Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eagles Notes

Did you notice that Andy Reid actually called running plays last night? The run/pass ratio was 50/50 in the first half, and the Eagles responded by moving the chains and racking up yards. Let's keep our fingers crossed that he carries the running philosophy into the regular season.

DeSean Jackson continues to be impressive. He deserves a ton of credit for showing that he can handle the offense intellectually and press coverage physically, but let's again give some credit to Reid...the WR screen last night is something the Eagles rarely run, and it was both perfectly timed and perfectly executed. This is just a guess, but I also suspect that the coaching staff has done a better job integrating first-year players. After watching the Giants win the Super Bowl with significant contributions from seven rookies, it was obvious the Eagles needed to do a better job. First-year players Jackson, Lorenzo Booker, and Quintin Demps will make real impacts this season.

The special teams finally looked good, for the first time in the preseason. Both the coverage and return teams were excellent. If the Eagles special teams can be a weapon, instead of a weakness, it will take a lot of pressure off McNabb and the offense.

Still no word on the Dawkins injury - the X-ray was negative, with an MRI scheduled for today. Considine promptly gave up a 47-yard PI on the next series, so here's hoping that Dawkins is back for Week 1. At 35 years old, though, it's hard to imagine he's going to recover quickly. At best, I smell an ankle sprain that lingers for most of the season.

Meanwhile, last night's game highlighted some very interesting roster battles. The Eagles always have a couple surprises for me, but here's my read anyway:

  • Fullback has been a real disappointment so far. Five different players have been unable to claim this job, and last night they gave HB Tony Hunt a turn. He seemed to be a willing blocker, but clearly needs to work on his technique. Several times he met a LB in the hole and ended up moving backwards. He continues to run well enough to deserve a roster spot, but keeping four HBs would mean one less DE, S, or OL.
  • Jerome McDougle finally, a mere five years after he was drafted, looks like a first-round draft pick. Can the Eagles afford to keep 6 DEs? Or does Chris Clemons take his $5 million signing bonus with him out the door? Does Victor Abiamiri find his way onto the IR?
  • Good for Dan Klecko, who looks to have sewn up the fourth DT spot with a great performance last night. For a guy who started camp as a FB, he's made the transition back to DT amazingly well.
  • It looked like the Eagles were keeping 6 WRs anyway, but the Kevin Curtis injury assured it. Curtis, Brown, Jackson, Lewis, Baskett, and Avant all make the team.
  • Could Considine be a surprise final cut? Otherwise, five safeties should make the team. J.R. Reed is a valuable special-teamer who played well on defense last season.
  • Do you see a fifth corner on this roster? Demps got a shot and didn't do well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Eagles stuff Arrington and Fontenot on the practice squad and grab a CB off the waiver wire after final cuts.
  • Is Rocky Boiman doing enough to hold down the 6th LB spot? Sixth-round pick Joe Mays seems to be a lock, so it's either Boiman or Togafau, and neither one is playing good enough on special teams right now.

Next weekend college football starts, and then the NFL will be here for real. Is anyone else excited?


At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Z0r said...

Yes, Meanie. I'm excited. I've been counting the hours to college kick-off! Fall is finally here!


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