The day after, the Eagles got busy at work. At the top of the agenda as the team prepares for Detroit is replacing starting center Jamaal Jackson and Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver, determining the status of concussed linebacker Stewart Bradley and quarterback Kevin Kolb, and figuring out a way to beat a much-improved Detroit Lions team on Sunday.
It is not, then, a typical day-after game day here. The Eagles must react and not overreact. This is where Andy Reid is incredibly strong, the leader of the team. What do the Eagles do? They prepare to beat Detroit, and they bring in players for workouts and fill the roster spots created by the injuries to Jackson (torn triceps) and Weaver (torn ACL).
Are there candidates out there? Yes, of course. Not as strong as Jackson and Weaver, but players who can fill in. How about considering veteran Justin Hartwig, whom the Steelers released a couple of weeks back? What about promoting A.Q. Shipley from the practice squad? Kevin Mawae, who announced his retirement last week but who has been around the league forever?
At fullback, Reid said the Eagles are working out Jason Davis and Owen Schmitt, and I'm sure there are another four to five candidates to consider. The Eagles don't have a true fullback on their practice squad to promote.
That is a job for the personnel department, not me. I'm just throwing some names out there. The Eagles have some holes to fill and some need to perhaps evaluate and move around some pieces on the current roster. We'll see where they go from here, because Detroit is an extremely critical game for so early in the season.
Week 1 in the NFL is always a time for the most unusual outcomes. We saw it on Sunday the way Seattle throttled San Francisco, and how Houston waffled Indy, and the defensive battle in Washington between the Cowboys. What you saw in the first weekend of the season isn't necessarily what you are going to see the rest of the year.
As far as the Eagles go, we have plenty to talk about ...
- There is no quarterback controversy. I hear the chatter out there. I read the opinions. Internally, Kevin Kolb is the starting quarterback and Michael Vick is the valuable backup and that's the way it is and that is the way it is going to be. The Eagles very much believe in Kolb. All along, the team said there would be some ups and downs in the course of this season and so that is what we are seeing. I applaud Vick and his performance against the Packers, and if he happens to start in Detroit, well, let's go get a win. If Kolb is healthy enough to play, well, let's go get a win.
- Upon further review, I loved what Sean McDermott's defense did against a powerful Green Bay offense. The Eagles mixed up their coverages and really got after quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There were a few series when I thought the Eagles were gassed on defense and they missed some tackles and allowed Green Bay to control the football, but the bottom line is that the defense played well enough to give the Eagles a chance to win the game and the team fell short.
- Darryl Tapp was inactive. He is going to have a hard time cracking this rotation because it is apparent that the Eagles want to see Antwan Barnes and his speed in different spots on the field. Barnes played a bunch as a rush end and the Eagles liked what they saw. Juqua Parker was terrific, too. Brandon Graham had his moments and is going to be a standout, but he also looked like he was exhausted at times. I liked Trevor Laws rushing the quarterback, too.
- Once Bobby April gets his kickoff coverage team right, the special teams will be fantastic. There are still a few too many new faces running down on kickoffs and it showed against Jordy Nelson, who averaged 31 yards per kickoff return. April will get it right. I still say he wins one or two games for the team this year.
- Mike McGlynn did a good job at center replacing Jackson, and now it gets tougher for the interior of the offensive line. Defenses are going to blitz, blitz, blitz after watching teams have success against the Eagles in the preseason and in the opener.
- Nate Allen is going to be a stud. Kid is around the ball a lot and he came up with a key, key interception off of Rodgers on Sunday. The secondary's next challenge: Calvin Johnson, who is a big, strong enormously talented wide receiver.
- Great matchup on Sunday to watch: Ernie Sims in pass coverage against Detroit rookie running back Javid Best. Best is quick, has excellent hands and can take it to the house from anywhere on the field.
- I'm sure that the coaching staff will look for ways to get the ball into the hands of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tight end Brent Celek. Neither player made much noise in the opening loss. I'm all for giving Jackson the ball 8-10 times from the line of scrimmage. The Eagles need his big-play ability every week.