Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

First half observations: Eagles-Jags

Michael Vick was good, but not great in the first half. Darryl Tapp and Trevor Laws each make their first real impact of the season.

First half observations: Eagles-Jags

Michael Vick was very good again in the first half, and capped it with some impressive throws to lead to a late touchdown.

How good has the quarterback become at working the clock? With 12 seconds to go, Vick stood patiently in the pocket as the seconds ticked down -- 7, 6, 5 -- and he fired a pass to Jeremy Maclin for a 16-yard score with four seconds remaining.

Earlier in the drive, Vick hit tight end Brent Celek with a precise 21-yard completion on third and eight, followed it up two plays later with a 16-yard throw to Maclin on the sideline.

Much like last week, when the Eagles tacked on a late score against the Lions, Vick moved the team quickly and efficiently, covering 53 yards in 1:33.

He finished his first half as the team's long-term starter 10 for 21 passing for 161 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. His passer rating was 105.5 in the first half.

Other notes from the first half:

-- That's two weeks in a row that DeSean Jackson has made defenders look silly as they try to chase him down. He's the fastest kid on the playground.

-- Nick Cole's tenure as a starter may have come to an end. He was replaced in the first half by Reggie Wells.

-- Wells picked up an early holding penalty, negating a nine-yard Mike Vick scramble.

-- New personnel, same short yardage struggles. On a third-and-one in the second quarter, Mike Bell was stuffed on the right side of the line, trying to run behind Reggie Wells. On fourth down Bell ran left behind Owen Schmitt and Jason Peters, and came up short again. Andy Reid even challenged the spot -- and lost. Even if the spot was bad,  you'd like to see the team be able to pick up a yard without needing replay.

-- Trevor Laws recorded his first career sack.

-- After not dressing for the first two games of the season, Darryl Tapp made up for lost time with a sack on the Jaguars first drive. The Eagles defensive end came off the right edge and dropped David Garrard for a nine-year loss.

-- The Graham inside experiment seems to have been deemed a failure. The rookie defensive end, after playing the majority of his downs at tackle in the first game, has played less and less inside. Through the first quarter Sunday, Graham played every defensive snap at end. With Tapp activated and active and Laws stealing more and more of Mike Patterson's time, Graham was able to stay at his natural position outside.

-- Can it get any worse for Nick Cole? The guard was dusted again on inside rush during the Eagles' second drive when Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton pummeled Michael Vick for a sack. Cole was bailed out, however, when Vick tossed a beauty of a touch pass to DeSean Jackson that the receiver took 61 yards for the Eagles' first score.

-- If your offensive line is having trouble against the pass rush, one of the best ways to supplement the protection is to establish the run. And the Eagles did that early on, going to running back LeSean McCoy and mixing in a little of backup Mike Bell for good measure. Quarterback Michael Vick faced some pressure, but nowhere near as bad as it was a week ago and by the second quarter he had ample time in the pocket.

-- Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, in his own subtle way, called out Akeem Jordan last week when was he asked to assess the linebacker's play thus far. McDermott called it "adequate," and the message appeared to have gotten to Jordan. He was the Eagles' best defensive player in the first half as he made run-stopping tackles and even defensed a pass to Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

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

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
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