I hated seeing the Eagles lose on Monday night, but there were quite a few things to be happy about in that game. The Eagles are playing a ton of young guys right now. You hope to see them play well and show good talent, but even finding out who can't play has value. The worst case scenario is not knowing. Several young guys had good nights.
Before jumping into individual players, I want to talk about the overall team effort. The Eagles were down 14-3 pretty early. I will admit I got nervous. ESPN showed a shot of Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie in his box and the look on his face wasn't good. Was the team falling apart right in front of us? They've been losing, but there is a difference in playing poorly and not competing.
Thankfully, the Eagles woke up and got going. That early deficit turned into a 15-14 lead and later a 22-21 lead. The effort was good. Players gave their all and things got smoothed out at times. There was no panic. There was no laying down. The Eagles played solid football in the second and third quarters, outscoring Carolina 19-7. Unfortunately, the Eagles started slow and then had key turnovers late in the game. You just can't win like that.
Obviously, the player to focus on is rookie runner
The first thing that jumped out at you was his speed. Brown showed this in a few ways. He was able to get to the outside on edge runs. He was able to get to the second level when there was a hole at the line of scrimmage. He was also able to turn a good run into a long touchdown. Brown really showed an extra gear on that play. You don't see 220-pound runners go 65 yards for a score very often. That was the Eagles’ longest run in a couple of years.
Brown proved to be a good fit for the game. The Eagles have a bunch of backups on the offensive line. You can't count on perfect blocking so the smart thing is to find the first hole and run to daylight.
Brown did show good vision by being able to find the right hole to hit. On most plays, he stuck with the design. There was one run where he cut back all the way to the other side of the formation. Not only did Brown find the holes, he had the ability to get there. He ran hard, but stayed under control. He had good feet. Brown used his size and strength well. There were a couple of third down runs where he was stopped at the line, but ran through initial contact and got the first down.
Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com and was a contributor to the Eagles Almanac.
I loved a run play that went to the outside left. Brown got a good block from
As exciting as it was to see Brown light it up and look like a star runner, he had a pair of very costly fumbles. Both came in the second half and hurt the Eagles’ chances to win the game. Brown must learn that fumbles won't be tolerated. All those yards and big plays are no good if you can't be trusted to keep the ball.
The biggest problems for Foles right now are decision-making and timing. He must make better decisions and he must get the ball out quicker. On the opening drive, he was nearly picked off twice when he simply forced the ball into coverage after staring down his receiver. You can't do that. Foles threw a deep ball to
Foles’ mistakes right now are due to inexperience. He does have NFL talent. We don't know if he's the long-term answer or not. After two starts, we've seen hints of him being a good quarterback, but far more reasons to question if he can get the job done. That's okay. Very few players step in and show they are made to play right away. Foles needs to get a little better every week. Eventually we'll figure out if he's starter material, backup material or not good enough to cut it.
Kelly did some good things in the run game. He had a key block on Brown's long touchdown run. The defensive end on Kelly's side dropped back at the snap (due to a zone blitz). Kelly made sure the guy stayed back. Then Kelly stepped upfield and sealed the linebacker. That gave Brown a clean alley to run through. Kelly stayed active on run plays that went away from him. He got linebackers on some. Other times he sealed a backside lineman. Kelly didn't stop and watch. He found someone to block.
Curry played at right end. He was quick off the ball, but not explosive. I thought he showed good strength when he used his bull rush. Curry gave excellent effort. He was effective against the run. With the release of Jason Babin, Curry should get regular playing time the rest of the way. I look forward to seeing what he can do. If he continues to bring that kind of energy to the field, I think he'll get his first sack in the next few weeks.
* It was funny to see all the pass rushers struggling to get Cam Newton to the ground when big old
* The blown coverages have been talked about a lot. I don't have much to add, except that it has to stop. I don't know how NFL players can continue to blow simple assignments so often. Truly shocking.