The Eagles and Steelers played a meaningless game Thursday night — more or less — at the Linc Thursday night with Pittsburgh prevailing 31-14.
For the following five Eagles’ players, however, the game did serve a purpose. For some, it was a valuable tune up with the season a month away. For others, it was a first taste of the NFL. And for a few players it was an audition for a starting role or roster spot.
So before we head back to training camp, here’s a look at five players who impressed us in the preseason opener:
The Eagles No. 3 quarterback — essentially a No. 2 in any other situation — wasn’t at his best Thursday but did just enough to impress. His first blemish came when he tossed an interception to Pittsburgh’s Coty Sensabaugh. With plenty of time behind the first-team offensive line in the first, the QB repeatedly checked down and made a bevy of bad decisions.
A second arrant throw came in the second, when a slant pass gone wrong was caught by Steelers’ cornerback Cameron Sutton for another interception (a play later Rasul Douglass got his own pick). All was forgiven, more or less, with a 63-yard bomb to Shelton Gibson to make things 15-14 Pittsburgh toward the end of the second.
Goedert showed he could be part of a lethal combination at tight end for Philly this coming fall in his first taste of pro action. The second round pick collected four receptions and 66 yards in one half of play. His third reception came with style, as a scrambling Nate Sudfeld threw on the run toward through a collapsing pocket to find the rookie in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.
It’s looking more and more like KGH will secure not only a spot on the 53-man roster, but could start at linebacker on September 6. While on the field for large portions of both halves, the third-year mostly special teams player was near the ball on nearly every snap. On an option toss from Joshua Dobbs to Fitzgerald Toussaint, the roster-hopeful linebacker made an impressive tackle for loss with the Steelers at the one-yardline. In all, he had a team-leading six tackles with two for loss.
Clement was last seen in an Eagles uniform leading the Eagles in receiving yards in Super Bowl LII and securing one of the most important touchdowns in team history. In his first game action since, the running back showed he belongs as one of the Birds top rushers. He had five carries in the first quarter tallying 30 yards, while also securing a key catch in the second on a third and five, where he broke a tackle to scurry just passed the first down marker.
First team defense
The entire defense wasn’t healthy of course (with Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Graham and others out), but the Eagles first team defense looked as good as it could in two series against the Steelers. Fletcher Cox had a sack while Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham split another as the secondary was suffocating and the D allowed under 20 yards during their short time on the field. Sidney Jones and Jordan Hicks had two tackles apiece as well.
Honorable mention: Shelton Gibson (2 catches for 77 yards, TD), Fletcher Cox (sack and consistent pressure while in), Josh Adams (6 rush for 30 yards, 2 catches for 11 yards)
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