Quick Takes: Six Eagles who impressed in the preseason opener vs. New York
Although it was just for one series, the Eagles’ starters shined at the Linc vs. the New York Jets.
Newcomers made plays while QB1 dazzled in the 24-21 loss on Friday night. Here are six standouts from the preseason opener.
LB Kyzir White
It’s been quite some time since we’ve had adequate linebackers in Philadelphia. The core of TJ Edwards, Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean figure to change that, and it didn’t take long for White to make an impact defensively.
On the fifth play from scrimmage for the Jets, White read QB Zach Wilson completely and picked off a pass intended for Corey Davis, returning it for 27 yards. I’m almost certain Nate Gerry would’ve been facing the other direction. It’s nice to have LBs who can drop into coverage and make smart decisions.
“I was just a hole player, and I was playing visual on [Wilson],” White said. “I saw it in his demeanor where he was going to go with the ball. Just tried to spring and make a play on it.”
Linebackers making plays? I could cry. pic.twitter.com/059VBMlxyl— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 13, 2022
WR Zach Pascal
Almost a forgotten signing after the AJ Brown trade, Pascal impressed with two receptions for 41 yards, including a 32-yarder on a nice route over the middle. Pascal looked strong and crisp for a guy who was violently throwing up just a few weeks ago.
He’ll be a productive weapon in the Eagles’ offense.
“I feel great and I think we were hitting on all cylinders on offense here,” Pascal said. “Coach is big on the details and executing. Executing fuels confidence.”
Clean route from Zach Pascal. pic.twitter.com/5OkNeyW2c0— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 13, 2022
DE Brandon Graham
I was skeptical about how Graham would look at 34 years old coming off an Achilles injury, but he abolished most of my worries last night. The 12-year veteran showed good explosion off the edge, taking down RB Breece Hall for no gain during the Jets’ first series. He also created pressure on the Kyzir White interception, forcing Wilson to throw a bit sooner than he wanted to.
It’s great to have BG back on the field.
“It felt good being with the guys,” Graham said after the game. “Just being in the locker room before the game, it was just that feeling when you know you’re going to play the game.”
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C Cam Jurgens
Jurgens had a hell of a coming-out party on Friday night. It’s clear why the Eagles — and Jason Kelce in particular — loved the kid coming out of Nebraska. The rookie center routinely eliminated defensive tackles while paving the way for running backs.
The second-round pick played the entire first half at center and looked every bit like the heir apparent to Kelce, who sat out of Friday’s game due to recent elbow surgery. If the four-time All-Pro isn’t ready for Week 1, Jurgens proved he can hold it down in his absence.
“Cam’s come in and done a really good job,” Jalen Hurts said. “He has so much ability. So much ability. He can run, he’s very smart, and I know he’s early on in it being a rookie, but he’s shown so much.”
Cam Jurgens throwing #44 into the bench. pic.twitter.com/drJ3ntsjTQ— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 13, 2022
In his first live action this year, Hurts put together a perfect first drive, going 6/6 for 80 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles’ QB1 looked decisive, accurate, and thankfully popped right up after taking a late hit from Jets LB Quincy Williams.
Yes, it’s a small sample size in the preseason, but Hurts showed a good mix of quick throws and playmaking ability. On the Eagles’ first play, he scrambled away from pressure and completed a 28-yard pass to Quez Watkins, who had a nice toe-tap along the sideline.
Hurts capped off the drive with a 22-yard TD throw to Dallas Goedert, hopefully providing a glance of what’s to come in 2022.
“I thought he did a great job running the offense,” Sirianni said. “[He was] under complete control and getting us to the right checks.”
All six throws from Jalen Hurts vs. Jets 🏈 pic.twitter.com/tFUhcjffvn— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 13, 2022
Georgia Boys: LB Nakobe Dean & DT Jordan Davis
Nakobe Dean spent much of his Georgia career playing behind Jordan Davis. Luckily for him, he’ll have that same luxury in Philadelphia. The two flashed their dominance on Friday night, with Jordan Davis attracting attention up front and creating space for Dean, who ended his debut with four solo tackles.
Their continuity from Georgia will bode well for Dean and Davis in the NFL.
“It’s just like old days. You know, I’m accustomed to seeing Nakobe flying around making plays. So definitely he’s gonna excel. I just love what he’s learned,” said Davis.
Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean picking up right where they left off in Georgia. pic.twitter.com/TfcNpNEJ0Z— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 13, 2022
Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff | Getty Images