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Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles outplayed Cleveland Browns rookie Brandon Weeden on Friday night, and it wasn’t all that close.
Weeden struggled against the Eagles
Weeden fumbled twice while completing just 9 of his 20 pass attempts. Weeden also did not appear to be on the same page as his No. 1 receiver, completing just one of fourpasses aimed at Greg Little. Both Weeden and Little were visibly frustrated on the field due to their miscommunications on two of the incompletions.
The issue with Weeden was handling Philadelphia’s pass rush, which brought consistent pressure and forced Weeden into multiple mistakes.
Foles, on the other hand, exceeded expectations and likely made Andy Reid feel very comfortable about his quarterback situation. Foles was expected to be Philly’s third string quarterback behind Mike Vick and Mike Kafka, but could now push Kafka for the backup job.
Against the Browns Foles looked poised under pressure, especially for a rookie, and completed 12 of 19 passes for 146 yards.
Cincinnati Bengals undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict is reportedly on the bubble for making the final 53-man roster according to Paul Dehner Jr., of CBS Sports. Burfict has been competing with Roddrick Muckelroy for the backup job behind Rey Maualuga.
Frankly, the fact that he’s even in the conversation is a big win for Burfict. He may be worth developing, but unless he has improved by leaps and bounds this offseason, he isn’t ready for the NFL. Since the Bengals consider themselves serious contenders in the AFC, it would come as a surprise if they used a roster spot on a rookie with significant development still needed.
Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted rookie linebacker Adrian Robinson‘s stock is rising, according to Chris Adamski of CBS Sports. Robinson entered camp with little chance of earning a spot on the 53-man roster due to the Steelers depth at linebacker, but his performance could make for a tough decision for the Steelers coaching staff.
Adamski currently has Robinson on the outside looking in on his projected 53-man roster, but notes that if James Harrison or Jason Worilds starts the season the PUP list, it would open up a spot for Robinson.
According to Patrick Southern of CBS Sports, undrafted free agent Leonard Johnson is not expected to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 53-man roster.
Johnson was initially projected as a potential Day 2 pick in the early stages of the draft process, but his stock plummeted after a poor showing at the combine. He remained one of the most physical defensive backs in the 2012 draft class, however, so it came as a surprise when he went undrafted. He will likely end up on the Bucs practice squad if he isn’t picked up by another team.
The New England Patriots added a potentially dangerous weapon to their offense last week by signing undrafted free agent Jeff Demps, fresh off his Olympic performance. On Wednesday, Demps participated in practice for the first time.
While Demps was on the field, he played a small role in practice and acknowledged he still has a long way to go: “I haven’t touched a football since [January]. Today is my first time, so I have a long way to go, but I just want to come out each and every day and work hard.”
It would seem unlikely that we’ll see Demps in a significant role early in the season, but if the Patriots are interested in using him strictly as a return specialist it may not take long for him to get back up to speed.
Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson is expected to return to the practice field next week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, but the team is hopeful that he will be ready by opening weekend. In the meantime, Montario Hardesty has been handling the first-team duties, and has been backed up by veteran Brandon Jackson.
Seattle Seahawks 2nd-round pick Bobby Wagner is expected to take over the starting role at middle linebacker. He had been in a close competition with veteran Barrett Ruud, but the Seahawks dealt Ruud to New Orleans on Tuesday. Wagner’s backup will be veterans Heath Farwell and/or Matt McCoy.
Wagner was a four-year starter at Utah State and a team captain during his junior and senior years. Pete Carroll has reportedly been impressed with his work ethic and it sounds as though he’s at the beginning of a promising career in Seattle.
Four players are reportedly in the mix to win the Minnesota Vikings punt return job, including rookies Jarius Wright and Josh Robinson.
Vikings special teams coach Miek Priefer offered this insight into where each players stands:
The guy I’m most comfortable with would be Marcus [Sherels], because he’s done it before and he’s very sure-handed. Josh has got some juice to him, as you’ve seen on defense as well. [Bryan] Walters has been there before, and Jarius is kind of in the developmental stage right now, to be honest with you.”
Considering the Vikings aren’t likely to compete this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them test multiple players in this role during the regular season until they find their long-term guy.
Nick Foles will start Friday’s preseason game for the Philadelphia Eagles, filling in for Michael Vick. While Vick appears to be fine, the Eagles simply don’t want to risk any further injury in the final two preseason games.
On Friday, the Eagles will fave the Browns, who have allowed just 329 through the air and have picked off five passes through two games, so this may actually prove to be a good test for the rookie quarterback.