Eagles' offense still a work in progress
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP)
Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Monday he was disappointed with ''more than several things'' about the Eagles' performance in the team's first preseason game.
While Philadelphia emerged with a 24-23 victory over Pittsburgh on a late field goal by Alex Henery last Thursday, the Eagles' first-string offense was on the field for just six plays, producing minus-3 yards and no first downs.
''We have a lot of work to do to be an efficient and dynamic offensive football team,'' Mornhinweg said on the next-to-last day of training camp at Lehigh University.
''It's frustrating when you get two three-and-outs,'' guard Evan Mathis said. ''You always want to have another chance to get out there and try it again, but that's what the next game's for.''
The Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32) will take on New England next week. And if Monday is any indication, Philadelphia's offense is going to be just fine.
''A day like today gives you confidence,'' quarterback Michael Vick said after one of the team's sharper workout sessions . ''I know what I can do. I know in time and throughout multiple practices you just get into a rhythm, just like during the season. You throw the ball better. Everything becomes easy, slows down. And I think I'm starting to reach that point. I'm ready to go out and play.
''I'm ready to play now.''
Vick, in reality, hasn't been the problem all summer. He hasn't missed any practice time despite hitting his thumb on the helmet of center Jason Kelce last week, and Mornhinweg said he is having a ''terrific'' camp.
''One of the things I was disappointed in was our precision,'' Mornhinweg said. ''You saw the plays that were called were precision-type plays, and although we didn't have many opportunities, several times it wasn't there.''
Vick took a sack on a play when he was well-protected, so his pocket awareness is something that can improve.
''He can get better there and he has gotten better over the past couple of years there,'' Mornhinweg said. ''He certainly can get better there. I do believe that if it was a regular-season game - and these are excuses even though everything we do is important and we make no excuses - that he would have done that a little bit differently.''
Monday marked the three-year anniversary of Philadelphia and Vick agreeing to a deal, after he had been incarcerated for 21 months.
''He has really learned to play the quarterback position at a really high level,'' Mornhinweg said. ''He is chasing that perfection every day and he wants to become a master at that position as well as being one of the most dynamic players in the game.
''He has come a long way in this system and is generally playing the quarterback position at a high level.''
Vick threw for 3,303 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
''It's very important to get into a rhythm, get into a flow'' Vick said, ''because who knows how the next two weeks are going to play out? So the stars are really looking forward to going out and playing three quarters. To me, we're going to approach it like a game, Week 1.''
Second-string quarterback Mike Kafka broke his left hand against the Steelers, and he is likely to miss the New England game. Rookie Nick Foles will see more time in his absence. Foles, a third-round draft pick from Arizona, has caught the staff's eye during camp. He's done ''just about what I expected him to do,'' Mornhinweg said.
''He's got an opportunity to be a heck of a quarterback. He's a smart guy. He's picked up the offense at a pretty good rate. You can see his accuracy is good and his timing has been good up to this point.''
The Eagles made a switch at left tackle the day after the Pittsburgh game, inserting King Dunlap in place of Demetress Bell, a former Buffalo Bill who was signed as a free agent in the offseason after Pro Bowl standout Jason Peters suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
''I can't say I'm disappointed,'' Bell said. ''It's not what I expected, but it's a coaching thing. It is what it is. It definitely motivates you. I'm looking to be a starter. Until I get back there, I won't be happy.''
As for Vick, he's already there.
''It's been a great ride,'' he said, after crediting coach Andy Reid and the rest of the organization for ''helping me to grow in a lot of fashions in my life and just holding me accountable.''
He recalled feeling ''weird'' at his first practice, when he was the third-stringer behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, and didn't think he would remain in Philadelphia for long.
''I just thought it would be a one-year deal and go up and venture out and see what happens,'' he said. ''I'm glad I was able to prove to these coaches I had a decent level of skill to play within the offense.''
NOTES: Mornhinweg didn't close the door on Foles being the No. 2 at the start of the regular season. ''We'll see. If he continues to develop at a high rate, that will be the key for him.'' ... After the Patriots' game, Philadelphia will close the preseason against the Browns (Aug. 24) and Jets (Aug. 30).
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