Instant Observations: Eagles Vs. Panthers

Here’s what we saw during the first half of tonight’s Eagles-Panthers game.

OFFENSE

* Michael Vick was outstanding, going 9-for-10 for 105 yards. His only incompletion was a jump-ball attempt on the final play of the first half that was picked off. Through two games (five possessions), Vick is 13-for-15 for 199 yards. He has two runs for 20 yards and has been sacked once. Tough to believe Chip Kelly, fans or anyone else could have expected him to play better in the first two games.

* Nick Foles looked good too for the most part, completing 6 of 8 passes for 53 yards. But he threw an ill-advised pass into the back of the end zone on a red-zone possession in the first quarter that was intercepted. Foles also had some trouble hanging on to the football, twice fumbling the snap.

* The Eagles went no-huddle for the entire first half.

* The offensive line held up well early, but it looked like Lane Johnson had some issues in pass protection. Will have to re-watch to be sure. Todd Herremans was called for a holding penalty that negated a big Chris Polk run. It looked like a questionable flag on the replay.

* LeSean McCoy played the entire first half and looked great, carrying eight times for 47 yards and a score. He also caught three balls for 16 yards.

* The Eagles essentially showed 4-TE sets on multiple occasions. Clay Harbor is officially a wide receiver. But he was on the field with Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and James Casey in the first half. Later, it was the same look, except Emil Igwenagu in for Celek.

* Polk had four carries for 23 yards in the first half, but he lost a fumble. Bryce Brown (quad) did not play.

* Early on, it looked like Foles made the wrong decision on a read-option play. The DE crashed, but he gave the ball to McCoy anyway. McCoy made the defender miss and picked up 8 yards.

* Nice catch by Ertz on 3rd-and-3 from Foles for 15 yards. Avant flashed great hands on an 11-yard grab from Foles in the red zone.

* Damaris Johnson had an excellent 18-yard punt return where he made two Panthers players look silly with his first cut. He gave the Eagles’ offense field position at the Carolina 39.

* The Eagles showed a wrinkle early on, running the read option. But when Foles took off to the left, he swung a pass out to Jason Avant for 6 yards. As Chris Brown of Grantland Tweeted, it was essentially a triple option.

* Riley Cooper with a nice block on Foles’ touchdown run. Cooper also did a nice job of coming back for the football on a 22-yard catch in the second. Vick did an excellent job of buying time on the play.

* Nice job by Russell Shepard on kickoff coverage, tackling the Panthers’ returner at the 11.

DEFENSE

* The only change to the starting lineup was Cary Williams getting the start at cornerback opposite Bradley Fletcher. Patrick Chung and Nate Allen were the starting safeties. The Eagles held the Panthers to a pair of field goals in the first half and looked much better than last week.

* On the defensive line, Cedric Thornton played well, pressuring Newton on the first drive. He later was unblocked and dropped DeAngelo Williams for a 5-yard loss. Bennie Logan also looked good when he came in, playing the run well and batting a ball at the line of scrimmage.

* Trent Cole also seemed to play much better than last week. He and Chung made a nice play against the run on the first series. Steve Smith tossed Williams to the ground on the play, and the two mixed it up after the whistle. Chung later made a nice tackle on a 1-yard run in the first. He’s looked like a sure tackler through the first two preseason games.

* The Panthers tried to block Cole one on one with a tight end in the second, and he forced Newton to scramble. Mychal Kendricks then made a nice open field tackle.

* Kendricks was outstanding in the first half. On a third down on the first possession, the Eagles sent a six-man blitz with both Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans. Kendricks got through, and Fletcher Cox also got good pressure, forcing an incompletion. Kendricks later shot into the backfield and made a play behind the line of scrimmage. He hit Newton on a blitz as well.

* On 3rd-and-20 in the second, the Eagles only rushed three, dropping eight into coverage. Brandon Boykin had a great shot at an interception, but couldn’t hang on.

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  • Ty

    I thought Earl Wolff was getting the start at saftey? Must have been a last minute change. I was looking forward to seeing what he would do out there with the 1st stringers.

    • Wilbert31

      The excitement was there in the beginning – even Harold Carmichael met with him right away. At this point Harold wears shades and a blonde wig around the NovaCare Center, and has changed his cell phone #…

  • therealpistolp

    I’m officially a Bennie Logan fan… Not to say foles looks bad,, but the offense looks better under Vick… Defense bounced back big time… Loved when coach swapped the D line out and we held em to a FG… Not used to in game adjustments lol.. Kendricks was a beast tonight.. Ryans played better… So did Cox.. B fletcher sure can run wit WR’s,,, just can’t make a play on the ball… Nate is a bum.. Soft too.. Liked what I saw though ✌

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    I’m pretty happy overall. And Chip Kelly has made me a believer in Special Teams. Woo Hoo!

  • LDawg69

    This team is going to be a roller coaster ride this year. But I’m on board and going to enjoy the ride.

  • THROW UP IN THE HUDDLE

    Defense looked a whole lot better…Thx u JESUS…Vick is ur QB…McCoy is AMAZING!!!….I kno… I kno its only preseason but I’m starting to get excited about this team.

  • Mr. Wu

    my quick thoughts…Bright spots for me were Kendricks, Curry, Logan, the entire offense and ST’s ….o line was tremendous tonight I thought ….and Boykin on that P Return…..and Shady was shady ….good to see Ertz with some grabs ….and go Coach Fipp! plus Cox getting penetration

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    OL and ST looked nice. I can’t wait to see the line with Peters. Both QB played well. Shady has the burst going already. Nice to see Graham put some good work in. He didn’t look quite as lost in coverage and was very good at the line of scrimmage. DL depth looks very good. Unless I’m missing it or misunderstanding it, I don’t seem to be seeing the 4-3 under I heard about before camp. We seem to be thin on 3-4-ready linebackers so it’s curious to me that they aren’t trying it out. I’m sure somebody on this board can clue me in!

  • Mr. Wu

    where the hell has T Cole been?

  • djack10

    i want to see boykin on more returns. was that a fluke or what? he was breaking ankles on that return. did momfrah (the tall WR) play at all? i didn’t notice him tonight but i only got pieces of the game on NFL network.

  • Rob

    I absolutely loved Dave Fipp (and the whole coaching staff’s) energy on the sideline. Andy Reid and his staff seemed so stagnant every game. In baseball, you see teams benefit so much from bringing in “clubhouse guys.” This Eagles team seems to have a “clubhouse staff.” Lots of energy on the sideline from the coaches which I love to see.

    Other than that, very quick thoughts:

    Vick looks a lot like he did in 2010 when he had something to prove. Also still clearly has wheels.

    I may have been the only person worried about Shady since he had a lot of down time during practice with little bumps and bruises. Consider me an idiot. He looked unbelievable.

    Also liked the defensive adjustments. Still think they need to be more aggressive getting to the QB. The ‘D’ was very impressive tonight making a QB with a lot of mobility look bad when he was on the run. Would like to see more sacks (and essentially more turnovers), but I’ll absolutely take the improvement. Extremely excited to see what this team does in the regular season.

  • FireBreather

    I’ve been telling the Philly haters ever since Draft Day- we have the best O-line in the entire NFL just wait and see. Those studs are def backing up my talk!! Foles’ high completion % is due to the line. He’s making some technical mistakes that prove he still needs time to develop, but getting away with those mistakes because of great protection. Vick had a perfect QB rating last week, & I believe would’ve had another perfect rating if we didn’t have to count the Hail Mary…..let’s get on with it & officially declare what we’ve all known all along- MIKE VICK IS BACK!!!!
    M….V…..P potential for sure!!

  • Justin

    After 14 years of Andy Reid, I still have a hard time believing what I’m seeing. Clock management and in game adjustments are things that feel more foreign than they should.

  • Max

    I’m not convinced we will beat the Redskins on opening night, but I’m pretty sure about 80 points will be scored…

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    we have to have those turnovers. with this offense ability to move the ball and put points up this could be the separation in a game that could propel us to wins this year.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    love the special teams. not just a 3rd phase of the game. very important part and fun to watch now.

  • AmblerEagle

    No mention of Vinny Curry. Two awesome games by him. I want to see him with the ones.

    • Joethomas215

      I like what I’ve seen from Curry, I don’t care if it is against the second team. He is showing great effort and is blowing past some linemen. He definitely needs playing time

  • FireBreather

    Why’s that? Facts are facts. On paper only San Fran’s line comes close to ours. Vick played behind a line that was very talented, but not AS talented a few years back and do you recall his numbers and play that season? Vick never left- our line left Vick to fend for himself last year. So….Vick is back. As for the potential….by definition of “potential”- I’ll stand by that. Over 4k yards & 40 total touchdowns. That’s VERY doable.

  • Adam Banks

    Ah Cox getting penetration will never get old

  • #7

    Hey I believe he capable of that but it’s early man that’s all

  • morgan c

    Vick is not anywhere close to MVP caliber. O-line has chance to be one of the better ones in the league, for sure, but this Vick stuff after 2 solid quarters of play is ridiculous.