I went back this morning and re-watched the first half of last night's Eagles' loss to the Colts.
Yesterday, I broke down Indy's opening 12 play, 81-yard drive, so the following observations are all from that point forward:
** In the chat, many of you seemed to be split in regards to the play of the offensive line and King Dunlap. Some argued that Dunlap played well other than the one Dwight Freeney sack and Donovan McNabb fumble. Others seemed genuinely worried. Here's how I saw it.
Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and company did a good job of making sure Dunlap, Winston Justice and the rest of the offensive line wouldn't have to do too much in terms of pass coverage. They kept tight ends and running backs in to block. They called shorter routes so that McNabb would have to get rid of the ball quickly. They rolled him out to buy time. A good example was McNabb's first pass play of the game. They rolled him out to the right, and he hit DeSean Jackson on the near sideline. During the play, Jason Avant actually lined up next to Dunlap to offer him some help, and Matt Schobel aided Justice. The Eagles did several things like this throughout the game. In fact, I don't remember them taking a single shot down the field other than the Jackson TD catch. So if it seemed like McNabb really wasn't under a lot of pressure other than the one play, it was more because of the scheme and the calls than the performance of the reserve linemen. I'm not criticizing the Eagles here. That was the smart move. Just something to point out.
** Nice punt by Sav Rocca to pin the Colts inside their own 5-yard-line.
** Getting back to Dunlap, there is absolutely zero reason for anyone to be ripping him. He was a seventh-round pick who has never played a regular-season snap, and he was going up against one of the premier pass rushers of this era. What did we think was going to happen there?
** The Eagles' linebackers bit on play action during the entire first half. Things actually could have been worse for the defense. Peyton Manning misfired on a couple throws. One was a play-action fake which had Akeem Jordan completely turned around, but Manning missed his target, tight end Jacob Tamme.
** Your eyes did not deceive you. Ellis Hobbs did struggle. We all know about the 76-yard touchdown to Reggie Wayne. For the record, I want to hear what Hobbs, the safeties and Sean McDermott have to say about the play before completely pinning the blame on Hobbs. But on the Colts' second drive, he had a chance to bring down running back Donald Brown short of the first-down marker and didn't deliver a very good effort on the tackle. It was a third-down play, the time when the defense desperately needs to get off the field, and Hobbs allowed the Colts to extend their drive.
** Jason Babin played as well as I thought when I watched the game the first time around. He went right around Colts tackle Charlie Johnson on a four-man rush to force the Manning fumble. Mike Patterson also had a good push up the middle on that play. Babin made a couple other nice plays in the run game.
** LeSean McCoy made more errors this week. He was split out wide and dropped a perfectly thrown slant from McNabb. When A.J. Feeley was in the game, McCoy missed on a block that resulted in a sack. And on a 1st-and-5 toss, it looked like he had room to pick up the first down, but McCoy tried to bounce it outside and only picked up a yard. Not a good job blocking by Kevin Curtis on that play by the way.
** McCoy did have another nice play in the screen game, going 14 yards, thanks in part to a good block by Jamaal Jackson.
** Nice work all around on the TD throw to Jackson. Dunlap did a good job after getting help from Schobel. And McNabb made a perfect throw with a hand in his face. We saw that connection multiple times per day at Lehigh.
** Victor Abiamiri saw quite a bit of action, both at defensive end and inside on passing downs. He didn't get to the quarterback, but made a few nice plays against the run.
** Broderick Bunkley might be headed to the Pro Bowl this year.
** Nice job by Hank Baskett avoiding a defender and picking up a first down late in the half. Not really sure he, Reggie Brown or Brandon Gibson has really stood out though through the first two preseason games.
** Eldra Buckley got on the field before Lorenzo Booker. Do we read something into that, or did Reid just want to see how Buckley performed against defensive starters? He dropped a ball and fumbled, but also showed some of the flashes we saw a week ago against the Pats.
** Macho Harris seems to be a pretty good blitzer. He's been in the QB's face two weeks in a row.
** Feeley and the offense were in field-goal range with 11 seconds left in the half and no timeouts. The Colts had just been whistled for a penalty so the offense had time to huddle and figure out what they wanted to do. It's a situation they practiced all the time at training camp. But when the ball was snapped, Feeley hit Buckley over the middle, time ran out, and the Eagles were left with no points. There's only so much a coach can do. Feeley knew what his goal was there, but he just made a bad decision.
OK, I emptied out the notebook, as the saying goes. Chime in with your thoughts.