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Ten Takeaways from Eagles vs. Ravens

Here are ten takeaways from last night’s Eagles/Ravens game, penned by our Eagles writer, Anthony DiBona. Follow Anthony on Twitter (@Anthony_DiBona).

The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Baltimore Ravens from opening kickoff until the final whistle last night, blowing out their preseason opponent for the second time in as many weeks. While we could say the Eagles won the “Battle of the Bird” [is it preseason? Didn’t notice], for the second week in a row, we saw the unlimited potential of Chip Kelly’s new-look roster.

During their 40-17 victory over those other birds, the Eagles made plays on both sides of the ball and of course, on special teams. But here are ten storylines that stood out to me throughout the action against the Ravens:

1) Sam Bradford makes his debut in midnight green
Although Bradford failed to post the gaudy stats that some were hoping for, he put together a solid showing on Saturday night. Against one of the league’s best defenses, Bradford orchestrated a 12-play, 84 yard drive that ended with a 14-yard rushing touchdown by Ryan Mathews. During his debut drive, Bradford struggled with some throws but that type of rust is expected in his first game. The biggest takeaway from Bradford’s opening drive for the Eagles brings us to the next storyline from last night’s action.

2) Terrell Suggs is an ignorant, dirty player
Just a few plays into Bradford’s opening drive, he hands the ball off to Darren Sproles and Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs takes a clear cheap shot at Bradford’s surgically repaired left knee. Following the play, Suggs tried to protest his innocence but the referees knew he was dead wrong. Suggs was flagged for roughing the passer and will likely be receiving an envelope from FedEx this week.

Here’s a video of the play from two different angles, clearly showing the ball was out of Bradford’s hands before Suggs took a shot at him:

Suggs basically admitted he wanted to take Bradford out.

“He was trying to take a cheap shot at the quarterback,” tackle Jason Peters said. “I’m pretty sure he planned it.” Suggs was unapologetic. He said he could have hit Bradford even harder, but he “eased up.”

Bradford is prepared for it to happen again from someone else.

“You would have to ask him, but I think that’s what he was trying to do,” Bradford said. “I was a little upset. Not sure I could probably repeat what I said to him. . . . I’m sure that’s not the last time something like that is going to happen this year.”

3) Jason Peters lives up to his nickname
Eagles starting left tackle Jason Peters has been dubbed “The Bodyguard” by many due to his ability to protect his teammates both on and off the field…especially his quarterback. Following the game, while Suggs was trying to claim the hit was clean and the Eagles should learn the rules (which say nothing about his hit being legal, by the way), Peters defended his quarterback. Peters called Suggs out for being a dirty player, even claiming the hit may have been planned since Suggs knew a read option play would eventually be called.


4) Eagles have a three-headed monster at running back
Chip Kelly was finally able to put his shiny new stable of running backs on display for the world to see on Saturday night. With DeMarco Murray finally suiting up, Kelly trotted out his entire trio during the team’s opening drive. Murray, Mathews and Sproles all saw action on the drive including Sproles running some routes out of the slot as well. That’s an added wrinkle to Kelly’s offense that we may see a whole lot more of with more talent on the roster at running back. It was promising to see Kelly use all three in a single drive and was just a sign of the magic yet to come this season.

5) Young receivers continue to make plays
Another game, another big time showing for the Eagles young group of wide receivers. Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor all caught at least one pass and both Matthews and Huff would have had each big plays if it wasn’t for a low pass and a holding penalty. On the night, the trio combined for 7 receptions for 81 yards while Agholor led the entire team with 4 receptions for 49 yards. Speaking of Agholor…

6) Nelson Agholor shines once again
Sadly, Agholor made a few rookie mistakes once again including a mistimed jump on a dropped pass early in the game. But he more than made up for it with his performance throughout the night. Agholor matched his reception total from last week with 4 receptions for 49 yards but he failed to score a touchdown this week. It’s still encouraging to see the rookie continue to see time with the team’s starters and make plays. Agholor, Matthews and Huff could eventually form one of the league’s best wide receiver trios.

7) Vinny Curry makes his debut at outside linebacker
Following a flurry of injuries at the OLB position, the Eagles were forced to make an emergency move at the position. 6′-3″, 279 lb. defensive end Vinny Curry has been forced to spend some time on the outside. Saturday night, Curry made his debut at his new-found position and did surprisingly well. Although he struggled at first against a few play action passes, biting hard on the run, he bounced back. If there’s one thing Curry knows how to do, it’s to rush the quarterback and he was still able to do so even at outside linebacker.

8) Mark Sanchez looks better, still not good
Although Mark Sanchez’s statline may look pretty as he completed 14 of 20 passes for 118 yards and a 85.0 passer rating, it wasn’t that pretty. Sanchez looked better than he did last week but that isn’t saying much considering how poorly he played against the Colts. He still struggled to throw the ball rolling to his left including a missed touchdown pass in the red zone. Sanchez has to prove he’s more reliable than he has considering he could likely start a few games for the Eagles this upcoming season.

9) Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow disappoint
Following all the hype they built up for themselves after their performances against the Colts last week, both Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow struggled on Saturday night. They combined to complete just 8 of 19 passes against third and fourth string players, that’s just awful. There were reports that Barkley could improve his “trade value” with a strong showing but he basically shot himself in the foot last night. Tebow looked lost when he wasn’t running the ball and took some unnecessary sacks after standing in the pocket for what felt like an eternity. Neither player looked like they were worth keeping around against the Ravens.

10) Two former Oregon Ducks shine
A duo of former Ducks shined on Saturday, each on opposite sides of the ball. On offense and special teams it was running back Kenjon Barner who pulled off another punt return touchdown, this one went for 68 yards. Barner also added 5 touches on offense, totalling 25 yards as well.

Then there was defensive end Taylor Hart, who finally showed the potential so many people believed he had coming out of Oregon. Considering Curry may see extended time at outside linebacker, it’s important that a player steps up at defensive end and Hart certainly did so. Hart generated consistent pressure on the quarterback in the second half, doing so while lining up in different spots as well.

Not bad.Check back here next week when I have my ten takeaways from the Eagles/Packers game. And make sure you keep it at for some of the best Eagles coverage around.

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