FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the second straight preseason game, the Eagles were not sharp in many areas and fell to New England 37-20 on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. There are a lot of areas the Eagles need to clean up as they evaluate the tape and look ahead to Preseason Game No. 3. Here are some observations from a long and disappointing night at New England.
1. Nick Foles completed just 3 of 9 passes before leaving the game with a shoulder strain. He wasn't sharp and he wasn't helped by some poor play up front.
"We have to execute better. I have to execute better from the quarterback position," Foles said. "We as a team have to execute better. But that's where – I know all of us will look at the film, we'll get back on the practice field and we'll continue to improve. That's the great thing about this sport is it's not always going to be perfect. It's the toughest part about this sport. You want to go out there, you want to play a clean game, you want to win the game, you want to put a lot of points up. But that's where you really have to dig deep right now and just – we're in preseason, we're in Training Camp, we have to continue to grow as a team."
Foles missed receivers, including running back Wendell Smallwood on the team's first offensive possession when Smallwood ran a wheel route down the left sideline and had a step on the defense. There was just no rhythm for Foles or the offense most of the night.
2. With Jason Peters still not playing – the Eagles want him ready for the regular season – Halapoulivaati Vaitai took his lumps at left tackle. Vaitai gave up at least three of the team's eight quarterback sacks and just had no consistency at the position. He played deep into the fourth quarter at left tackle.
3. Cornerback Ronald Darby continues to play very well. He had a couple of nice breakups on deep throws from New England quarterback Tom Brady. Darby has enjoyed an excellent summer.
4. More penalties, and it's driving head coach Doug Pederson crazy. The Eagles were penalized nine times for 97 lost yards including three penalties for lowering the helmet to initiate contact, one on safety Malcolm Jenkins for unnecessary roughness against a defenseless receiver, and one against defensive end Steven Means for roughing the passer. The new rules are an adjustment and the Eagles have no choice but to get in line.
5. Up-and-down night for cornerback Sidney Jones, who had five tackles and a pair of passes defensed on the good side. On the other side, he whiffed on a tackle attempt against New England wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson that allowed Patterson to score a touchdown. Jones played both the nickel cornerback position as well as the outside. Jones and rookie Avonte Maddox split much of the reps at nickel cornerback.
6. The battle for the fourth running back, should the Eagles keep four, is becoming as interesting as we thought it would. Matt Jones had 19 yards on six rushing attempts and added another 32 yards on a team-most six receptions, but Jones also had three catchable passes thrown his way that he didn't handle. Wendell Smallwood had just 1 yard on four rushing attempts. Donnel Pumphrey missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury and rookie Josh Adams did not play because of injury.
7. Wide receiver Mike Wallace was targeted three times without a reception. He needs to be more productive in this offense.
8. Punter Cameron Johnston again kicked the ball well, averaging 48.7 yards in gross average and 46.6 yards net, with two of the punts landing inside the 20-yard line. Good job by him.
9. The defense allowed 140 rushing yards as New England averaged 4.7 yards per carry. That is not going to cut it. Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks had some flashes, but he also was in position to make a couple of drive-ending tackles and didn't finish.
10. The offensive line is going to be a strong point for this team, but the Eagles lost at the line of scrimmage against New England. The Patriots blitzed effectively and won too many one-on-one battles to chase after Foles and Nate Sudfeld.
11. It's still too close to call at WILL linebacker with Nathan Gerry (who started again) battling Kamu Grugier-Hill. Both are splitting reps. Grugier-Hill has been around the ball more in the summer.
12. Who is the camp long shot who is going to make the team? Good question. Not sure there is one this year. Adams is a candidate, but he has to stay on the field. There really hasn't been that standout player, like Corey Clement was last season.
13. Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox shared reps at nickel cornerback for most of the night on Thursday. Maddox was in coverage on a touchdown pass to receiver Chris Hogan and Jones missed the big tackle and then stood out for much of the game after that.
Take a look at all the photos from the Eagles' second preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.