Eagles

Vanilla: Eagles vs. Patriots Week 2 Preseason Recap

AP

Preseason NFL football is like Doug Pederson’s favorite Haagen Dazs ice cream.

Vanilla.

And it’s vanilla straight in the dish, no jimmies, peanuts, chocolate fudge, whipped cream cherries or waffle cone. That’ll have to wait for September.

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles offense looked far from the oiled machine they were in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots in the rematch between the teams as the Pats beat the Birds 37-20 in Week 2 preseason action on Thursday night.

Foles was just 3-of-9 for 44 yards as he struggled with poor offensive line play, which allowed five first half sacks. The Eagles were outgained 216-51 at one point and trailed 27-7 heading into the break with Tom Brady playing all of the first half. Foles eventually left with a right shoulder sprain.

The Eagles were also without the services of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins and Foles wasn’t getting much help from his supporting cast. In the regular season if Pederson would’ve had his receivers missing the game we’d be seeing a lot more jimmies and the twin tight end packages featuring Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

The offense was flat, there’s no need to overreact. At least Foles finally got his hand shake from Brady.

The big positive to take away was Shelton Gibson’s performance. The deep ball specialist caught five balls for 90 yards and a touchdown. He not only hauled in a go-route for a second straight week, this one for 57 yards, he also ran some crisp routes, including this slant-and-go for his score.

Gibson did a great job of stacking the cornerback while tracking the long ball on his 57-yard reception. By the way, check out the arm strength of Nate Sudfeld, who was 22-of-39 for 312 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. His passes were accurate and his decision making was a lot better than last week.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai had the most issues along the offensive line for the Birds over the first 24 minutes, failing to keep up with Adrian Clayborn and Derek Rivers off the edge.

Dallas Goedert recorded three more receptions for 57 yards. He ran a pretty over route and nearly snagged one in the back of the end zone after showcasing good body control, but safety Jordan Richards was able to knock it free. Here’s the over route.

Goedert’s blocking was up and down again, but the important thing is that he’s willing. He whiffed along the goal line as Kyle Van Noy cut in front of his face and got into the backfield for the tackle for loss.

Ronald Darby had a strong night. He looked quick and confident mirroring Julian Edelman’s double moves. This was good coverage on Phillip Dorsett’s sluggo, a route Darby struggled with last year.

Aside from a poor missed tackle on Cordarrelle Patterson’s TD reception, Sidney Jones looked solid. Avonte Maddox showed promise as well.

Undrafted rookie Josh Adams was held out with an injury, but may have improved his chances of making the roster by not playing. Donnel Pumphrey didn’t play for a second consecutive week and Matt Jones had a trio of poor drops, including one that boinked off his facemask. I still don’t get overly excited when I think about Wendell Smallwood. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles are locks to make the roster and I believe Adams is on his way to becoming the fourth back.

Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry both impressed again at linebacker and look the be the front-runners for the weakside spot.

Maybe the offense will look more promising next week during the dress rehearsal in Cleveland against the Browns next Thursday night.

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