Five Thoughts From Eagles-PatriotsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
All throughout the off-season, all we heard was that Michael Vick understood that he had to change certain aspects about the way he plays the game in order for this team to have a chance to return to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl.
The Eagles told us Vick would benefit from a full off-season to work with the coaching staff, and Vick himself assured us that he would take steps to alter his game and protect himself from taking as many hits during games.
So far, the Vick we’ve seen in the first two preseason games is no different from the Vick that finished the disappointing 2011 season. He’s indecisive in the pocket, he dives to finish runs instead of sliding, and he’s still hanging on to the ball too long.
We’ve seen Vick for twelve plays, and he’s already sustained two injuries.
Even though the sample we’ve seen from Vick so far is a very small one, we haven’t seen a single positive sign. There’s been absolutely no evidence that he’s changed some of the flaws in his game.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me. A player in his 30′s that has been in the league for over a decade isn’t very likely to break certain bad habits or drastically change his style of play.
Expecting Vick to slide and play smart in the field is like expecting Jimmy Rollins to play small ball and act like a traditional lead-off hitter instead of swinging for the fences in every at-bat…its a nice what-if scenario to ponder, but it will never be a reality.
2. You Wanted Nick Foles? You’ve Got Him!
The silver lining to the Vick injuries is that they’ve opened the door for Nick Foles to take a great amount of reps with the first team offense. The rookie is well on his way to taking the backup job away from Mike Kafka after two very impressive performances in the first two games.
I’d be very surprised if Vick suits up for Friday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, so Foles will likely receive the majority of the playing time under center in that game as well. And personally, I can’t wait to see more of him.
Foles has been the biggest bright spot of the offense in the preseason so far, and its been fun to watch him develop so far. While I believe he may have already gained the lead on Kafka for the primary backup job, he could secure it with another strong performance on Friday.
Its amazing how just a couple of months ago, Foles was the one draft pick of the 2012 class that a lot of people questioned, and suddenly he looks like he could be the most important pick out of them all.
With Michael Vick’s painfully obvious inability to stay off of the injury report, the Eagles are going to need their backup quarterback to play anywhere from three to five games this year. By increasing his reps and experiencing success with the first team, Foles is quickly asserting himself as the team’s best option in the quite-likely event of an emergency.
3. Young Defensive Players Provide Reasons For Optimism
The Eagles should be very excited about some of the young defensive talent that they’ve got on this football team.
Few players on the defensive side of the ball have stood out as much as Mychal Kendricks. The rookie enjoyed another solid effort in his second preseason game, making his presence felt with six total tackles.
Kendricks is constantly around the football. He’s quick, powerful, and finds his way in on a lot of plays. The Eagles haven’t had this much reason to be optimistic about an outside linebacker since Carlos Emmons was in his prime.
Phillip Hunt has been the most impressive of the defensive lineman. He’s getting to the quarterback, stuffing the run, piling up sacks, and forcing turnovers.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie continues to impress. He’s had a good preseason, and it looks as though the team won’t miss Asante Samuel that much.
Cedric Thornton has played so well, he’s getting closer to cementing his roster spot every week.
Of course, you have to keep these impressive performances in perspective; the Patriots didn’t play 13 of their starters, including the most important one of all, Tom Brady. A year ago, Brady picked Juan Castillo’s defense apart in Philadelphia, and last night was on the sidelines. It would have been nice the see the young defense see a stiff challenge, but for now we’ll have to be content with the positive flashes that some of these guys are showing.
4. Roster Battles Are Being Decided
With each preseason game, the final 53-man roster picture becomes a little more clear.
Stanley Havili looks head and shoulders above his competition for the fullback job. Emil Igwenagu is strictly a blocker, and doesn’t have the offensive skill set of Havili.
King Dunlap turned in a pretty solid performance, and it looks more and more like he’ll be the guy at left tackle to start the season. He’s playing well, and Demetress Bell is lost trying to learn the necessary technique.
Bryce Brown is going to be the team’s third string running back. He’s such an obvious, impressive talent. Chris Polk could be a practice squad candidate if he isn’t picked up by another team, but Brown is too versatile and explosive, fitting the mold of what Andy Reid looks for in a running back better than his competition.
Antonio Dixon is losing more ground to Cedric Thornton each week. Thornton has been a highlight reel, and Dixon just isn’t a fit for Jim Washburn’s scheme.
Akeem Jordan will make this team over Keenan Clayton. Jordan’s a top special teamer, and can start at any of the linebacker positions if needed. Clayton has great talent, but he’s been very slow to pick up the scheme and gain the trust of the coaches since he’s been here.
Damaris Johnson might have a roster spot locked up already if he’d stop dropping catchable passes.
Curtis Marsh has really distinguished himself from the other backup cornerbacks, and at this point looks like a lock to make the team.
5. Remaining Questions
What’s going to happen at weakside linebacker? Brian Rolle hasn’t done much to impress in two starts, but Jamar Chaney hasn’t been able to get on the field yet to challenge him for the job. Regardless, I don’t see Rolle lasting the entire year as the starter.
Jaiquawn Jarrett received only a handful of reps after struggling against the Steelers. He doesn’t seem likely to make the team at this point, he’s fallen behind Tom Nelson on the depth chart. Is safety going to be a position that the Eagles will be looking for help at on the waiver wire?
Does Marvin McNutt still have a good chance to make this team? We haven’t seen much of him after the first two preseason games. Would the Eagles take a chance that they could sneak him on to the practice squad and only keep five receivers?
Short URL: http://gcobb.com/?p=32549