First thing for me to say…it was really weird to watch the Eagles play the 3-4. Normally I can lock on to what to watch very quickly. I found myself feeling lost for the first few series. My beloved 4-3 was long gone. Clearly the players felt lost also. That was some ugly defense.
The popular theme will now be that the Eagles are going to be unbelievably awful on defense. The players are learning a completely new scheme. There are going to be some serious issues along the way. We saw many of those issues tonight. Some are simple and will be solved this week in practice. Others are more complicated and will take weeks or months to fix. We also have to be honest and say that side of the ball needs better talent and that won’t be fixed until the next offseason.
I’ll keep it simple on the QB battle. Both guys were very impressive. Vick’s first drive was great. Foles second drive was great. Both resulted in TDs and they showed the ability to move the team in different ways.
I need to study the tape before commenting on Chris Polk. I’m not sure how much room he had to work with. Bryce Brown played with the backups and looked terrific. Brown has been up and down in camp and that’s why Polk got the start. It looked like Brown got the message and played well tonight. Now he needs to practice that way.
The OL was more up and down than I expected. Todd Herremans made some mistakes. On the opening drive, the line gave Vick good protection and a clean pocket.
DeSean just might have a huge year. So great to see him get that long TD. He got open, made a clean catch and got into the endzone. Russell Shepard had some chances, but I need to study them to see how he did. Only had 1 grab for 4 yards. Greg Salas had a TD and a highlight catch. They came against lesser competition so that has to be factored in.
I really can’t say too much about the TEs until I watch the tape. Clay Harbor was 3-47 as a receiver and helped himself.
Quick thoughts on defenders.
Fletcher Cox looked like a major disappointment. He was getting blocked way too much in the run game. My man Clifton Geathers failed to eat any Patriots, so that disappointed me. He was okay, but didn’t jump out at me. Vinny Curry played a lot of DT in Nickel looks and was outstanding. He was quick and disruptive. Bennie Logan caught my eye a few times. Damion Square showed better than I expected.
The ILBs I need to study. Jamar Chaney struggled with the 2’s. Not so sure about Casey Matthews. I liked what I saw from both Emmanuel Acho and Jake Knott.
The OLBs are another group I need to study. I’m just not used to the 3-4. Chris McCoy got my attention a few times. Phillip Hunt showed some quickness off the edge. Chip Kelly mentioned Brandon Graham in the press conference. Brandon didn’t catch my eye much. And he made a bad play on Blount’s long TD run.
Brandon Hughes got the start at CB and did some good things. Bradley Fletcher had good coverage on a couple of plays, but Tom Brady still beat him due to great throws. Curtis Marsh isn’t good. He needs to make a huge leap in the next couple of weeks to have a shot at making the team. The CBs were better run defender tonight than last year.
Nate Allen missed an early tackle. Ugh. That simply has to stop. He seemed to get better, but I need to study the game to know for sure. No Safety just jumped out as having a strong game.
STs was good. Damaris Johnson had a long PR. A punt got downed at the 1-yard line. The tackling was pretty good. Brandon Graham made the tackle on the opening KO. Jon Dorenbos suffered a concussion and Brent Celek took over as LS. He was okay on punts, but had a bad snap that ruined a FG attempt. Celek did hustle down to cover punts and got in on a tackle.
I liked the effort and intensity the Eagles showed, on offense, defense and STs. This was only a PS game, but the players played hard. There are lots of mistakes to fix. The coaches will study the tape tonight and tomorrow and get busy solving problems when the players return on Sunday.