Running back Kenjon Barner and coach Chip Kelly are just a couple of many former Ducks that were in action last Friday night. This was the inaugural weekend of the NFL’s preseason. On one hand there was Barner, now with the Carolina Panthers, who got back to his college ways by visiting the end zone. While on the other, new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Kelly was left in unfamiliar territory – the losing column.
Barner earned his first NFL touchdown in the exhibition match-up against Chicago, scoring on a 5-yard run in the second quarter that helped lead Carolina to a 24-17 victory. The rookie running back carried the ball nine times for 37 yards. A sixth-round draft pick by the Panthers, Barner also showed off his receiving skills by bringing in two passes for 17 yards. Oregon alumnus and Barner’s teammate in the Carolina backfield, Jonathan Stewart did not figure into the box score.
Staying east but working our way north, Kelly did not have the same success as his former player. The Eagles fell 31-22 to the New England Patriots in Kelly’s first loss since Oregon hosted Stanford on November 17, 2012. Most football fans are aware that NFL preseason games do not count for much beyond acting as intensified practices. However, for many players, the preseason can be make-or-break as they vie for a position on the roster.
Philadelphia quarterback and former Duck, Dennis Dixon, played most of the fourth quarter going 7-13 for 41 yards through the air and racked up 19 yards off four rushes. Dixon and Kelly previously teamed up at Oregon in 2007 when Dixon was the starting quarterback and Kelley the offensive coordinator.