The Eagles lost their preseason opener to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, 27-10.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
If Sudfeld is going to be out for a while, which seems likely, the Eagles have a decision to make. Do they feel good enough about Cody Kessler to consider going into the season with him as Wentz’s backup? Or do they need to go out and get someone else? Kessler has 12 regular-season starts on his resume, but doesn’t have a very strong arm.
Josh Sweat, the second-year player who appears to be the leading candidate to be the Eagles’ fourth edge rusher with Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and yet-to-be-seen Derek Barnett, had a quiet night Thursday.
But there was a good reason for that. He spent the entire first half going against the Titans’ three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, Taylor Lewan, who pretty much muzzled the second-year player. Lewan is going to be serving a season-opening four-game suspension for a positive PED test. So he’ll get a lot of work in the preseason.
Wentz wasn’t the only starter who didn’t play against the Titans. The only offensive starter that played was running back Jordan Howard. And he was gone after the first series. On defense, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, linebacker Zach Brown and slot corner Avonte Maddox played briefly, then were replaced.
Pederson isn’t concerned with getting his starters many preseason snaps. His top priority is getting them to the Week 1 starting line against Washington in one piece. Hard to argue with that approach after watching Sudfeld go down.
Wide receiver Marken Michel is facing an uphill battle to make the Eagles’ season-opening roster. But he helped his chances Thursday, catching a 75-yard touchdown pass from Sudfeld in the second quarter. Michel, the brother of Patriots running back Sony Michel, beat Titans cornerback Adoree Jackson on a post route.
Further helping Michel’s roster chances: two of the people he’s competing against for the fifth and/or sixth wideout spot — Charles Johnson and Mack Hollins — are hurt. Johnson suffered a foot injury in the Titans game, and Hollins sat out the game as he continues to recover from a lower body injury.
With Kamu Grugier-Hill out for several weeks with a Grade 3 MCL sprain, and Nigel Bradham yet to participate in team drills as he recovers from torn ligaments in his toe, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz needs some of his linebackers to step up and play well.
That didn’t really happen Thursday. Nate Gerry, who likely will start in the Eagles’ three-linebacker base package, got beat for a second-quarter touchdown by tight end MyCole Pruitt.