The Eagles were disappointing on Special Teams in 2013. They made a concerted effort to be good on STs, but the plans just didn’t work. Chip Kelly once again focused on improving the unit this offseason. Based on Friday night, the results look pretty good.
* The highlight play was Josh Huff’s 102-yard KOR for a TD. Huff showed good speed on the play. He had a big hole to attack, but also had the speed to get through it and down the field in a hurry. He ran through one arm tackle. You want your KOR going fast enough and hard enough that he’s not going to be affected by an arm tackle.
* There was a blocked FG. The Gamebook says Joe Kruger, but the video showed Damion Square and Brandon Bair getting penetration in that area and then getting a hand up. Regardless of who did it, this was the kind of impact play you want to see.
* The Eagles came up with a fumble recovery after the Bears muffed a punt. Travis Long made the recovery. Chris Maragos also had a hand in the play.
* Alex Henery didn’t get a chance to kick a FG. He was 4 for 4 on the next extra points. More importantly, he had a pair of touchbacks. One of the focal points for him this offseason was getting better length on his kickoffs. Kicking in the warm weather is a help, but he did show progress. Now he needs to do that again this week.
* It seemed like new players Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman helped the STs, which is what they were brought in here to do. Maragos had a hand in the fumble recovery. He blew up a KOR by knocking the crap out of a blocker. Braman was on the field for the KOR TD. Those guys need to make plays, but also help the guys around them to play better.
STs got off to a good start, but they can’t rest after one good game. The group needs to show they can be counted on all year long. Consistency is the key.
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Is everyone now more comfortable with Mark Sanchez?
It is easy to see the butt-fumble and think of Sanchez as this awful player. That’s just not the case. He is a talented QB. Sanchez never looked like a franchise QB when he was with the Jets, but he also got poor coaching and had few weapons to work with. In Philly, Sanchez is getting good coaching and he is part of a very talented offense. It also helps that he is completely healthy.
No one is rushing to put Sanchez in Canton (except maybe Brian Baldinger), but the guy is a talented player who can help the Eagles if called upon. I hope Nick Foles stays healthy, but as Eagles fans we know that the starting QB rarely is on the field for all 16 games. In the last decade, the Eagles only had the starter for every game once – Donovan McNabb in 2008.
You better have a backup QB that can help your team.
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I am behind on getting a full game review posted. I had a couple of things come up this weekend that kept me away from the computer. I’ll be working hard tonight to get that done.
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Sunday and Monday are limited practice days for the Eagles. They’ll be going against the Pats on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those will be tough, physical practices. Thursday will be situational stuff. Then Friday is the next game.