Paul Turner, Marcus Smith, Dorial Green-Beckham make strong cases in preseason finale - Metro US

Paul Turner, Marcus Smith, Dorial Green-Beckham make strong cases in preseason finale

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Marcus Smith makes a push

The Eagles (surprising) first round pick Smith from two years ago is a fringe player this year, fighting against Stephen Means for a spot onthe 53-man roster.

The pass-rusher tallied multipletacklesfor loss and looked impressive on defense while also showing hisathleticism on special teams. He may be able to hang on for one more year after a solid performance Thursday.

Means didn’t go down quietly though, recording a sackto help his cause. He’s been a force all preseason and if the Eagles can find a way to keep both, they will.

Lane Johnson stays on sidelines

Anyone at Lincoln Financial Field (there was a putrid, more than half empty stadium Thursday night) or watching on TV noticed that starting right tackle Lane Johnson, who has been playing with the second unit all summer did not suit up for the game.

In a move with implications that Johnson was being saved to start in Week 1 against the Browns, HalapoulivaatiVaitaistarted in his place.According to a report from Howard Eskin, Johnson’s’B sample’ for the banned substance that could garner him a 10-game suspension is expected to arrive after the season starts on September 11. The test will confirm whether or not Johnson’s second infraction against the NFL’s banned substance policy is upheld or overturned.As a result, he’ll be eligible to play in the opener — assuming the appeal isn’t determined beforehand.

The Titans made a big mistake

Dorial Green-Beckham had twocatches for 31 yards during his brief earlystint on the game Thursday. Clearly the Eagles are keen on finding ways to get him the ball. And clearly the 23-year-old, whose natural gifts include a 6-foot-5, 237 pound frame, is doing all he can to make his former team regret shipping the troubled young receiver toPhiladelphia in exchange for backup, journeyman offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.

DGB provides the Eagles with a durable red zone threat and along with 6-foot-3 Jordan Matthews a pair of big, intimidatingwide receivers at the top of the depth chart. If Green-Beckham can keep his head in the game and play to his potential, it could prove to be one of the best moves Howie Roseman has ever made.

Bird bites

  • Former Temple Owls’ wide receiver Robby Anderson caught a 44-yard touchdown pass (from Bryce Petty) in the first quarter. It wasn’t the first TD Anderson has scored at Lincoln Financial Field, and his impressive preseason play gives another Temple guy, Jets head coach Todd Bowles the opportunity to carry the wideout onto the 53-man roster.
  • Paul Turner looks like a lock to make the 53-man roster. He returned a punt 71-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter Thursday night.No receiver on the Eagles has caught more preseason passes than Paul Turner. His emergence has helped him outlast Rueben Randle and Chris Givens and he will likely be slottedas the fifth WR on the squad (behind Matthews, Green-Beckham, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff).
  • Sam Bradford, not expected to play, was not in Philly Thursday night to watch the Eagles face the Jets — he was excused by the team to go home to be with his family after the death of his grandfather.
  • Ed Reynolds had a big pick-6 late in the third quarter to put Philly ahead 14-6, taking Christian Hackenberg’s redzone pass attempt 90 yards. Reynolds is battling Blake Countess and Jaylen Watkins for a safety spot on the roster.

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