Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Colts
The Philadelphia Eagles opened the preseason with a solid 36-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The starters did not play very long before the backups went into the game and dominated the playing time the rest of the way.
The Eagles dusted off their game jerseys so I brought out the grade book for another year. Here now, your first taste of Grayson's Grades this season.
Kenjon Barner - A 92 yard punt return for a touchdown will go a long way towards solidifying a good grade. Chip Kelly touted Barner as a running back and special teams player last season when he was brought to Philly. Barner withstood some contact, found open space and followed blockers the rest of the way into the endzone. He also did a decent job carrying the ball 6 times for 29 yards and another touchdown.
Ed Reynolds - Yes, I understand it was against the Colts third string quarterback, but Ed Reynolds made two very good interceptions late in the game. One was a great catch and the other was due to a great read and break on the ball by Reynolds.
Chip Kelly - I realize there will be some scrutiny with this grade, but I am giving Chip Kelly a 'B' for his decision to sit Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray in this preseason opener. He realizes the Baltimore Ravens will be in Philly to practice with the Eagles for a few days prior to next week's preseason game. Those will be controlled environments allowing Bradford to see a legitimate pass rush without worrying about taking any hits. As for Murray, the Eagles know what he can do given the large sample size of carries he had last year. Neither player does the team any good suffering an injury in week one of the preseason. Both will hopefully play next week. That being said, I would have liked to see Bradford get one series dominated mostly by running plays and maybe one pass play. The goal would be to get him used to pre-game warmups here and the opportunity to get the first game out of the way.
Matt Barkley - Barkley is fighting with Tim Tebow for a spot on this roster as the third string Quarterback. He put together a solid performance, but missed bigger plays. Barkley showed better accuracy than he did last season, but his arm strength still appears to be lacking. He underthrew some open receivers that could have been touchdowns had they been hit in stride. One of those underthrows was to rookie Nelson Agholor who had his man beat but had to slow up to wait for the ball and eventually drew pass interference. Barkley completed 12 of 20 passes for 192 yards and one interception off a tipped pass.
Nelson Agholor - All in all, not a bad day for the rookie in his NFL debut. Agholor found the endzone on a high pass that he hauled in and sprinted down the sideline for a 34 yard touchdown. Agholor showed the ability to create space against a defender and would have had even better stats if Matt Barkley did not underthrow him when he beat his man in the second quarter. Slowing up for the ball resulted in pass interference. Agholor did show a couple rookie moments including one where Barkley's pass went right through his hands. Agholor finished the day catching 3 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews continued where he left off last season. His precise route running creates separation and opportunities to make plays. Matthews was not in the game for too long but did haul in a pair of receptions for 44 yards. He did well with the opportunities that went his way.
Miles Austin - Austin was brought in as a veteran receiver and will see playing time here. He beat a man on a corner route and hauled it in for a 39 yard reception. It was underthrown by Matt Barkley. If he had been able to catch the pass in stride, he would have scored a touchdown.
Eric Rowe - Rookie defensive back Eric Rowe looked good for the most part. He made some plays in his first NFL action. Rowe's biggest play was a forced fumble early in the game. The receiver he was covering made an inside move and caught the pass, but Rowe closed on him and punched it loose. It was recovered by the Eagles. Rowe finished the game with three tackles and also helped stand one of the Colts up that led to another forced fumble and turnover by the Eagles defense.
Ryan Matthews - Matthews did not get opportunities to really earn much of a grade, but I am including camp in this mark. He has been solid in camp showing nice agility for his size. He only got two carries and rushed for 18 yards. Matthews showed what he can do on a 13 yard carry where he took on contact and continued to drive forward.
Raheem Mostert - The rookie running back out of Purdue had a solid NFL debut. He carried the ball 11 times for 33 yards and also caught one pass for 40 yards. There is a good competition going on for the fourth running back spot between Mostert and Kenjon Barner. Both have done pretty well in camp.
Marcus Smith - Smith may have just received his highest grade by me. I would have to go back and double check that from last year. Smith just looked a lot more comfortable to me on the field. Last year it looked like he was guessing a little as to where he was supposed to be lining up pre-snap. In this game at least, he looked confident in his assignment and covered passes well. He got some pressure on the quarterback and made __ tackles. Smith does need to improve his ability to withstand a block and make a tackle. Once blocked, he struggled to get back into a play.well defensed pass downfield, blosed off his side in run support, brought nice pressure all in same series in 1st Qtr.
Tim Tebow - Tebow looked a little rusty to me in terms of game situations. His "mental clock" looked slow regarding understanding the timing of the pass rush. He did make some strong throws, but he also held onto it too long and got hit as he threw a few times. Tebow did show why he could make this team as a 2-point conversion specialist with a 7-yard touchdown run. Those of you scoring at home it appeared to me that Matt Barkley won round one of the fight for the third quarterback position.
Cody Parkey - I like Parkey, but he cannot miss a 33 yard extra point and a 34 yard field goal. Those are two reasons I believe Chip Kelly will frequently go for two following touchdowns in the regular season. On the plus side, Parkey did make a pair of field goals from 40 yards out as well as a 48 yarder. He also booted numerous touchbacks in the game.
Mark Sanchez - Sanchez looked pedestrian once again. He did not throw accurate passes. He missed wide open receivers and was bailed out on his touchdown pass due to a nice catch by Nelson Agholor. Sanchez only played part of the first quarter and completed just 2 of 7 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.