EAGLES FINISH CAMP, PRESEASON...HEAD INTO REGULAR SEASON WITH HIGH HOPES
The Eagles got through the final game of the 2023 preseason unscathed – for this week. The score, a 27-13 loss the Indianapolis Colts is meaningless.
The Birds did not lose any more players to injury. Last week against the Cleveland Browns it seemed like the Eagles were hosting a MASH unit.
There were not many highlights to mention. The offensive linemen that played won’t be posting the Birds offensive production numbers on social media.
Just 42 total yards rushing on 21 carries. The quarterback room was an aggregate 31 of 51 for 259 yards with no touchdown passes and three sacks.
The Eagles lone touchdown came after two-time U.S. Olympian 110m hurdles competitor Devon Allen took the opening kickoff at his own goal line and flashed 73 yards to the Colts 27-yard line.
Allen dropped the ball at first which can throw off the coverage. The 28-year-old out of Oregon turned the corner, got some key blocks and he was off to the races.
“I was a little bit nervous, it was my first kick return in seven or eight years,” Allen said at his locker after the game. “But it ended up OK. I’m not going to hear the end of it from my track friends. I got a lot of great blocks and was able to turn the corner.”
From there, Marcus Mariota hit Deon Cain for a 21-yard gain, then handed the ball off to Trey Sermon for a one-yard score…The Eagles backups could not find their way back to the end zone for the rest of the night.
But one very bright spot was seeing long-time kicker Jake Elliott hit field goals from 59- and 52 yards. The seven-year veteran out of Memphis was in good spirits at his locker after the game.
“I’m excited,” Elliott said. “It’s a long time from OTAs to training camp, to these preseason games. You don’t get much of a break. It will be nice to have this week to regroup a little bit and finally play some real ball.”
How does it feel to nail two 50-yard field goals and have that mentality going into the regular season? The Eagles will certainly be calling on Elliott powerful leg at different times during what Eagles fans and players believe is going to be a special season.
“I think it just reassures what we know,” Elliott said. “We’ve been hitting the ball really well. The operation’s been really clean all OTA’s and training camp. To go out there in a game like that without a lot of opportunities this preseason, and capitalized on them. It definitely gives you a little confidence going into the season.”
What is a key practice for him to keep that power in his leg? Elliott was not going to give away any secrets.
“Keep doing what I’m doing,” Elliott said. “Take care of my body. Follow my recovery stuff. I’ll use this next couple of weeks to kind of regroup there and make sure I’m feeling good and ready to go.”
A guy who has quietly had a good camp, has a solid spot on this team is Jack Driscoll. The 6-foot-5, 312 pound guard/tackle was a valuable backup as he stepped in for an injured Lane Johnson for the final three games of the regular season that finished 14-3.
Driscoll talked about his role.
“With me, it’s whatever they tell me,” the former Auburn standout said. “Any position they tell me, I’ll go out there and do whatever’s best for the team. So, going into it, just knowing a lot happens during the season, so just be ready to go and do what is needed to get wins.”
Driscoll was asked if he likes this role at a jack-of-all trade lineman on a special team, or start somewhere else. The 26-year-old didn’t hesitate.
“I’m really blessed to be here,” Driscoll said. “This organization is one of the best organizations in the NFL. I’m blessed to be here. It’s close to home. I have great teammates, guys to learn from in Kelce and Lane. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.
“Talking to guys around the league and hearing how it is, I just know how lucky I am to be here and be a part of this team.”
Email Al Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org