Thursday, August 11, 2011

The positives and negatives from the Eagles first preseason game

Eagles football is back! With one preseason game in the books, the Eagles are undefeated, squeaking by the Ravens 13-6. Wins and losses are meaningless in preseason but the Eagles certainly looked like the better team when the starters were on the field. Here are some of the positives and negatives that I noticed from the Eagles first preseason game:


First team offense: Nothing to complain about for the first team as they drove right down the field for a touchdown on their only drive. Michael Vick was solid, completing 4 of 6 passes to the backup receiving group of Jason Avant, Chad Hall and Riley Cooper. I would have liked to see them run the ball more with LeSean McCoy but we all know that isn't how the Eagles offense works.

First team defense: The Ravens did move the ball on the Eagles first team defense but they still looked great. We got our first look at the defensive line rotation, which is crazy deep, and the secondary had the Ravens receivers covered for the most part. The linebackers are fairly weak but the combination of a strong pass rush and a lockdown secondary should make the Eagles an elite defense.

Chad Hall: He took advantage of the extra playing time with the starting wideouts sitting, catching 5 balls for 82 yards. With the signing of Steve Smith, Hall will have a tough time making the team but more nights like this one will force the Birds to keep him.

Riley Cooper: Catch of the game for Cooper, who made a nice grab on the opening drive. He might get lost in the shuffle at wideout this year but Cooper can play and will make the occasional big catch this season.

Darryl Tapp: Two sacks on the night for Tapp, who should be a great contributor in the defensive line rotation. He will have one job this season: get the quarterback. He should do just fine.

Alex Henery: With the David Akers era over, its important that Henery is successful early on. He was perfect tonight, hitting a pair of field goals, and also showed off a strong leg on kickoffs. Can't ask for anything more than that.


Playing time for the first team: Its still early but I'd like to have seen more out of the first team offense and defense than just one drive. All of the free agents and rookies need more than a handful of plays to gel together, especially the offensive line. I know, its only the first preseason game, there is still plenty of time.

Brent Celek: Even though he had a touchdown, Celek still had a drop on a play that was negated due to a Ravens penalty. If Celek is going to have more drop problems this season the Eagles better start thinking about alternative plans at tight end. I'm not sure Clay Harbor or Donald Lee is the answer, though Lee had a couple of nice catches.

Austin Howard: The Ravens had only one sack in the game and Howard was burned on the play as well as on a few others. Howard probably isn't in jeopardy of losing his backup LT spot but he will need to step it up in the next game.

Kurt Coleman: Not a great day for a guy that is fighting for a starting spot. While rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett had a nice interception, Coleman got burned on two big plays early on. It will only be a matter of time before Jarrett leaps over him on the depth chart.
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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