The Eagles are evolving
25 August 2017 Opinion
The Philadelphia Eagles have what it takes to compete this season. Although the defense was the weaker link on Thursday against the Dolphins, this team showed great potential. We’ve seen the defense and offense dominate on several series and flounder on others this preseason. The most important thing will be whether the Eagles can continue to evolve and progress.
Offensive takeaways from the Eagles vs. Dolphins preseason game:
The team showed signs of improvement with the starting line intact against a very good Dolphins defensive front. The run game was improved, Wentz operated well under pressure and our receivers kept the chains moving in the first quarter.
We finally got to see Wendell Smallwood in action for the first time this year. It is easy to understand why the coaches like his play. He is fast and has great balance and vision. He very well could be the feature back on this offense if he can stay healthy.
Corey Clement deserves a roster spot. The undrafted free agent has certainly impressed more than the Eagles fourth round pick, Donnel Pumphrey. Although Pumphrey had several great plays in the preseason, Clement has been more consistent. Whether it means putting Pumphrey on IR or keeping 5 RBs, Clement should be on this team.
Carson Wentz needs to remember he can’t always make a play. Sometimes the best option is the throw the ball away or play it safe. He doesn’t need to be forcing throws when the pressure is on him or trying to tackle a defensive lineman. Eagles need him to protect himself, be smart with the ball and avoid hits whenever possible. Wentz finally has a supporting cast. He doesn’t have to do it all on his own.
Our defensive line rotation is excellent and we’ve got a lot of young developing talent to look forward to. They caused a lot of disruption against the Dolphins offensive line and created several turnovers throughout the game. Encouraging to say the least.
The team was without two of arguably their top 5 players on Thursday night. Although I was disappointed at points with how the defense performed in the first quarter, I had to remind myself of this important fact. Without Jordan Hicks and Brandon Graham, the Eagles defense gave up a ton of yards on the ground and in the air but also managed to create a lot of pressure and force a strip sack on Cutler.
This was the first time Eagles fans got to see more than a few snaps from Ronald Darby. To be blunt, it wasn’t very good. He started strong with a decent pass break up but put the Dolphins within yards of scoring on two series after allowing a DeVante Parker catch and run for huge gain and a pass interference penalty against Kenny Stills in the endzone. I’m not concerned at this point because he is clearly the best cornerback on this team and still needs time to grasp the playbook. He will settle in and become more confident by the time the season starts.