What I Wanted To See Against The Patriots, And What I Saw With Grades.
1) First and foremost I want to see a remarkable improvement by the Eagles first string defense against the Patriots first string offense. I want to see Nnamdi actually shut down his man. I want to see the defense get off the field on third down. I want to see a solid run defense unlike against the Steelers who's best running back is still on the shelf. I want to see Tom Brady give up some coverage sacks. I want to see the Red Zone defense make some stops.
Some people may consider this game remarkable improvement. In reality Patriots packed this game in before it even started and yet somehow the Eagles starting units still found a way to be completely frustrating and nearly give it away. There is no improvement to the quarterback situation as Mike Vick bows out to injury making a bone headed throw. The defense was a nightmare on third down giving up big plays and bad penalties to sustain Patriot drives. Arguable the run defense improved (if you are looking for silver linings in a pile of monkey crap), but considering Tom Brady currently has more rushing yards than ANY back on the Patriots roster then excitement for their performance should be curved. Nnamdi for the most part played solid, but he wasn’t without costly mistakes. He misplayed a screen pass early in the game that cost the Eagles big yardage and his holding penalty on third and long was simply unacceptable.
2) Since the first stringers will get a lot of time in this game (they should go three quarters) I want to see them execute their offense and score at least twice in this game. They are playing a fairly suspect defense so it shouldn't be too difficult a task to at least score twice.
Well the first string offense did see a lot of time and eventually did run their offense. Unfortunately the 100 million dollar quarterback was only in for 6 plays of it. Mike Vick simply needs to do a better job of protecting himself. When the protection breaks down take the sack or throw the ball away. It makes no sense for him to expose himself to big hits like he did in this game. The Eagles will only go as far as Mike Vick can take them and, that won’t be anywhere if he can’t survive more than six plays. Same pressure, same players, same situations and Foles got rid of the football. I hate to put it that way, but there are some things Vick could learn from the rookie. Overall the first team offense (once Vick exited the game) looked decent. Again all is to be tempered by the fact the Patriots sent out a scab team running a vanilla offense and defense.
Grade :B for the offense and an Incomplete for Mike Vick.
3) I want to see if Juan can beat Tom. I know Tom can be a pain for any defensive coordinator, but this season the Eagles play some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today. Just look at the Eagles schedule and you will see will be facing a dynamic or great quarterback nearly every week they play. It's going to be up to Juan to come up with something to stop them. His results last week were mixed with Ben at best. Brady will be a major test for his group. For as long as he's out there.
Unfortunately Brady got the night off against Juan’s defense so at best this would be an incomplete; however’ considering how Ryan Mallett (a guy who hasn’t played football in over a year) led the Patriots backups against our first string to two scoring drives, one has to assume that Tome Brady and the Patriots would have dominated the Eagles.
Grade: Incomplete, but Mallett combined with terrible penalties and shoddy third down play makes me conclude that Brady would have owned Juan’s defense.
4) I want to keep an eye on King Dunlap. Will Dunlap be up to the task and possibly win the starting tackle position? The Eagles seem to be taking somewhat of a risk here. After all they know what they have in Dunlap and if they are seriously considering going into the season with him as a starter then Mike Vick better make sure his health insurance is in good standing.
I am not a fan at all of King Dunlap, but last night I thought he played well. It didn’t help Bell’s case that as soon as he got into the game he was called for holding. Right now I don’t see a reason why Dunlap won’t be the starting left tackle.
5) Speaking of Mike Vick I want to see this guy stay healthy for a change. Bottom line is you can't win dynasties while sitting on the sidelines nursing injuries despite what some barkers "say". I want to see Mike Vick go through his progressions and get rid of the football. This defense should be a good confidence boost for him.
Well in the sample size of 6 plays Mike Vick failed to meet ALL OF MY OBJECTIVES FOR HIM.
6) I want to see the offense score in the Red Zone with a player not named McCoy. Shady is a great Red Zone threat (like I informed Birdflip several months ago before he tried to make it seem like it was him that suddenly figured this out), but the Eagles receivers were terrible last season in the Red Zone, and Mike Vick led the league in Red Zone turnovers. That must stop if the Eagles are going to be good this season despite the wishful thinking of others.
Good to see Clay Harbor catch one for a score. Nice move on the sideline by him too. It was clear the Eagles were running some plays they will use in the regular season. Harbor is going to make this team easily.
Grade: A, but again Mike Vick gets an incomplete.
7) I want to see the rookies continue to impress. So far many of them have played very well. I really want to see how Foles is going to play in this game, although I think we will get a better idea of his ability in the Browns game as the starters are expected to go three quarters in this game. I want to see who separates himself between Bryce Brown and Polk.I want to see the rookies again make big plays in the return game.
How can one not like how well Foles played in this game? Even if you want to ding him on the interceptions, Foles did everything else extremely well. He was mobile in the pocket, made the deep throw, threw the ball in tight spaces, and got rid of the football when there was no play to make. Foles may not be as talented as the rest of his draft class, but this kid has a big arm and a pocket presence that simply can’t be coached. I thought Fletcher Cox was active, but really made a bone head play on that penalty. His I can forgive, but Tapp on the other hand… Vinny Curry came in later, but failed to stick out much. The Thorton kid is going to make one of those tackles expendable. My guess would be Dixon who has kind of looked out of shape and slow. Kendricks just seemed to be around the football especially on run plays. Bryce Brown to me seemed to be more explosive than Polk, but Polk brings more power in his runs. I would give the edge to Brown right now. D. Johnson had a big drop and he didn’t show as much explosiveness in the return game. Brandon Boykin made so quality plays on special teams, but I have a hard time seeing him supplant Hanson right now as the slot corner. Overall I think the rookies really stood out.
8) I want to see glimpses of a team that makes me feel comfortable about them being a "Mortal Lock", because they are one on the field, and not just because some barker thinks what he writes automatically makes it happen.
What we saw were flashes of what they could be overcastted by realities of what they are. They are a team that makes dumb penalties, makes average quarterbacks look good, can’t get off the field on third down despite the yardage, gives up red zone score fairly consistently, can be flat out frustrating to watch at times, and enjoyable other times. Let’s not forget the man who is most important to this team spends more time with the trainer than he does in the huddle. I’m concerned, YB Eagles fans are concerned (save one), I turned on ESPN they are concerned, I turned on WIP, they are concerned, and judging by his sideline meltdown the head coach is clearly concerned. It’s going to take more the declaration of “Dynasties”, “Dream Teams”, and “Mortal Locks” to get this team ready for the start of the season. They had over a week to prepare, they didn’t have to face any of the Patriots real talent, and for some reason they still looked like they were just going through the motions. Not enough. By the way I was very pleased to see Big Red get in the face of his players, but where was their Coordinator? Why wasn’t he chewing them all a new one? If this guy is as qualified to do the job as people think then why didn’t he step up? All the reason to let Juan go before it’s too late…AGAIN.
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