Philadelphia Eagles News

A Win, And Huge Sigh Of Relief

At the top of the list is the quarterback situation, which turned a Midnight Green shade of bruised when backup quarterback Vince Young suffered a right hamstring injury in the final minutes of a tremendous first half and left the game for good. In the third quarter, third-string quarterback Mike Kafka took a punishing hit under his right arm and stayed down for a moment or two.

It appeared, actually, that Kafka would have to leave the game, as wide receiver and emergency quarterback Jason Avant prepared to enter the game. But Kafka toughed it out and played the rest of the way and took no more major hits.

Young's immediate future is uncertain. Head coach Andy Reid said after the game that Young was sore, but that he "should be fine" for the opener in St. Louis. Young will have an MRI on Friday, just to be certain.

The concern, of course, is that teams are applying too much pressure to the Eagles quarterbacks. As the Eagles jell up front, defenses are going to get after Michael Vick with the blitz game and the Eagles have to find ways to counter that pressure.

Do they run the ball more than they have in the past? There is a lot of talent here in the backfield. LeSean McCoy, Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis have played very well in the preseason, and emphasizing the running game just a bit more may be enough to back defenses off.

Offensive line coach Howard Mudd is faced with the challenge of scheming to keep his group secure in front of Vick. The skill positions are tremendous, better probably than they have ever been all-around in the last 20 years – at least – of Eagles football. The X's and O's are proven (the Eagles have established franchise records in points scored in each of the last three seasons).

What isn't know is how a young offensive line is going to react. As the days tick down to the opener, that is the overwhelming question the Eagles have to answer in St. Louis.

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE EAGLES-JETS GAME

  • Lewis starred for the Eagles, generating 100 yards and a touchdown on 18 touches in the first half. He also had kickoff returns of 40 yards and 17 yards and could be in position to return kickoffs in the regular season. Reid all but said after the game that Lewis will be in that role at St. Louis.
  • Assuming that Young's injury isn't too bad, it is amazing that the Eagles got through the preseason with so little carnage. That is the best news of all: No major injuries to starters.
  • The starting offensive line did a nice job with King Dunlap at left tackle, Julian Vandervelde at left guard, Mike McGlynn at center, Danny Watkins at right guard and Reggie Wells at right tackle. I watched a lot of Watkins and did a good job. He lost leverage once or twice, but he battled and did a very good job in pass protection.
  • Prior to his injury, Young was 15 of 23 passing for 193 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 105.9. He looked great. Let's hope the hamstring injury is minor.
  • Chad Hall caught a touchdown pass and added another diving reception, but he also fumbled away one punt and muffed another. A mixed bag for Hall, who still looks like the guy should the Eagles keep six wide receivers.
  • Linebacker Brian Rolle is a player. He is physical, fast and always in the right position. He started at middle linebacker and also played the weak side. He starts in the nickel when the regulars are on the field. Rolle had a sack and a half in the first half and he was tough against the run and great in coverage. Rolle is showing signs of being extremely productive.
  • I watched a lot of Keenan Clayton and thought he was outstanding. Clayton is terrific in space with his speed and he blitzed effectively. Clayton also made a couple of fine plays in coverage. It's going to be hard to keep him off the 53-man roster.
  • Alex Henery hooked a 43-yard field goal attempt, his first miss of the preseason. He had plenty of leg, but hooked it just wide. His kickoffs were fine. He came back with a no-doubt-about-it 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. That was great to see.
  • No problems for punter Chas Henry, who averaged 45.3 yards on three kicks. He did, however, muff a snap on a field goal try that ended up becoming a no play when the Jets were offsides. That penalty turned a fourth-and-6 situation into a fourth-and-1 play and the Eagles went for it. The Eagles then went for the first down and Young was injured.
  • Anthony Hargrove started at left defensive end, showing the Eagles that he can play both tackle and end. That's important when it comes to deciding on the roster.
  • Antonio Dixon played a lot at defensive tackle. The Eagles needed to get him in shape for the regular season. He missed a lot of training camp and the preseason with injuries.
  • Trevor Laws and Derek Landri both played well at defensive tackle. What the Eagles do at defensive tackle and at cornerback will be fascinating. Joselio Hanson did not play. Could he stick on the 53-man roster and not be traded, as so many people think he will?
  • Sinorice Moss made some pretty moves to record a 30-yard punt, but he is going to have a tough time making this roster. Moss is good enough to play in the league, no doubt about it.
  • Phillip Hunt had a sack and some pressures from the left end spot. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim also played well off the right edge. This is a deep and talented group of defensive ends on this roster. Chris Wilson added a sack on New York's final play from scrimmage.
  • Donald Lee gave the coaches something to think about with 3 catches for 52 athletic yards. Can the Eagles keep three tight ends?
  • Graig Cooper ran hard and scored a touchdown. Did he earn a spot on the team's practice squad?
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