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August 11, 2016

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Buccaneers preseason game

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081116CarsonWentz Michael Perez/AP

Carson Wentz during his only appearance of the preseason.

The Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz era is officially underway, as the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-9 in a preseason game that ended mercifully when CB C.J. Smith picked off a Buccaneers pass in the end zone, thwarting the awful possibility for overtime.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards:

1) The 'Oooooooh!' Award: Carson Wentz

As we've noted repeatedly throughout training camp, Carson Wentz makes plays that Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel can only dream of making. The play in which Wentz climbed the pocket and threw a bullet on the run to Zach Ertz showed off his impressive athleticism and arm strength. It was the type of play he has made fairly regularly through the first 14 practices at training camp. This is something to get excited about:

2) The 'Nooooooo!' Award: Carson Wentz

Wentz giveth and Wentz taketh away. On the negative side, there are times when you go, "Yeah, that needs significant improvement." As we noted in our "Carson Wentz strengths and weaknesses" post, one of Wentz's clear weaknesses so far is that he's sailing passes high, and obviously, we saw quite a bit of that Thursday night.

3) The 'Ruh-roh' Award: The Eagles' second-team offensive line

Oof. That's all I have to say about the Eagles' second-team offensive line. This is how I imagine Eagles fans sweating Lane Johnson's suspension at the moment:

Dennis Kelly thought is was a good idea to slip PEDs into Lane Johnson's drink so that he'd get suspended.

But even he has to be rethinking that idea at the moment.

4) The 'Upheld' Award: Lane Johnson and Doug Pederson

It sounds a lot like the Eagles are expecting Lane to be suspended.

"You’re always got to be mindful of that obviously in the back of your mind," said Pederson in his post-game press conference. "It’s something I’ll visit with (OL coach Jeff Stoutland) this week and we’ll evaluate where we need to go from here. If that’s the case, if it’s upheld, we’ve got to be prepared to make some moves. And until it happens, we go full steam, but at the same time, we also know we’ve got to be smart about it to have people ready to go, if it is upheld."

"Upheld," huh? Ruh-roh.

5) The 'Quick Hook' Award: Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford: 1 for 1 on a checkdown, and done. I would have liked to have seen a second series, personally.

6) The 'Oh God' Award: Chase Daniel

Chase Daniel has had days in training camp where he has looked pretty good. He's had others in which he's been dreadful. Eagles fans were treated to the latter Thursday night.

7) The 'Still Special Special Teams' Award: Um, the Eagles' special teams

Najee Goode had a forced fumble that was recovered by Chris Maragos and led to a score, while Josh Huff and Kenjon Barner each had good kick returns. I keep waiting for the Eagles' special teams to drop off, but they just keep making plays. Maybe they'll be really good yet again this season.

8) The 'Mmmmmmmm ... Drrrrrrrrrrop' Award: The Eagles' receivers

Last year the Eagles led the NFL in dropped passes. Has anyone mentioned that yet since the conclusion of last season? If not, they did. Thursday night, it was more of the same, and from receivers who matter. Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Rueben Randle all had bad drops.

9) The 'What the Hell Are You Doing?' Award: Rueben Randle

I'm struggling to come up with an adjective for how I feel about Rueben Randle as a player, but it's not good. He's athletic, and looks like he should be a good player, but I can tell you right now he's going to find new and interesting ways to do dopey things.

On the play in which Huff fumbled and the ball was heading toward the sideline, instead of just catching it and stepping out of bounds, Randle swatted it out. That's a penalty. That should have been a first down, but instead, put the Eagles in a third and long situation that they could not convert. Randle killed a drive with a dopey play. Get used to it.

10) The 'Tight Ends Rule' Award: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton

Did you notice that on their first offensive possession the Eagles came out in a two tight end set, and then scored on a three tight end set? The Eagles should run their offense through their tight ends this season because that is the clear strength of the offense.

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