FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – This time, wide receiver Shelton Gibson kept the football. And he doesn't want to let it go anytime soon.
Gibson was a bright spot for the Eagles in Thursday night's 37-20 loss to New England, catching 5 passes for 90 yards, including a 4-yarder from quarterback Nate Sudfeld that ended with Gibson in the end zone for the first Philadelphia points of the long evening at Gillette Stadium. It was Gibson's second straight strong preseason performance on the heels of the previous week's game against Pittsburgh, during which Gibson scored on a 63-yard catch-and-run from Sudfeld.
Clearly, the two of them have something good going. Clearly, Gibson is a totally different player than he was in 2017 as a fifth-round draft pick who was inconsistent catching the football.
"I've put a lot of work in," Gibson said. "My goal is to just get better every day, keep putting good days back to back. I feel like I'm doing that, but I know I have a lot more to do."
The Eagles didn't get much going on offense playing without receivers Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins, but Gibson certainly took advantage of his opportunities. He was targeted six times, had five catches, and looked fast and powerful against New England's starting secondary.
Gibson also averaged 30.3 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 46-yarder after New England took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
"I'm just in a different place than I was last year," he said. "I've grown up a lot, matured a lot. I have a lot more confidence. I've put last season behind me. It was frustrating, but it was also a learning experience and I've grown from it."
Gibson is in a roster battle at a crowded wide receiver position, but his back-to-back strong games give him a good case to make the 53-man roster.
"I can't worry about that," Gibson said. "I can only worry about what I'm doing. That's my focus."
Whatever Gibson is doing, it's working well. Gibson had two receptions for 77 yards and the 63-yard touchdown last week and then on Thursday night ran away from New England's defense on crossing routes and down the field on a sweet 57-yarder that Sudfeld threw perfectly with the Eagles' offense backed up against its end zone.
Gibson just wants to keep the party going. That's his goal.
"Just keep working hard and improving one percent every day," he said. "If I do that, I'm going to be OK."