Thursday night I was anxious to see the Philadelphia Eagles play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I knew that I would get a larger sample of the starters, as they would play the first two quarters. I also knew that Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin was highly upset at their performance against the Washington Redskins and they would be coming to play. Well the Eagles were punched in the mouth the whole first half and looked horrible. People say calm down, it’s only the preseason. After watching the first half of football Thursday night are you worried?
The Eagles first team offense played one series the prior week against the Ravens, driving down the field and scoring a touchdown. The looked good on that one drive and Eagles fans were calling radio stations excited about the play of the offense. While the drive was good , I needed a bigger sample of play to get a better opinion so far. Against the Steelers, for whatever reason Mike Vick was pressing and made some horrible decisions with the ball. I would have like to see LeSean McCoy’s number called some more as well, but this is Andy Reid we are dealing with here. This upcoming Thursday they will face the Cleveland Browns and should have a better showing. The starters will most likely play three quarters.
Where I had the biggest issue is the play of the defense. Yes I know that the Eagles have 9 new starters on defense and the played with in my eyes their best run stuffing defensive tackle, Antonio Dixon. But the Steelers just lined up and ran the ball right at them, gashing the middle of the defense for 4 to 5 yards a pop. While the new philosophy Eagles Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn instilled gets the defensive ends up the field and to the QB, it also leaves the defense open for draws, delays, and screen passes. It will be key for the defensive takcles to be stout in the milddle and keep the O-lineman off of the Eagles small linebackers.
I had an issue with the Eagles linebacking core this game and I really have one now. I don’t know why the Eagles are set on making Casey Matthews the starting middle linebacker, he seems like a better fit as a weakside linebacker. When the Eagles drafted him in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft, I knew Eagles fans would go overboard and think he was his brother Clay or even their Father Clay Sr. He was a 4th round pick for a reason and him being names to the starter on a team that has Super Bowl aspirations tells you how bad this linebacking situation is. The Eagles under this regime have never valued linebackers and as we see, they still don’t. If I were in charge I would be taking a serious look at Kirk Morrison, he will bring a veteran presence and his good against the run.
The Eagles looked bad at safety as well, Nate Allen had a bad showing looking a step slow and hesitant out there as well. He’s coming off of a bad right knee injury from last season and I don’t know if he is fully healthy at this point. I like Kurt Coleman, but I don’t believe he is a starter in this league. Hopefully the secondary as a whole will have a better showing this week against the Browns after a week full of hard practice. I still have no idea why Andy Reid ended camp so early, but I bet everything I own he will put these guys to work this week.
I have no idea how Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo will do game day running a defense and changing players and packages on the fly. He has never done it before and the book is out on this guy. Hopefully the Eagles didn’t get caught with their pants down making this decision. Rob Ryan would have been a nice fit, but we all knew the would not have a coach with a strong personality here with Big Red. He is the type to step up and challenge a head coach if he had a problem.
So Thursday night they will play the Browns, a team who will be lucky to win 6 games this season. Offensively they should have no problem scoring points, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play against the running game featuring Peyton Hillis and second year quarterback Colt McCoy. I tell you this another bad showing and their is reason for fans to worry. The only thing you can judge upon is the time the starters are out there playing against other starters. Bottom Line.