They are back at Lehigh now, with two practices on Sunday waiting. And they are feeling good about themselves and all the hard work they have put in and, yes, winning 28-27 over Jacksonville on Friday night means something to the Eagles players and coaches. On a night of the usual ups and downs of a preseason game, the view the day after is decidedly positive all around.
First of all, the young offense showed right away that it has a tremendous amount of firepower. We knew that already. What we wanted to find out in the first preseason event was how A) Kevin Kolb would respond to the inevitable jitters and, B) How the thrown-together offensive line would fare against a good Jacksonville front.
Both questions were answered in a positive manner. Oh, Kolb has work to do -- who doesn't? -- and his is gnashing his teeth over some missed chances in the red zone for this offense, but by and large Kolb was effective moving the football up and down the field in two and a half possessions against the Jags. He has it, gang. Kolb is going to have some growing pains, but he has it. And the Eagles offense is going to be a dangerous group from top to bottom this season.
The offensive line, particularly the guard-to-guard look of Max Jean-Gilles, Mike McGlynn and Stacy Andrews, was on a spot on Friday night. And, really, there were no problems. Oh, a couple of the running plays went nowhere, but LeSean McCoy also gained 30 yards on 8 carries. Kolb was not touched in the backfield and had plenty of time to set up and scan the field. When he needed to step up in the pocket, he had a cushion to do so.
McGlynn, in particular, was superb. His timing was flawless, his snaps were on the mark and McGlynn handled all the line calls well. Suddenly, he gives the Eagles some outstanding depth at center with Nick Cole as they wait for Jamaal Jackson to return to practice. Jackson, the word is, is making fine progress with his knee surgery. Knowing that McGlynn can handle the position is a great comfort if something should happen to Jackson in his recovery.
Jean-Gilles looked solid at left guard and Andrews had some excellent blocks at right guard and the line, in general, pushed the Jaguars around while they were in the game.
The defense pitched two flawless series and then retired for the night and then the reserves flew around the field and made plays. Yes, the Eagles gave up too many big gains down the field in the passing game. There seemed to be a couple of coverage busts. That happens in the preseason. Those communication errors will be corrected.
Watching the defense was more about watching the individuals. And who wouldn't have been impressed by seventh-round draft pick Kurt Coleman, who played a jarring game at safety? Did you see fourth-round draft pick Keenan Clayton flying all over the field? The kid buzzes to the football.
It was a fun night, with a great preseason crowd on hand and a lot of energy and excitement in the stands and on the field at Lincoln Financial Field. It was a blast. Eagles football is back and 2010 is here. There is still a lot of business ahead, a lot of corrections to be made, but a day after a 28-27 victory over the Jaguars that really means nothing tangible, everyone in and around the Eagles should be feeling good. Very good.
The preseason is off to the right kind of start.
NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
Not any kind of update on the injury front from Friday night. Safety Quintin Demps suffered a knee injury and safety Antoine Harris suffered a LisFranc sprain. Harris' injury, gauging the mood of the post-game report, seems far more serious. We will know more on Sunday.
- You want to see how the Eagles cornerbacks fare against big receivers? Terrell Owens waits on Friday.
- Eldra Buckley is one of the toughest football players I have seen. He takes a licking and keeping on going, and going and going. Tough guy. Hard runner. In great position to again make the team and help in 2010.
- Critical week for cornerback Macho Harris to get back on the field. He has missed a lot of time with that hamstring injury.
- I continue to shake my head at the 497 total net yards and 28 first downs the Eagles offense put on the board on Friday night. Why didn't they score 45 points in this game?