Random notes from the Eagles-Patriots preseason game

Because the Eagles play again on Friday, against the Browns (their Week 1 opponent no less), this was the “dress rehearsal” game for the birds.  The dress rehearsal game (the game in which the starters play into the 3rd Q), is typically the 3rd preseason game, but the Eagles made it their 2nd.  It was believed that the Pats might mirror that approach, as they also have a quick turnaround from Game 2 to Game 3, but Bill Belichick decided to be Bill Belichick and not play the following players: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker.  Thanks, Bill. Notes:

  • I don’t know what Michael Vick is thinking.  On the second freaking play of the game, he rolled left and ran. Dove head first.  Took a shot.  We constantly hear that he’s going to protect himself, and then he never does.  On the play he got injured, I can’t put full blame on Vick, as he got no protection, with Evan Mathis completely whiffing on his man and Todd Herremans giving up quick pressure.  Vick was boxed in and he tried to fire a pass to DeSean Jackson but took a big hit to the ribs.  Done for the night.  X-rays negative.  I would have to imagine Andy Reid won’t let Vick sniff another snap of preseason action, and if that’s the case, here are Michael Vick’s preseason numbers: 4 for 7, 11 yards, 2 X-rays.  That is not what any Eagles fan had in mind.
  • The positive story of the night was Nick Foles.  He had two bad decisions/throws.  He threw a pick on a post corner route in which he either didn’t see the safety, or simply tried to force something that wasn’t there.  That pick cost the Eagles a chance at 3 points to end the half.  The other was on a broken play in which Foles had to move out of the pocket and he fired an absolute laser to the sideline, which the DB should have picked, but couldn’t handle the fastball.  Otherwise, Foles was stellar.  The kid has an absolute gun for an arm and he was fitting balls in to tight windows the entire night.  He also showed the ability to put some touch on his passes when need be, with the two best examples being on red zone passes to Brent Celek and Clay Harbor.  He took a few big hits, and got right back up and firing.  Poise was incredibly impressive for a rookie.  No fear.  After the game, Adam Caplan made the point on PhiladelphiaEagles.com that it’ll be interesting to see how he handles being the starter next week against Cleveland.  Some guys do better when they don’t have time to think and are thrust into action.  He’ll have plenty of time to think about his start against the Browns this week.  I thought Mike Kafka had the better camp, but Foles simply looks like he’s a gamer.  I hope that’s not too over-simplified.  He has to be considered the 2 at this point.  Numbers on the night in 2.5 quarters of play: 18 of 28, 217 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT.  Foles leads the NFL in passer rating this preseason.
  • The Pats accepted 16 Eagles penalties, but they actually committed a total of 22. Twenty-two!  Unacceptable.
  • On one of those penalties, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had an interception that was negated by Fletcher Cox late hit on the QB.  I thought that call in particular was a little ticky-tack, but it was just one of many penalties that kept drives alive for the Pats.  As for DRC… Ho hum.  I pretty much saw that every day out of him at camp.
  • Mychal Kendricks is a man-beast.  The only way to put it is that that guy is freaking everywhere.  One play that caught my eye was blitz in which he came free on the left side of the Pats’ line.  It was Kendricks one-on-one against the RB.  Kendricks destroyed in one-on-one’s in training camp, and this was no different.  Kendricks easily got by the back, flushed the QB out of the pocket and completely ruined the play.  He did give up a TD in pass coverage but that’s going to happen when you’re asked to cover somebody for 6 seconds.  The Pats got away with pretty much tackling Trent Cole on his pass rush.
  • Brandon Boykin continues to impress in a variety of ways.  He forced a fumble on a punt.
  • Phillip Hunt is having an amazing preseason/camp.  In 2 preseason games, Hunt had 3 sacks, a TFL, and 2 forced fumbles.  And they were again the opposing team’s OL 1′s.
  • Cedric Thornton also had another big night.  His preseason numbers: 8 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks.

Continued…

  • Darryl Tapp had 2 personal fouls.  One was weaksauce.  He pushed a Pats player that was mugging one of Tapp’s teammates in the pile, and Tapp got the flag.  The other was an obvious late hit on the QB.  The Eagles coaching staff (Jim Washburn in particular) loves Darryl Tapp, but there simply may not be room for him.  Can the Eagles can anything in return?  A 6?  A 7?  Nothing?  TBD.
  • 6 catches and 2 TDs for Clay Harbor.  Well deserved.  He has not dropped a thing since the Eagles got to Lehigh, and his tippy toe catch in the back of the end zone was a thing of beauty.  However, he needs to work on his over-the-goalpost dunks.  Terrible effort/execution after his second TD.
  • My dad during one of the commercial breaks: “Am I going to have to watch mini winged Deion Sanders and Peyton Manning all season?”  That prompted the following dead-on response from @EaglesCouch on Twitter: “There’s nothing worse than seeing a commercial you hated from last football season return the following year.”
  • Damaris Johnson had a rough game.  He muffed a punt, and had a really bad drop on 3rd down. Not good.  I don’t think the roster spot he has all but secured is in any jeopardy, but he’ll need to respond on Friday in Cleveland.
  • Bryce Brown continues to impress.  He had a few really nice runs, and clearly looked like the best player on the field among the 3rd stringers in the 4th Q.  Chris Polk also ran really hard.  He doesn’t have anywhere close to the ability that Bryce Brown has, but his effort is outstanding.  Paul Domowitch talked to some scouts, and the feedback he received is that if the Eagles cut Polk, some other team is going to snatch him away, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up of Polk landing on the practice squad.

Lots of very good/great individual performances, but on the whole, just a sloppy game, and more reinforcement that Michael Vick probably isn’t going to stay healthy the entire season.

31 Comments

  1. SteveH says:

    Mychal fucking Kendricks man, that guy is going to be my favorite player before long I have a feeling. Check out the way he trashed the Patriots screen pass on I think the second play of the game. Just takes his blocker and runs him right into the runners path. Great stuff.

  2. jfuzman says:

    props to JimmyK, JimmyY, and NYG_slater (among others): I’m a 100% Eagles fan, but I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and civility of the Cowboys & Giants fan commenters on this site. (The same is likely the case for Skins fans commenting here.)

    It almost seems as if this site the bEast’s readers value sportsmanship and competition. Is that even legal on the internet?

    As much as I enjoyed watching Foles, Bryce Brown, and the Iggles’ D-Line, this does not look to me like a very-well coached Eagles team. Actually, it seems like a typical pre-season AR team. Unfortunately, the first 8 Eagles games include 6 playoff teams, including a brutal stretch against the Giants, Steelers, Lions, Falcons, and Saints starting in Week #4. The Birds cannot afford to take an early loss or two.

    As much as I hate to say it, my (theoretical) money is on the G-men. Eli is the best QB in the division (at least for now) and has the truest team around him with the most effective coach.

  3. tst29 says:

    1. I am very disappointed in Brandon Graham. I gave him a pass for his first two seasons, but he has shown absolutely nothing that warrants his draft slot.

    2. The Eagles’ play calling with Mike Vick has been very conservative- short passes and runs. I wonder if this has to do with some changes in their play calling for this season.

    3. The offensive line looks anxious and undersized.

    4. The penalties are ridiculous. This looks like a very undisciplined team.

    5. Castillo play calling has been awful. The all-out blitz in the 1st quarter last night was an example of this. Last year the Eagles gave up two TDs against NYG because of bad play calling.

    6. Cromartie doesn’t defend slant routes well.

    7. There’s a reason why Demetress Bell lasted so long in free agency. He looked pretty bad even against NE’s backups.

    8. Run defense looks solid, and Kendricks is the real deal. I’ll give him a pass on the TD he gave up.

    9. What happened to Marvin McNutt? Looks like Chad Hall will be here for another year.

    10. Mike Vick had an open LeSean McCoy on that hit he took. A good QB would have seen that.

    11. Trent Edwards was actually a starting QB in the NFL at one point in time

    1. SteveH says:

      Morton? Where have you been?!

  4. CulDaddy says:

    What happened to Vick’s bullet-proof rib saving vest?! Was it on loan to the oh-so-bad replacement ref?

  5. Wahooptie says:

    Is this an NFC Beast blog or an Eagles site? The past few weeks have made me wonder… Get back to the good objective coverage JIMMY

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      There was 3 posts about the Redskins, one about Eagles (the Podcast) and one about the Giants and one about the whole NFCE over the last couple of days before this post.

    2. slandog says:

      If you don’t like it you don’t have to visit. I’m sure it won’t burn Jimmy either way.

  6. ATLeagle says:

    It seems like the offensive line has taken a few plays to get settled in both games. Are they confused after practicing against Washburn’s techniques? It seems that shortly after falling apart and getting Vick hurt, they start to get used to the D-line and then work together as a team. If so, this is easily fixable… if it is just inconsistency that is getting the QB into bad spots then this will be a long season.

  7. NYG_slater says:

    uh oh QB controversy in philly!!! lol, jk. The play in which vick got hurt, that sack is completely on Mathis. Herremans doesnt expect his QB to drop back 10 yards, He cannot protect vick from the edge rusher if vick makes the angle so easy for that defender to get to him. But ya, vick either has to turtle or (if possible) throw it away in that situation. That play started off so wrong, there was such a very small % of vick turning that play around it wasnt worth the risk. So ya, sack on mathis, injury on vick.

    Also…..LOL THAT DIVE!?! If i were AR, I would just yank him there. That dive is pretty indicative that Vick doesn’t completely understand his primary job is to protect himself. Especially in a preseason game….I get that hes a competitor, but that dive, if i were an eagles fan….ugh.

    1. maximdim says:

      What? DeSean Jackson was wide open on that play for like an 80 yard touchdown or wherever they were
      .. thats why Vick avoided pressure in the first place and still threw it up, because DJax was walking speed.away from a TD

      1. NYG_slater says:

        sure DJax was open that time, but Vick’s decision making should shut down that play the moment Mathis whiffed on his block, because 9 out of 10 times djax won’t be that wide open. Furthermore, even if a guy gets that open vick will have to make a very tough throw under incredible pressure and probably would see odds of a 50% completion, 25% incompletion, 25% interception/tuck rule fumble. Hence why I stated, ” there was such a very small % of vick turning that play around”.

        There’s always a chance for vick to turn a play around, but the decision making for vick needs to change if he wants to survive an entire season.

        1. NYG_slater says:

          oops *non-tuck rule* fumble

  8. [...] how about this little stat (h/t to Jimmy Kempski from Blogging the Beast) to make you scratch your head this morning: Nick Foles leads the NFL in passer [...]

  9. Dan in Philly says:

    Though the pats sat their stars, the d gave up one TD, and that because of penalties. not as badas it seemed at the time. Vick is better than he has shown, but Coles is probably not as good. 2-0 so far in preseason, and all I hear in the office is how bad the eagles look? On what planet?

    1. slandog says:

      Preseason record means nothing. It’s how they “look”. They are sloppy right now and the first team offense can’t move the ball. Being 2-0 is nice but it really means nothing.

    2. Joe D says:

      we should’ve drestroyed their starters…eagles don’t look good at all as a whole

  10. Iskar36 says:

    Boykin had a quality game, but I think you are giving him too mug credit when you say he forced a fumble on special teams. He got to the returner quickly, but it was clear the returner muffed the punt way before getting hit by Boykin. That was a gift turnover, not a great play by any Eagle.

    1. Anthony says:

      Well, if Boykin doesn’t get passed the double team, the returner would be able to cover the ball. So, not a ‘great’ play, but certainly a good one.

  11. testing2 says:

    What happened to your Cowboys/Chargers breakdown…….you skipped a game or two JimmyK.

    More (B)east…less BGN2!!!!

    1. Ha, I actually have an excuse on that one. I had my regular laptop hooked up to the big screen TV when I was re-watching the Cowboys game, and was taking notes on the wife’s laptop.

      Got through most of it, but didn’t quite finish, and now we’re at my parents’ house at the Jersey shore. I don’t have the wife’s laptop here, and so… My work is sitting in limbo 100 miles away. I’ll probably have those up tomorrow night, when I get home. Sorry about that.

  12. First, The DT was on him before he could set his feet, that’s on Mathis.

    The secondary pressure was ALSO Mathis’ fault. Cunningham was ridden 15 yds up the field, nowhere near Vick if Mathis made his block.

    I can’t really blame Herremans, He pushed him up the field, what else was he supposed to do?

    1. Fair point on Herremans. Mudd teaches defending a specific spot, and Herremans probably did that.

  13. I missed the game, but in everything I’ve read this morning, no one has mentioned Demeco Ryans or the abysmal JaiJar. Is that a good thing?

    1. Ryans had one bad matchup on a slot WR, but was otherwise good. JaiJar,no news is good news, didn’t stand out to me good or bad.

      1. Todd B. says:

        Additionally on Ryans, he learned from his mistake and the next time the Patriots ran the same drag route, he was all over it.

  14. JimmyY? says:

    As a Cowboys Fan watching that game last night all I have to say is God Damn it Watching Nick Foles. That Kid will be a player in the NFL. Especially with Vick seemingly being the ultimate paper tiger.

    Good job eagles, god damn it. Also had a particular interest in Philip Hunt, was again impressed, so unfortunately only nice things to say about the eagles, witch as always make my blue and silver heart bleed.

  15. Re Kendricks on TD catch: From snap of the ball to the catch in the end zone it was under 4 seconds. Also Block on Cole was clean. The tackling happened on previous play. I thought he played it poorly, he had help inside and gave up the outside too easy which was cleared by WR running vertical.

    1. Hmm… I’ll trust you on Cole play being the play before, but only because I like you.

      “6 seconds” thing was just me saying the QB had a lot of time; not to be taken literally.

      1. Sure he had time but for me it wasn`t anything special. It`s just that Silvestre is maybe 6th string tight end and he was able to beat him pretty cleanly. But other than that I was really impressed with Kendricks. And I kind of like you too.

        1. Todd B. says:

          Agree. Kendricks was all over the place but he was cleanly burned on that play. He didn’t have to cover him too long and there wasn’t some other missed call. Call it like it is Jimmy.

          I am, however, glad it happened this way. As Mikko pointed out, this is a positioning more than a physical problem. This will show up on tape and it will be corrected.

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