Highlighting Philadelphia Eagles' Best Preseason Performers so Far
This might actually be the most boring preseason for the Philadelphia Eagles in a number of years. And that's perfectly okay.
There's no quarterback competition this offseason. There hasn't been a coaching change or a major coordinator change. The team hasn't signed a slew of free agents. Nobody has predicted a potential dynasty or called the team a "Dream Team." There hasn't been a devastating injury.
It's been quiet and peaceful and that's been a relief.
On the football side of things, the Eagles really haven't played that well during the preseason, losing to the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots. But that's also okay. Nothing that happens during the preseason is ever relevant once the season starts.
All I want to see is no major injuries and so far that's been the case.
But in case you are concerned about which players are dominating the practice field and lighting up the stat sheets, the following five players have been particularly impressive over the last month.
Mark Sanchez, Quarterback
For the second straight season, the Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best backup quarterback situations in the National Football League. Last year, it was the veteran Michael Vick but this season, it's Mark Sanchez, the castoff of the New York Jets.
Signed to a one-year deal in free agency, Sanchez has been brilliant during two preseason games. He's completed 18 of 22 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns (with one interception). He's played well enough that there's even been speculation about Chip Kelly being open to possibly trading Sanchez (although there's no way that will happen) should teams express interest. In fact, John Breech of CBSSports said Sanchez is his preseason MVP.
It's reassuring to know that the Eagles have a competent backup in the event that starting QB Nick Foles can't play all 16 games, and let's not forget that he's sustained a broken hand and a concussion over his first two seasons.
Sanchez is the type of gritty veteran who can move the chains and make the necessary big plays when called upon. He'll likely end up making a start or two this season.
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver
Since he was drafted, Jordan Matthews has gone from being the greatest wide receiver in NFL history to a massive bust to a future Hall of Famer again.
Yes, I'm exaggerating a little bit.
But seriously, it's been an up-and-down offseason for Matthews. He was initially touted the best receiver on the Eagles during OTAs, but a brutal first preseason game (three drops) really crushed the spirits of a many Eagles fans.
Then Matthews exploded during the Eagles' second preseason game, catching nine passes for 104 yards against the New England Patriots.
From a fantasy football perspective, Matthews will probably be a disappointment this season. He's one of seven legitimate receiving weapons (McCoy, Sproles, Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Ertz and Celek) playing for a run-oriented team. But Matthews' fantasy football value isn't important.
What's important is that he has all the tools to be a dominant receiver for the next decade. He's big, strong, fast and intelligent. He's the perfect Chip Kelly receiver.
Zach Ertz, Tight End
The Zach Ertz hype train is going full speed right now, and it's being headed by the football minds at Rotoworld. The general belief around the league is that Ertz is ready for a breakout season, one that would establish himself as a top-ten, possibly a top-five, tight end in the National Football League.
He's already stated that he feels he can get open against anybody. Let's hope he does that during the regular season, because he's poised to emerge as Nick Foles' top receiving weapon during 2014.
Matt Tobin, Offensive Guard
The Eagles suffered a major blow to their offensive line when last year's first-round draft pick, Lane Johnson, was suspended for four games because of PED use. The suspension moves veteran Allen Barbre to the starting spot at right tackle but leaves the Eagles with absolutely no proven depth elsewhere along the front.
Thankfully, Matt Tobin has emerged during the preseason to rank as the best offensive player in the entire NFL through two preseason games, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
An undrafted rookie in 2013, Tobin saw action in two games last season. He was named as one of CSNPhilly's potential breakout candidates for the Eagles this year, and so far, he's completely exceeding expectations.
Beau Allen, Nose Tackle
One of the most under-the-radar training camp battles for the Eagles this preseason has been the battle for the backup spot at nose tackle, with Beau Allen competing against Damion Square.
Allen, a seventh-round draft pick this year, has thoroughly dominated the competition during training camp and in both preseason games. Square hasn't been a disappointment by any means, even collecting a blocked field goal in the first preseason game, but he has almost no shot of earning a roster spot at this point.
Allen, a massive 330-pound body who can clog the middle of the defensive line, has already registered a plus-1.9 rating in just 14 combined snaps, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).