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Friday, August 19, 2011

Eagles First-Teamers Destroyed in Pittsburgh

It was still just preseason, but last night the “regulars” on the Philadelphia Eagles got shellacked by the Pittsburgh Steelers regular players, 21-0. That was the halftime score before the scrubs came in for both teams, and most Philly fans flipped the channel to the Phillies game that was coming out of a rain delay around that time.

I put some stock into last night’s game as far as determining what the Eagles will be this season and, more importantly, into the playoffs. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Steelers are obviously a contender for the championship again this year. (Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say that about the Eagles? That they are “obviously” contenders, not because they won the off-season hype contest, but because they just do it right seemingly every year.) Plus, the Steelers, according to the broadcast, struggled last week and had some extra motivation for the game.

Philadelphia fans are left to hope that the Eagles were far less motivated, and that Mike Vick was distracted by the mini controversy swirling yesterday over his remarks in GQ. I’m not really buying either excuse. I will buy that DeSean Jackson has had even less practice than everybody else, Jeremy Maclin isn’t playing at all yet, and that the Steelers are probably one of the teams that is least affected by the lockout.

That said, the Eagles were thumped last night. Vick looked absolutely horrible. At one point, according to a quick scan of the play-by-play, he had completed 6 passes – unfortunately, 3 of the 6 were to the Steelers. He also didn’t put a point on the scoreboard.

The defense was pounded. Vick’s best excuse may be that he couldn’t get on the field last night. The Steelers opened the game with a 14-play touchdown drive. After the Eagles punted, which was an accomplishment compared to the way many of their first-team drives ended, the Steelers did it again – a second 14-play touchdown drive.

Ben Roethlisberger was 8 of 12 for 125 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Hines Ward, possibly the Steelers best receiver, was so open on the second touchdown the announcers were yelling about it before the pass was thrown.

Jaun Castillo better do something besides show a lot of rah-rah enthusiasm on the sideline to prove that making the offensive line coach the defensive coordinator wasn’t one of the dumbest moves ever by an NFL organization. I’m certainly not “breaking down film,” but the guys like Brian Baldinger are already questioning the Eagles linebackers. The combination of a novice defensive coordinator – and that’s what he is until he proves otherwise – and young linebackers who essentially quarterback the defense could destroy any hope of a Super Bowl run for Eagles fans.

I’m just looking at the results, and they were brutal last night.

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