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August 29, 2019

First half observations: Jets 3, Eagles 0

Eagles NFL
082919-ClaytonThorson-USAToday Noah K. Murray/USA Today

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Clayton Thorson (8) throws a pass against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium.

With a lot of Eagles backups fighting for their football lives Thursday night, it was defensive end Daeshon Hall who continued to stand out in their final preseason contest. Hall's play was the highlight of what was otherwise a dreary half against the Jets, and they trail 3-0 in the preseason finale.

Here's what I saw.

The Good

• Watching the fourth game of the preseason might be borderline insane, but there was some good news to open the broadcast. Dave Spadaro relayed from the sideline that the official word on DeSean Jackson is that he will play in Week 1, and though that was the early expectation, any further positive news on the matter is a good thing.

• It's partially a product of opportunity, but Daeshon Hall has probably been the player of the preseason for Philadelphia. On the very first pass play the Jets ran on Thursday, Hall got into the backfield and knocked Trevor Siemian to the turf. Later on the same possession, the Jets were forced to send a late double team at Hall to prevent him from getting to the quarterback, only for another Eagles lineman to pick up a sack in the process.

He has made plays early and often, including immediately after returning to the field following an injury scare. And with time ticking down late in the first half, Hall came up with a sack-fumble, which was easily the standout play of the half for Philadelphia.

At this point, it would be pretty surprising if he's not the team's fourth defensive end heading into the season. Cutting him would be flat-out ridiculous, honestly, unless there's some underlying character or health flaw none of us are aware of on the outside. Take it a step further — he probably should sit the entire second half of this game, because he has proven he belongs on this team.

• The half ended, which frankly I think we should all be thankful for.

The Bad

• Clayton Thorson's opening drive: 3-for-5 for zero yards. That's hard to do. Personally, I feel like his first-half performance was the universe messing with me after praising him for playing well in the second week of the preseason because anything I say about an Eagles quarterback ends up coming back around on me, good or bad.

The evidence up to this point suggests Thorson is not a short or long-term answer for this team, though, and keeping four quarterbacks on the roster for the sake of developing him feels like it would be pretty silly. In spite of playing behind a line filled with third-string lineman, Thorson had plenty of time to work in the pocket on Thursday, and he did almost nothing with it.

The only good news is that it's hard to figure his play will inspire anyone to claim him on waivers if the Eagles end up going that route. That would allow Philadelphia to keep him on the practice squad and attempt to develop him, which would be a better outcome than lighting a recent draft pick on fire.

• If I were Wendell Smallwood's agent, I would have advised against fumbling during the fourth preseason game with your job on the line.

• I want hazard pay for watching Josh Hawkins attempt to cover opposing receivers all preseason. Good grief. 

And by the way, if you need to know how bad the Eagles' injury crisis was in the secondary last season, remember that Hawkins had to play in some serious situations down the stretch last year, including in their season-ending loss to the Saints. How is that possible? The world may never know.

• Overheard during the broadcast: "Nobody knew where that ball was going." That turned out to be a theme of the half.

The Ugly

• Hall briefly looked to be hurt in the first quarter and took a trip to the medical tent, but thankfully for everyone crazy enough to tune in*, he returned to action.

*I include myself in this crazy group, for the record.

• If you needed any more evidence that the preseason is too long, I present to you this picture:

Everyone should go enjoy some warm summer nights elsewhere, seriously. 


Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleNeubeck

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