Five Big-Picture Takeaways From Eagles Preseason Game Two

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Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenjon Barner (34) returns a punt 64-yards for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014 the Eagles special teams felt fluke-ish on a week-to-week basis. Darren Sproles has been one of the best at his craft since entering the league and managed to make an already-great unit that much better. Two weeks into the 2015 preseason, what some could have perceived as an unsustainable stretch is looking more like standard-operating-procedure.

From the opening kickoff, one that ended with Bryan Braman flattening Ravens returner Asa Jackson on his own 13-yard line, the Eagles continued to demonstrate the value of what is often the most overlooked phase of the game. Kenjon Barner continued to state his case for a spot on the 53-man roster with his second punt return touchdown of the preseason. Especially against a John Harbaugh-coached team, the type of showing by the Eagles special teams unit is perhaps worth as much notoriety as any other aspect of the game.

Especially in preseason, where roster spots are often won and lost by those vying for spots on various special teams unit, there’s no shame in placing high marks on a team’s performance in that area. By prioritizing the acquisition of players with a penchant for excelling in that phase of the game along with the tutelage of position coach Dave Fipp, Kelly and the Eagles front office have constructed one of the more formidable groups in the NFL and fostered an extremely-competitive environment for fringe-roster players, who know they have to truly impress to manage to find time on the various special teams formations.

The Eagles continue their preseason slate next Saturday against the Green Bay Packers. They will face their third elite-level quarterback of the exhibition schedule and likely put their first-team units through their most extensive work to date. Even knowing that every observation will continue to carry with it the ‘it’s only preseason’ footnote, there is still something to take away from every time the Eagles take the field.

Next: Recapping Sam Bradford's Eagles Debut

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