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Exclamation Point Ends Preseason

The scoreboard at Lincoln Financial Field glowed well after the game ended, telling the story of Thursday night's cherry on the top of this preseason: Eagles 37, Jets 7. It was the perfect way to send the team heading to the regular season.

Philadelphia's offense, even with a depleted cast of running backs, gained a whopping 568 total net yards and did it so effortlessly and balanced it was scary to think what it could be like in the regular season. The Eagles gained 292 passing yards and 276 on the ground to end the preseason 2-2, with a great health outlook and with a lot of difficult decisions to make to reach the 53-man roster limit.

"We're moving in the right direction," said head coach Chip Kelly, refusing to look into the future and make any kind of predictions.

There was a lot to digest and a lot to like from this one. The Eagles were that good in winning their second consecutive game in convincing fashion. There is no such thing as "peaking" in a preseason, but this roster sure has flexed some muscle and depth to whip the Steelers and Jets in successive weeks.

  • Matt Barkley played a very fine game at quarterback, completing 21 of 33 passes for 253 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 7-yard run for a touchdown. His interception was a throw on a slant intended for receiver Quron Pratt and it was not a well-placed throw, but Barkley bounced back and found a wide-open Arrelious Benn down the right sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass. The game slowed down for Barkley, who took all of the reps during the week preparing for the assignment. The Eagles have to feel pretty darn good about their three-deep at quarterback, and just for good measure G.J. Kinne came in and led a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and completing all three of his passes.
  • Did Cody Parkey win a job as the placekicker? He nailed field goals of 54, 25 and 53 yards and his kickoffs were fine. Alex Henery kicked off well, but was not called upon to kick a field goal. The Eagles have a very tough decision to make at placekicker. Is it Henery? Is it Parker? Is it a player off the waiver wire?
  • The Eagles ran the heck out of the football, led by Henry Josey's 121 yards on 22 carries. Josey had himself a great preseason with 34 carries and 225 yards. Yet, it's far from certain that he will make the 53-man roster. Chris Polk did not play on Thursday, still bothered by a hamstring injury, and in fact did not play in any preseason game. But he has NFL experience and the Eagles think his injury isn't long lasting and ... who knows who makes it behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles at running back? Could be Josey. Could be Matthew Tucker, who gained 39 yards on 6 carries before leaving with a shoulder injury. Could be Kenjon Barner, who had 21 yards on 5 carries before leaving with an ankle injury.
  • Lane Johnson played the entire game at right tackle and will now miss the opening four games of the season as he serves his four-game NFL suspension. Johnson plans to go to Texas to train with an eye on returning to the Eagles ready to step back into the lineup for Week 5. Johnson will not count against the 53-man roster during his suspension.
  • Damaris Johnson may or may not make this roster, but he certainly had a terrific preseason and on Thursday night again showed his versatility. He had a 46-yard touchdown run and gained 69 yards on 5 carries, caught 2 passes for 19 yards and averaged 17,3 yards on 3 punts. Oh, and Johnson returned a kickoff 20 yards to total 160 yards on 11 touches.
  • Travis Long had a quarterback sack and a couple of tackles as he worked at both inside and outside linebacker in the game.
  • Safety Earl Wolff continued his solid play with a forced fumble that led to a Parkey field goal to end the first half. Wolff has really been around the football in his second summer.
  • This team has some really good, young players up front on defense and one who isn't so young, 29-year-old Brandon Bair, has a great chance to make the 53-man roster. New York had 26 carries and 97 yards in the game. The Eagles have largely been outstanding against the run all summer.
  • Here is the reason Donnie Jones is so valuable: The Eagles were backed up to their 12-yard line in the first quarter and Jones bombed a 54-yard punt. The coverage got down the field and Najee Goode dropped returner man Jalen Sonders for a 9-yard loss. An illegal block penalty cost the Jets another 10 yards and New York took over on its 15-yard line. Talk about turning the field around.
  • Just a note to give kudos to the special teams. They played outstanding football, particularly in coverage, in four preseason games.
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