solid core. With Shaun Bradley’s rising play this preseason, the odd man out right now is Davion Taylor. He looked like a break-out candidate to start camp, receiving first-team reps before suffering a calf injury that has kept him “week-to-week” since early August. It will be a very tough decision to see what the Eagles’ front office will do with their linebacking core.
Stock Down: CB Michael Jacquet III
I have had enough. Jacquet didn’t have the worst game by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve seen enough to know this guy will be a liability. Throughout this preseason, he has a 33% missed tackle rate against mostly rookies and backups. Last night, he allowed four catches on four targets for 68 yards, and had his ankle fragments scattered across the Linc by JJ Taylor. Good luck on your next stop, Michael.
Stock Up: RB Kenneth Gainwell
In an abysmal offensive performance, the rookie fifth-round pick accounted for 26% of the Eagles’ total carries (5) and 25.6% of the Eagles’ total rushing yards (21). Not the most impressive numbers, but with only 15 total offensive snaps, Gainwell made the most of his touches.
Last night, PFF ranked him as the Eagles’ top-graded offensive player (74.7) and the team’s highest receiving grade (77.5). The Memphis product possesses an explosive one-cut running style that gets him vertically upfield in a flash. I officially am pushing all my chips to the center of the table and betting on Gainwell having a productive rookie season.
Stock Down: OL Matt Pryor
Another guy that I’ve seen enough. Nate Herbig and Iosua Opeta essentially took the interior linemen jobs from Pryor. He took all 69 preseason snaps at right or left tackle while last year’s fourth-round pick, Jack Driscoll, moved to right guard. I don’t know if this is a preseason experiment to get Pryor back on track in a different role, but Driscoll held his own as a rookie while replacing all-timer Lane Johnson at the same position.
This preseason, Pryor has received one run/pass blocking grade by PFF over 70. For reference, “backups” or “replaceable” players typically range in the 60s and 50s. Last night might have been the final nail in the coffin as Pryor gave up one sack, one QB hit, one QB hurry, and three QB pressures with one awful penalty in 30 pass-block snaps. Those stats gave him a 49.2 pass-block grade, otherwise known as replaceable.
Stock Up: Jack Stoll
With Tyree Jackson out 8-10 weeks with a back injury and Jason Croom’s horrific knee injury, the Eagles played Richard Rodgers and undrafted rookie Jack Stoll as their only tight ends. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end looked NFL ready in run-blocking schemes and ended as the Eagles’ number one targeted player.
On his seven targets, Stoll hauled in four catches for 33 yards. If you combine Gainwell and Stoll’s receiving production last night, they accounted for 46.7% of all receptions and 51% of the team’s receiving yards. Rodgers will most likely make the roster, as will an injured Tyree Jackson, but Jack Stoll is the perfect candidate for a practice squad player ready to step up at any moment.
Stock Down: JJ Arcega-Whiteside
Does our 6-2, 225-pound, 57th overall selection in the 2019 draft still not know how to get consistent separation? Arcega-Whiteside finished with the 2nd worst overall offensive grade (via PFF), only beating Jason Croom, who left after five snaps with that horrific injury.
The Eagles’ receiving core gets extremely thin after DeVonta, Reagor, Quez, and Fulgham. Someone out of John Hightower, Andre Patton, or rookie Jhamon Ausbon has to be that 6th receiver, particularly with special teams’ upside. JJAW gets limited reps on kick/punt returns and coverages but has registered one tackle and missed another one on special teams duty this preseason.
As a receiver, that ship has sailed. In 30 snaps against the Steelers and Patriots, Arcega-Whiteside has two targets, one bobbled drop that almost resulted in an interception, and zero catches. It’s the third year of him not developing even slightly, so it is (finally) time to move on.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports