Last week, the Eagles traded wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for Darby, who was the runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 but experienced a dip last season.
The 23-year-old Darby showed off his 4.38 40-yard speed on a weaving 48-yard interception return against his old squad Thursday and had a strong night overall, as the Eagles edged the Bills 20-16. Matthews suffered a chip fracture in his sternum in his first practice for the Bills and did not make the trip.
QB depth chart: Carson Wentz was supposed to play only a series or two, but the offense sputtered out of the gates, so head coach Doug Pederson had him stay in for four drives to try to get some positive momentum going. Wentz ended 6-of-9 for 56 yards. With Nick Foles still out with a sore elbow, Matt McGloin and Dane Evans got the rest of the reps.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Eagles looked … :Really sharp on defense. Darby helped lead the way. He intercepted Tyrod Taylor late in the first quarter on a wayward pass intended for Anquan Boldin and returned it 48 yards, zipping his way through a sea of blue and red before being taken down at the Buffalo 27. Darby almost came up with a pick earlier in the quarter as well. He has stood out in practice since coming to Philly, so the early returns have been all positive for the Eagles.
One reason to be concerned: The ground game sputtered for a second straight week. The Eagles managed 40 rushing yards on 16 carries (2.5-yard average) in the first half. LeGarrette Blount had 8 yards on five carries. He now has 17 yards on nine carries through two preseason games. The offensive line, which was weakened by the absence of left tackle Jason Peters (personal reasons), has not generated much push to this point.
That guy could start: Eagles rookie defensive end Derek Barnett followed a strong preseason debut against the Packers with another productive night. He had a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for loss. Projected starter Vinny Curry, meanwhile, has yet to show up in the box score this preseason and has had a quiet summer.
Rookie watch: Cornerback Rasul Douglas, the third-round pick out of West Virginia, jumped an out route and came up with a nice pass breakup. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has been pleased with his progress. Running back Donnel Pumphrey was more sure-handed after a fumble and a muffed punt in the opener against Green Bay.
Kendricks looks electric: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks was the star of the show along with Darby. He had an interception, a sack and two tackles for loss, and he chased down Taylor from behind to force an errant throw that led to Darby's interception. There has been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Kendricks this offseason. Although his future in Philly is hazy, he made a good impression Thursday night.
Injury update: Quarterback Nick Foles (elbow), running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), receiver Bryce Treggs (legs) and cornerback Ron Brooks (hamstring) were among those to sit out. With Peters excused for personal reasons, Lane Johnson moved over to left tackle. He was beaten by a Jerry Hughes spin move and yielded a sack.