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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Eagles’ Third Preseason Game

Aug 24, 2013, 11:35 PM EDT

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Despite pulling out a 31-24 win in Jacksonville on Saturday night, there is no question this will go down as the most disappointing of the Eagles’ four preseason games. All you’re really looking for from these glorified scrimmages is execution, and it was lacking in bounds by Chip Kelly’s squad.

The offense looked sloppy and disoriented, nothing at all like the hyper-efficient unit from the previous two weeks. Defensively they were mistake-prone and had trouble getting off the field, inconsistent like you might expect of a work in progress.

The issues on both side of the ball are compounded by the added emphasis that’s often placed on the third exhibition game, the proverbial dress rehearsal. If this was supposed to be a preview of what’s in store for 2013, the Eagles failed to distance themselves from 2012 first.

Now there’s no need to overreact. Both Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis undoubtedly left plenty in their bag of tricks. There were a lot of teaching moments, and there are still two weeks to get the club ready for September 9 in Washington. Remember to breathe.

It honestly wasn’t pretty though, and there’s no one real area to point the finger. We’ll break down the individual efforts in the next few days, but let’s go lightning-round style with the good, the bad, and the ugly from what could be the last significant tune-up before the regular season gets underway.

THE GOOD

Nick Foles’ game-winning drive

Finished 10/11 for 112 yards, and led the offense on two touchdown drives including a 14-play, 99-yard march to put the Birds ahead with 2:18 left to play. Mike Vick was more erratic than we’ve seen of late, so expect Foles’ performance to give rise to some controversy in print and on talk radio, even if he did play against backups and all but one snap came in the fourth quarter.

456 yards of total offense

The Eagles trailed for much of the game, and while they did score 31 points, they left plenty more on the field. Still, it’s positive to see the offense continuing to roll up big numbers, because if they ever manage to quit shooting themselves in the foot, they’re going to be very difficult to stop.

Seven sacks

The defense had its share of issues, but one area they were a plus was rushing the passer. On top of hauling down Jags’ passers in the backfield a whopping seven times, they also landed a bunch of hits, and the relentless pressure even helped force a turnover.

THE BAD

The offensive line

Not a good night for this unit, and we’re talking as a whole. Evan Mathis got tagged for a hold on a big third down. Lane Johnson looked like a rookie for the first time. Jason Kelce had trouble snapping the ball, while Todd Herremans’ up-and-down play carried over for a third straight week. Surprisingly disappointing.

Stalling in the red zone

A big reason why the Eagles left so many points on the board is their failure to capitalize down tight. They punched the ball into the end zone three times on six trips, far from ideal to say the least, especially considering two of the conversions came when Foles was in the game. Must get better in the red area.

Getting pushed around by the Jaguars

Realize the Eagles were only 4-12 themselves last year, but by all appearances the Jacksonville franchise is in far worse condition, as it usually is. Coming off a 2-14 campaign, the Jags’ quarterback options are worse, and they don’t have near the high-end talent Philly does. Sure, Gus Bradley is trying to change the culture, but it should take time. That said, it sure looked like their starters were on a level playing field here.

THE UGLY

Jordan Todman’s 63-yard touchdown run

We’ll have to examine exactly what went wrong on the play, but some of it was obvious. Bad backside pursuit created yet another huge cutback lane, while Earl Wolff (in at safety with the first-string D) took a horrible angle to the ball carrier, allowing a relative unknown to take it to the house with ease. This was the third run of 50-plus yards surrendered by the Eagles this preseason, and that’s three too many.

These helmets

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I mean, what are they thinking???

Turnovers

The real story. Yes, the Eagles are going to let opponents score, because they’re just not there yet defensively. And yes, Chip Kelly’s offense is exciting as hell and has no problem flying up and down the field at will. But if they don’t knock it off with the turnovers, they can’t beat anybody. It’s 2011 and 2012 all over again.

Vick threw an interception caused in large part by some immediate pressure up front, but it was a bad decision as he jumped off of his back foot, probably just trying to throw the ball away – gotta eat that one. Damaris Johnson fumbled on a punt return. Bryce Brown fumbled as he was going into the end zone. There’s no telling exactly how many points this cost the Eagles both ways, but you can estimate they left between 7-13 out there, and those giveaways directly led to 10 the other way. Rest assured, better teams will not let them get away with it.

>> BOX SCORE [ESPN]

  1. MF - Aug 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Vick can’t run a hurry up O!

    Reply
    • FolesIsAStiff - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Did you watch the game? Were you cheering on Kevin Kolb in the third preseason game in 2010 against the Chiefs when he was God awful? Looks like Kolb got another concussion.

      Reply
      • bt - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Not that you’re biased or anything

  2. Lava - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Those helmets are actually pretty awesome.

    Reply
    • chip - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      No. No, they are not.

      Reply
    • duffman - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      they are awful

      Reply
  3. xmostlyharmless - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    We saw the VIck we always knew he was last night. Erratic and sloppy, playing outside the system, and trying to be the hero. The offense looked slow when he is in. My eyes are telling me that Foles runs the offense much more efficiently than Vick. But we are going for flash apparently. Vick will win us some games, but he will most defiantly lose us more games than Foles would have.

    And I like the Jag’s new unis. The helmet is new and different looking and I like it.

    Reply
    • sleezy baby - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      someones feeling a little contrary today…

      Reply
    • phillyybuzz - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Since he’s been named the starter I hope ur wrong but as of now u look very right

      Reply
    • FolesIsAStiff - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      lol, it’s going to be funny when you all eat crow, Nick Foles is horrendous, the game winning drive was all runs, Vick would have put up 23 points if Bryce Brown wasn’t a disaster, I really don’t know what you people are watching, it’s so hilarious how stupid people are on this site, Vick puts up monster numbers, why don’t you take a look at what Eli Manning is doing this preseason?

      Reply
      • Jason Radcliff. - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Monster numbers, eh?

      • jsmith135 - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        monster numbers?? you must mean turnovers because you certainly are referring to something other than points on the board. yards gained do not win ball games either.

      • phillyybuzz - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Who is this Marcus Vick??? Vick can dono wrong in ur eyes Marcus

  4. phillyybuzz - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I’m ready for regular season. Wasn’t impressed with Vick stupid int. Foles looked sharp. D had up and down moments. Running game was good except fumble. Still a lot of work to be done hopefully they improve after studying this film

    Reply
    • FolesIsAStiff - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Were you impressed with 200 total yards in one half and one drive (~150 passing, 50 rushing). Did you notice the key penalties on third down which Vick didn’t commit? I can’t believe you stupid you people are, did you even watch the game or do you just hate Vick?

      Reply
      • phillyybuzz - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Vick had a C grade game he threw a dumb pick instead of just take the sack. Decision making not talent is Vick issue. Last season he turned the ball over way to much so u damn right I watched Vick closely. I’m a true Eagles fan. I’m black so its not like I’m critical of Vick for some nonfootball or racial reason as I’ve heard in the tone of others at times. I just want better quick or I want Foles

  5. 2sentz - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Ya know who obviously hates Vick? Baldinger. Dude had nothing good to say all night and sniped at him on every play, actually chastised him for following a nice block and running out of bounds on a 15-yd 1st down. Baldinger needs a new team to announce for.

    Reply
    • wmcgar01 - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      have to admit I was yelling at Vick to get out on that same play. He easily had the first down, no need to open himself up to a hit just to fight for a couple more yards. Yes he followed the block well, yes it was a nice run… but his problem has consistently been making himself vulnerable.. Baldinger also got on him for his awful head first slide (it takes one safety leading with his helmet to end Vick’s career on that play) and throwing a pick off of his back foot….

      Not that I love Baldinger or anything…. but I just dont see any valid arguments against the criticisms I mentioned above..

      Reply
      • 2sentz - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Totally agree on those last two, wmc, those are easy calls. But IMO Vick did not put himself in harms way at all with the long sideline run behind a solid blocker, any QB would have done that. And Baldinger rode him all night, at every single chance.

        Having said that, I agree that 3 or 4 times a game Vick makes a totally boneheaded move that will very likely get him injured by week 3 at latest. That’s my side bet. Sometimes the guy just can’t seem to understand the speed at which defenders are currently playing the game.


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