Heading into this game fans were wondering what they would see when Chip Kelly would call the offense and interacting with players after good or bad plays. Fans wanted to see if either Vick or Foles would make the quarterback competition any clearer, how this new hybrid 3-4 defense would do in comparison to last seasons abysmal 4-3 wide nine scheme.
We got some answers but it is after all the first preseason game and so we can’t read into it that much but we can however make some inferences.
Michael Vick went 4-of-5 for 94 yards including a 47 yard rainbow perfectly placed into DeSean Jackson’s hands as Jackson ran past Patriots corner Aqib Talib for the touchdown catch. Vick looked sharp moving the offense down the field. Nick Foles also had a good game going 5-for-6 for 46 yards and a touchdown. It didn’t start smoothly for Foles. On his first series he was hit, fumbled, and the patriots recovered. However Foles bounced back to lead the Eagles to a touchdown drive. Matt Barkley still has a lot of work to do before he becomes a starter in the NFL. Being his first NFL game he was probably a little trigger happy which may have led to some of his errand throws. He played from the second quarter through the third quarter. He finished 11-of–22 throwing for 103 yards and a touchdown pass. Unless Barkley drastically improves in the next preseason games he most likely will not be in the running for starting week one against the Redskins.
Without receivers Maclin and Benn lost for the season with ACL injuries it was time for Riley Cooper and the other guys to step up. As noted above Jackson had TD but it was his only reception on the night. Riley Cooper started opposite of Jackson and had 1 reception for 19 yards and got a mixed cheer from the fans but more so cheers. Jason Avant proved once again to be old reliable with his hands reeling in 3 balls for 46 yards with his longest reception being 22 yards. The name that has floated around lately to make the team out of no where is Greg Salas. He showed us why there is buzz around him. Although he got in late with the 2nd and 3rd stringers he did make an incredible one-handed diving snag that landed him inside the 5 for a gain of 35 yards with 2 seconds left in the game. He also added a TD from Matt Barkley. Ifeanyi Momah was targeted twice but had no catches. Momah is a project payer and hopefully he works out because this guy is big and fast. The rookie Russell Shepard who impressed players and coaches during training camp had only one catch for 4 yards.
Chris Polk got the starting nod at running back with McCoy sitting this game out. Polk didn’t do too well too well getting 4 carries for just 7 yards. He was noticeably quicker as he reportedly dropped 15 or so pounds in the off-season. Bryce Brown picked up right where he left off last year, no he didn’t fumble. Brown ran with an attitude as if to make a statement that he is the number two behind McCoy. He still flashed that rare combination of speed and power on 5 carries for 22 yards and a touchdown. Based off of this game it will be hard for Felix Jones to make the team unless Chip Kelly decides to keep four running backs. Jones had a couple drops where he looked to where he was going to run before securing the catch. On 8 carries Jones ran for 31 yards.
Without pro-bowl left tackle Jason Peters the Eagles offensive line played pretty well. They gave Vick, Foles, and Barkley a nice pocket to throw from consistently which is a huge improvement from last years injury riddled line. If healthy this year this line could be one of the best in the NFL which will be key to this offense.
Would it be okay if I just wrote N/A because it looked like the defense didn’t show up to play last night continuing the trend of last year. On the Patriots first play running back Steven Ridley took it 61 yards through a gaping hole on the left side of the line before being chased down from behind by Bradley Fletcher. As if that wasn’t bad enough, later in the game Legarret Blount had a stretch play to the left cut back to mid field then went back to the left to run down the sideline for a 51 yard touchdown. The Eagles got gashed on the ground by the Patriots for 248 yards on 31 rushing attempts. We all knew the defense would be bad especially during a transition but geez this was bad. Tackling was just as bad as last years and the safeties didn’t help either against the run. Tom Brady was typical Tom Brady and picked apart the secondary although our corners were right with the receivers for the most part. Fletcher and Boykin played solid coverage. The Eagles also weren’t beat deep unlike last year so that is also a plus but it is only one game. There were a lot of gap responsibility mistakes but they should be able to fix that with watching game film.
Some players who stood out were DE’s Vinny Curry, Cedric Thorton, Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, NT Damion Square, LB Jake Knott, and CB’s Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher.
Offense- A , looked really good but it was just “vanilla”
Defense- D+, terrible tackling, multiple blown gap responsibilities
DNP (Did not play): RB LeSean McCoy, LT Jason Peters, CB Carey Williams.