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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Eagles running back Tre Serman races to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown during the Birds 18-18 tie with the Cleveland Browns Thursday night. Photo by Andy Lewis.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns participated in one of the most forgettable preseason games you will ever see.

The scene of the crime was Lincoln Financial Field.

Marcus Mariota scored a 5.1 quarterback rating after one quarter.

His rating soared to 42.5 by halftime. The nine-year veteran finished 9 of 17 for 85 yards, an interception and three sacks...a forgettable first half for sure.

If ether team made a big play, a penalty or turnover would dash any hopes of an NFL-caliber drive.

It seemed appropriate that the game ended as an 18-18 draw.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn't torch the Birds but was 13 of 25 for 164 yards in his first half of work. He was sacked once.

There were three field goals and a safety in the first half.

Even the pro wrestling promo that featured Eagles mascot Swoop was a complete flop.

After the half, those playing on both teams will likely be cut or put on the practice squad.

There was an exception and that was third-string quarter Tanner McKee. The rookie out of Stanford led the Birds to a six-play, 75-yard second-half drive that finished with a Trey Sermon gashing the Browns’ defense for a 33-yard touchdown run.

That score seemed to make up for a first half fumble.

Eagles quarterback Marcus Mariota goes back to pass during the Eagles 18-18 tie with the Cleveland Browns. Photo by Andy Lewis

Sermon was asked about staying within himself after the fumble in the second quarter and the natural reaction to try to get it back all at once.

The third year running back out of Ohio State did get it back when he scored on the Birds first possession of the third quarter.

“It felt good to make up for it,” said Sermon, who finished with 54 yards on five carries. “It was a costly turnover. But my teammates did a great job of uplifting me and help me move on to focus on the next play.”


McKee, who shares the No. 10 jersey number with punter Arryn Siposs, had another solid outing albeit against the Browns backups and camp players.

The 6-foot-6, 231 pounder was 10 of 18 for 147 yards, one touchdown pass, no interceptions and a QB rating of 100.0. McKee was sacked three times.

McKee was asked the difference between college and professional football.

Eagles tight end Brady Russell catches 22-yard pass from Tanner McKee. Photo by Andy Lewis

“In college there was always that one player that was like, ‘We might have to scheme against this guy because he’s big, he’s fast, he’s an NFL type player.’” McKee said. “And then you get out here and everybody is tall, big and fast. There’s not like, ‘That corner is super short so we can just throw a fade over the top because he doesn’t have the height.’ Everybody kind of has all the tools so you really have to rely on the fundamentals.

“In college, I don’t feel like my timing as a drop mattered as much as it does in the NFL. If I’m off just a little bit, if I cross over on my three-step drop when I should have done a chop-timing, then I feel like it makes a big difference.

“In college I feel like I could make it up with my arm or something like that. But in the NFL, everybody is so good and so fast those windows open and close so quickly that I think timing is the biggest thing.”


Running Boston Scott talked after seeing his first preseason action. He was asked about the difference between joint practices and a preseason game.

“I think work is work,” said Scott who ran the ball once and lost a yard. “I think reps are invaluable. I think it’s important to get out there and get reps to get better as a team, get better as an individual.”

Scott talked about Sermon coming back to score a TD after fumbling in the first half.

“It means a lot,” Scott said. “It speaks to the character of Trey Sermon. That’s the game of football. There is going to be adversity. There is going to be ups and downs throughout the game. It’s how do you respond whenever you get punched in the face. He answered the call.”

Eagles' wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland and rookie defensive tackle Moro Ojomo were carted off the field on a backboard with neck injuries. Both had movement in all extremities.

But in both cases, you could hear a pin drop at the Linc as the medical crew worked to stabilize each player.

“You always hate to see that,” Scott said. “You always hate to see guys go down. This is a violent, vicious game. I am definitely keeping those guys in my prayers.”

ESPN is reporting that Eagles cornerback Zech McPhearson is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Last week against Baltimore, the Birds lost linebacker Shaun Bradley for the season with the same injury.


The offensive line room collectively had a good day running the ball with 18 carries for 108 yards.

But the pass protection for Marcus Mariota was awful. Same with McKee.

Mariota was just 9 of 17 for 86 yards. He was picked off once and was sacked three times.

Sua Opeta said giving up six sacks on the night is not where the O-line room wants to be.

“Of course not…they were bringing zero pressure a lot,” the fourth-year guard out of Weber State said. “So sometimes there is an unblocked man and those things are going to happen,” the We’re going to look at the film and see what technical things we can do to improve the pass blocking game.”

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder said he felt he is progressing as a player.

“I think season to season, I am definitely making more progress,” Opeta said. “As far as this camp is going, I am pretty happy with what I’ve done. There’s still a few things I can clean up but. But I think I’m getting better, which is all we can do.”


Offensive tackle James Hudson III on NFL teams leaning towards more and more joint practices. And the NFL finding ways to market them. Does he like them? More fans at them?

“Definitely. I feel like the NFL always finds ways to accommodate the fans like that,” said Hudson, who produced a long day for Eagles rookie pass rusher Nolan Smith. “But I definitely feel like this game matters. It’s still a game at the end of the day. I wouldn’t call it just an exhibition game or anything like that.

“The joint practices are definitely good competition,” Hudson continued. “It’s good ways for us to see how we match up against other teams, stuff like that. I definitely they’re going to invite more fans [to joint practices].”

Did he see more hop in the step of himself, his teammates when they can face off against someone different?

“Definitely,” he said. “We’re going up against other people that aren’t in a Browns uniform. You definitely have to get a little more ramped up for that. It’s competition at the end of the day. It’s definitely exciting going up against other guys.” *

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