Well, the offense looks good, but the defense needs a lot of work. I think there were many improvements on the offensive side in this game, especially guys that are going to be playing a lot in the regular season like Nick Foles and Jordan Matthews. But the defense has continued to give up tons of points throughout the game, no matter who is out there. I know it’s just the preseason, but something has to change if they want to win some games when it counts. Their offense could be the best in the league and it wouldn’t be able to score enough to make up for this defensive performance. Hope is definitely not lost, but they still have a long way to go…
The Eagles made use of just three QBs in this one, with each guy getting what seemed like an equal split in playing time. Foles looked much better in this outing, going 8/10 for 81 yards and a short TD pass to Zach Ertz. Mark Sanchez once again looked the best out of the bunch, going 11/12 for 117 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick. His only incompletion was actually the interception, which was honestly a terrible pass. But otherwise, he led multiple scoring drives through his passing and was making good decisions. Matt Barkley looked a little better than last week, going 9/12 for 132 yards, a TD and an INT. All three quarterbacks finished with a passer rating of over 100 and combined to get sacked only one time. Unfortunately, G.J. Kinne did not get any time in the game.
The Eagles looked better on the ground despite missing three of their six running backs. LeSean McCoy got 6 carries in this game compared to the one he got last week, but still didn’t do much. Henry Josey was the main RB and played very well, collecting 56 yards on 8 carries as well as a 27 yard TD reception that involved him tiptoeing down the sideline and between defenders. Since no one else was there, Damaris Johnson even got some reps at RB, especially in the red zone, but struggled mainly due to his tiny size. He had four opportunities to punch it in for a 1 yard TD but failed every time. Not exactly the best idea considering he’s a kick returning WR.
Jordan Matthews was the star of the receiving game, catching 9 passes for 104 yards on 9 targets. That means he didn’t have any drops, which is a huge improvement from the three he had last game. He was all over the place and clearly showed what all the hype was around him. Granted, it was mainly against 2nd team guys, but it’s still impressive. Brent Celek also had a couple nice catches, including a long one where he got popped by two guys simultaneously and lost his helmet, only to get back up like he always does and celebrate. Unfortunately, I think he was more banged up on the play than he showed because he looked a little dazed on the sidelines.
The biggest storyline in this game from the WR position is the fight for that 6th WR slot. The top five are likely Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, and Brad Smith, but who’s that sixth guy? I might even argue that Smith could still be fighting for a slot, but I think his veteran status is needed, as well as his returning and specialty skills. It’s down to Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson, Ifeanyi Momah, and Jeff Maehl. All but Momah made the team last year, although Benn was out with a torn ACL all year. Johnson has looked sub-par as of late, although he had a nice TD reception in this game on a wheel route. Momah and Maehl both lost fumbles in this game, likely hurting their chances at making the team. And Benn caught a TD pass off a dropped pass by Momah in the end zone. He also blocked a punt. I say, the advantage goes to Benn right now.
I know I just said a lot about the offense, but it’s the defense that needs the most work. They gave up 34 points last week against the Bears and now 42 in this game against the Patriots. Both the run defense and the pass defense were bad; they gave up 4 passing TDs, 250 yards rushing, and only forced 1 turnover. Cary Williams had a nice pick six on the first drive of the game, but after that it was all downhill from there. Virtually every Patriots player that got on the field looked like a superstar as they trounced the Eagles defense time and time again. One thing to keep in mind is that they often had a short field due to an Eagles turnover, which is not exactly the defense’s fault. Either way, it is unacceptable to give up that many points in a preseason game.
I would like to devote this section to declaring how bad Curtis Marsh is at football. Last week I ranted about how I hate Roc Carmichael the most, but Marsh seemed to surpass him at least for now. He got burned almost every time he was in coverage, giving up two TDs and getting multiple penalties. The QBs were basically just passing to whatever receiver Marsh was guarding because it was likely that he would get beat. At one point it was just Marsh and Carmichael out on the field at CB…not exactly the dynamic duo they’re looking for. They got extra reps due to the injuries of Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins before the game and Williams and Brandon Boykin during the game. Bottom line: Marsh should get cut ASAP.
In terms of special teams, there were no TDs on either side. Donnie Jones only had one punt, and he boomed it for 57 yards. Great work by him as usual. Alex Henery missed his only FG and continues to be very average, but he’ll likely make the team because no one else is good enough to challenge him on the team.
The Eagles have the Steelers next week as they look to try to win their first preseason game of the year. Not only is it hard enough that the Eagles lost this one, but I also lost a bet to my girlfriend Gaby (who’s a Pats fan) as a result of the outcome. Oh well, I don’t mind too much. In terms of football though, the Eagles have to get better or they’ll have a terrible pass defense once again.