But we unleashed a Lion..."
Andy Reid is my head coach again---it took maybe 20 seconds of a sideline rant directed at his own team to make me believe in his leadership of this 2012 Eagles edition. I thought it was necessary and therapeutic for the players, too. They needed a wakeup call from the Man. They got one.
Andy's back, and he's in charge... In my mind, it was the turning point in Monday night's exhibition game...and possibly the season.
It happened as the Eagles were playing flat and sloppy on defense against third-string backup QB Ryan Mallett and a mostly 2nd-team New England offense. The Pats were up 11-0. And Mike Vick had already been knocked out of the game in his second series on a huge hit by NE's linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.
DL coach Jim Washburn had gathered his linemen together after the Pats' 2-point conversion. Suddenly there was Jeremy..er, I mean Andy...approaching the group and overtalking Washburn. Reid blasted the group for missed assignments, confusion in sub packages and stupid penalties on late "hits" by Cox and Graham.
Veteran DT Cullen Jenkins jumped up and got in Reid's face as if to say, "Hey, this is coach Washburn's meeting, not yours..."
That's when Andy spoke in class again...and unleashed the Lion.
Washburn separated Reid and Jenkins as best he could. Derek Landri put an arm around Jenkins and ushered him away. After that, Reid continued to yell at Washburn for a few more seconds before going back to his usual position on the sideline.
"It's an emotional game - he was fired up, I was fired up," Reid said to Rich Hoffman and the press after the game. "Those things happen. Cullen is my primary leader on that defensive line. I count on him for a lot of things. He was upset and I was upset. We talked about it afterwards . . ."
"Look: I put a lot of responsibility on our defensive line. I put a lot of responsibility on our offensive line. I didn't think, necessarily, that this was either one of their best performances. They picked it up after that point. I thought they took charge, the way that they're very capable of doing."
For his part, Jenkins said Reid was right, that he was just trying to get people to work toward perfection. There was no evidence of hard feelings. "It's football," Jenkins said. "Football causes that. If you're out there playing, you've got to be emotional. It was nothing . . .He comes at you. He wants to get the best out of you. He wants to make sure you're focused and the right stuff is going on, that's all. You have to respect that and you can't fault that as players. Obviously, that's the not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional. You want to play hard and the team to do well."
I thought it was tremendously significant to both Reid and the players because it's very rare to see Andy go off like that on his own personnel. Very rare for Andy Reid, indeed... It's more than coincidence to me that the players picked up their performance immensely after the incident.
Oh yeah..there was a game played too...
I can't wait to get the Sage's Game Weeview. So much to talk about, I won't even try to fit it in this report. I'll wait for the Great JB's synopsis of the highlights and lowlights of the individual performances.
I will just say for now--- Marty Mornhinweg gets a B+ from me, as he showed me a very impressive mix of running and passing plays when QB Nick Foles was in there. Nice job, Marty. He even threw in some quick hits and counters and a delayed draw play---Woody would have loved it.
I like Nick Foles even more now. I know, he was playing against a mostly second-string lineup. But the kid is Cool...made some big-time throws, too. Foles reminds me so much of the rookie Joe Flacco (2008) in both style and coolness under pressure. I loved how he bounced back from an INT. Terrific to see that in a rookie QB. I think I'll keep him.
As for Vick? I think he'll be okay after a week's rest..X-Rays came back negative on his ribs---hopefully no further complications related to cartilage.
What went wrong on that play that nearly got Vick killed?
Nick Fierro of the Allentown Morning Call got this explanation from Evan Mathis:
Here's what happened: A miscommunication on a protection call resulted in Mathis, the left guard, thinking he would have inside help on his man from center Jason Kelce. The Eagles, who wound up being penalized 16 times for 131 yards, should have had at least one more, according to Mathis.
"I know that I should have got called for holding on that one where Vick got knocked out," Mathis said, "because my guy, Kyle Love, beat me right away. I just grabbed a handful of jersey trying to keep him off the quarterback."
Vick eluded Love but then held the ball too long before unloading a blind heave down the field, leaving himself open to the shot by Cunningham. Vick suffered a rib injury that X-rays showed not to be a fracture. However, he will be having a follow-up MRI and CT scan today.
"They were in a different look than we were expecting," Kelce said, "and Evan was thinking one thing and we were doing another. They're things that usually get ironed out in the preseason, but it's unfortunate that Mike had to take a hit. [Mathis] was expecting help from me, but I was going the other way because the backers were in a different look."
So a communication breakdown compounded by an error in judgment sent Vick off the field for a second straight week to open the preseason.
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