A lot has happened since week 17 back in December, but you already know the details leading up to today. If not, please browse our Eagles section and read up on our stories/click on as many ads as you can so we can eat this week. Instead of our usual game recap, I will just list a few things to takeaway from today's action.
After watching Sanchez, Barkley and TEBOW throw today, it's clear that the Eagles don't have much of a chance in the playoffs, if they make it that far, if Bradford has to miss a lot of time. It is only the first preseason game, but each of the backup QBs had some pretty big flaws exposed.
First, there's The Sanchize. Last season, he was a serviceable backup QB when Foles missed some time. He has a good knowledge of the gameplan and how to execute the plays, but he was overthrowing his receivers quite a bit early on. Maybe he was just nervous and/or shaking off the cobwebs, but he needs to be more poised and accurate so his receivers don't have to make as many difficult catches.
There was one play on their first offensive drive of the game, where Jordan Matthews was wide open, 12 yards down on the left side of the field. Sanchez timed his throw well and waited until Matthews was open, but nearly overthrew him and Matthews was hit harder than he should of by the opposing safety after making the catch.
Later on, Sanchez threw what was basically a screen pass to Agholor, who had to jump as high as he could to reel the ball in. Agholor was able to scamper into the endzone on the play, but it almost didn't happen because of Sanchez's accuracy issues.
But that's how Sanchez has been throughout his career. He has a solid grasp on the plays he needs to make, and goes through his progressions well, but he needs to improve his accuracy so his receivers don't get killed out there.
The next QB in the game was another former USC quarterback, Matt Barkley. Barkley was a lot more accurate than Sanchez, but he made some questionable plays early on. He tried to force a few plays to his receivers instead of looking around for a better option. One of those forced throws resulted in an interception, when Bjoern Werner tipped an errant Barkley pass.
Barkley is a better and more accurate thrower than Sanchez, but doesn't read each situation as well. He just needs more playing time to get used to the different sets he'll see, which is why he needs to see a lot of playing time this preseason.
Finally, there's the man who needs no introduction, but I'll give him one anyway. TEBOW, who was last seen on the SEC Network, played for much of the second half. Timmy did rush for a touchdown, but showed the same dismal accuracy on his throws that we've seen from him in the past. He's a great wild card and defenses will have to spend more time on their gameplan in order to prepare for Tebow's wildcat style offense, but he's not much more than that on offense.
The man puts people in the seats, but won't get them jumping out of them with any throw he makes. With that being said, I really hope he makes the 53 man roster and plays this season. He's always fun to watch.
2. So many options on offense
In the last two years, the Eagles lost DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin. Most teams, when losing that kind of talent, go into rebuilding mode. However, Chip Kelly's Eagles aren't most teams. Chip did a solid job in replacing the aforementioned players with some intriguing and talented pieces, creating a good amount of depth at each skill position.
Demarco Murray didn't play today, but everyone already knows what he's capable of, so no need to spend time on him this article. Ryan Matthews got his first looks in an Eagles uniform today, going for 18 yards on two carries. He looked comfortable out there and should receive more reps as the preseason goes on.
Darren Sproles didn't receive any carries, but Chip mentioned that he wanted to use Sproles in more ways this season. Expect him to receive some different looks in the upcoming weeks.
One of the big names on offense today was Kenjon Barner, another former Oregon product whom the Eagles received in a trade with the Panthers last season. Barner rushed for 29 yards and a TD, but was big on special teams too. Right before the end of the half, Barner took a punt back 96 yards for a touchdown. Expect him to get a few more looks returning punts and kickoffs. Barner might not get a ton of looks running the ball with Murray, Matthews, and Sproles in front of him, but he can be a huge factor on special teams.
First round pick Nelson Agholor looked very energetic out there today, catching 3 passes for 57 yards and a TD. On his touchdown reception, he was thrown an inaccurate pass by Sanchez, but was able to haul it in, and then sprint past the Colts secondary to get into the endzone. Agholor was a safe bet coming out of college, and he looks like a special player already.
3. Secondary looks much improved
The secondary was a little overwhelmed, to say the least, last season. But Chip Kelly and the Eagles' front office sought out a few different players to bring in for 2015. The new and improved secondary looked solid today, especially great since they went up against Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselback for the first half, holding the Colts' offense to just three points in that period.
The Eagles' front seven does a great job of applying pressure in the pocket, which helps the secondary tremendously, but the pass defense was still solid on their own. On the first drive, Luck had the Colts' offense marching up the field on his first couple of passes, but then the defense settled down and stopped that drive and forced a punt.
All in all, the Eagles looked very good out there today. It seems that they had a bad taste in their mouths after the way last season ended, and worked hard in the offseason. If they keep up the good play and keep working on the things they need to improve on, there's no reason why they can't find their way back to the playoffs this season.
By: Dan Goggin
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