Friday, August 21, 2009
Eagles turn in 'embarrassing' effort, says Reid
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Perhaps Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott doesn't want to show his hand this early in the preseason. That's about the only thought that might comfort Eagles fans after watching Peyton Manning torch their team in the first half of a 23-15 loss to the Colts on Thursday.
"All in all, that was an embarrassing performance and way too many penalties, not enough intensity all the way around, starting with me," Eagles coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game. "It was a poor performance."
You don't normally hear that level of frustration in the aftermath of a preseason game, but maybe Reid was sending a message to his team. Here are my observations from Thursday's game:
- Quintin Demps had a nice kick return early. And after watching Jeremy Maclin slinging the ball around before fumbling in the second half, I'm pretty sure he's not ready to win the job.
- Defensive MVP for the Eagles had to be Jason Babin. He took advantage of several players being out with injuries and took over the game at times. He finished with four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He's a former first-round pick in the league who's been a huge disappointment. But if he's used a pass-rushing specialist, he's got a chance to stick.
- Soon after left tackle King Dunlap allowed Dwight Freeney to race by him and sack Donovan McNabb, I noticed the following comment on a Philly.com chat: "Mr. Runyan on line 1." And I happened to visit with Mr. Runyan via phone before Thursday's game. He will be cleared to resume full football activities Monday. He's been following something called the O15 Workout the past couple months and said it's helped put him in excellent condition. Runyan said he's never contemplated retirement during his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery and he expects to be on a roster soon. After watching the Eagles' offensive line Thursday, I figured Runyan might be getting a call soon.
- Running back Eldra Buckley is a nice story, but he better learn to secure the football. His fumble in the second half won't help his cause. The Colts' defender put a solid lick on the ball, but there's still no excuse for putting the ball on the ground. Buckley also has to go back to the basics when it comes to catching the ball.
- What's with the illegal formation penalties? The Eagles weren't putting enough players on the line of scrimmage. I know it's the preseason, but they were acting like they hadn't had a chance to practice in a week or so.
- There's been a Reggie Brown sighting! I've pretty much written him off, but he did make a nice grab on an A.J. Feeley throw. He could still be an effective receiver, but I'm not sure it will be with the Eagles. I wouldn't cut rookie Brandon Gibson to make room for Brown. In fact, you could make the argument that Gibson's had a better camp than Jeremy Maclin. The former Washington State receiver brings a lot of energy to the offense, and he catches pretty much everything.
- I didn't like the way the starting linebackers froze on Manning's play-action fakes. Chris Gocong couldn't stay up with Dallas Clark on a 20-yard pass. They just seemed to be a step slow in the first half.
- It's obvious that Lorenzo Booker has a burst, but you can't trust him. At times, Booker looks like he might be a nice change-of-pace back, but then he drops a perfect swing that could've gone for 10 yards or so. I'd cut the guy. He just takes up space on the roster.
- Rob Myers is a guy the Eagles signed when Cornelius Ingram went down with a season-ending knee injury in camp. The guy's not Anthony Gonzalez, but he's a relatively large target and he appeared to look comfortable catching the ball. Eugene Bright out of Purdue is a neat story, but he's running out of time to make the transition from defensive end in college to NFL tight end.
- The touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson was a thing of beauty. No one can cover Jackson. You could see that in camp. He may be the best receiver in the NFC East right now. He split the safeties and McNabb laid it in there perfectly.
- How can you not be rooting for the rookie out of Maryland, Moise Fokou? He had a horrible pass interference penalty, but then he bounced right back and made two plays behind the line of scrimmage on running plays. Fokou plays with a tremendous amount of energy and there's no way you can keep him off this roster.
- Maclin was way too tentative on that kick return where he fumbled. He was running too high and he was sort of trying to dodge players. When you're a kick returner, you need to locate the wedge (which has basically been wiped out of the league) and race up the field. Maclin doesn't have the confidence to do that right now.
- An undrafted rooke out of Penn State named Josh Gaines is putting together a nice preseason. He blew up at least three running plays, and he had the athleticism to go ahead and finish off the running back. Dan Klecko and Gaines did a really nice job working together. Klecko was very disruptive in the third quarter.
- On the deep ball to Reggie Wayne it looked like cornerback Ellis Hobbs thought he could pass the r
eceiver off to a safety. That plan never materialized and Wayne raced in for long touchdown.
- Really, really nice interception at the goal line by linebacker Tracy White. He reached back across his body and basically made a back-shoulder interception. The former Howard player is making a strong move right now.
- Feel free to share some of your observations from last night's game.