The Philadelphia Eagles lost 24-21 in the preseason opener. Jalen Hurts almost got decapitated. He still finished with a perfect passer rating. The first-team offense was poetry in motion, just like Howie Roseman drew it up.
The savvy general manager won the offseason, on paper. On Friday, he had a front-row seat to enjoy the spoils as Hurts went a perfect 6-for-6 for 80 yards and a touchdown. Roseman cautioned everyone that his best teams weren’t necessarily his most talented.
“I think the other thing we talk about a lot is our most talented teams have not necessarily been our best teams,” Roseman told reporters. “You can have all this talent, but them coming together and fitting the right pieces in place is the most important thing. That’s what this camp is for, coming together as a team and making sure the talent meets connection and goes into a place with the season where we’re feeling really good about the people.”
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Eagles Flash in Near Perfect Preseason Opener
The Eagles lost the game, but not the publicity campaign. They looked really good. Here is the best of the best:
1. Jalen Hurts Was Perfect: The stats are the stats: 6-of-6 for 80 yards and one touchdown, no interceptions (158.3 passer rating). Hurts threw darts at Quez Watkins on the first series, then hit Dallas Goedert on a 22-yard scoring strike. It was an effortless 9-play drive: six passes, two penalties (one nullified), one sack, one scramble – a 12-yard touchdown run from Hurts that was called back due to a holding penalty by Jordan Mailata.
“That’s what we did today,” Sirianni said of passing so much. “If we need to run the ball 20 times to start a game, we’ll do that. If we need to pass the ball 20 times to start a game, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do to win the game.”
Hurts added: “Overall, I was just pleased to see everybody go out there and execute and do their jobs for the first group and get in the endzone.”
2. Kyzir White’s Homecoming: The Emmaus, PA native intercepted Jets quarterback Zach Wilson with 9:16 showing in the first quarter. It was a great read by White, on a poorly thrown ball. The play was even funnier because Eagles play-by-play man Ross Tucker was talking about how much of a playmaker T.J. Edwards is when it happened. White heard him, for sure. The leading tackler (144) for the Chargers last season is a difference-maker.
“Yea, I did. I got hot. I got hot,” White said when asked if he knew he had the pick. “And then I tried to hit ’em with the stiff arm, he slapped it down, he tackled me … I was a little mad about that.”
3. Cam Jurgens Draws Praise: The rookie center more than held his own in the opener, just like Jordan Davis predicted. Jurgens held his blocks, call out protections, and showed off Jason Kelce athleticism by following his rushers/receivers down the field. He blew up rookie defensive end Jermaine Johnson II on one highlight-reel play.
4. Jason Huntley Deserves Roster Spot. The burner from New Mexico State has been incredible all summer and he carried it over into the first preseason game. Huntley ran for 48 yards on 16 carries, including an 8-yard touchdown. He also made four catches for 39 yards (with one fumble) while shining on special teams: two kick returns for 61 yards. Just a reminder that he clocked 4.37 seconds in the 40. He’s KR1 at the very least.
5. Brandon Graham Returns. The veteran pass rusher returned for the first time since shattering his Achilles on September 19, 2021. He had one tackle on five snaps. That was enough. He already knows this Eagles’ defense can be special, but he loves seeing the young bucks fly around. Third-round linebacker Nakobe Dean was fantastic (5 tackles). Ditto for 2020 undrafted linebacker Kobe Smith (4 tackles). Also, first-rounder Jordan Davis was fun to watch in very limited snaps.
“It felt good, man,” Graham said. “First play TFL [tackles for loss], then next play we catch a pick. It was just a surreal moment for me, just being out for a year, and it just makes you appreciate it even more. It felt good, man, being with the guys, just even being in the locker room before the game, it’s that feeling.”