Agholor, Barner impress as Eagles rout Colts in preseason opener

I mentioned this on Twitter, but even though it was just the first game of the preseason, there were a lot of positive takeaways from that game. Whether it was rookies coming up big with impact plays or fringe guys making a statement early, it was a great game for the Eagles as they defeated the Colts 36-10 in their preseason opener.

First of all, I’d like to point out that the Eagles’ 36 points were the most for any team in a game this preseason, so far at least. Yes, it’s just preseason, but putting up that many points is certainly impressive. They also shut down the Colts for almost the entire game, allowing just 10 points. Their first-team defense looked great while many of the backups came up big as well.

Nelson Agholor wins my “best offensive player of the game” award. He did have one bad drop, but he leaped up to make a catch in the first quarter and sped by the entire defense for the team’s first touchdown of the season. He ended up finishing the day with three catches for 57 yards and the score. All rookies are going to make some bad plays here and there, and that’s what that drop was. It happened to Jordan Matthews multiple times last year in the preseason. At the end of the day, they are still rookies.

Speaking of rookies though, second round pick Eric Rowe was all over the place. He finished with five tackles, all solo, and one of which was for a loss. He looked solid in coverage and also had a forced fumble, if I remember correctly. He played a lot and was often against second string guys, but he proved that he deserves to be on the field.

The best defensive player of the game would have to go to Brad Jones. He finished the game with eight tackles and played almost the entire game. He stood out to me as the the best inside linebacker among the guys who played. Najee Goode looked shaky, missing multiple tackles, which obviously won’t help his stock. Emmanuel Acho had three tackles as well in a nice performance.

The best overall player of the game though was definitely Kenjon Barner, someone who I didn’t even have as making the 53-man roster in my most recent prediction. I didn’t even think he was the fourth best running back on the team, listing Raheem Mostert as above him. Well, in addition to a nine-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, he made a spectacular play to return a punt 92 yards for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Two touchdowns for any player in a preseason game is worth mentioning. His returning duties might be what gets him onto this team after they lost Chris Polk, one of their kick returners from last year.

As for the best individual play, Bryan Braman wins that hands down. Late in the fourth quarter, he immediately rushed around the outside of the offensive line and hit Colts quarterback Bryan Bennett, forcing a fumble. But he didn’t stop there. Braman then lifted him up and gave him what looked like a modified German suplex, for those wrestling fans out there. Usually things die down at the end of a preseason game, but he showed that he’s more than just a special teams player.

A couple other things worth noting: Tim Tebow scored a touchdown. Yes, and I think both the stadium and the internet exploded when that happened. Tebow looked pretty good, but nothing special in my mind. He’ll need to work on his decision-making in the future. Matt Barkley looked about the same as Tebow, except he had a terrible interception right to a defensive lineman. It was bad. The battle for the third string quarterback continues. Also, Mark Sanchez didn’t look very good at the beginning.

Also, Ed Reynolds came out of nowhere and had two interceptions. Yes, you read that right. The guy who was probably last on the depth chart at safety actually picked off a quarterback twice in a game. The first one was more impressive, as he jumped a comeback route in the fourth quarter to make a nice interception. I guess he’s in the mix for the roster now, especially with Earl Wolff and Jerome Couplin missing the game.

Cody Parkey also nailed three different field goals of at least 40 yards, but then somehow missed an extra point and a 34-yard field goal. It was kind of a weird day for him.

Stock Market

Here’s whose stock went up and whose went down after the game:

Stock up: Barner, Agholor, Jones, Acho, Reynolds, Eric Tomlinson
Stock down: Sanchez, Goode, Parkey


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