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Eagles vs. Jaguars: Stock up, stock down from preseason win

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 15, 2019 - 10:13 pm

The Eagles got their first win of the preseason on Thursday night in their 24-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. 

There was plenty to take away from the game, but the big news was the exit of quarterback Cody Kessler, the team’s top backup entering the game with Nate Sudfeld still sidelined with a broken wrist. Kessler left the game with a concussion and it isn’t clear when he will return to practice. The team almost has to sign a quarterback this week, however, now that both Kessler will likely miss some practice time. 

The good news for the Eagles? Kessler going down meant extended playing time for rookie Clayton Thorson — who took a big step forward from his terrible debut last week. 

Here is a stock up, stock down report from Thursday’s game:

Stock Up:

Clayton Thorson: The bar for Thorson was very low on Thursday night, considering how awful he was last week against the Tennessee Titans. That being said, Thorson had some nice moments against the Jaguars and looked the best he has since being drafted by the Eagles. 

Thorson had a nice completion in the first quarter to receiver Charles Johnson, hitting him across the middle in stride for a nine-yard gain. Thorson followed up that pass with another nice attempt down the sideline to receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Even though the pass fell incomplete, it was on the money and went through through Arcega-Whiteside’s hands. 

Thorson threw his first career (preseason) touchdown pass on the following drive, when he avoided oncoming pressure and threw a jump ball up to receiver Greg Ward Jr., who went up, caught the ball and ran it in for a 38-yard touchdown. 

What was most impressive about Thorson was how calm he looked and how he simply ran the offense. His best drive of the game came in the third quarter, when he took the offense on a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. Thorson completed seven passes on the drive, with his only two incompletions coming on plays that the Jaguars were penalized on. 

The chances of Thorson making it through waivers took a hit on Thursday night — which means his chances of making the roster increased. 

Miles Sanders: It seemed like the Eagles never got extra yards from their running backs last season, as the collection of players they had would simply get the yards that were there and go down. They are hoping rookie running back Miles Sanders can make those special plays to turn short gains into long ones, and Sanders showed he had the potential to do just that on Thursday night. 

Sanders had a nice 16-yard carry on first-down with just under four minutes to play in the first  quarter. Sanders took advantage of a fairly big hole to run through, but carried two-or-three Jaguars defenders towards the end of the run to gain an extra five yards. 

Greg Ward: It is hard to imagine the Eagles find a spot for Ward on the roster, but there is no denying Ward has done absolutely everything he can to make the team so far. He has more catches than any other receiver in training camp and came down with a touchdown on Thursday night. 

Jonathan Cyprien: Got in on the first defensive drive of the game when all of the starters will playing. Cyprien came in for linebacker Zach Brown, a role it is easy to see Cyprien filling on third down during the regular season. The fact the Eagles did it on Thursday night is a sign of where Cyprien stands on the roster. 

Daeshon Hall: Hall is really building a strong case to make the roster. Coming off of a strong preseason game debut last week, Hall shined again on Thursday night, coming up with a strip-sack in the second quarter. Hall followed up the strip-sack with strong play throughout the night, and nearly came away with another sack on the following drive. Hall tallied his second sack of the night with under 30 seconds to play in the first half. 

Hall did not get much buzz this offseason, but maybe he should have, as he was on the playoff roster last year. The way Hall has played so far, however, it is hard to see the Eagles cutting him. If they do, chances are he will not make it through waivers. 

Stock Down: 

Cody Kessler: Kessler’s big night to prove he should be the backup did not go to plan. Kessler exited on the first drive of the game after being drilled in the back by Jaguars defensive linemen Datone Jones. Kessler played one more snap before being taken into the medical tent. Kessler did not impress during his brief time in the game, throwing two ugly passes and deciding not to slide at the end of the run, taking a hit he could have avoided. 

Mack Hollins: Hollins was active on Thursday night, which is a step in the right direction. What didn’t help Hollins was that he didn’t start — Arcega-Whiteside and Charles Johnson did — and he didn’t really stand out when he was on the field. 

Stefen Wisniewsi: Veteran offensive linemen Stefen Wisniewski’s struggles snapping the ball made their way to Jacksonville on Thursday night, as he sent a snap on the second drive of the game into the feet of Thorson, killing the play and forcing the quarterback to throw the ball away. Wisniewski had another bad snap later on in the first quarter. Wisniewski has value as a backup offensive guard, but his poor play at backup center might put his roster spot in some jeopardy. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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