Mark it down, August 15, 2013 was Chip Kelly’s first win as a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lets, as fans, hope there are many more to follow.
The Eagles entered their second preseason game with two major agendas. With Nick Foles getting the nod to start, Chip Kelly has now had an opportunity to see both the competing QB’s
run with the first team. On the other side of the ball, agenda number two, the Eagles defense needed to have a very solid performance after a terrible outing last week against the New
Kelly can cross one of those agendas off after the Eagles 14-9 win over the Carolina Panthers. The defense was more physical and better aware of their assignments. The key now is to continue to build off that through the remaining two preseason games and carry any momentum built into the regular season.
CB Cary Williams made his presence known early in the game as he was involved in a minor scuffle with Panthers WR Steve Smith. Last week Williams stated the Eagles defense needed to become more physical, and he led by example in Thursdays game leading the team in tackles with four. Although both Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher appear to be competing for the cornerback position opposite of Williams, Boykin has been the more consistent player, through two preseason games and training camp.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles did a solid job of applying pressure on the quarterback but failed to register a sack. And all those QB hurries didn’t result in any turnovers for the Eagles either, although Boykin did have an opportunity slip through his hands on a ball he should have caught. Antonio Dixon had a good performance as did LB Mychal Kendricks. Both players did a good job of run recognition and managed to get some pressure in the backfield resulting in the Panthers moving backwards.
And rookie safety Earl Wolff continues to keep his name in the mix and could find himself named a starter at one of the safety positions. In all, 24 Eagles defensive players recorded at least one tackle during their brief time on the field. The top three defensive players are CB Cary Williams who notched four tackles, second-year LB Emmanual Acho (3), and safety Patrick Chung (3-1).
Offensively, just a couple of quick points before we look at the quarterback play from both Michael Vick and Nick Foles.
- First, LeSean McCoy continues to be ridiculous. After watching his three cutbacks in a single play, my ankles still hurt. He had remarkable vision, made some key blocks in the passing game, and remains to be a serious threat as a receiver out of the backfield.
- Even with Jason Peters out of the game, you can already see a much improved offensive line from 2012. Rookie tackle Lane Johnson continues to improve his craft, although he did over-extend his arms on one play, but with Johnson and a healthy Peters as the bookends, whoever the QB is should have the time to check down all of his options.
- Jason Avant was the teams’ leading receiver with four receptions for 42 yards. Rookie tight end Zach Ertz was No. 2 due to yards gained, he recorded two receptions for 36 yards.
Now on to the QB race.
Nick Foles got his chance to start on Thursday and prove he can be Chip’s guy. Unfortunately he did little to help his case. Foles coughed the ball up three times, an INT and two fumbles, one of which resulting in his second turnover. While Michael Vick also threw an interception, surprisingly he did not fumble the ball
Both QB’s need to keep working on minimizing turnovers, and Eagles sideline reporter Dave Spadaro said Kelly was “seething” at the end of the first half due to the offensive sloppiness. But it is obvious which QB looks more comfortable on the field up to this point and that is veteran Michael Vick.