To be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations for the Eagles going into this game. Not only is it just a preseason game that doesn’t count, but I don’t expect the team to be very good this year anyway. The battle between Nick Foles and Michael Vick was probably the biggest story going into the night, and they both looked pretty good. Without two of their best players in LeSean McCoy and Jason Peters, it was hard to get a real grasp of their first team offense. But even without them, I felt like they did a pretty good job. The defense was definitely shaky, especially on the run, but that will have time to improve. Let’s just hope they figure it out quick though.
Vick made the start and looked rather sharp, going 4/5 for 94 yards and a nice TD pass to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter. Vick didn’t play much, but he posted a perfect passer rating and looked a lot better than many of his games last year. Granted, this was just a couple drives against a team in the preseason, but it’s still better than what I was expecting. Foles then came in for a couple drives and did pretty well too, going 5/6 for 43 yards. He did have a fumble, but the call could’ve gone either way and he had little protection. Matt Barkley played the most among the QBs and looked okay, and Dixon looked pretty solid too. Even G.J. Kinne got a drive at the end of the game and completed a big 35 yard pass to Greg Salas. I must say that I was happy with the way the QBs played.
The rushing attack was definitely weaker than I had hoped though. Matthew Tucker led the team with a measly 33 yards on 10 carries. Felix Jones just looked okay and Bryce Brown did pretty well, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Chris Polk, who is battling with Brown for the second string position, only had 7 yards on 4 carries, and may be better off just getting goal line carries.
Nobody on the team had more than three catches, but Clay Harbor, Salas, and Jackson were the leaders in receiving, the latter two scoring a touchdown each. Harbor looked the sharpest among TEs, but Zach Ertz looked pretty good as well. With one or two slots open at the WR position on the team, Salas looked like the frontrunner at this point. Nick Miller, who has some experience already in the NFL, also had a solid day, getting 3 catches for 31 yards. Russell Shepard and Ifeanyi Momah struggled, combining for one catch on eight targets. Those two definitely didn’t help their stock with that performance.
The defense was a much different story. While I could easily rant for a long team about how they missed tackles and coverage assignments all game, I will make it short and sweet. They looked weak and confused. I know that it’s going to be tough for the team to switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 this year, but they’re going to have to figure it out. Two of their starting linebackers, DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin both have had experience in the 3-4 with the Texans, so they don’t have an excuse. Free agent signings Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher both looked good; Fletcher even had a touchdown-saving tackle on Patriots RB Stevan Ridley on the first play of the game. Rookie DE Bennie Logan also looked good, picking up five tackles on the night. He may not play that much this year, but if he can produce for the team like this, then he’s likely to earn the respect of the coaching staff pretty early.
While losing 31-22 sounds like it was a pretty close game, it most certainly was not. Tom Brady came out and dominated so easily on the Eagles first team players that it looked too easy. The only reason the Patriots didn’t score 100 points on the Eagles was that Tim Tebow came in for a lot of the second half when Ryan Mallet left the game with an injury. So the Patriots inadvertently threw the Eagles a bone there and let them hang around a bit. Hopefully the Eagles can improve on defense for next game, but I’m not completely disappointed with their performance yesterday.