For those of you who are new to the blog, Man Up is my player-by-player look at the Eagles' offensive and defensive performance each week after re-watching the game.
It occurred to me yesterday that some might think I'm actually telling certain players to Man Up. That's not the case. It's just the name we came up with last year, and it'll be published on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the season.
In case you missed it, here is the defensive breakdown.
And on Monday night, I linked to a bunch of national columnists who are calling for Michael Vick to be the starter.
Also note that I'll post the weekly Kevin Kolb feature on Wednesday, which takes an in-depth look at his performance. And this week, it will look at Vick's performance also.
Kevin Kolb- He obviously struggled big-time, completing five of 10 passes for 24 yards in the first half. Kolb played 22 snaps by my count and failed to complete a pass to DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek or Jason Avant. He forced the ball to Jackson on several occasions, and overall, Kolb could have legitimately been intercepted three different times. With that being said, the Eagles paid him $12.25M guaranteed in the offseason and traded the franchise's best quarterback of all time because they felt Kolb could handle the job. Do you really think one half of football is going to change their opinion? I don't.
Michael Vick- He provided a huge spark and nearly led the Eagles all the way back, completing 16 of 24 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 103 yards. Keep in mind, though, that the Packers had game-planned for Kolb, not Vick, who is a completely different quarterback. But there's no denying that he played well. I don't think there's another QB in the league who could make the play he made on the 23-yard run in the third. As a passer, Vick had more ups than downs. He did an outstanding job of hanging in the pocket on one play in the third where he absorbed a hit and delivered an accurate pass to DeSean Jackson for a first down. Vick showed nice touch on the 27-yard completion to Brent Celek. He still has accuracy issues. Vick had Jason Avant for a first down, but missed him at the end of the third quarter. And he threw behind Jackson or could have had a big gain over the middle in the fourth. There's no question he would have scored had he pump faked and ran on the third down in the red zone that resulted in an incompletion. Replays showed he had a couple receivers open too.
LeSean McCoy- When he got the ball, McCoy did damage. He averaged 5 yards per carry and 9.7 yards per reception - two very encouraging numbers. However, McCoy only carried seven times. I liked how decisive he looked on the 12-yard touchdown run. And McCoy made the Packers' safety look silly on a 27-yard screen pass in the second half. As a blocker, McCoy had more downs than ups. On a 13-yard Vick run, he basically tackled a Green Bay linebacker. I'm not sure how a flag wasn't thrown on the play. He did a good job picking up a blitzer on the 31-yard Vick scramble in the second half though. Marty Mornhinweg has said the difference between McCoy's blitz pickup is "night and day" from a year ago. Based on the preseason and the first game, it certainly hasn't looked that way. McCoy played 53 of 61 offensive snaps.
Leonard Weaver- Gruesome injury, and it's telling that at least half the team was on the field when it happened. I'm not sure if there is a more well-liked player in the locker room. When Weaver went down, the TV camera showed DeSean Jackson kneeling down immediately and putting his hands on his helmet. Like everyone else, he knew how bad it was right away.
Eldra Buckley- He played 13 snaps as the fullback in place of Weaver. Buckley had the fumble in the third quarter and also picked up a special teams penalty.
Mike Bell- It looked like he got in for one play that was called back for a penalty. But other than that, he was on the sideline. Andy Reid said yesterday that Bell had a toe strain. With Weaver out, the Eagles are going to count on him even more to spell McCoy.
DeSean Jackson- Jackson, perhaps the league's best downfield threat, did not get an offensive touch until the Eagles' 28th play from scrimmage in the third quarter. That's no good. Kolb forced the ball his way on several occasions, but Jackson didn't have a chance on any of the throws. On the Eagles' first touchdown drive with Vick in the game, Jackson converted a pair of third downs. He ended with four catches for 30 yards.
Jeremy Maclin- He was the only wide receiver or tight end to register a catch in the first half. Maclin ended up with four catches for 38 yards, including the second-half touchdown. He also had a nice-looking 11-yard pickup on an end around in the first.
Jason Avant- Like Jackson and Celek, he did not catch a ball until the second half. Avant finished with four catches for 41 yards. He made a great adjustment on a 15-yard catch in the fourth and also made a nice grab on 3rd-and-13 during the team's final drive.
Riley Cooper- The Eagles went with four wide receivers more in the second half, and Cooper was on the field for nine snaps, although he did not have a catch. Hank Baskett did not get on the field at all, which confirms what we've known: that Cooper is the fourth wide receiver.
Brent Celek- The first offensive play of the game was a tight end screen to Celek, but it was called back for a penalty. He then failed to catch a ball until 12:56 left in the fourth quarter when Celek reeled in a nice 27-yard grab in traffic over the middle. That was the Eagles' 42nd play from scrimmage. Very puzzling. Didn't this guy lead the team in catches last season? Two different conversations in terms of Celek's blocking. First of all, it was not good. He did a poor job on Clay Matthews on a 3-yard McCoy run in the second that could have resulted in a big gain. On the play where Matthews chased Kolb down from behind, resulting in a concussion, it looked like Celek was supposed to get a chip on him, but he did not, and Matthews went right around Winston Justice. And on the final 4th-and-1, Celek could not block Matthews, who stuffed Vick and ended the game. Does Celek's blocking need to improve? Absolutely. But my question is this: With the game on the line, how can the Eagles expect Celek to block Matthews? Matthews killed the Eagles all game. It seems foolish that on the most crucial play of the game, the Birds thought they could handle him with a tight end and running back (McCoy). That's not putting players in a position to succeed, Andy.
Clay Harbor- The Eagles only went with two tight ends on five plays. Harbor was not a factor, except when he was called for holding on a McCoy touchdown run. It's clear the Eagles think he can have a role in the red zone. Harbor lined up out wide down there in the fourth.
Winston Justice- Let me start by saying that the offensive line was particularly difficult to evaluate this week because many of the issues appeared to be due to communication, not execution. That being said, I thought Justice had a good game. He seemed to be the only player on the Eagles' O-line who could handle Matthews. When Justice was matched up with Matthews, he won more battles than he lost. Justice made a good block on the McCoy 6-yard run in the first and held up well in pass protection, although there were exceptions. As I mentioned above, on the play where Matthews knocked Kolb out, he rushed off the left edge. Celek didn't get a chip, and Justice didn't get Matthews blocked. It also looked like Justice or Nick Cole was supposed to pick up Matthews on a second-half play where he crushed Vick, but Vick got rid of the ball in time to Jackson. Justice was beat by Matthews on another play, but didn't give up and pushed him to the ground as Vick scrambled for 31 yards.
Nick Cole- He had some really impressive moments. Cole got blocks on a linebacker and a defensive back on McCoy's touchdown run. His standout moment was on the touchdown pass to Maclin. Cole was helping Justice with Cullen Jenkins when he saw Matthews coming on a delayed rush inside. Cole switched off Jenkins and picked up Matthews, giving Vick time to find Maclin. He also crushed a linebacker on McCoy's 27-yard screen play. On the down side, as I mentioned above, it's unclear whether he or Justice was supposed to pick up Matthews on the play where Vick got crushed. Fox analyst Troy Aikman thought it was Cole's responsibility. He was beat by Jenkins in the fourth, as Vick had to rush his throw, which was incomplete. Overall, though, I thought it was a very encouraging performance.
Jamaal Jackson- You have to feel for the guy. He worked so hard to get back for Week 1 and now won't play another down until 2011 after suffering a torn triceps.
Mike McGlynn- He started off slow, but I thought McGlynn settled in nicely as the Eagles mounted their comeback in the second half. In addition to Vick's play, the key to the offensive performance in the third and fourth quarters was the offensive line. McGlynn got just enough of BJ Raji on McCoy's touchdown run. He'll be the man at center the rest of the season. Big opportunity for the third-year player. The next 15 weeks will likely determine which direction his career is going to go.
Todd Herremans- Herremans had ups and downs. He whiffed completely on his block on a designed run to Vick in the first that resulted in a loss. And Raji beat him on the first play of the third quarter, forcing Vick to scramble. You know the Cole play I described on the Maclin TD above? Herremans was called on to do the same thing on the Eagles' final drive, but he was slow to pick up Matthews, who sacked Vick. Herremans made a key block on the 27-yard screen to McCoy. Expectations for him are high in 2010.
Jason Peters- Two penalties in Week 1. Shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point. He looked good in the run game, and the Eagles should really be able to do some damage giving McCoy the ball behind him and Herremans on the left side. Peters did a decent job on the 11-yard end around to Maclin. He was solid for the most part in protection, but had a couple lapses (other than the penalties). Peters was beat on the play that resulted in a pass interference call on Celek. Kolb had to rush the throw because of the pressure. He also got beat badly by linebacker Nick Barnett, who sacked Vick on the Eagles' final drive.
King Dunlap- He and McGlynn were the only backup offensive linemen who were active. That will change next week. Dunlap was on the field for a handful of snaps in the third quarter when Peters went down.
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