Here’s what I saw from the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Browns.
I’ll post a lengthier piece on Michael Vick later this week after watching the All-22 tape. And defensive game reviews will come on Tuesday.
LeSean McCoy – Where would the Eagles be without him? McCoy played 81 of 95 snaps and carried 20 times for 110 yards even though he didn’t have Jason Peters blocking for him. He added six catches for 26 yards, although the offense wasn’t very productive in the screen game. McCoy had plenty left in the fourth quarter, rushing eight times for 55 yards (6.9 YPC) in the final 15 minutes. The numbers could have been even better. McCoy had multiple runs and a 24-yard catch called back because of penalties. He was good in short yardage, delivering great effort to pick up a first on 3rd-and-1 in the third. And he came through as a blocker. McCoy picked up the blitz on Vick’s 4-yard completion to Jeremy Maclin in the second. He did so again on Vick’s 28-yard completion to Brent Celek . The only negative for McCoy was the first-quarter fumble. He’s always carried the ball away from his body, but since McCoy only had one fumble on 273 carries last year, no one complained. Tremendous overall game.
Stanley Havili – He played 18 snaps and had a couple really good moments. No offensive touches or targets for Havili, but he threw a nice lead block on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the first. And again on 4th-and-1 on the final drive. Remember, that was the biggest question with him this preseason. He looked capable in Week 1.
Bryce Brown – He played just eight snaps and had two carries for 3 yards. I’m not quite sure why the Eagles gave him the ball instead of McCoy with the game on the line before the Clay Harbor touchdown, but Andy Reid defended the call today, saying the team has scored on that play in the past. Brown missed his blitz pickup against the linebacker and gave up a hit on Vick in the first. Still looks very shaky to me in that aspect. Likely the reason he didn’t play more.
Chris Polk - He was active, but did not get any snaps on offense.
DeSean Jackson – I thought he really played a solid game. Jackson made several tough catches that he would not have made last year. Nice grab for 15 yards on a high throw from Vick in the first. Nice job of going up and getting the football for an 18-yard gain vs. cornerback Joe Haden in the first. Jackson broke a Haden tackle for a 35-yard gain. And on the final drive, he made a nice 9-yard grab on a high throw from Vick, with Haden on his back. He even made sure Haden didn’t intercept Vick in the end zone on the final drive. Overall, four catches for 77 yards on six targets against a tough corner.
Jeremy Maclin – Strange game for Maclin. He led the Eagles with seven catches for 96 yards, but needed 14 targets to rack up those numbers. The two catches – a 46-yarder and an 18-yarder – at the end of the first half were big. On the touchdown, the Eagles actually kept eight guys in to block. Maclin and Jackson were the only two receivers in pass routes, going up against seven Browns defenders. Obviously a breakdown in the Cleveland ‘D’ that allowed Maclin to get open. He drew a couple flags – one on a pick and the other for holding. Maclin also had a ball bounce off his hand on the Haden interception. Not a good throw, but he had a shot at it. We’ll see if the hip injury keeps him out of Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Impressive that he was able to get through the whole game with the injury.
Jason Avant – Relatively quiet game for the veteran, who suffered a wrist contusion at some point. He had four catches on five targets for 27 yards, including a nice one-handed grab in the first. Avant is the Eagles’ best blocking wide receiver and did an outstanding job on McCoy’s 22-yard run in the second.
Damaris Johnson – He played 13 snaps, although that number could jump in Week 2 if Maclin or Avant can’t go on Sunday. Johnson played in 4-WR sets and also spelled Maclin when he left the game. He converted a third down on his only grab for 10 yards and was targeted twice.
Brent Celek – He’s never missed an NFL game and came off the field for just six snaps in this one. Celek finished with four catches for 65 yards on eight targets. His 17-yard catch and run on the final drive set up the game-winning touchdown. Celek earlier had a 28-yard catch. Remember, he had 14 catches of 20+ yards last year, just one fewer than Jackson and Maclin. Celek had one issue as a blocker, letting a defensive lineman get between him and Herremans as Vick was sacked. But he had good blocks on McCoy runs of 7 and 13 yards in the fourth. Overall, a good game. I’ll take a look later this week to see how often he was asked to stay in as a blocker.
Clay Harbor – He was targeted just 19 times all of last season, but had six balls thrown his way on Sunday alone. Harbor finished with three catches for 16 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, which Vick fit into a tight window. As a blocker, Harbor did a good job on the bootleg in the first, keeping the defensive end away from Vick, who found Jackson for 15 yards. He blocked D’Qwell Jackson on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the second. And Harbor gave a nice effort on McCoy’s 4th-and-1 conversion on the final drive. The one miscue I saw was when Harbor lined up as a fullback and was asked to block a defensive end off play-action. He missed, and Vick was forced to leave the pocket and throw the ball away.
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