5 Philadelphia Eagles Who Continue to Impress
Philadelphia Eagles Who Continue to Impress
Preseason football is used to help determine the players who will compose the rosters of each NFL team. Surprises happen each year, but for the most part many positions and players can be predicted before camp even begins. However, teams coming off of losing seasons or with new head coaches often have more openings than others and young players are given the opportunity to step up their play and become contributors from the beginning. Consistency throughout training camp and the preseason games goes a long way in earning a starting position or increasing time on the field. This is very true of the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles and has been extremely important in beginning to determine how they will shape their roster in the coming weeks.
Many young players have taken the opportunity to solidify themselves as contenders for starting roles, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In addition, players who were expected to fill positions from the beginning have impressed by moving along more quickly and are already playing at a consistently higher level than could have been expected. Their performances, combined with the lack of production from other players, have already begun to shape what the Eagles will look like come Week 1 in Washington.
Leaving the lasting impression on each game, each opportunity, is something these players have done in each of the first two preseason games. Look for each of them to continue to build on the positive effect they’ve had on Philadelphia football, under new head coach Chip Kelly, and to earn more comprehensive roles in their respective positions before the start of the season.
Cederic Thornton continues to impress at defensive end providing quickness at the line. He has consistently put pressure on the quarterback, found himself in the backfield and helped to stop the run. Not only will Thornton find himself in the rotation on the defensive line, as many were hoping, if he continues to play at a high level, he’ll probably find himself in the starting lineup regularly.
Chris Polk, although taking a back seat to starting running back LeSean McCoy in the second preseason game, has consistently been a reliable performer. He has shown the ability to find holes in the opposition and to break off runs to improve field position. He has also shown the ability to create separation and make himself available in the pass game. Look for him to continue to find more reps and gain confidence behind McCoy as the preseason moves on.
Earl Wolff has continued to improve his play since the beginning of training camp. He brings something to the table that has been missing from Philadelphia safeties in the past few years with his ability to leave a lasting hit. With the unsure play of Nate Allen, Wolff is primed to take a bigger role in the Eagles defense and may even find himself starting in Week 1 if he continues to impress.
Damaris Johnson continues to impress as the return man for the Eagles. He has found himself avoiding tacklers and gaining yards on each of his returns, including a 19 yard punt return in the second preseason game. His speed and elusiveness provide a great deal of difficulty for the opposing special team, regardless of where he catches the ball. Look for Johnson to take the reins as the main return man in both the kick and punt games, as well as seeing some time at wide receiver.
Lane Johnson, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has helped to solidify the offensive line in front of the Philadelphia quarterbacks. His consistent play and quick adjustment to the NFL game have proven to be extremely important to the Eagles having offensive success and making the passers feel comfortable. He has been active in keeping rushers out of the backfield and giving either the running or passing game plenty of time to make plays. Look for him to become a mainstay for many years, beginning in his rookie season, on the Eagles line.