The Eagles played a very sloppy game in their 31-24 win over the lowly Jags in Jacksonville last night. There was some good, some bad, and some ugly. Here's what they're saying...
The late-Andy Reid-era Eagles showed up at EverBank Field Saturday night, and nobody was tempted to get swept away in the warm embrace of nostalgia, even after Nick Foles saved the night with a 99-yard touchdown drive against scrubs, for a 31-24 preseason victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Four days after Chip Kelly ended his quarterbacking competition, naming Michael Vick the starter, Kelly got a strong whiff of the 2011-12 Vick, in the sticky breeze wafting off the St. John’s River.
He’s played three games and thrown four incomplete passes.
Nick Foles didn’t win the Eagles’ quarterback competition, but he’s certainly playing at a very high level right now.
On Saturday night, four days after learning that Michael Vick would be the Eagles’ opening-day quarterback, Foles completed 10 of 11 passes for 112 yards and engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to give the Eagles a 31-24 win over the Jaguars in a preseason game at Everbank Field.
The Eagles were all over the friggin’ place tonight. They looked great at times, they looked terrible at times. The hot topic will be the play of Michael Vick. He was erratic. Vick finished 15-23-184, with a TD and INT. He was 7-53 on the ground. You can’t call that a bad game. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The INT was terrible. There was another play where he made a terrible decision and put the ball up for grabs. He was ruled down, but Vick just can’t make that decision. Vick was under some pressure and just didn’t respond well.
Vick hadn’t really been pressured much prior to tonight. Spring football doesn’t involve real pressure since there is no contact. Training Camp doesn’t involve real pressure since QBs can’t be hit. This was the first time that Vick didn’t have a clean pocket. It was good for him to have a game like this now. Kelly can talk to Vick about what he thinks needs to be fixed.
3. Cedric Thornton has been pretty much an afterthought in his two years with the Eagles, but he’s having quite a productive preseason playing 3-4 defensive end, and he showed Saturday night why the Eagles are so high on him with a good third-down pressure and a sack. Vinny Curry has been playing well when he’s gotten opportunities, but right now the starting job belongs to Thornton.
Jimmy note: Tommy agrees.
Cedric Thornton is really having a terrific preseason. That's your starting LDE.
— Tommy Lawlor (@lawlornfl) August 25, 2013
Chip Kelly‘s first-team offense looked different against the Jaguars than it had in the previous two preseason games. Not as rooted in the run game. Fewer quick strikes and bubble screens. Longer-developing plays. The offensive line was decidedly less effective. So what happened?
A few things.
Some of the credit goes to Gus Bradley‘s defense for taking away a lot of what has worked for the Eagles to date. Jason Kelce explains:
“I think you take what the defense is giving you, and I think that a lot of the game they were playing with one-high safeties, stacking a lot of guys down to take away the running game and take away some of the bubble screens, and I think that’s why you saw a little more passing early on,” said Kelce.
Two Eagles cornerbacks left Saturday's 31-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars with injuries, further depleting a depth chart that was already thin in the defensive backfield.
Cornerback Brandon Hughes fractured his left hand playing on special teams in the first quarter. Eddie Whitley left the game in the third quarter with a right knee injury. He did not return.
Jimmy note: That's a really tough break for Whitley, who had really emerged and was a threat to earn a roster spot.
The Eagles are in the Top 5 in total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards (via NFL.com):
Unfortunately, they're in a familiar position in turnover differential: