KANSAS CITY -- To form strong opinions from what you see in a preseason game is fool's gold, but let's be honest here: The Eagles struggled enough on offense Friday night against the Chiefs to at least raise some eyebrows. Kevin Kolb 11 of 25 for 103 yards and an interception? Four sacks allowed? Thirteen points scored against a so-so Kansas City defense? The Eagles certainly have some work to do ...
Now, understand this in the wake of a 20-17 win over Kansas City that made the Eagles 2-1 in the preseason: The Chiefs blitzed like crazy and the Eagles didn't game plan their protections and, well, it was another ugly preseason game. Philadelphia's defense played quite well in its nearly-three quarters of action.
The same could not be said of the offense.
"There are things we need to work on. We have a lot of work ahead of us," said head coach Andy Reid. "I don't think anyone lacks confidence at all. We just have work to do."
Said Kolb: "I think it is the mental part of the game that needs to improve for us. But we all believe in each other and we just didn't have it all together tonight."
The encouraging parts of the game were the defense, once again, and Mike Kafka's 80-yard drive in 8 plays and 1 minute, 41 seconds. He took over at the 20-yard line and marched the Eagles down the field quickly, completing 6 of 7 passes for 75 yards. He hit Kelley Washington for a big 22-yard gain. He went to Clay Harbor twice for 20 yards total. And on the touchdown pass, Kafka pump faked, a safety bit, and Kafka's throw was perfect for Riley Cooper, who snatched the football in the left corner of the end zone for the winning points.
Here are some observations from the game ...
- In the first quarter, the Eagles gave Washington a look as the third wide receiver and they inserted Trevard Lindley in for Ellis Hobbs at right cornerback. Lindley responded with an interception off of a tipped pass. Washington had a 7-yard catch in the second quarter. Is this roster jostling? Lindley had a very good game, and Reid said that he wanted to see the rookie play against first-team wide receivers. Clearly, the Eagles like Lindley a lot.
- Good to see the Eagles take advantage of an early Chiefs turnover. It took all of two plays to put the ball in the end zone after Trent Cole recovered a Jamaal Charles fumble -- a screen pass that went to DeSean Jackson for 4 yards and then LeSean McCoy's 18-yard run over left guard and center. Good blocking on the play and McCoy made a couple of defenders miss on his way to the end zone.
- Jackson took a nasty hit from safety Eric Berry on that play and went out of the game with an upper back injury. Scary moment on the helmet-to-helmet hit. Jackson was staggered and was up on his feet slowly.
- The first defense continues to play extremely well. The Chiefs had 30 yards in the first quarter as the Eagles took the ball away twice. Brandon Graham started at left end and had a couple of pressures. Brodrick Bunkley had half a sack and Trent Cole was all over the field. And hey, what a great stand on a third-and-1 sneak by Matt Cassel. The defense did not budge an inch.
- Did you notice that the Eagles used a safety defense after that hold? Bobby April had the entire starting defense line up, along with return man Chad Hall, just in case the Chiefs tried a trick play. Kansas City punted and the Eagles took over on their 28-yard line.
- Jamaal Jackson made the trip and, of course, did not play. So what does that mean? To me, it means that the Eagles want to make sure Jackson is up to speed for an early-season road trip to Jacksonville or Detroit. Maybe it means that he steps up his practice involvement this week. It wasn't just a courtesy trip for Jackson, I'm sure. The Eagles had him on the road for a reason. Reid said it was to continue to receive his rehab for his knee.
- I think it is safe to say that, based upon the preseason play, Stewart Bradley is all the way back. He looked fine in coverage in all three games and he chased down the running game on Friday night. "I've felt good since training camp, even before that. No setbacks," said Bradley.
- Here is one reason I think Nate Allen will be a standout player: The Chiefs, backed up at their 5-yard line, call a screen early in the third quarter. The Eagles had a blitz on. Allen read screen and covered ground to make a tackle after a short gain. Nice play. Good read, good speed to cover and a fine tackle. On Kansas City's next possession, Allen blitzed off the edge and pressured Cassel into an incomplete pass. Very good stuff.
- One thing to note: The running backs here are going to be challenged in pass protection. Kansas City had a lot of success blitzing against McCoy and Leonard Weaver. Again, part of that is the lack of game planning, but some of it was man-on-man work that needs to be improved.
- I don't know for sure, but the injuries sustained by the Eagles don't sound like they will threaten the season-opening game against Green Bay. DeSean Jackson suffered a neck strain and Reid said he was held out as a precautionary measure, Trent Cole had an ankle injury (x rays were negative) and Dimitri Patterson suffered a finger injury. Cole will have an MRI on Saturday, so keep your fingers crossed.
- Todd Herremans played the first half before giving way to Max Jean-Gilles at left guard. Herremans looked good in his time on the field and, most important, he did not have any foot pain.
- A legitimate bright spot: Sav Rocca is having a terrific preseason. He was again tremendous on Friday and changed field position in the game against the Chiefs. He is averaging 45.9 yards per punt with a net of 37.9 yards.
- In the scope of things, I'm not sure how much it means, but when I looked down on the field in the fourth quarter, Macho Harris was playing safety. What does that mean?
- Keenan Clayton made another play to show off his speed in the open field, tracking down running back Jackie Battle after a catch on third down and forcing the Chiefs to punt.
- Nice to see Clay Harbor with two catches for 20 yards on the final drive. He needed to get involved in the passing game in a game situation. McCoy has 19 carries for 78 yards in the preseason, a 4.1-yard-per-carry average.
- David Akers is 10 for 10 on field goals in the preseason.