When the NFL ended their lockout, it was the Eagles making all the headlines. The pundits were giddy with all the moves head coach Andy Reid made to improve his ball club. Philadelphia landed some of the biggest names on the free agent market, moving players to other teams to make room for better players. Everything was heading right to Indianapolis.
Three weeks later and more people evacuated the Eagles’ bandwagon than those forced to leave the South Jersey coastline to escape Hurricane Irene. The mass exodus came on the heels of the Eagles’ starters’ poor performance in two-halves and a single series of preseason football.
The Chicken Little’s were seen screaming throughout the City of Brotherly Love, “The sky is falling.” The reason for preseason football is to find out who is worthy of wearing the hunter green for the upcoming season.
The offense, the supposed strength of this team hasn’t protected their quarterback, Michael Vick nor have they shown the ability to move the ball downfield, forcing Reid to make some changes up front to the offensive line. Todd Herremans will move from left guard to the right tackle spot. The seven-year veteran now takes on the daunting task of protecting Vick’s blindside.
Free agent newcomer Even Mathis takes over the spot vacated at left guard. Mathis has started 22 games for three teams over the last seven seasons. The biggest surprise to some is the decision to go with rookie center Jason Kelce to anchor the middle of the line, replacing veteran Jamaal Jackson.
The former Bearcat throughout the pre-season has displayed the athleticism to handle the starting duties, leading new offensive line coach Howard Mudd to prompt the switch.
After the debacle of their second pre-season game in Pittsburgh, 71 total yards and 3 turnovers, changes were coming. The number one offense managed only five first downs during the first half. The best play of the game for the Eagles starters was a tackle by Vick on an interception return.
In their final dress rehearsal of the pre-season against Cleveland, the Philly starters did manage to move the ball on the ground, averaging 4.9 yards a rush with two touchdowns. However, the passing game consisted mainly of dump-offs to running back LeSean McCoy, seven receptions for 69 yards.
Vick completed only 10 passes on the night behind 18 attempts. He didn’t connect to a wide receiver until late in the second quarter before running the ball into the end zone himself from eight yards out.
Not quite the Steel Curtain, the Browns’ defense spent more time in the Eagles backfield than McCoy, forcing Vick to hurry his throws, not allowing him to get setup and get any real zip behind his throws.
If Andy Reid has shown anything during his tenure in Philadelphia, the preseason is just a practice against another team. In 13 seasons, Big Red is 20-31 during the preseason. Compare that to his 118-73-1 regular season record, he shows he may know a little bit about how to coach in the NFL.