Evan Mathis played 1,128 snaps last season and was flagged for holding just four times. In Friday night’s preseason loss to the Bears, the All-Pro left guard was called for holding twice in the Eagles’ first two offensive series.
All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters played 1,040 snaps last year and didn’t have one holding call against him. But he picked one up Friday on the Eagles’ eleventh play of the game.
Throw in a costly facemask penalty against wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and you have the biggest problem with the Eagles’ first-team offense against the Bears – penalties.
“They sat in the same front and played it the entire game,’’ coach Chip Kelly said of the Bears defense Sunday morning before the Eagles’ public practice at Franklin Field. “It was a four-down front. They didn’t do anything scheme-wise to us. The thing that hurt our offensive line, to be honest with you, was we got too many penalties.
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“We were moving the ball. Two of the penalties we had negated big gains for us. We had a pass to (Brent) Celek that was a big gain that got called back. That was critical.
And then we had another where the receiver (Maclin) was trying to get a release and gets a facemask trying to get by the corner. It’s a point of emphasis. It should have been called.
“But when you get that many penalties to start, we had a screen pass that got some yards and we had a hold on the back side that wasn’t even necessary. So the penalties were what really hurt those guys up front.
Mathis’ first holding penalty negated a 20-yard completion to Celek from Nick Foles. Foles ended up throwing the first of his two interceptions on the next play.
Maclin’s facemask penalty wiped out a 13-yard completion to Celek which would have been a first down. Another Mathis holding penalty right after that moved them back another 10 yards.
Some other highlights from Kelly’s morning news conference:
--On backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, who completed 7 of 10 passes and engineered two touchdown drives: “He’s a real quick thinker. Makes decisive decisions. He’s very athletic when you watch him drop. Has some pop in his feet when he gets to the top of his drop and goes through his progressions.
“He gets the ball out quickly. Has a very quick release. We were very excited when we had a chance to get him. He’s played 68 games in this league. Took his team to two AFC Championship Games. So he has a lot of experience.
“The one thing you’re starting to see is he’s healthy. If anybody has any questions about his arm rehabbing after that throw he made right at the end of the first half – he threw the ball 68 yards in the air. He’s back and he’s excited about playing football.’’
--On Nick Foles’ two-interception performance: “On the one interception on second and 4 or 5, he should’ve just thrown it away. He was trying to make something happen in that situation. We had a twist game on the other interception where he got moved off his spot a little bit. But he still has to set his feet and throw the ball.
“Sometimes you don’t have to complete every pass. Sometimes an incompletion is better than an interception. Those are lessons he’ll learn from. But that’s the thing about Nick. When he makes a mistake, he bounces back and learns from it and doesn’t make the mistake again. We always talk STP. No sacks, no turnovers, no penalties when you’re in the red zone.’’
--On which backup players caught his eye Friday night: “I thought Brandon Graham’s pass-rushing in that second group caused some havoc in there. Vinny (Curry) was in the backfield a lot with that second group. Beau Allen did a nice job in the run game. So did Brandon Bair.
“I thought (Zach) Ertz did a nice job in the passing game. But he’s still got a lot of work to do from a blocking perspective. The biggest thing we’re looking for right now is consistency. Guys make a good play and you’re excited, but then the next one’s not so good.’’
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