Monday night's preseason game against the Patriots was a drama in two acts.
The first was a forgettable one which featured a rib injury to quarterback Michael Vick, numerous penalties and a sideline argument between head coach Andy Reid and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.
The second, however, was highlighted by the impressive play by quarterback Nick Foles and a cast of exciting young players.
Vick took an ugly hit in the first quarter by Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and left the game with a rib injury. Reid said postgame that his quarterback's X-rays were negative for a break. Vick will have an MRI on Tuesday to determine whether he has any damage to his rib cartilage.
With the Eagles headed to Cleveland on Friday for their third preseason game, Vick was already questionable to play later this week. The Eagles and the Browns play each other on September 9 in the season opener. Reid said he would "play it by ear" regarding Vick's playing time Friday.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game with a shoulder injury, though Reid said after the game that Rodgers-Cromartie asked to go back in. Safety Tom Nelson also suffered a high ankle strain. Nelson's X-rays were negative. Linebacker Jamar Chaney and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe did not suit up because of hamstring injuries.
One of the highlights of the game didn't happen on the field. During the second quarter, ESPN's cameras caught Andy Reid in a yelling match with Jenkins.
"It's an emotional game," Reid said. "He was fired up; I was fired up. Those things happen."
After the game, Jenkins said that Reid simply wants the best out of his players.
"He comes at you. He wants to get the best out of you. He wants to make sure you're focused and the right stuff is going on, that's all," Jenkins said. "You have to respect that and you can't fault that as players. Obviously, that's not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional; you want to play hard and the team to do well."
But Reid had reason to be upset. The Eagles had 16 penalties for 131 yards in the game.
"It's tough to win football games in the regular season games with those kinds of (penalty) numbers." Reid said.
Reid said that starters seeing the other team's reserve players in the game can create a "mental letdown," though he was quick to clarify that this does not excuse the team's penalty numbers.
After Vick's injury, Foles took over and continued his impressive preseason. He finished the night 18-of-28 for 217 yards for two touchdowns and an interception. Foles again showed off his big arm and surprised some with his deceptive athleticism.
While Reid wouldn't commit to naming Foles the primary backup, Reid was happy with the rookie's play.
"I credit the kid," Reid said. "You could see him progress as the game went on, and he continued to get better every opportunity he had."
If Vick does not play Friday, it is likely that Foles will play the majority of that game with Mike Kafka sidelined by a hand injury. The Eagles return to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday to prepare for Friday night's game in Cleveland.
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