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August 12, 2021

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Steelers preseason game

The Philadelphia Eagles played a football game against another team Thursday night, when they hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first preseason game. They lost, 24-16 (who cares). As always, win, lose, or tie, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Up and Down' Award 📈📉: Jalen Hurts

Hurts played two series in the Eagles' opening preseason game. On his first series, Hurts went 2 of 4, including a strike to Dallas Goedert for 34 yards. His two incompletions were drops by Jalen Reagor and Zach Ertz. The Reagor throw wasn't perfect, but should have been caught. Encouraging start!

On his second drive, Hurts left a play on the field when he missed Quez Watkins, who got open on a deep route against the Steelers' Cameron Sutton. 

The Steelers brought 6, the OL picked up the blitz beautifully, Hurts made the right read, but... missed opportunity. With a more accurate throw, that's a 98-yard TD.

Hurts is going to make off-schedule plays this season that other quarterbacks cannot, but he's also going to miss on some potentially big plays that most quarterbacks would hit, like the one to Watkins above.

2) The 'Juice' Award 🧃: Quez Watkins

Watkins has had a great camp, and hey(!) he was the leading vote-getter in our stock-up Eagles media poll. You saw why Thursday night, first when he got open on what could have been a long TD, and then on the next series, when he exploded for a 78-yard TD on a quick screen.

Quez is gonna get poor No. 21 on the Steelers cut. I mean, look at that acceleration!

Watkins is making a strong argument that he should be a starter.

3) The 'Shutout' Award 0️⃣: The Eagles' first-team defense

OK, they only played one series, but shut up, they did some nice things. Javon Hargrave killed the Steelers' LG, and Anthony Harris had a nice read on a pass to a running back, and finished with a good hit. Good start for that group, even if Ben Roethlisberger got the night off. 

MORE: Who looked good in the Eagles' first preseason game?

4) The Vanilla Award 😴: Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon

On offense, Sirianni called basic plays. On defense, Gannon didn't show much in the way of creative, unique looks. That made for a boring preseason game, but, I mean, that's what preseason games are.

One of the advantages that the Eagles will have early in the season with this new coaching staff is that there will be some level of schematic mystery, so they're right to focus on figuring out who can play, instead of trying stuff out, scheme-wise.

5) The 'Maybe Not Even Practice Squad-Worthy' Award: Nick Mullens

1/5, 4 yards, 2 INT. Somewhere, Matt McGloin applauded in approval.

6) The 'Time of Possession Award ⏳: The Steelers

It kinda felt like the Steelers had the ball almost the entire game, right? And for good reason, because they did! The Steelers held the ball for over 41 minutes, which of course means that the Eagles held the ball for under 19 minutes. Trust me, I did the math on that. So if you were hoping to see a lot of the Eagles' third-team defense tonight, you were in luck! Speaking of which...

7) The 'Bleh' Award 🤢: The third-team defense

The third-team defense got torn apart by... (checks notes)... Dwayne Haskins. Most notably, the third-team defensive line got absolutely pushed around by the Steelers' reserve offensive line. I feel like a lot of players on this Eagles' third team defense won't have long NFL careers. Whatever. Doesn't matter.

Should also note that the third-team offense wasn't much better.

MORE: First half observations: Eagles 16, Steelers 7

8) The 'Perfection' Award 👌: Jake Elliott

Elliott had a down 2020 season, and Philadelphians ain't got no time for kicker struggles. And so, the pressure is on Elliott to have a bounce-back season. He's off to a good start, as he is 16 of 18 in practice (including 12 of his last 12), and he was 3 for 3 in his first preseason game, from distances of 47, 47, and 50. And he even made his PAT!

9) The 'Crusher' Award: Arryn Siposs

Four punts, 55.8 yard average. I'm running out of things to mention. 🤷‍♂️

10) The 'Up Next' Award 🔜: The Patriots

The Eagles will have joint practices with the New England Patriots next week, followed by the Eagles-Pats game, followed by more joint practices, with the New York Jets. That should add some much needed juice to practices.

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