Michael Vick signing, the Eagles actually played a game on Thursday night! Even though it's only preseason, it's hard not to get excited when you see the Eagles take the field at Lincoln Financial. While the Birds comeback bid fell short against the Patriots, losing 27-25, there was some good that came out of the game. Here are some of the positives and negatives from the Eagles first preseason game.
-McNabb and the first team offense. While the first team offense looked sloppy on their first two drives, they began to kick it into gear on the third. Mixing in several shotgun formations, Donovan McNabb, who finished 11 of 18 on the night, led the Eagles down the field with precision, completing passes to three different receivers and letting LeSean McCoy eat up yards on the ground. While the drive ultimately ended in a failure in the red zone with a sack and a field goal, there were some promising signs, especially from...
-LeSean McCoy. The rookie looked really good, eating up yardage on nearly every carry. He finished with 55 yards on 10 carries, a solid 5.5 yards per carry, plus he caught two passes out of the backfield. I have never felt more confident about the Eagles running game when/if Brian Westbrook gets hurt.
-Sheldon Brown. He made a nice play early in the game and later had a pick that pissed Tom Brady off. Sheldon has solidified his starting spot for sure.
-A.J. Feeley. He might be playing for his NFL career now that the Eagles have Vick. Feeley got the bulk of the playing time at QB and had a good showing, leading two touchdown drives and completing 18 of 24 passes for 211 yards. Unless Kevin Kolb is hurt more than has been led on, however, this is likely the end of Feeley's time in Philly.
-Jason Babin. He's on the roster bubble, so picking up the only Eagles sack of the day is a big positive for him.
-Eldra Buckley. Lorenzo Booker better watch his back, Buckley is coming for him. While not particularly great on the ground (23 yards and a TD on 8 carries), Buckley had quite a showing in the passing game, catching 6 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. With Booker basically doing nothing, Buckley has a great shot at earning the 3rd string running back spot.
-Discipline. The Eagles were penalized 8 times for 98 yards, which is unacceptable. From the beginning of the game, the team seemed out of sorts and sloppy. Perhaps they were shocked by the Michael Vick signing?
-Jeremy Maclin. He fumbled his first touch as an Eagle on a punt return. Not a great way to start your career and not a way to endear yourselves to fans and coaches who aren't happy you held out. He later made 2 catches and had a much better punt return, but that wasn't a good first impression.
-The first team defense. After looking solid on the first drive, the first team defense got picked apart by Tom Brady on the second drive. Brady threw a bomb right to Randy Moss that Asante Samuel interfered with, which put the Patriots deep in the Eagles territory. From there, Brady dinked and dunked short passes to lead the Patriots to a touchdown. They redeemed themselves later when Brown picked off Brady, but they could have done better to put more pressure on the Patriots QB. Brady had a good game overall, completing 10 of 15 for 100 yards and 2 TDs. The second and third units fared much better, limiting the Pats to only a pair of field goals in the second half.
-Jason Peters. The big offseason pickup let the Patriots defensive line get by him for two sacks. I know he's surrounded by second team linemen that he's never played with, but he's gotta do better than that.
-Special teams. This supposedly improved unit gave up a punt return touchdown and had several penalties. Every year we hear that the special teams is going to be the amongst the best in the league and every year they disappoint. Let's hope the Eagles get these kinks worked out.