Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Eagles-Jaguars rewind

Perhaps the best result to come out of Friday's game was that the Eagles suffered no significant injuries (sorry, Antoine Harris). After watching the playback of the Jaguars' game, however, there were some positives to emerge from the Eagles' first preseason game. Naturally, there were also some uh-oh moments, mostly from the rookies and guys fighting for their roster lives.

Eagles-Jaguars rewind

Perhaps the best result to come out of Friday's game was that the Eagles suffered no significant injuries (sorry, Antoine Harris). After watching the playback of the Jaguars' game, however, there were some positives to emerge from the Eagles' first preseason game. Naturally, there were also some uh-oh moments, mostly from the rookies and guys fighting for their roster lives.

Here are some observations and insights after re-watching a recorded version of the game -- eventually put on mute (whoa, that was an embarrassing broadcast).

-- My game story dealt mostly with Kevin Kolb, but there were a few things I missed while watching the game live. On the pass in the back of the end zone to Brent Celek, Kolb made a great throw that Celek should have caught. But he made the wrong read and threw into double coverage, thus making Celek's grab that much harder. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was wide open.

-- I think Kolb’s best pass came on his second possession when he stepped up in the pocket on third-and-nine and hit Celek for a 10-yard gain. He was close to the line of scrimmage, but got rid of the ball just before he crossed the plane. His eyes were downfield the whole time. He, unfortunately, tried to force two pass attempts to Celek on the next two plays.

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-- Kolb can run and he can throw on the run. We'll see more of that the more comfortable he becomes in the offense. On his five-yard gain for a first down, he received a decent downfield block from wide receiver Jason Avant.

-- Right guard Stacy Andrews' performance was shaky. When Kolb threw an ill-advised pass behind Avant that was almost intercepted, Andrews was beaten inside by Jaguars defensive tackle Atiyyah Ellison. On the second play of the Eagles' second drive, Jax linebacker Justin Durant ran through Andrews like he was a turnstile and dropped running back LeSean McCoy for a 2-yard loss.

-- McCoy received a great lead block from fullback Leonard Weaver on his third carry of the game -- a 4-yard burst. McCoy's shoulder pad popped out from under his jersey after Durant took him down. McCoy walked back to the huddle and couldn't get his equipment in order and received no help from a teammate until Kolb joined the huddle and fixed the pad before calling out the play. What a leader! McCoy's best run came when he zoomed nine yards through a hole opened up by guard Max Jean-Gilles and Weaver.

-- McCoy later gained five yards thanks in part to a nice kick-out block from tight end Clay Harbor. Eagles coach Andy Reid hasn't given the rookie the No. 2 TE spot yet but I can't see there being much of a competition right now with Cornelius Ingram still slowed by his knee. Reid said Sunday that he was pleased with Harbor's blocking and his effort, but that he still needs some work in the technique department.

-- Cornerback Ellis Hobbs made a nice tackle on a quick pass underneath. I wasn't a huge fan of the Sheldon Brown trade, but one thing you can't argue is that Hobbs is much quicker. If he tackles like he did Friday -- albiet in little action -- right cornerback may actually be an upgrade this season.

-- I don't think Hobbs has anything to worry about in terms of competition. Joselio Hanson showed Friday once again that he isn't great on the outside. He bit on a double-move from Jaguars receiver Troy Williamson and the result was a 73-yard touchdown catch. I think Dimitri Patterson has a better chance of being Hobbs' backup. He's had a nice camp and made a sound tackle when the Jaguars attempted a bubble screen.

-- Trevard Lindley is assured a spot on the 53-man roster, but he might be active on gamedays if he produces on special teams. Most the Eagles' kick return coverage was lousy Friday, but Lindley made a nice stop on a first quarter kickoff. He later took an illegal contact penalty and almost had an interception after a Keenan Clayton hurry.

-- Defensive end Brandon Graham’s first play came in the Eagles’ third-down nickel package on third-and-eight. He was matched up against right tackle Paul McQuistan, who easily steered the rookie past Jaguars quarterback David Garrard who stepped up to throw. Graham's night was a case of "close-but-no-cigar." He did clobber Garrard just a split second after the QB threw a pass to Mike Sims-Walker. That pass was broken up by safety Kurt Coleman, who delivered a nice hit on the receiver.

-- With Quintin Demps out with a knee injury, Coleman has a chance to become the Eagles' third safety. He had a very active night. He teamed up with defensive tackle Trevor Laws to stuff Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew when the Eagles second-team defense took on Jacksonville's offensive starters. Coleman also made a good tackle on kickoff.

-- You really can see why the Eagles like undrafted rookie tackle Austin Howard. He's big, obviously, and has a nasty streak. He laid out a Jaguars end on Michael Vick's 10-yard TD run just before the half, and was solid the rest of the way. I wonder if King Dunlap has to worry about his position as the Eagles' third tackle. He may not have to fret. The Eagles may be able to keep Howard on the practice squad, although I'm starting to think the secret is out on this kid.

-- I think Darryl Tapp makes the team, mostly because the Eagles traded for him in March. But I haven't seen much out of the smallish defensive end thus far. Rookie Danniel Te’o-Nesheim has been more impressive in my eyes. He made a nice hustle tackle on a run that got beyond the line of scrimmage and came back the next play and pressured McCown out of the pocket and into throwing an incompletion.

-- Linebacker Omar Gaither batted down a pass just before the half and did nothing to wreck his chances of making the team. Some beat reporters think Gaither won't make the cut, but I think his versatility assures him of a spot. Plus, I'm not sure if rookie Jamar Chaney is ready to be Stewart Bradley's backup. He did have a nice outing, one time running with a tight end and breaking up a pass.

-- I don't feel as confident about linebacker Moise Fokou's chances. The Eagles have been splitting his reps between linebacker and defensive end and that's usually not a good sign for a player. He's too slow at linebacker and too small at end. It's amazing that he could go from starting strong-side linebacker at the beginning of camp to being cut.

-- Running back Martell Mallett got a lot of work with Mike Bell and J.J. Arrington out, but that's all it was. He won't make the team. Chad Hall has a much better shot. He fielded kickoffs, punts, caught a deep ball and even ran a couple of times. I think he still has an uphill climb, but he could do no worse than the practice squad.

-- Guard Zipp Duncan had a rough, rough night. When he got beat in the second quarter, his man knocked the ball from Vick, who recovered the fumble. He was later whistled for a false start. And when quarterback Mike Kafka was sacked, it was by Duncan's man. Center A.Q. Shipley apparently did nothing to threaten his chances of making the practice sqaud.

 

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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