Chip Kelly faced Gus Bradley in a duel for the title of greatest coach of all time. And Chip Kelly won convincingly as the Eagles dominated the Jags.
Some of you may question the validity of that statement, but drink a few PBRs and it will start to make sense. You’ll also gain the wisdom of Socrates, Buddha and Damion Square.
Okay, joking aside…the Eagles were all over the friggin’ place tonight. They looked great at times, they looked terrible at times. The hot topic will be the play of Michael Vick. He was erratic. Vick finished 15-23-184, with a TD and INT. He was 7-53 on the ground. You can’t call that a bad game. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The INT was terrible. There was another play where he made a terrible decision and put the ball up for grabs. He was ruled down, but Vick just can’t make that decision. Vick was under some pressure and just didn’t respond well.
Vick hadn’t really been pressured much prior to tonight. Spring football doesn’t involve real pressure since there is no contact. Training Camp doesn’t involve real pressure since QBs can’t be hit. This was the first time that Vick didn’t have a clean pocket. It was good for him to have a game like this now. Kelly can talk to Vick about what he thinks needs to be fixed. Kelly can’t correct a problem until he sees it. I know Kelly could watch old tape, but he doesn’t believe in that. He gives the players a clean slate and deals with here and now.
Kelly said the other day that Vick doesn’t have to look over his shoulder. An erratic game isn’t going to lead to a QB change. Be patient. Let Kelly keep working with Vick and let’s see how they progress together.
Nick Foles was terrific, playing mostly in the 4th Qtr. He went 10-11-112. Foles got rid of the ball quickly and spread it around. He led 50-yard TD and a 99-yard TD drives. Foles was playing with backups and against backups. You always have to balance that perspective.
The O-line was sloppy. At times, they were dominant. Other times, they seemed confused on who to block. There were some key holding calls. Sloppy. This wasn’t about talent, just execution. That can be fixed. The backup OL looked pretty darn good to the naked eye.
Bryce Brown had a great game, going 11-92. He also fumbled. Ugh. He had the ball away from his body and it got knocked through the side of the endzone. That would have been 3 or 7 more points for the offense. Brown played after that and was more careful with the ball. He looked great on outside runs. His speed is special.
The defense was also erratic. The starters had a couple of sacks and a takeaway. They also let Chad Henne look great on the opening drive and played some porous run defense at times. Cedric Thornton played well. So did Fletcher Cox. Vinny Curry was disruptive again. Antonio Dixon finally woke up, but still wasn’t as good as he needed to be.
Connor Barwin had a good game. He had a sack and an acrobatic INT. You finally got to see his value as a guy who can drop back and get into the passing lanes. That’s just not a play that Cole or Graham make. Mychal Kendricks flahsed again. He could have a big year.
The Eagles had 6 sacks and 7 TFLs. A couple of those sacks were coverage sacks. We pick on the secondary a lot, but they didn’t give up any big plays and had some good moments in coverage. They aren’t nearly as bad as people make them out to be. Tom Brady ate them up, but that was the opener. The group has come a long way since then. I’m not telling you the secondary will be good, but the notion of them being historically bad was overblown.
Earl Wolff took a horrible angle on the Jordan Todman run and let Todman get free for a 63-yard TD. Critical mistake for a Safety. I didn’t get a feel for the other Safeties. Kenny Phillips missed the game.
The run defense needs work. Gap integrity is the big issue. Guys need to play under control. I’m also curious about NT play. Gotta be stout in the middle.
Damaris Johnson fumbled while returning a punt and that can’t happen. Critical mistake. He made up for that with several long returns. He had a 61-yard KOR and 37-yard PR. He helped flip the field a couple of times.
Alex Henery was 3-3 on FGs. The long was 45 and that kick was down the middle and really long. His KOs were outstanding. The Jags only returned 2 of them.
Chip Kelly and his staff have plenty of issues to work on, but you can’t ignore the talent on this team. There are some really good pieces. If the mistakes go away, the Eagles will be tough to beat. The offense will definitely score some points and that always gives you a fighting chance.