This Week in Eagles Camp: Better Play
The Philadelphia Eagles broke camp at Lehigh University after about a month in which the coach's son died, injuries mounted and the team's top units played flat in the first pre-season game.
One pre-season game does not make a season.
While the Birds beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game at the Linc, the offense and defense -- at least the first units -- struggled mightily and showed signs that the gaffes of last year are not completely behind the team.
There certainly were bright spots on offense:
- Rookie QB Nick Foles was the star of the game, showing he could be a possible backup to Michael Vick.
- Wideout Damaris Johnson showed blazing speed and some nice stops and starts, including an impressive touchdown.
- Wideouts Jamel Hamler and Mardy Gilyard displayed enough talent that it won't be easy deciding who plays behind DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant.
Last week, we addressed the player battles for roster spots on offense. Defense, though, is even more of a challenge.
Defensive linemen Phillip Hunt and Brandon Graham battled. With Jason Babin, Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins roster locks and rookies Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox pretty much the same, Hunt and Graham are fighting with Derek Landri, Antonio Dixon, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton for spots. There should be eight, meaning three will go.
Yet, when it came to executing in the game against the Steelers, the offense sputtered.
Vick looked out of sinc and then hit his thumb on a helmet, sending shock waves of worry thoughout the Philly fan base. Backup Mike Kafka immediately tossed a laughable interception.
But then came Foles.
He looked like Joe Montana and threw like Dan Marino. His two touchdowns and solid play were impressive for a rookie just taking the field for his first NFL game.
That makes Foles a strong case for backup QB. We'll see how the next three games go.
While camp is over, the pre-season is really just beginning. Now is the time for evaluating player personnel and seeing who can secure the 53 roster spots that are up for grabs.
Should be fun to watch Monday, especially with another game following right away Thursday.