The Philadelphia Eagles & Cleveland Browns tied 18-18 in tonight preseason battle. In a game with positive & negatives, here are my main takeaways.
First & foremost, I extend my prayers out to WR Tyrie Cleveland & DT Moro Ojomo, who both left tonight's game on a stretcher. Thankfully, the Eagles released both players have movements in their extremities. Hoping for a speedy recovery.
Nolan Smith Shines
Nolan Smith showed why he was a first round pick & viewed as a steal. He was making & forcing plays in the backfield the whole time he was in the game. He finished the game with three pressures & one tackle for loss.
Mainly going up against OT Dawand Jones, who is another really talented player out of this past draft class, Smith Jr. showcased his elite & impressive bend as he got past Jones on multiple occasion.
But arguably Smith's most impressive play came on his last snap of the night where he chased down & tackled speedy WR Anthony Schwartz for a huge loss on a jet sweep. Overall a really nice night for the 30th overall pick.
Marcus Mariota didn't look very sharp at all tonight in his one half of play. He finished the night 9-for-17 (52.9%) with an interception. His QBR was 42.8.
It was an all-around rough outing as he missed some easy throws that you'd expect him to make. He also did not do a good job evading pressure as he was sacked three times.
For a guy who's likely going to be the backup to Jalen Hurts, he hasn't looked very sharp at all in camp & preseason.
Nakobe Dean Is Here
After being injured & overall quiet through the first few weeks of camp, Eagles fans have been anxious to see Nakobe Dean flash. Well, they got what they've been looking for as Dean made a beautiful play near the goal line, forcing a fumble.
Overall in his short playing time, Dean looked good. A nice & encouraging sign for a player who's expected to be a starter this season.
Tanner McKee played well again tonight following up a solid performance last Saturday. He completed 10 passes for 147 yards & a touchdown. He finished with a rating over 100.
The 6th-round pick in this year's draft continues to show why the Eagles spent a pick on him. He's shown his ability to sling the ball & make really tough throws.
As expected, the QB3 job is his. In what seemed to be a non-existent competition between McKee & Ian Book, is all but over.
Special Teams Pain
The Eagles lost special teams ace Shaun Bradley to a torn Achilles last week & it seems they've taken another blow to their unit. Third-year CB Zech McPhearson is feared to have suffered an achillies injury as well.
In a unit that's already not great, losing arguably their two best players on it is a massive blow that can't be understated.
Michael Clay & company have a lot on their hands replacing these two, assuming McPhearson is out an extended period of time.
The Philadelphia Eagles wrap up the preseason as they host the Indianapolis Colts next Thursday. The teams will meet for joint practices next week.