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Friday, August 10, 2012

Eagles Win, Starters Look Awful in Preseason Opener


          No one thought that the Sixers would be the big story in Philadelphia the day after the Eagles opened preseason, but the football franchise ought to be delighted to have the spotlight go elsewhere today.

          The Eagles eked out a victory over the Steelers last night long after the regular players had taken off the pads. But if any Birds fans are taking solace in the win they’re delusional.

          The Eagles’ first-team offense went 3-and-out in their two series. To be fair, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek did not play, but the regular offense did absolutely nothing. Michael Vick even managed to waste a timeout on the third play of the game. The best thing he did was not break his thumb when he banged it on Jason Kelce’s helmet on his last play of the night.

          If it was possible, the Eagles’ first-team defense looked just as bad at times. They did get pressure on Ben Roethlisburger, but the Steelers’ offensive line is one of their biggest concerns and is basically being rebuilt. Even with all the pressure they got on the quarterback, the Eagles gave up almost a 10-minute drive, albeit for a field goal, in the one drive Roethlisburger played.

          In the second quarter at least some of the first-team defense for the Eagles gave up a 2-yard passing touchdown where the receiver looked like he was alone. It was laughable. Without the benefit of knowing what was supposed to happen on defense it’s hard to point the finger at a player, but Nnamdi Asomugha looked lost on the play. But when a team hires the offensive line coach as the defensive coordinator, and brings him back after a disastrous first season, the finger can definitely be pointed at that guy. And that’s Juan Castillo.

          Finally, the one thing I’ve never gotten about Andy Reid’s teams is how undisciplined they act, and the flaw reared its ugly head yet again last night. In the second quarter Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie extended a Steelers eventual touchdown drive with an idiotic penalty, leaving his feet to hit a receiver head-to-head on a third down that otherwise would have lead to a punt. Watching on television it seemed like even the crowd gasped. It’s become automatic not to do that stuff in football anymore, and Rodgers-Cromartie did it in a preseason game.

          Obviously, no one should overreact to the first preseason game. The fans and the Reid family, which thanked the Philadelphia fans for their support this week with a message on the scoreboard at the game, deserve credit for the way they acted in regards to the death of Andy’s son.

          But there wasn’t much credit to be handed out for the way the Eagles’ starting units played last night.

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