MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Tyreek Hill dusted the Eagles defense at practice earlier in the week and the NFL’s most dangerous player did it again Saturday night, setting the tone for a 48-10 Miami blowout win in the preseason finale with a 51-yard splash from Tua Tagovaiola on Miami’s first offensive play.
The fact that Miami coach Mike McDaniel even played his starting quarterback, top receiver, and many other starters raised some eyebrows but the rookie mentor felt they needed work after Thursday’s scheduled joint practice session was wiped out by a stomach virus that was running through the Dolphins locker room.
“I think it felt good for them. They’ve put in a lot of work, but it doesn’t matter until you do it in a stadium in front of fans,” McDaniel said at halftime.
The Eagles did practice at the Baptist Health Training Facility in an intrasquad fashion on Thursday and their coach, Nick Sirianni, felt that was enough work for his starters. A total of 33 of the available 81 players didn’t even dress for Philadelphia, including all of the key starters and the Eagles’ JV team was no match for the Miami varsity.
“You never want to come out there and lay an egg like we did,” said Sirianni. “You know, my message was we got to look at it and we got to all look at ourselves in the mirror and get better from it. I’ll always put it on us as coaches first. We are the ones that prepare them, and then they have to be the ones that go out and play.
“So we all got to look at ourselves in the mirror and get better, and that’s the win or lose philosophy that we have after each and every game that we play here in Philadelphia.”
Beneath the horror, there were some positives for a few Eagles’ bubble players.
Deon Cain – The big receiver made an excellent case for himself if a spot opens up with a potential Jalen Reagor trade. Cain has shown nice chemistry with Gardner Minshew this summer and that continued on Saturday night. The Clemson product is clearly the best of the Eagles’ second-tier receivers.
Devon Allen – Speaking of special teams, Allen was spectacular as a gunner, racing down on one rep to turn a 58-yard Arryn Siposs punt into a 60-yard one with a 2-yard tackle for loss.
In the third quarter, the Olympic hurdler was bearing down on Preston Williams, resulting in a muff which International Pathway Program member in perpetuity Matt Leo recovered.
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Patrick Johnson – On a tough day for the defense, Johnson stopped the only Tua drive that didn’t result in a TD with a sack.
Grant Calcaterra – The rookie tight end showed enough as a receiver to lock down the third TE job even if he and Reid Sinnett weren’t on the same page on what turned out to be a pick-six.
John Hightower – The third-year receiver has been a bit of an afterthought this summer but he finished strong, catching all four of his targets and leading the team in receiving. It might be too little, too late but at least Hightower went down swinging.
Jason Huntley – The speedster got to show off his stop-watch acumen with a beautiful toe-tapping 67-yard run down the left sideline during the fourth quarter. A couple of Miami defenders had Huntley boxed in but didn’t realize speed can amplify poor tackling technique.
Kary Vincent, Jr. – Ex-Eagles hopeful River Cracraft ate Vincent’s lunch on more than one occasion, and the bubble likely burst for Vincent, who is now more of a practice-squad candidate.
K’Von Wallace – From play No. 1, Wallace let Hill get behind him with ease as the deep safety, the start of a bad night. The lack of talent at safety keeps Wallace in the mix and it will be interesting to see how much this performance hurts the 2020 fourth-round pick.
Tarron Jackson – The second-year edge rusher has had a good camp but the Dolphins used Jackson’s aggression against him, pushing him up the field while Raheem Mostert went underneath for a big 26-yard run.
Reid Sinnett – The Eagles should not keep three quarterbacks and those worried about losing Sinnett on waivers should probably rest easy tonight. The second-year pro was not looking off receivers and making things far too easy for the defense.
Tay Gowan – Gowan hasn’t had a great summer in coverage and has often been too handsy, racking up way too many DPIs in practice but he stopped one drive with solid press coverage and also defended an end-zone attempt late in the first half as well. He also showed up as a gunner, helping his case with special-teams acumen. Of course, he then also had a big DPI in the third quarter and got completely lost as Lynn Bowden raced right up his back en route to a 39-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Sports. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talker Jody McDonald, every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com and JAKIBSports.com. You can reach John at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen