It seems like forever since the Eagles played when, in fact, it has been the preseason equivalent. From one Thursday to two Mondays later and, well, here we are. The Eagles are set to play the Patriots in the preseason dress rehearsal for a regular-season game.
And here is Michael Vick and the Eagles offense, looking to put some drives together before, basically, calling it a preseason. I would be shocked to see Vick on Friday night in Cleveland and history tells us that there is no way he plays in the preseason finale one week from Thursday night.
So this is likely to be it for Vick and for most of his offensive mates. They'll probably go into the third quarter and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will put together a reasonable approximation of a real game plan,
So what do we feel like we need to see from Vick and from this Eagles offense? The opener against Pittsburgh was an unsatisfying tease -- six snaps during which the offense got nothing going -- and so there is this thirst for some offensive punch that hasn't been satisfied. Not even close.
Even in training camp, watching the Eagles offense on the field, there wasn't a sense that the timing was there, all in place, ready to explode when the games started and Vick and Co. unleashed 60 minutes of speed and scoring on overmatched defenses.
It's the preseason, yes, and the Eagles return most of their pieces from last year -- other than a new left tackle, to be determined, and a new fullback, Stanley Havili is in the lead -- and the goal is to come out in sync on September 9 in Cleveland.
But we all need just a touch of reassurance at times, even if it means nothing to the coaching staff. There is every reason to have the utmost confidence in Vick and the offense, knowing that when the regular season begins the running game is going to be keyed by Pro Bowl standout LeSean McCoy, and the passing game is going to have weapons galore, and that Vick is going to be as electrifying and game breaking as he has always been. There is every reason to think, underlined three times, that the Eagles will have a fantastic offense.
This game against New England, though, provides a stage for the Eagles to at least get something going in the form of some move-the-change drives, and some red-zone moments to test out their schemes and strategies.
With Vick, the goal is to get some timing down. Six snaps against Pittsburgh weren't enough to get into any kind of flow, and this time around the Eagles will keep the starters in for at least the first half. Vick is going to get some snaps. He's going to get some looks that will prepare him for the regular season.
The Vick we've seen in the preseason these last few years is quite a bit different from the one who kicks into his special speed when September rolls around. I get that. I appreciate the difference, and whether the Eagles score 40 points in the first half against New England or whether they struggle, the understanding is that the preseason is just that, the preseason.
I know the coaching staff is looking for something. I know they want to see the offense execute the game plan in every phase, and they are watching with a critical eye because, hey, coaches want results. Coaches want to see their hard work rewarded and the fact of the matter is that in a coach's mind, jobs are always being challenged.
Vick, of course, is the starting quarterback here and that is indisputable. He has the utmost confidence in those around him and in the scheme and he understands just how dangerous this offense can be. But there is a point in time when everyone wants to see just a little something something, and that time in the preseason is now.
So it's going to be interesting to see how the Eagles structure the offense, and how Vick reacts in certain situations. He's less interested in running during the preseason, but there may be an opening or two against an aggressive New England team. Mornhinweg wants to make sure that Vick is provided a pocket and some cushion to get his timing down, to get the ball out to receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, and that the Eagles utilize their tools in goal-to-go situations.
How important is a good showing? Look, it's the preseason. It has been an eternity since the Eagles played. We're all excited and anxious and ready to see something good happen here. It's not a be-all, end-all moment, but it's a moment, nonetheless.
We want to see something good from the offense, from Vick, on the preseason stage in front of a national audience. Vick's engine might not rev up like it's' the regular season, but he's going to play at a high speed and crank the offense up and get the party started just in time to make us feel a mite more comfortable about what's ahead starting on September 9.