Everything started out great for the Eagles on Friday night. On the first play from scrimmage, Trent Cole recovered a fumbled handoff from Matt Cassel to Jamaal Charles, setting up the offense for outstanding field position on the Chiefs' 22-yard-line. Two plays later, on the first play from the red zone, LeSean McCoy ran through a gaping hole on the left side of the line, bounced off a couple would-be tacklers and ran into the end zone for an 18-yard score - the first offensive touchdown in the red zone from the starting offense all preseason.
"Coach made it clear to us that it we had some good field position, we'd go out there and run the ball and get into the end zone early," said McCoy, who ran for 28 yards on five carries Friday night. "I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line and (fullback) Leonard (Weaver) for getting in there and getting some blocks, give me some seams to run the ball."
The touchdown run was an example of the confidence in the left side of the offensive line to pave the way for the running game as starting left guard Todd Herremans returned to action for the first time in the preseason. Herremans played a half and was impressive in the running game, though the whole offensive line struggled at times in pass protection, especially against the blitz.
"There are a lot of things you have to work on with each team," McCoy said. "I'm sure any team you go to, there are things guys can work on. But right now we feel pretty confident."
McCoy's backup, Mike Bell, also got his first action of the preseason on Friday night, putting on the pads for his first competitive game as an Eagle. Bell had been hampered by a hamstring injury he suffered in training camp, but that was a minor worry compared to something that happened on the field in Kansas City.
In the third quarter, Bell took a swing pass from Kevin Kolb, made one defender miss in the backfield, and then collided with Chiefs' linebacker Cameron Sheffield. Sheffield went down immediately and eventually had to be stretchered off with a neck injury. There were serious concerns about Sheffield's immobility and he was rushed to the hospital, but thankfully Sheffield wasreleased from the hospital on Saturday with movement in all of his extremities. Still, it was a scary moment for everyone on the field.
"When that happened, the first thing that came to my mind was, 'That could easily have been me. That could easily have been one of my teammates,'" said Bell. "It's always tough to see that happen. I mean, we're all brothers, we're all in the same fraternity of the NFL, so you don't ever want to see somethings serious happen. You don't want to see anybody get injured period, especially neck injuries. My prayers are with him and his family."
For Bell though, Friday was a night to get acclimated back to game speed.
"The speed of the game is so much faster than the tempo at practice, because the tempo at practice, you can't play like that; someone would get hurt," he said. "So when I got out there and saw people going 100 miles an hour, it takes a second for you to adjust to that."
On the night, Bell had eight carries for 17 yards.
"It was fun being an Eagle. There was a lot of energy, a lot of energy on the team," Bell said. "But from an individual standpoint, I feel like I have a long way to go. I'm still not where I need to be, but that's what the preseason's for. I've got another two weeks to get ready for this Green Bay game. I've got to get my legs underneath me (and I) have to get my confidence back."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:20 p.m., August 28