One of the reasons for preseason games is to identify “clean-up in aisle 3” problems before the real games start.
Good for Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz fame, he called out the Eagles on a few trends he didn’t like in the preseason game with the Steelers:
“Major issues [with sloppy]:
That kind of sloppiness is going to happen in the preseason opener. Still, there was too much of each. The coaches have plenty of teaching material from this game. You can bet the players will hear about it.”
Tommy’s major beefs were with a bad snap from Sir Isaac and the cornerback/defensive-back play in general.
“Rasul Douglas gave up a pair of TDs. He also had an impressive INT. Up and down. He just missed the ball on both TDs. While close is good, the problem is that he still missed and gave up big plays. Douglas is in Year 2. He shouldn’t be making those kinds of mistakes.”
“Avonte Maddox showed talent and made mistakes. He was a very aggressive and confident player at Pitt. We didn’t see that same vibe from him in the opener. He’s doing a lot of learning.”
“De’Vante Bausby looked very good in coverage, but he had one atrocious tackle attempt.”
“I thought Tre Sullivan stunk. Maybe I’ll feel different after watching the tape, but I was not impressed at all.”
Then there were these takes on other sloppy performances:
“Wendell Smallwood did have a 13-yard run, but he also fumbled. A veteran RB like him can’t put the ball on the ground against backups.”
“Joe Ostman. Maybe I’m being overly harsh here, but effort just isn’t enough in the NFL. Ostman played hard, but he showed poor awareness and didn’t catch my eye as a pass rusher.”
“It is hard to judge the WRs because they’re affected by play-calling, blocking and QB play, but WRs only caught 7 passes all night. That’s not good.”
“Joe Callahan looked like a #4 QB. He is mobile. He’s got a good arm. He also goes into panic mode way too easily.”
“I feel like Rashard Davis always disappoints me. I desperately want him to break loose for a big return, but it never happens. It feels like he focuses too much on trying to make guys miss instead of trying to get yards.”
The Birds will have a chance to demonstrate their clean-up abilities when they take on the New England Patriots this Thursday night in Foxborough.
Meanwhile, another well-attended public practice happened at the Linc on Saturday.
There were a number of players inactive last Thursday who returned to practice, including wide receiver Mike Wallace, quarterback Nick Foles, and running back Matt Jones. On the flip side, wide receiver Nelson Agholor, running back Corey Clement, wide receiver Mack Hollins, running back Donnel Pumphrey, and wide receiver Markus Wheaton were inactive. Cornerback Sidney Jones only did individual drills. Tight end Dallas Goedert left practice early after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the first team period.
Pumphrey has what is disclosed as a “lower body injury.” It’s a shame that the former 4th-round pick can’t seem to stay on the field. I had high hopes for him based on his unbelievably great collegiate career. It’s beginning to look like Pumphrey may start the season on IR again, and I wonder if the Eagles can stash him on the PS10 for another year?
On the first play from 11-on-11 action, Nick Foles dropped back off play-action and threw a beautiful pass right down the chute between the hashes to wide receiver Mike Wallace for a big play. But it should be noted that defensive end Chris Long was in the backfield quickly and would have likely sacked Foles in live action. The Eagles were also in their base defense, with Nathan Gerry getting the first-team reps at weakside linebacker next to Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham.
Fran Duffy of PE.com took note of the nickel personnel that came on the field on the field with five defensive backs. First off, Michael Bennett lined up inside at defensive tackle next to Fletcher Cox, but more importantly, De’Vante Bausby lined up as the starting nickel corner in this period. [Sidney Jones (ankle) didn’t participate in team drills on Saturday.]
The team moved into the red zone, and Foles took over on offense. First, he connected underneath with wide receiver Kamar Aiken to start things off then hit Wallace down the near sideline.
After the two Foles throws, Nate Sudfeld came onto the field for one of his better throws of the day. Haloti Ngata bull-rushed Chance Warmack back into the young quarterback’s lap, and with his arms outstretched Sudfeld appeared to have nowhere to go. Sudfeld responded by throwing around the former All-Pro defensive tackle, completing a pass to Zach Ertz on an in-breaking route inside the 10-yard line.
The Eagles offense featured a three-receiver set with Wallace, Greg Ward, and Kamar Aiken, so, naturally, the defense responded with their nickel defense and five defensive backs. The nickel corner, however, wasn’t Bausby this time, as rookie Avonte Maddox got his first crack with the first-team unit.
On one red zone play, quick pressure from Fletcher Cox forced Foles to roll to his left. The Super Bowl MVP kept his eyes downfield, and threw a pass across his body to a streaking Ertz in the back of the end zone as he crossed the field running to his right. It was a beautifully thrown pass between both Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, as the offense continued its success down near the goal line.
Carson Wentz came onto the field for 7-on-7 work with the second-team unit, and he went 2-for-3 in the session.
They then ran a “team session”…after struggling with some short passes and screens last Thursday night, it seemed like the Eagles wanted to use this team session to try and clean those up.