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Obversations From Eagles-Colts Game

INDIANAPOLIS --Game two of the 2009 preseason lacked the drama and the storylines and the sheer what-in-the-world? wow factor of the previous week, when an Eagles rally fell just short against New England and, oh by the way, the Eagles announced the signing of quarterback Michael Vick. The Eagles played a generally lackluster first half against the Colts on Thursday night and came up short, losing 23-15 in a performance that head coach Andy Reid said was "embarrassing."

"There are no excuses," said Reid. "It was not an acceptable performance."

The defense couldn't get off the field early and the offense couldn't stay on the field and, well, it was ugly and a letdown and now the Eagles are 0-2 in the preseason, if anyone is keeping track of the record.

At least they got through relatively unscathed in the health department, as long as the knee injury suffered by fullback Leonard Weaver isn't serious -- Reid described the injury as a sprained MCL and said there were no plans for an MRI and that the injury didn't look as though it would keep Weaver out too long -- it really wasn't a game the Eagles will remember for very long. With some 15 players missing the game with injuries, those Eagles who played did not impress the coaching staff very much at all. Some of the things I saw from the press box ...

  • The Eagles were only 5 of 15 on third downs and 0 for 2 on fourth downs and the short-yardage production was very poor. Clearly, the Eagles missed four starters on the offensive line. If you thought the Eagles could still funcation at a high level offensively without tackles Shawn Andrews and Jason Peters, along with guards Stacy Andrews and Todd Herremans -- not to mention Brian Westbrook -- you thought wrong. The running game was pretty much stuck in mud all night and the Colts pressured the pocket a lot. Let's hope the walking wounded up front get back on the practice field ... and fast.
  • Sean McDermott wasn't happy with the defense against the Colts, and he has some things to improve. One key area is defending the tight end. Maybe it's because the scheme isn't in place in these games, but tight ends are really hurting the Eagles. Against the Patriots, Chris Baker caught two touchdowns. And on Thursday night, three Colts tight ends -- or H-backs or however they use them in Indy, caught 8 passes for 89 yards. It was a problem for the Eagles last year until the defense made its adjustments midway through the season and tight ends were not a problem from that point on. It is something to work on, for sure.
  • Really good performance from Jason Babin, who had a sack and some big plays at the line of scrimmage. Babin played with a high level of energy, kept his pads low and had good quickness off the football. He totaled four tackles, a forced fumble, a sack, a quarterback hurry and he was a threat on nearly every snap.
  • I was just about to write how well Eldra Buckley played and then he caught a pass from Adam DiMichele in the flat and had the ball stripped for a turnover. It was Buckley's lone blemish of the night, but it was not one to ignore. Buckley's strength is not as a receiver in the passing game.
  • Moises Fokou made some mistakes -- he was sucked inside on a run to the edge, and he committed a pass-interference penalty -- but the young linebacker is extremely active and plays a physical game on the strong side. He is someone to watch and see how well he develops. Fokou had six tackles, two for losses. He is a baller.
  • Really nice interception by linebacker Tracy White on the 1-yard line. That the ball was placed at the 1 after White tumbled into the end zone instead of the 20-yard line was an example of a referee crew that had an awful night. Too many blown calls.
  • I don't know what it means, but Reggie Brown had a rep as a gunner in punt coverage. The Colts had a big return on the play as Brown was penalized for being out of bounds on the play.
  • Did anyone notice Winston Justice in the game? I think the fact that nobody mentioned his name is a good thing.
  • Do the Colts always do this to the Eagles, or does it just seem that way?
  • Evaluating King Dunlap ... not a bad job. He gave up inside leverage when Dwight Freeney used a spin move and beat him on a play that resulted in a sack and a Donovan McNabb fumble and turnover. Otherwise, Dunlap seemed to have good position and he held his own through one half of play.
  • Joe Mays missed a tackle on a run to the left side of the Eagles defense early in the game after he shrugged off a block and he probably should have made the tackle. It is very hard to say how Mays is doing. Manning spread out the defense and had his way with quick drops and throws.
  • Ellis Hobbs should return kickoffs for this team. Quintin Demps is a good return man, but he is the starting free safety. Jeremy Maclin just doesn't look comfortable in the role at this stage in his career. Hobbs is fast, elusive and has great vision and he had a nice 35-yard return on Thursday.
  • Trevor Laws saw his first action, as did Victor Abiamiri. Both knocked off the rust and made it through the game unscathed.
  • Nice numbers from A.J. Feeley -- 16 of 20 for 136 yards, 95.0 passer rating -- and he looks good playing with backups in front of him. However, Feeley did not handle the final seconds of the first half very well. The Eagles had no timeouts and were in scoring position and took too long to get to the line of scrimmage on one snap. Then Feeley threw a completion to Buckley in the middle of the field as time expired.
  • Maybe I'm crazy, but I like Rob Myers at tight end. He caught 4 passes for 44 yards and grabbed a two-point pass. He runs well and has good hands. So if the Eagles were to keep two tight ends and one of them is Brent Celek ...
  • What is it with all of the illegal formation penalties? One, it's preseason. Two, the Eagles have a bunch of reserves in the game. Still, Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg can't be happy. In all, the Eagles committed 12 penalties for 87 yards in losses.
  • Excellent performance by punter Sav Rocca. He averaged 51.1 yards on seven punts and netted 39.1 yards with two of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line. That includes a punt return of 45 yards by the Colts. Rocca's distance was outstanding, and even better was his directional kicking. Terrific job.
  • Macho Harris had another timely blitz and a sack, even though the sack incorrectly was credited to Babin. Harris has some work ahead of him, but timing those blitzes is an important part of playing safety.
  • Adam DiMichele played well in the second half. What a great experience for the kid. DiMichele completed 14 of 22 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, compiling a passer rating of 94.9.
  • Speaking of Gibson, he caught 4 passes for 49 yards in his bid to make the roster. Hank Baskett also had an excellent game, catching 3 passes for 36 yards. Baskett looked really, really good.
  • The punt return game wasn't productive at all, with just 12 return yards on three returns.
  • tt sounds like Stacy Andrews is very close to playing in "live" situations as Reid said after the game that Andrews was close to suiting up against the Colts. Good news. And Jason Peters should be on the field very soon, too. Shawn Andrews? Let's hope he gets on the practice field soon.
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