Monday night was the second preseason game for Philadelphia and it was by all means their most important.
Coach Reid planned on playing all the starters through the third quarter because next week the Eagles play their first opponent from the regular season and Reid doesn't want to show them anything.
Obviously, things didn't go as planned when, once again, Vick went down on the second drive, this time taking a brutal shot to the ribs by linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.
With that being said, a lot of players stepped up in Vick's absence to help wrap up a win. Who showed up to play last night in this exciting 27-17 Eagles victory?
5. Phillip Hunt
Former CFL All-Star Phillip Hunt is making quite a name for himself in the NFL. Last week, Hunt recorded two sacks and forced fumble.
This week was just as exciting. Hunt recorded a sack, 4 tackles, 2 assists, and of course a forced fumble which the Eagles were fortunate enough to land on. He was flushing the quarterback out of the pocket on almost every play-- it was quite a sight.
At one point during the game, Jon Gruden even said, "Jason Babin is looking at Philip Hunt thinking, 'Man i gotta get back to work!'" It is 100% obvious to just about everyone in Eagles' nation, Philip Hunt will not only make the 2012 team, but will see plenty of time in the dangerous defensive rotation.
4. Bryce Brown
Another player who stepped up Monday night was running back Bryce Brown, who saw very little playing time last week.
When he was put in the game, he took it over. He started the game 4 rushes for 39 yards. Quite a high yards per carry considering he's the third back. Brown finished the game with 51 yards on 9 attempts. A solid outing for a player fighting for a roster spot. It became clear when seeing Brown's first four attempts, he is a forced to be reckoned with once in the open field.
3. Clay Harbor
One thing the Eagles weren't quite sold on after training camp was the back up tight end position. It seems that is now just a thought from the past, after Clay Harbor recorded two touchdowns against New England.
It seemed Harbor was the only tight end on the field after we saw little of Brent Celek, besides the dropped pass which thankfully wasn't a fumble (despite the Patriots running it into the end zone just to be safe).
Harbor displayed great vision and awareness. His first touchdown pass was in the very corner of the end zone and he made the tip-toe catch perfectly. It looked somewhat like Santonio Holmes' catch in the Super Bowl, except he was running exceptionally fast, so for him to catch his two feet in the corner of the end zone like he did was truly remarkable. Look for Harbor to get plenty of opportunities this year in midnight green.
2. DeSean Jackson
Before the game, it was reported that Jackson had opened up as to why he under-performed last year, and yes, the contract was a big part of it. He said he didn't 'try' as hard as could've, something that was clearly obvious to just about everyone, but he came out and said it anyway.
Jackson did also say that he will give it everything he's got this year and he started off on the right foot last night against New England. He finished the game with 4 catches for 82 yards, an astounding average yards per catch of 20.5.
Jackson displayed vision and great speed and ran clean and crisp routes. One thing i took notice of early on is how comfortable Foles was throwing to him. He found DeSean deep on a play for 40 yards where Jackson had literally separated himself from the defender by an easy five yards.
DeSean says he ready to play and by all accounts he's right. Look for Djax to remake himself this year into one of the elite receivers in the NFL. Also, if that doesn't work, put him in at defense, as he definitely made the play of the night.
1. Nick Foles
Nick Foles is a name that has become all too familiar with Eagles fans. Two weeks in a row he stepped in early for an injured Michael Vick, Two weeks in a row he led the Eagles to a comeback win.
Foles wasn't supposed to get any playing time until the fourth quarter. That all changed on the second Eagles drive when Vick went down. Foles then played the next three quarters, going 18/28 for 217 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 lousy interception, which proved to be meaningless as it was at the end of the half.
Foles showed great pocket presence and looked confident the whole game. He showed us against Pittsburgh he can throw the long bomb. Last night, however, he showed us he can score in the red zone.
With Foles at the helm, the Eagles scored three touchdowns in three trips to the red zone, one being a hand off to McCoy who easily walked in. The next two scores though, Foles was flushed out of the pocket and found Clay Harbor for a touchdown. He earned the respect of every Eagles' player when he took a 'Vick-sized' hit, and got up almost immediately-- something fans had not seen in quite some time.
Hopefully, after the preseason we wont have to see much of Foles (knock on wood), but if we do, i will be a very confident man, as i was when Vick walked in for an injured Kevin Kolb Week 1 of the 2010 season.
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