Here are five things that went badly Monday night—or is it five things that went well?
Michael Vick’s injury/Nick Foles’s performance: After Vick took a shot to the ribs against the Patriots, Vick now has left both preseason games with injuries. Never the most durable quarterback, Vick and his injuries should worry a team that needs him healthy to have its best chance for success.
“I’d like to have seen him play a little bit more, but we’re not talking about a rookie,” Reid said of Vick getting hurt.
To the rescue: backup quarterback Nick Foles. The rookie from Arizona went from getting minimal reps in training camp to getting early playing time in the second preseason game due to injuries to Vick and Mike Kafka.
Foles again showed promise, finishing 18 of 28 for 217 yards, with two touchdowns, and one interception. Through his first eight drives as a pro, he led four touchdown drives. His size (6-foot-5, 243 pounds) helps with both passing lanes and his ability to bounce back from hits like the ones he took against New England.
The penalties/Andy Reid showing fire: The Eagles have a penchant for undisciplined play that draws penalties, especially among players on the defensive line. Does line coach Jim Washburn’s in-your-face style during practice encourage such behavior?
If so, then Reid took a marquee Monday Night Football moment to make his case that he’s tired of it. He clashed with both Cullen Jenkins and Washburn in front of the cameras. It could be a good thing that Reid is going to put others under the same heat that Reid is under from owner Jeffrey Lurie.
“He was upset, I was upset, we talked about it afterwards,” Reid said of his dust-up with Jenkins. “I put a lot of responsibility on our defensive line, I put a lot of responsibility on our offensive line. I don’t think with either one of them that this was one of their best performances.”
LBs Ryans/Kendricks: DeMeco Ryans is one of those Eagles that fans would love to get behind. By all accounts he’s a good guy, considerate to the fans, polite to the media, and a two-time Pro Bowler. But can he hit? Through two preseason games, Ryans doesn’t look like the marquee signee that fans hoped for.
On the flip side, second-round draft pick Mychal Kendricks showed the quickness, backfield penetration, and aggressiveness that earned him a starter’s spot. While he was late on the early touchdown pass to Alex Silvestro, he showed more than enough throughout the game, accumulating six tackles.
DRC’s injury/Boykin’s fill-in: There is no positive to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie being injured. He has been a star throughout camp and the preseason games. He was out of position last season, but has shown he’s at his best as a lockdown corner. His X-rays were negative, so that’s key.
But DRC’s injury allowed the Eagles to look further at fourth-round pick Brandon Boykin, and the former Georgia Bulldog showed he’s ready to do more than challenge Joselio Hanson for the slot corner spot. On top of that, his speed on special teams coverage led to the muffed punt that then led to an Eagles score.
Opponents’ third-down efficiency/Eagles win: It’s the preseason, fans shouldn’t worry, what does it matter that the Eagles initially allowed the Patriots to go 7-for-10 on third downs, or that the Steelers were 5-for-7? Anyone buying that?
“I attribute that to a lot of penalties,” Reid said. “We have to do better.” Shampoo, rinse, repeat. “We have to do better” is getting old as an answer.
However, the Eagles won their second preseason game. Should it count for something that the players were able to laugh on the sidelines at the end of the game and enjoy the moment? Chemistry is a weird thing, so who knows?