(Pic: The Morning Call)
NFL Insider Ric Serritella highlights notable players from the Philadelphia Eagles, following their Super Bowl rematch against the New England Patriots in their second game of the 2018 NFL preseason.
The Philadelphia Eagles have begun the arduous feat of trying to repeat as defending Super Bowl Champions, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the 2004-05 Patriots.
Super Bowl hero Nick Foles was rusty versus New England and had a shaky start before exiting with a shoulder injury. With Carson Wentz receiving limited reps during the preseason, backup Nate Sudfeld would finish the game and had his fair share of ups and downs, completing 22-of-39 passes for 312 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception.
One player who is setting himself up to have a bigger role than expected this season is wide out Shelton Gibson, who is also making an impact on special teams. Gibson had five receptions for 90 receiving yards, including one touchdown and another 30 yards on four punt returns. He is averaging 24 yards per catch during the preseason, including a 63-yard touchdown against the Steelers during Philadelphia’s first preseason game. He can fill a valuable backup role behind the starting trio of Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace.
After two preseason games, it’s safe to say that tight end Dallas Goedert will have an impact in the passing attack. While he has struggled at times with a bout of the dropsies, he has shown a knack for finding the open seam and has seven receptions through two preseason games, gaining 123 receiving yards and one touchdown. Look for plenty of double tight end sets from Philadelphia this season featuring Zach Ertz and Goedert.
(Pic: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
An undrafted rookie free agent making a name for himself in training camp is defensive tackle Bruce Hector out of USF. The athletic defensive tackle made a splash during his NFL debut against Pittsburgh, collecting three tackles, including one sack, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble. He followed that up with another solid performance against the Patriots and has suddenly made a strong case for a spot on the opening day 53-man roster.
It was apparent that starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks had some limitations in his first game back from an Achilles injury. He failed to finish a couple of tackles but did finish with five take downs on the evening against New England, while flashing why he is only going to help strengthen the Eagles run defense. Some rust was to be expected after a 290-day layoff but Hicks appears set for a big year as he enters his free agent season.
Cornerback Avonte Maddox has made a strong impression upon his new teammates and coaches. The fourth round pick out of Pittsburgh has had an outstanding camp and it showed in the game against the Patriots, exemplifying why he could play a key role as a slot cover corner for the Eagles this season.
*Stay tuned for more preseason updates as we count you down to the 2018 NFL kickoff!