Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Eagles' Positional Unit This Preseason
As the Philadelphia Eagles are still awaiting their second preseason game, we have already learned a great deal about the team and each position. The preseason allows viewer to see not only the potential of the team, but also its depth, as the backups and third-stringers all get a shot to play.
1. Quarterback: Stock Up
Mike Kafka showed some potential out there with some impressive mobility, but overall did not play well, throwing a pick six and not making many eye-opening plays.
Nick Foles, however, threw bomb after bomb and showed the instincts and the arm strength that help one succeed in the NFL. Trent Edwards also played well, helping to lead the Eagles to a comeback win.
Clearly, quarterback depth will not be an issue for the Eagles, as the Eagles likely have a suitable backup in either Kafka, Foles or even Trent Edwards. This is a great improvement over last season, when Kafka and Vince Young both struggled when required to play in Vick's absence.
2. Receiver: Stock Up
Even without Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles' wide receiving corps impressed against the Steelers. DeSean Jackson was not much of a factor, but Damaris Johnson showed himself as a very similar player, most notably with his blinding speed and big-play capabilities.
Jackson and Maclin will likely be effective in 2012, as they are talented, but the strong performance of Johnson was a pleasant surprise. The Eagles have shown that wide receiver will continue to be a position of strength on this roster.
3. Running Back: Stock Up
The running back situation in Philly is not yet resolved, as the Eagles have yet to find a dynamic back to complement LeSean McCoy. However, the Eagles have a good No. 2 back in Dion Lewis to back up McCoy should he miss any time.
Lewis showed good field vision and great agility, evading tacklers and hitting the hole consistently. His strong play should hopefully carry over into the 2012 season to give the Eagles a strong secondary option at running back.
4. O-Line: Stock Down
The Eagles O-line finished 2011 strong, with Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis all playing well. However, the line did not look so great against the Steelers.
It may have overall played well, but the left tackle position is of great concern, as Eagles quarterbacks consistently were pressured from that side all night long.
The loss of Jason Peters was a huge blow to the Eagles offense, and the inability of Demetress Bell to fill in adequately is only causing more question marks for the left tackle position.
5. D-Line: Stock Up
As incredible as the D-line has been in 2011, the D-line so far looks even more improved in 2012, with Brandon Graham looking much improved. Vinny Curry was relentless against Steelers quarterbacks.
The Steelers' quarterbacks were pressured all night long and were consistently required to make plays with their feet to escape the pocket. The pass rush will clearly continue to be a team strength, especially with the addition of much more talent to an already potent group.
6. Linebacker: Stock Up
Overall, the linebackers are an improved squad. Mychal Kendricks made some solid plays out there, and the linebackers corps are overall more aggressive and better tacklers than in 2011.
However, there are still many questions at the linebacker position. Most notably perhaps are that DeMeco Ryans looked slow and lost and Brian Rolle was completely destroyed on a block.
Ultimately, however, the linebackers are already much improved from the previous season.
7. Secondary: Stock Up
This secondary is so far from perfect so far, but it has already shown great improvements. They seems to understand the schemes much more clearly now and have shown much more physicality and aggression.
The hard hit from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie comes to mind. The entire secondary is tackling better and looks more like the team strength it was envisioned to be.
The defense as a whole looks improved from 2011, and much of this can be attributed to the improved play of the cornerbacks. We will see if this strong play can carry over to 2012 and help the Eagles contend for a championship.
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