Billy Davis noted on Monday that the first preseason game is generally the rockiest for the rookies. It’s their first time on the big stage under the bright lights wearing the shiny pants (h/t Pat Shurmur), and the moment can get a little big for them.
Jaylen Watkins seemed to be going through some of that. The rookie corner had his share of miscues against the Bears, none more noticeable than the 73-yard touchdown he gave up in the third quarter to receiver Chris Williams.
"The play I had a was a technique issue. It was all on me," he said. "I make that play every day in practice. It's something that I have to translate to the field."
Watkins walked us through exactly what went wrong.
"I had a misaligned leverage so I was a little head-up. I should have been outside with his cut-split. I stopped my feet in transition -- he kind of gave me a move and I stopped my feet and paused.
You can see what happened next.
"I had bad eyes. It was a combination of things but I got the kinks worked out."
Watkins was able to shake that off and later came up with a fourth-quarter interception on a pass from David Fales.
"That technique I messed up earlier in that game, and I was able to come back and get another try at it and it was actually pretty successful. As long as I apply my techniques that the coaches are teaching me I'll be fine," he said.
The Florida product had an interception during Sunday's practice at Franklin Field as well. The coaching staff seems encouraged by the fact that Watkins was able to get off the mat after a dizzying start to his NFL career.
"I love the mental toughness he showed in coming back," said Davis. "He had a bad jam. In the NFL you pay for your mistakes and it's something he's learned; a valuable lesson to a very smart young man. I don't see him making that mistake again, and I loved the way he bounced back. Now, it took him a little bit -- he had a couple other stumbles before he regained composure -- but he regained it, and that's growth of a young guy."
"Rome wasn't built in a day," said Watkins. "Every day is a process for us, even the veteran guys. As long as you approach every day trying to get better at something, you're going to be successful."
WHAT YOU MISSED
"When you...ask him to take on 500 pounds of men and double team, that's not his world." Vinny Curry's reality:
Jeff Fusco took some great shots of the Eagles' practice at Franklin Field.
"It was only right. Two Oregon boys showing off on special teams." Sheil catches up with Josh Huff after his rookie debut, which included a 102-yard kick return.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Geoff Mosher on the Eagles' inability to get off the field on third down Friday:
The Bears converted 10 of 17 third downs (59 percent) against the Eagles, but Chicago’s first-team offense made 3 of 4 attempts. After going 3-and-out on the drive, the Jay Cutler-led Bears strung together a 13-play, 79-yard touchdown drive made possible by three 3rd-and-long conversions.
On each each third down, the Bears were at least seven yards from the marker. On 3rd-and-11, he found Brandon Marshall for 13 yards. On 3rd-and-10, he connected with Dante Rosario for 23. Cutler completed 7 of 10 passes for 80 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown strike to Zach Miller on 3rd-and-7.
The culprits were familiar faces from last year’s third-down defense, which ranked 24th in the NFL: moderate pass rush and spotty coverage across the middle.
Tommy Lawlor offers his thoughts on Mark Sanchez.
Is everyone now more comfortable with Mark Sanchez?
It is easy to see the butt-fumble and think of Sanchez as this awful player. That’s just not the case. He is a talented QB. Sanchez never looked like a franchise QB when he was with the Jets, but he also got poor coaching and had few weapons to work with. In Philly, Sanchez is getting good coaching and he is part of a very talented offense. It also helps that he is completely healthy.
No one is rushing to put Sanchez in Canton (except maybe Brian Baldinger), but the guy is a talented player who can help the Eagles if called upon. I hope Nick Foles stays healthy, but as Eagles fans we know that the starting QB rarely is on the field for all 16 games. In the last decade, the Eagles only had the starter for every game once – Donovan McNabb in 2008.
You better have a backup QB that can help your team.
Joint practices with the Patriots begin this afternoon in Foxboro. We'll be there.