The Eagles main goal Friday night may not have been to see how the starters and key backups performed.
The most important thing head coach Nick Sirianni may have been looking for was to get through the Birds preseason opener against the New York Jets with no injuries to his starters.
Mission accomplished for that. The Eagles ended up losing the game 24-21, but the only thing anyone cared about was how the starters on offense and defense fared and it was all thumbs up.
The Eagles starting offense gave Eagles fans a reason to believe this unit will make that leap to the next level.
The opening drive went seven plays, 80 yards ending with a 22-yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts to tight end Dallas Goedert.
The play negated a holding call on left tackle Jordan Mailata on the previous play. Sua Opeta started in place of Landon Dickerson.
The opening drive saw Quez Watkins (twice), Miles Sanders (twice), Jack Stoll and Dallas Goedert each get the ball thrown to them at least once.
Jalen Hurts was 6 of 6 for 80 yards and the TD pass. His quarterback rating was elite at 158.3.
A preseason rating of 158.3 and $1.89 will get you a lime Perrier at Wawa. But it’s good start regardless.
“It’s really exciting,” Goedert said in the locker room after the game. “We’ve got a lot of good weapons on our offense. We’re going to spread the ball around, defenses are going to have troubles with…what are they going guard? What are they going to do? Hopefully we can find mismatches all over the field.”
The first-team defense came up big in its short stint on the field.
After the Eagles went up 7-0, Zach Wilson and the Jets took over at their own 33-yard line. On the fifth play of the drive, Wilson was picked off by WILL linebacker Kyzir White who was acquired as a free agent signing in the offseason from The LA Chargers, returned the ball 27 yards to the Jets 20-yard line.
Head coach Nick Sirianni went right to quarterback Gardner Minshew who drove the Birds 20-yards on seven plays ending with a Jason Huntley one-yard touchdown run.
White talked about creating a turnover his first time in an Eagles uniform.
“Oh Man, it meant everything,” White said in the locker room after the game. “First game. Getting my feet wet. Family and friends in attendance. So I always want to go out there and put a good show on. It felt good. It’s definitely a good start for me, but I’ve got to keep building and getting better each and every day.”
The Eagles led 14-0 with 6:28 left in the first quarter.
That was it for the offense Eagles fans will see during the season.
The Jets, using all backups against the Eagles backups would score 17 consecutive points to take a 17-14 lead with 8:10 left in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles answered when third-team signal caller Reid Sinnett led the Eagles on an 18-play, 75-yard drive ending with a two-yard rollout pass from Sinnett to Kennedy Brooks with 1:40 left in the fourth to take a 21-17 lead.
But the Jets (1-0), behind deep sub quarterback Chris Streveler, rallied to drive 53-yards (after a 52-yard kick return by Zonovan Knight) scoring on Streveler-to-Calvin Jackson five-yard strike to win the game with 16 seconds left.
But the Birds (0-1) looked satisfied with how the starters played.
“Yeah, I think it was a good day,” wide receiver A.J. Brown said after the game. “It was a good drive for the offense. We went down there and drove the ball and did what we were supposed to do.”
Linebacker Brandon Graham played his first game since he ruptured Achilles tendon against the San Francisco 49ers last September.
“it felt good being with the guys,” said Graham, who recorded a solo tackle. “Just being in the locker room, before the game, it was just that feeling when you know you’re going to play in the game. Because I used to be in that locker room just getting the boys encouraged because I knew I wasn’t going to play until the following season. To be here now, I’m just enjoying the moment.”
No one cared about the score. *
Email Al Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org