It's hard to make much out of six plays, but that's all there is to work with when analyzing the Eagles' first-team offense in the preseason to date.
With the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season on Monday night against the Patriots, the Eagles want to provide better results with a larger sample size of plays. Head coach Andy Reid said on Saturday that the starters will likely play into the third quarter.
"I think the key thing for us is just to go out there and sustain drives and show some form of consistency," quarterback Michael Vick said. "We didn't have a chance to play too much against Pittsburgh, so it's something we obviously want to try to do, just to get the feel for the offense and where we're at."
Vick is one of the Eagles who would like to forget about the preseason opener against the Steelers. He completed 3-of-4 pass attempts for 6 yards and was sacked once. He exited the game with a thumb injury after banging it on center Jason Kelce's helmet.
The first-team offense went three-and-out on its two series. Vick completed a short pass to wide receiver Damaris Johnson, which was followed by a LeSean McCoy run for a loss and the Vick sack. The second drive consisted of two short passes - to wide receiver DeSean Jackson and McCoy, respectively - and an incomplete pass to tight end Clay Harbor.
"It was definitely frustrating with our production in the first game," offensive tackle Todd Herremans said. "We don't want to start the season off like that. It'll be good to go out there and right the ship."
The good news is that the offense will have its full complement of weapons. Tight end Brent Celek (knee) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) were sidelined.
"I think it's just good to build that chemistry on both sides of the ball, to get everybody out there, the guys that are going to be out there during the regular season, get that extra work in," Maclin said. "This game coming up is going to be our game that we kind of simulate as being the real season, so to get everybody back out there will be key for us."
Typically, most teams use the third preseason game as the tune-up for the regular season. However, that game is against Cleveland. It's the same team that the Eagles will square off against in the season opener.
" This is our big test since Cleveland is a different situation," Celek said. "This is it. We've got to show it this week."
The coaches treated the days leading up to Monday night's game as a regular season game week to try and simulate the game conditions as closely as possible.
"I know I'm excited, and I know the players are as well especially with a game simulated week," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "It's not quite like a game week but we're trying to simulate it as close as we can. I know the players are really excited about that."
There will be a winner and a loser on Monday night, but that's not the most important thing. With a limited opportunity after this game to test itself against another defense in game action, the first-team offense wants to come away with a better sense of how ready they are for the regular season.
"It's always important, that second and third game, to go out there and get into the flow of the game; see where you're at," Vick said. "Try to get some drives going if possible, try to assess the situation and see where you're at. This is going to be good for us."
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