TB-PHI grades: Bucs rookie defenders star in debut
Here is the analysis off of PFF’s grading of the Eagles’ 17-9 preseason win over the Buccaneers on Thursday night:
The quarterback: Chase Daniel took over after Sam Bradford took one series of play. The newly acquired QB did not endear himself to the Philly fans. The offensive line was a nightmare, but Daniel simply refused to pull the trigger on any sort of tight window. He didn’t complete a single pass attempt 10 or more yards down the field.
Rookie No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz definitely showed more signs of life, although he also had glaring concerns. Wentz was much farther along in his ability to make reads and quick decisions than I thought he’d be, but his overthrows were a big issue. He skied multiple throws, including his interception over the middle. Missing high is the kiss of death for a QB, and it’s something he’ll have to fix.
Offense: I know they trotted out a myriad of backup offensive linemen, but yikes, this was a rough performance. Rookies Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Darrell Greene all took in on the chin for most of the game, while free-agent acquisition Stefen Wisniewski was equally ugly. The closest thing to a standout was running back Kenjon Barner, who made Kwon Alexander miss on a flat route for a first down and had multiple nice cuts in the run game.
Defense: The Philly D made the opening kickoff a statement for the remainder of the game. Eagles LB Najee Goode stripped Bucs WR Kenny Bell of the football on the opening play, and their ensuing drive was capped off by a five-yard Ryan Mathews touchdown run. The defense combined for four sacks, 14 hurries and the three interceptions. FS Jaylen Watkins, Oregon rookie LB Joe Walker (five apiece) led the team in tackles, while DI Beau Allen racked up a sack, a hit and a hurry in only 16 plays against the pass. Florida rookie DE Alex McAlister also chipped in with a pair quarterback pressures of his own.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback: The Eagles’ defense shut down the Bucs’ running game (21 attempts for 31 yards, two first downs) and essentially left the Bucs’ backup quarterbacks hanging out to dry. That said, the Tampa Bay quarterbacks are not off the hook for their performance after fumbling twice, throwing three interceptions and converting 3 of 14 third-down attempts.
Offense: The only notable offensive performance was provided by WR Russell Shepard, who collected all three targets for 63 yards and 5.25 yards per route run. He secured a 26-yard touchdown pass in at 7:01 in the first quarter and connected with Mike Glennon in the second quarter for a 30-yard gain capped off by a nasty juke that left Eagles rookie CB Jalen Mills standing.
Defense: This is how you want your rookies to make their debut. First-round corner Vernon Hargreaves III showed exceptional instincts in zone coverage on his second quarter near interception. He didn’t allow a single reception in 16 coverage snaps. Noah Spence also came out in a big way, notching three pressures and multiple other defeats against left tackle Andrew Gardner. Run defense is still a huge question mark for Spence, however, as he was taken well off the ball by Brent Celek on the first drive of the game.