Despite preseason win, Eagles have ways to improve
While compassionate fans showed their support for Andy Reid,
most of the Philadelphia Eagles gave a boo-worthy performance in
their preseason opener.
The first-team offense went three-and-out twice and Michael Vick
barely escaped serious injury when he hurt his thumb on his last
play. The starting defense allowed an opening drive that lasted
9:48 and gave up 10 points on two possessions.
Still, the Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32) walked away with a
24-23 win over Pittsburgh when Alex Henery kicked a 51-yard field
goal with 12 seconds left Thursday night.
That won’t cut it in the regular season.
”I was proud of the way the 3’s and the 4’s finished the
game,” Reid said. ”I thought they did some good things. We have
some work to do with the 1’s and the 2’s. It wasn’t good enough.
The execution was off, and the tackling and blocking were off. So
we have to go back and make sure we focus in on those things and
get ourselves better. The 1’s clearly have to get better in a lot
”Penalties were way up, and just things that were not very
The Eagles were missing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight
end Brent Celek, and Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters is likely
out for the season. Vick completed 3 of 4 passes for 6 yards, and
then banged his thumb on center Jason Kelce’s helmet. X-rays were
negative and the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback expects to
All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy carried once for a 2-yard
loss, and the offense simply couldn’t get in a rhythm.
Neither could the defense, which was missing starting ends Jason
Babin and Trent Cole and safety Nate Allen. Rookies Fletcher Cox
and Mychal Kendricks made their debuts with the first unit and so
did two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who was
acquired in a trade.
”I think we have to work on securing our gaps instead of just
trying to make every play,” Kendricks said. ”We just need to take
care of our responsibilities first. I think first game, guys go out
there and were hyped up and we wanted to do more than what we
should have been. All we have to do is do our job and not try to
make every play. That was the first game; second game we’re going
to be even better.”
It was a difficult week for the team and the entire
organization, which rallied around the Reid family. Garrett Reid,
the oldest of five children for Andy and Tammy Reid, was found dead
Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was
assisting the team’s strength and conditioning coach during
His funeral was held on Tuesday and more than 900 people,
including front-office executives and coaches from other teams came
to pay their respects.
Perhaps the emotions factored into the way the Eagles
”It was tough. We’re human and we have to deal with reality and
what is going on in our lives at the time,” Vick said. ”There’s
no excuses. We could have done a better job. The ones, the offense
and the defense, could have done a better job in moving the ball
and stopping the Steelers offense and we didn’t do it but we’ll go
back and watch the film and correct it. That’s why we’re
At least there were some positives in the second half from the
backups and some players competing for roster spots. Rookie
quarterback Nick Foles completed 6 of 10 passes for 144 yards,
including TD passes of 70 and 44 yards. Rookie Bryce Brown ran for
33 yards on three carries. Rookie Damaris Johnson caught four
passes for 85 yards, including the 70-yard TD.
Veteran Trent Edwards, the No. 4 QB, led two fourth-quarter
scoring drives, including the game-winner, and threw a TD pass.
”I saw a lot of good things from the young kids,” Reid said.
”I thought they played well in a lot of cases. It’s hard to name
them all, but I thought they really did some nice things, played
hard and physical, and they really played emotional football in the
We can build on that.”
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and