Thursday, August 18, 2011

The positives and negatives from the Eagles preseason game against the Steelers

What a difference a week makes. Last week, the Eagles first teamers seemed to do everything right as they worked over the Ravens in limited work. This week, the Steelers dominated on both sides of the ball from the start, stomping the Eagles, 24-14. Here are some of the positives and negatives that I noticed from the Eagles second preseason game:


LeSean McCoy: The lone bright spot of the first team offense, McCoy picked up 37 total yards on 5 touches. Shady looked to be in regular season form as gashed the Steelers defense. Maybe the Eagles will run the ball more this year? Yeah, maybe not.

Dion Lewis: He had the one big play for the Eagles offense, picking up 40 yards on a catch and run. He almost made up for his earlier fumble with how good he looked on the play.

Mike Kafka: Andy Reid really has a magic touch when it comes to developing quarterbacks. Kafka was easily the best quarterback for the Eagles tonight, slicing up the Steelers 4th defense by completing 14 of 19 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. He will make some great trade bait down the road.

Vick's tackle of Polamalu: After Troy Polamalu picked him off, Michael Vick made a solid tackle to stop him from returning it for a pick six. If that sounds like a reach for a positive because very little went right for the Eagles, that's because it is.


First team defense: They were overaggressive from the start and Ben Roethlisberger took advantage, slicing them up for 125 yards and two touchdowns on a pair of drives. It's really hard to put much blame on the Eagles d-line as they got to Big Ben a handful of times but he was able to move around and buy himself enough time to find the weak spots in the Eagles secondary. No matter how many Pro Bowlers you have, no secondary in the league can cover everyone forever. There is still plenty of time for things to come together but there is too much talent in this group to accept a performance like that. Juan Castillo has work to do.

Linebackers: Surprise, the one part of the team they didn't bother to upgrade this offseason is the weak link of the defense! With all the great players around them, it might help if this group was occasionally in the right position to make a tackle. Casey Matthews doesn't look like a starting middle linebacker yet and I'm not sure two more weeks of preseason football will be enough to turn him into an effective player. Maybe the shoddy performance by this group will force the Eagles to address a position they don't seem to care about.

First team offense: Things didn't go much better for the offensive starters, who failed to come close to registering a point and looked completely out of sync. The Steelers defense is no joke but there is no bright side to an offense that punts and has three turnovers in their four possessions. Its hard to get too upset about the offense when there clearly is no game plan or strategy to be seen so all we can do is hope that once everyone is healthy and all of the weapons are accounted for, damage will be done.

Michael Vick: Rough, rough night for Vick, who continually threw into coverage and seemed to make bad decisions on every play. His goal early on was simply to get the ball to DeSean Jackson as much as possible but he had trouble finding anyone else open. It's only preseason but three picks is still unacceptable for a supposedly elite quarterback. At least he made that nice tackle on Troy Polamalu!

Asante Samuel: He got burned by a Roethlisberger fake that led to a Steelers touchdown. That won't help his trade value!

Eagles backup offense: While the defense seemed to stiffen at times in the second half, the second team offense was pretty abysmal. Sure, there were decent plays here and there, but an interception by Vince Young pretty much negated any positives. I think it all starts with the offensive line, which is completely in flux due to injuries and new signings.
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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