Thursday, August 20, 2009

Colts work over injury-depleted Eagles

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
It's a good thing there is still nearly a month until the regular season starts because the Eagles don't look like they are anywhere close to being ready. The short-handed Eagles, who played without 12 players, got trounced by the Colts in every facet of the game, losing 23-15. While a lot of this poor play can be attributed to all of the missing players (Kevin Kolb, Brian Westbrook, Jason Peters, Shawn Andrews, Stacy Andrews, Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, Bryan Smith, Darren Howard, Omar Gaither, Sheldon Brown and Michael Vick all didn't play), Eagles fans still hoped to see a lot more effort and a much more competitive game than they saw. Here are my positives and negatives from the Eagles second preseason game.

-The DeSean Jackson 39 yard touchdown. Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson looked to be in midseason form as they connected for a beautiful touchdown that was easily the highlight of the game.

-Jason Babin. Once again, Babin was one of the better defensive linemen out there. With all the injuries along the line, Babin got a chance to start and he made the most of it, sacking Peyton Manning and forcing a fumble in the first quarter. Babin was around the quarterback the entire first half, proving that he deserves a spot on the final roster. Sorry, Bryan Smith, I think you just got bumped.

-A.J. Feeley. For a guy who is likely to get cut, he sure is making a case to be added on by another team. Despite facing constant pressure and getting knocked around in the pocket, Feeley hung tough and made some good throws. I know he made a bad decision at the end of the first half, but completing 16 of 20 passes is no easy task.

-Eldra Buckley. Buckley played much less tonight, but it was actually a good thing. Buckley, who got time with the second unit while Lorenzo Booker was demoted to the third team, held his own against better competition, averaging 5 yards a carry and proving he has good hands out of the backfield with four catches. Yeah, I know he fumbled, but it seems like a given at this point that Buckley makes the team while Booker gets cut.

-Sav Rocca. His first punt was a beauty that pinned the Colts inside the 5 yardline. I've had my doubts about the guy, but he has his moments.

-Adam DiMichele. If that was his one chance with the Eagles, he made the most of it. He made some nice throws and moved the ball well, too bad he's cut the moment Kevin Kolb comes back.

-Leonard Weaver. For the short amount of time he was out there, he played great. Unfortunately, Weaver is the latest Eagle to fall victim to the injury bug. He sprained his knee, probably while he was trying to block a lineman who got through the porous offensive line. If Weaver is out for any amount of time, Kyle Eckel is your starting fullback. Needless to say, that's a big drop-off.

-The Colts first team offense shredded the Eagles first team defense. Luckily, the Eagles have two pretty good excuses as to why the Colts were able to move the ball at will against them. First, it's the Colts, they have one of the best offenses in the league. Second, the Eagles first team defense was missing so many players that it was far from their best unit. The Eagles still should have been able to put up a better fight than that, but it shows that, defensively, they still aren't where they need to be yet. Not even close.

-The Eagles first team offense. They started extremely slow, with a 3 and out on the first possession and a fumble in the second possession. Things started to come together on the third possession when McNabb connected with Jackson on that 39 yard strike. McNabb put up surprisingly solid numbers, completing 5 of 7 passes for 77 yards, and he should be commended for staying upright behind the makeshift offensive line. Overall, though, things seemed pretty disjointed with the offense, and it all starts with the play of....

-The offensive line. Playing with only one starter, the "first team" offensive line was atrocious. King Dunlap, who was the starting left tackle, predictably got burned by Dwight Freeney early and often. About the only positive thing from this group is the fact that McNabb didn't get injured playing behind these guys. It's easy to simply blame this on injuries, but at what point is that actual starting offensive line going to play together? The season is coming soon, it's hard to have any faith in these guys.

-Discipline. Just like last week, the Eagles had way too many penalties, this time committing 12 for 87 yards. It could be a product of guys who have never played together or it could be the coaching, but Andy Reid has got to get this situation under control.

-Jeremy Maclin. As a receiver, he's fine. As a punt returner, not so much. His second fumble in two games might be a sign that he shouldn't be returning punts in the NFL.

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