Philadel­phia Ea­gles

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NFC EAST -

The first-team of­fense ended its pre­sea­son look­ing very much reg­u­lar-sea­son-ready.

In its one quar­ter of ac­tion dur­ing a pre­sea­son vic­tory against the Mi­ami Dol­phins, the of­fense scored two touch­downs and showed why the Ea­gles be­lieve they can be a con­tender for a play­off spot, per­haps even the NFC East ti­tle. Sec­ond-year QB Car­son

Wentz dis­played poise, ac­cu­racy, elu­sive­ness and sound de­ci­sion-

mak­ing. TE Zach Ertz helped bail him out of trou­ble by find­ing open spa­ces and mak­ing tough catches.

WR Tor­rey Smith got be­hind the de­fense for a 50-yard touch­down catch, and Al­shon Jef­fery showed his value as a red-zone re­ceiver with a 15-yard TD.

RBs LeGar­rette Blount and Wen­dell Small­wood gave the run­ning game a strong in­sid­e­out­side punch. Blount did his run­away freight train im­pres­sion in steam­ing for a 16-yard run, while Small­wood was swift and elu­sive on the cor­ners. “That’s def­i­nitely sort of a blueprint of what you’d like to see dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son,” coach Doug Ped­er­son said. Rookie watch: Top draft choice DE Derek Bar­nett got his first pre­sea­son start, with Bran

don Gra­ham side­lined by an el­bow in­jury. Play­ing the left side rather than his cus­tom­ary right, Bar­nett didn’t crack the stat sheet but de­liv­ered a solid per­for­mance. Mean­while, vet­eran Vinny Cur

ry, Bar­nett’s com­pe­ti­tion for the right end job, had a strip-sack and

quar­ter­back hit.

Note­wor­thy: OLB My­chal Ken­dricks’ re­birth con­tin­ued with his third in­ter­cep­tion of the pre­sea­son — this one a pick-six — a pass breakup and a quar­ter­back hit. … CB Ron Darby fol­lowed his ex­cep­tional Ea­gles de­but with an ugly out­ing, blow­ing cov­er­ages, miss­ing tack­les, get­ting flagged for in­ter­fer­ence and flat-out get­ting beat on a 72-yard com­ple­tion. . … Philadel­phia made one more move to bol­ster its shaky cor­ner­back po­si­tion by ac­quir­ing re­serve CB Dex­ter McDougle from the New York Jets for backup S Ter­rence Brooks.

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