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.
- 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.