PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz got things rolling with his two new receivers Thursday, throwing for touchdowns to Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 38-31 preseason win over the Miami Dolphins.
Smith’s first catch in an Eagles uniform was a big one, as he took advantage of busted coverage for a 50-yard TD early in the first quarter. Wentz began targeting Jeffery later in the period, finding him for a 20-yard gain before coming back to him for a 15-yard touchdown down the seam.
It was far from a perfect day for the Eagles’ offense. Wentz absorbed a number of shots in his quarter’s worth of work, the offensive line leaking for a third straight week.
QB depth chart: Wentz ended 6-of-10 for 129 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He was under pressure on more than 60 percent of his throws Thursday, according to Pro Football Focus tracking. One of his most impressive snaps was also among the most chaotic, as he stumbled as he dropped back, regained his footing, spun to avoid contact and flung the ball across the field to Zach Ertz, who rumbled for a sizable gain.
His preseason now complete, Wentz finished 16-of-23 for 241 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Nick Foles continues to deal with elbow soreness in his throwing arm and missed the game. That injury is starting to become a concern with the regular season fast approaching. Matt McGloin and Dane Evans got the work in his absence.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Eagles looked …: Up and down on defense. Cornerback Ronald Darby has drawn nothing but positive reviews since being acquired from the Buffalo Bills. But he appeared to mistime a jump on a 72-yard DeVante Parker catch-and-run that led to a Jay Ajayi TD and was flagged for pass interference on Kenny Stills deep in Eagles territory to set up another Dolphins score. One positive? Defensive end Vinny Curry, who has had a quiet summer, came charging off the right side and jarred the ball loose from Jay Cutler on Miami’s first drive.
One reason to be concerned: The O-line is expected to be a strength but has been shaky through three preseason games. Wentz took some shots, including one when he was bent backward by linebacker Lawrence Timmons during a pass attempt. His interception was forced by defensive end William Hayes, who got in deep on tackle Lane Johnson and tipped the ball as it was coming out of Wentz’s hands. This group needs to improve before the opener at Washington on Sept. 10.
That guy could start: Running back Wendell Smallwood showed the burst that opened eyes during training camp. Back from a hamstring injury, he had four carries for 28 yards (7.0 average). Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said this week Smallwood has the makings of a three-down back, though he’ll have to straighten out his pass protection to stay on the field on third down.
Rookie watch: First-round pick Derek Barnett got the start in Brandon Graham‘s absence (elbow). He had a pretty quiet night overall. Cornerback Rasul Douglas dropped Damien Williams for a big loss, torpedoing into the backfield to chop down the back. Receiver Mack Hollins had five catches for 44 yards.
Kendricks for MVP: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had his third interception of the summer, snaring a Matt Moore pass that was tipped by teammate C.J. Smith, and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. Those three picks match his career regular-season total. The subject of heavy trade speculation, Kendricks looks like a motivated player.