In the great running back debate, how do you go against a back that had to shoulder the load due to injuries to others (Matthew Tucker - shoulder, and Kenjon Barner - ankle), and parlayed a staggering 22 preseason carries into 121 yards? With an even 5.5 yards a run, rookie Josey once more showed a veteran's patience in letting the holes develop, while at other times, hitting the edges with lightning speed. The up-tempo offense values quickness, and Josey, even with the heavy workload, brought it in spades.
Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? David Akers, in his entire Eagles career, only made two regular season kicks of 53+ yards, and in one preseason game, Parkey blasts just as many. Alex Henery's face, behind an astonished Trent Cole on the sidelines, said more than words could ever convey. Even Henery's post-game interview sounded like a self-post-mortem. Parkey just has to be the guy.
LB BRYAN BRAMAN
If a criticism of the Eagles defense is that it lacks the malevolent pass rush of the Ryan, Carson, or Johnson years, Braman's shown to be a good remedy. His quickness off the snap last night was reminiscent of Vinny Curry (though in one case, he was rightly flagged for encroachment), and his hyper-aggressive hits really stand out. Brought in for his special teams acumen, anything Braman brings to the D is a bonus, and that was quite a demonstration Thursday night.
DE Brandon Bair
I have a hard time believing that Bair is a bubble guy, but some 'experts' believe he's just barely making it onto the roster. For a well-rested veteran, Bair sets the edge on runs like he's been doing it in his sleep for years. His quickness into the backfield is a major plus, and with less miles on his body, that's the kind of body you want in a deep defensive rotation. There's no reason not to keep him, and the run-stopping from the Eagles last night only verifies that thought.
Watkins is still unpolished, and there's little chance that a fourth rounder gets cut in his rookie year, but there he was, forced into action with Curtis Marsh and Roc Carmichael against the Jets. Of the three corners, Watkins played the most impressively, zoning in with hard hits, while taking on kind of the corner/safety hybrid role that suits his talents best. Marsh and Carmichael aren't hard cuts, but Watkins at least stood out from the fray, which is a good step forward.
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