This past Thursday, we got to see our Eagles in action for the first time since February 4th. Every year I get excited for the first game of the preseason, and then by halftime I’m ready for the regular season. That’s just how the preseason is; it’s a tease to get us amped for when the real football starts.
Regardless of how boring it may be, this is the only chance some of these players might get to prove themselves to the coaching staff. Only so much can be learned about a player during training camp. Coaches need to see real game action in order to properly evaluate their talent.
There were three major takeaways from the first game that I noticed.
One, Dallas Geodert is going to make some plays this year. There was no question about his playmaking ability coming into the season. He’s almost a spitting image of Zach Ertz on the field, and I can only imagine the exotic sets and formations that Douggie P is conjuring up for these two. Geodert finished the game with 4 receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown, not bad for his NFL debut. He should be a threat to catch a touchdown every time the Eagles get into the red zone.
My second takeaway from the first preseason game is that the Will linebacker position is still very much up for grabs. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Howie adds another linebacker before the end of the preseason. Nate Gerry got the start at Will on Thursday but he didn’t do much of anything to solidify his spot there. The battle has really boiled down to Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill, and of those two I thought Grugier-Hill had the superior game. That’s not to say he played lights out by any means, but he stood out more than Gerry did.
I don’t put much stock into this camp battle either way. The Will linebacker in Jim Schwartz’s defense plays only about a quarter of the snaps, if that. It’s essentially just a backup linebacker for either Hicks of Bradham. Kendricks filled in well enough last year in Hicks’ absence, but he’s in Cleveland now. This is a big year for Hicks and I hope he can prove that he can stay healthy, otherwise the Will Linebacker may play more than initially expected.
My third and final observation from Thursday’s game was the talent of undrafted rookie running back Josh Adams. Adams is a local kid who grew up in Bucks County and played his collegiate ball at Notre Dame. Because he’s a hometown kid, and the fact that I actually played against him in high school, I kept an eye on him throughout his career at Notre Dame and leading up to the draft. I thought for sure he’d be drafted anywhere from the 3rd round and down, and when he ended up going undrafted Howie snatched him up immediately.
With Darren Sproles, Matt Jones, and Donnel Pumphrey all out for the first game, Adams was given his opportunity to shine. At 6’2’’, 225 pounds, he possesses sneaky open field speed, and he’s a one cut runner who likes to find the hole and hit it. He has the speed to get around the edge and the power to move the pile if need be. All of these skills were on display Thursday night as he finished the night with 6 carries for 30 yards, while catching 2 balls out of the backfield for 11 yards. He looked confident in his debut and his play should only get better from here on out. As of right now, I would say he has the best chance at snagging the 4th runningback spot on the 53-man roster.