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Eagles stock up, stock down after preseason opener: Jalen Hurts, Nakobe Dean shine in limited action

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadlephia Eagles can come away pleased with how their preseason opener went, even in a 24-21 loss to the New York Jets. The first team offense and defense were strong in their cameo appearances and there was a lot to like with the second team as well. 

There’s plenty of talent on the Eagles roster, as they displayed in their lone preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. We’ll see how much the starters play going forward, but it’s clear working against the first-team defense in camp has paid dividends after one preseason game.

Plenty of Eagles to buy stock in after the preseason opener, but there’s some to sell as well. 

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Jalen Hurts

The Eagles could not have asked any more from Hurts in his one series, leading Philadlephia to a touchdown on the opening drive before being removed from the game. Hurts went 6-for-6 for 80 yards and a touchdown — a 22-yard strike to Dallas Goedert — on the Eagles’ first possession of the game. 

Hurts even was hit by Jets linebacker Quincy Williams on the drive (helmet-to-helmet), which could have resulted in a concussion. Instead, Hurts completed his next two passes for 30 yards and actually ran for a 12-yard score that was nullified by a penalty. 

A brief cameo for the Eagles starting quarterback, but he looked impressive and poised on his first drive in this vastly improved offense. 

Nakobe Dean

Playing on the second team appeared to be enough motivation for Dean, who looked like he belonged with the starters in his first-half action. Dean had four tackles on his first possession and looked instinctive toward the ball carrier, finding his way to the football on multiple run plays.

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Dean finished with a team-high five tackles when he departed, showcasing how good he looked in game action. Whether Dean starts the season opener is up in the air, but he certainly is throwing his hat into the mix. 

Cam Jurgens

Getting some extra reps with Jason Kelce being out, Jurgens certainly could start Week 1 if Kelce somehow doesn’t return for the opener. Jurgens was excellent blocking once he got to the second level, paving the way for running backs to get easy yards in the gaps. 

Jurgens has been working with Kelce — as he will be the heir apparent when Kelce does retire — and the results are showing. The Eagles should have little issue playing Jurgens if Kelce is out longer than expected. 

Reid Sinnett

Sinnett’s stock was at an all-time low before his final drive that gave the Eagles a 21-17 lead with under two minutes to play. The third-string quarterback went 6-of-10 for 51 yards on the go-ahead drive, finding Kennedy Brooks on a third-and-goal for a 2-yard touchdown.

Sinnett finished with a 106.7 rating on the drive, rebounding from a 1-for-4 start for 1 yard on his first four series. His fourth down pass to Noah Togiai kept the 18-play drive alive, which was Sinnett’s most impressive throw of the night. 

Jordan Davis

The Jets made sure to double team Davis on numerous plays in the preseason opener, showcasing how much of a disruption Davis can be in the middle of a defensive line. Davis overpowered Laken Tomlinson and Connor McGovern on a few run plays — mind that those two mentioned are veteran starters in the league — and disrupted the plays while Nakobe Dean finished the tackle.

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Clearly, Davis and Dean are going to be tandem for the Eagles like they were at Georgia — but it starts with Davis getting pressure up the middle. Stats won’t tell the story with Davis, but his impact on Philadelphia’s defense will be vital in his rookie year. 

With Carson Strong not taking a snap, Sinnett appears to be in full command of the No. 3 quarterback job. 

Stock down

Britain Covey

Horrible break for the return man trying to make the 53-man roster. Covey tore ligaments in his right thumb on a pass from Reid Sinnett in the second half that deflected off the undrafted rookie, so he’s going to miss some time. 

Covey had a strong camp and was looking to further his case for a roster spot in the preseason opener. Getting back to full health is the top priority now. 

Offensive line penalties

The Eagles offensive line had to shake the rust off in the first half, as Andre Dillard, Sua Opeta, and Lane Johnson each had false start penalties. Jordan Mailata also had a holding penalty that negated a 12-yard touchdown run by Jalen Hurts on the first drive, but the Eagles made up for it as Hurts found Dallas Goedert on the touchdown pass the next play. 

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There are some things to clean up, but it’s preseason for a reason. The offensive line is still going to be the strength of the unit. 

Third-team defense

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon cannot be happy with how the third team defense performed in the final minute. With the Eagles taking a 21-17 lead in the final two minutes, the defense allowed 37 yards in two plays as the Jets advanced to the 16-yard line in just 28 seconds. 

The Jets were at the Eagles’ 5-yard line two plays later and Chris Streveler found Calvin Jackson on the winning touchdown pass with 16 seconds left. The third-team defense allowed the Jets to score on just six plays in 1:24 — not a great sign for some players trying to make a roster or a practice squad. 

New York scored 21 points in the second half against the third team. There were some good individual performances to break down, but the unit needs to improve as the preseason rolls on. 

Carson Strong

The undrafted rookie was having a poor training camp — and didn’t even take a snap in the first preseason game. Not good for someone trying to make the team.  

No word of injuries or anything regarding Strong. He just didn’t play in this one, while Reid Sinnett led the Eagles on a go-ahead touchdown drive in the final two minutes. Strong’s stock is as low as it can get right now. 


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