One of the big topics is the offense and the plays that were called in the 1st half.
Chip Kelly wasn’t trying to fool the Skins. He wasn’t trying to be deceptive. Kelly wanted the starting offense to work on the passing game. That’s why Vick threw 21 passes, was sacked twice and ran 7 times with RBs only having 9 carries. There was no balance. The Eagles have shown they can run the ball. The passing game is still a work in progress.
Kelly wanting to work on the passing game wasn’t likely geared toward one player, but rather the whole operation: blocking, passing, getting open and catching the ball. Vick had thrown 15 passes in the previous 2 games combined and things were very easy for him. The blocking was good. The plays were crisply executed. The front sevens of those teams weren’t very disruptive. That was great to watch.
The Jags front seven played at a high level. The team had done some gameplanning and they got creative with their DL. That led to some blocking breakdowns and suddenly Vick had pressure to deal with. He didn’t respond well. Vick’s pocket presence was great in the first 2 games. Last night he was all over the place. There were some plays when he was good, but on others his instinct to get on the move kicked in very quickly.
It wouldn’t shock me if Kelly called such an imbalanced set of plays because Vick was under pressure. The only way that Kelly can fix problems with a player is for him to see the problems first hand. Kelly gave every player here a clean slate when he arrived. This isn’t his way of pretending problems don’t exist, but rather making sure he knows everything about them.
There is nothing worse than yelling at a person for making what is a clear mistake to you only to find out they’re doing what they were told to do by someone else. Not all football coaches think alike. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg are gifted offensive minds, but they might have given Vick instructions that Kelly would think are totally wrong. Kelly can only correct problems where he knows exactly what is wrong and how the player is performing in relation to the instruction he’s gotten and the specific demands of the play.
Kelly did see a different Vick last night. It is easy to go “Here we go again…” and flash back to last year, but that’s premature. Let’s see if Kelly can work with Vick to correct some of the issues. It also is key to understand that there won’t likely be many halves where Vick drops back 30 times and the RBs only have 9 carries. That’s not the Kelly offense.
One of the areas where Vick made things worse is his desire for bigger chunks of yards. I re-watched the 1st quarter last night and there were several chances for him to check the ball down. Vick instead threw the ball to intermediate targets. There is no question that Vick was holding onto the ball longer last night. Maybe Vick wanted to put on a show after being named the starter. I don’t know. He needs to back to the previous games and play within himself and within the offense. Keep the ball moving and the chunk plays will come.
The offense did look different with Nick Foles, in large part due to the fact that it was more balanced. There was no value to having Foles drop back a ton of times with a backup OL protecting him. And trying to develop precise timing with receivers who will be backups, on the practice squad or flat out cut isn’t critical. Foles was given a good situation and delivered terrific results. The offense was crisp. He led a pair of TD drives. He looked like a good player going against inferior competition.
We used to see this with AJ Feeley after he rejoined the team in 2006. The difference is that Feeley was a veteran QB. Foles is still learning. He’s just showing you that he’s a good player. Foles finished last night with a rating of 109.1. Kevin Kolb never had a rating of 100 or more in a preseason game. Foles worked against backups, but was only playing with backups. UDFAs, to be more specific.
LT Matt Tobin
RT Michael Bamiro
WR Russell Shepard
WR Damaris Johnson
TE Derek Carrier
RB Matt Tucker
To be fair, he did have former 1st round pick Danny Watkins at RG.
All Foles can do right now is take advantage of every snap he gets. That puts pressure on Vick and lets the coaches know they have an option if things do go wrong.
And let’s be clear on Vick. That wasn’t a bad game. There were some bad moments that brought up bad memories, but this wasn’t full on 2012 Mike Vick. He still completed 65 percent of his passes. He got out of bounds when he ran the ball. Vick led the offense to 16 points in the 1st half. He didn’t do that once last year. Even on a night when some things went wrong, the offense was still able to move the ball and make some good things happen. When things started bad last year, they went way bad.
There are going to be some ups and downs this year. Let’s not put Vick or Foles in the HOF after a good game and let’s not start shoveling dirt on them after a bad one. There’s a saying that goes something like…once is an event, twice is a trend and three times is a fact.
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The offense and defense will look different in the season. The preseason involves a combination of practice and evaluation. It is almost like the Eagles are split into units: the 1′s, the 2′s and the 3′s. Next week, it will just be the Eagles. You’ll see James Casey become much more involved. You’ll see Damaris Johnson working with the offense more. And so on.
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Quick defensive note…Fletcher Cox had a good 1st quarter. That dud performance in the opener can now safely be viewed as an anomaly.
Isaac Sopoaga was better than I gave him credit for.
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Want to help out a school? Target has some deal where people can go to their website and vote for a school to help get money donated for them. I’ve got a relative who works there. Here is the link. If you feel like helping out, that’d be cool. It would make Earl Wolff happy since the school is in his hometown. To my knowledge though, he didn’t go there.