Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eagles Preseason...What Have We Learned So Far?

The Eagles have played two preseason games to date and have another preseason game this Friday up in Jeffrey Lurie's beloved New England area against the Patriots. This is a good time to sort through the rubble of the first two games and find a couple of nuggets of information that an Eagles fan can take into the season. Today, I'll stick to the offensive side of the ball.

DeSean Jackson: Better than originally expected as a wide-out. Two games into the preseason and rookie DeSean Jackson has made 12 catches in limited action over the course of the first two preseason games. Clearly, this is a departure from the conventional wisdom that had Jackson contributing mostly as a special teamer and possibly as a wide receiver during his rookie year. You don't want to put too much into preseason performances, but Jackson doesn't look the least bit intimidated or overmatched against NFL defenses so far and will only see more action in the preseason with injuries to Reggie Brown and Jason Avant. It would be ideal for Jackson to enter the season as the 3rd or 4th wideout and return punts, even if it's in "slash" role, where they lineup him up in all sort of alignments to get his speed on the field. If he rises higher than 3rd on the depth chart, the only downside to that scenario is that you probably don't want him returning kicks at that point and you have to find another kick returner not named Reno Mahe.

Kevin Kolb is better, but still not there. Kolb's numbers, through 2 preseason games where he took a good number of snaps, aren't bad, but they aren't great either. Kolb has a 54.2% completion percentage, which you would like to see a bit higher if you expect Kolb to take this team over next year. I realize that the last game was played in an electrical storm, but in the last two preseason games, I'd like Kolb to throw for a much higher completion percentage and engender a little confidence that he could be "the guy" in the event McNabb goes down again.

Winston Justice. Any Good? Last year's game against the Giants seems to be defining Winston Justice as a player. Justice came out of USC a highly touted offensive lineman, but seems to be going backwards as a player. Now, they are trying him at right tackle instead of his more familiar left tackle position. It would be a shame to see a pick that high go to waste.

Lorenzo Booker: Need More Information Booker is the second guy the Eagles have brought in and has been compared, either in the press or among the fanbase, to Brian Westbrook (Ryan Moats also comes to mind). Westbrook should start taking offense to these comparisons. Booker should see all of the snaps in the final preseason game and we will see if his performance rises to Booker's own professed enthusiasm to playing in Andy Reid's offense.

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