Five takeaways from the Eagles’ 26-15 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens:
Doug Pederson gave many of his healthy starters their first snaps of the preseason Thursday night. The one notable exception was quarterback Carson Wentz, who once again watched from the sideline. Pederson has said that the snaps Wentz has taken in practice, particularly those this week in two days of joint practices with the Ravens, are more than sufficient to get him ready for Week 1. If he was tempted at all to play him, injuries to backups Nate Sudfeld (broken wrist) and Cody Kessler (concussion) in the first two preseason games scared him straight. We’ll find out in 17 days whether Pederson is making the right move or not.
The Eagles scored just 41 first-quarter points last season, which was the fewest in the NFL. Earlier this week, Pederson talked about the need to get off to faster starts this season. Even though he played many of his offensive starters for the entire first quarter Thursday night, it was déjà vu all over again. With Kessler starting at quarterback and running back Corey Clement getting his first snaps of the preseason, the Eagles gained just 45 yards on 14 plays in the first quarter. Had just two first downs and never got past midfield.
Jordan Mailata’s second NFL preseason has been a very busy one. The 6-8, 348-pound offensive tackle, who had never played football before he was drafted by the Eagles last season, is getting a ton of snaps in both practice and the games.
After being moved from the left side to the right side in the spring, he played 93 percent of the offensive snaps in the Eagles’ first game against Tennessee and all 78 offensive snaps last week against Jacksonville. With starting right tackle Lane Johnson resting a minor knee injury, Mailata started again Thursday and played nearly every snap.
Considering his level of inexperience, and considering that he’ll likely spend the entire season on the bench behind Johnson, the Eagles want him to play as much as possible in the preseason. He played 125 preseason snaps last season. He’s already played close to 200 in the first three preseason games and has played a ton of practice snaps along with rookie left tackle Andre Dillard.
For a 40-year-old guy with just three practices under his belt, quarterback Josh McCown played amazingly well against the Ravens. Actually, he played well for an any-year-old guy. McCown, who had been coaching high school football until a few days ago, completed 17 of 24 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in two quarters of work. His passer rating: 122.2.
He quickly developed a chemistry with rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. JJAW caught seven passes from McCown for 86 yards, including an impressive 20-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter. McCown also connected with tight end Alex Ellis on a 9-yard touchdown pass against a Baltimore blitz. McCown knew he was going to get leveled, but hung in there long enough to loft a perfect pass to Ellis.
Jordan Howard didn’t play at all. Rookie Miles Sanders handled the opening kickoff (downed in the end zone), and then took the rest of the night off. Corey Clement saw his first action of the preseason, carrying the ball seven times for 25 yards in the first half. Josh Adams played most of the third quarter and Donnel Pumphrey played most of the fourth.