Observations: Eagles Vs. Patriots

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. — Here’s what we saw during tonight’s Eagles-Patriots game:


* It took awhile for the Eagles’ offense to get a chance, but Nick Foles bounced back from his performance a week ago, completing 8 of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. The numbers are even more impressive considering he was playing without Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.

* Foles completed an 8-yard slant to Ifeanyi Momah, but Momah fumbled on the play. He later had a 12-yard catch and had a chance on a fade to the end zone, but the ball appeared to be slightly overthrown.

* Allen Barbre got beaten by Rob Ninkovich for a sack. Barbre gave up a pressure in the Bears game as well. He, of course, will be starting at right tackle for Lane Johnson during the first four games.

* Brent Celek had a couple big plays – a 23-yard catch and a 22-yard catch. The 23-yarder was on Y-Cross, a play we broke down last week. On the 22-yarder, Celek got his helmet knocked off.

* Zach Ertz got a defender on his back in the red zone and came down with a 6-yard touchdown grab in the second. Foles’ throw was on the money. Ertz also drew an illegal contact penalty on Patrick Chung in the first half. And he beat a linebacker for a big gain from Mark Sanchez late in the first half.

* Sanchez was fantastic on the final drive of the first half. He was 5-for-5 for 61 yards and a TD, leading the Eagles down the field in 1:07. He completed a 20-yard pass to Ertz, found Jordan Matthews for an 18-yarder and hit Momah/Benn for the score. The ball bounced off of Momah’s hands as he hit the ground, but Benn was there to grab it. Sanchez threw an interception in the third quarter. It looked like he didn’t see the safety looming on a middle-of-the-field throw to James Casey. But that was his only incompletion of the night as Sanchez went 11-for-12 for 117 yards, two TDs and a pick. In the preseason, Sanchez has completed 18 of 22 passes for 196 yards.

* Matthews mixed in with the first team. He had one catch from Foles, but then exploded for nine grabs on nine targets for 104 yards. He had a nice 25-yard gainer on a crossing route in the third and flashed good hands on a 9-yard catch. Now would seem like a good time to bump him up to the first team.

* Josh Huff got drilled on a kickoff return and left the game with a shoulder injury.

* Damaris Johnson started in the backfield, but then leaked to the right for a 5-yard touchdown from Sanchez in the third. Later, Johnson had a Matt Barkley pass bounce off his hands for an INT.

* Great effort from Henry Josey on a 27-yard catch and run. He managed to stay in bounds down the sideline before diving into the end zone. Josey also had eight carries for 56 yards.

* Ups and downs on special teams. Alex Henery missed badly wide right on a 47-yard field goal attempt in the second. On the flip side, Arrelious Benn blocked a Patriots punt.


* Minus one Cary Williams interception, the Eagles’ first-team defense struggled mightily against the Patriots. As was the case last week, the Birds couldn’t get off the field, allowing Tom Brady and company to convert all four of their third-down chances. A week ago against the Bears, the Eagles allowed Chicago’s first-team offense to go 3-for-4 on third down.

* The lone bright spot was Williams’ pick-six. Brady and his receiver were not on the same page. Williams made the interception and returned it 77 yards, getting blocks from Vinny Curry and Mychal Kendricks on the play. Williams, however, injured his hamstring on the play, and his night was over.

* Curtis Marsh had a nightmarish night. He was flagged for a 26-yard pass interference penalty and a holding penalty. He got beat for a back-shoulder touchdown and another score in the back of the end zone. There was also a 25-yard completion in there.

* Other negative plays: Cedric Thornton got blocked to the ground (or tripped) on an 11-yard run early. Najee Goode got called for a penalty in the first. Brandon Boykin got called for a couple penalties and failed to set the edge on an 18-yard run play. Marcus Smith II was called for illegal hands to the face. Curry was called for offsides.

* Bright spots? Mychal Kendricks burst through the backfield for a tackle for loss on the first drive (but there was a penalty on the play). For the second week in a row, Beau Allen got pressure on the quarterback, splitting defenders with his interior rush. Brandon Bair continues to make his presence felt in the run game. Connor Barwin had a nice pass-rush, but Marsh was holding. Earl Wolff had a forced fumble in the red zone. Wolff also came strong on a blitz and had a batted pass. Taylor Hart had a nice run stop in the second.

* Tough to tell what happened on the second Patriots TD. Boykin slipped. It also appeared Emmanuel Acho and Travis Long were in the same area, perhaps mistakenly.

* Bennie Logan got the start at nose tackle. He didn’t play in the first preseason game.

* In the second half, Smith rushed upfield on one play, but Ryan Mallett found running room and scored from 6 yards out. The backup units looked as shaky as the starters. They gave up three touchdowns in the third quarter alone. Marsh ended up getting beat for a third touchdown.

* Nice moment for Alejandro Villanueva in the fourth, coming up with a sack in the red zone.

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  • KJ

    Sanchez is looking scary sharp to me. Glad Foles had good numbers but his feet were moving too much and not having the confidence like Sanchez. Hope Foles doesn’t start to look over his shoulder.

    • Eh his numbers a bit deceiving. As with last year it’s the holding onto the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks. Though right now Barbe is doing him no favors.

      • ztom6

        Both the sacks he took were on third down… what do you want him to do in that situation?

      • D-Von Funk

        I know one of the sacks you’re referencing is the Ninkovich sack on third down, and really, there’s not much he could’ve done about that one. He tried stepping up, but Barbre was beat so soundly from the get-go, Foles was dead in the water. As someone else stated, he’s also playing with roster bubble guys at wideout that he has little playing time with. Not exactly a recipe for success, especially when the o-line hasn’t looked up to snuff.

        That Ninkovich sack invoked flashbacks of when Green Bay tried Barbre as their starting LT several years back. For anyone that can recall, he was an absolute disaster there, and that might be putting it mildly. Knowing that, I was encouraged by his play last year, and hoped he had turned a corner at this point in his career. Well, I guess we’re going to find out what we really have in him real soon…

    • NineseveN

      Be careful with fawning over Sanchez. he’s a good QB (I say that as someone who follows the Jets out of a love for Rex Ryan’s defense and press conferences) but he’s just not high-pressure material over the long term. I think he shines in short spurts and spats (ideal NFL backup material), but really starts to struggle when the team is on his shoulders over the long haul. I think Foles is the opposite and much like the rest of this team, I expect him to be playing his best ball late in the season and improving with maturity while at the helm.

    • ztom6

      Keep in mind Sanchez is playing with superior talent at receiver (Ertz and Matthews… but especially Ertz) against NFL backups. Meanwhile Foles is playing with roster bubble guys against NFL starters.

  • Phyxius

    I have to say, the offense looks much better with Sanchez in command.

    Does this sound familiar? Haha. I’m honestly glad to have him as our backup, he’s earned my confidence.

    • Dsjunior

      You do realize Foles is against the first team defense and Sanchez is the second team

      • Phyxius

        So? Still gotta give the guy credit.

        • Dsjunior

          He looks good, don’t get me wrong but you can’t say he looks better when the talent on defense drops off drastically

      • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

        And… This was what folks said about Vick and FOles last year.

        • Dsjunior

          Idiots maybe…Vick looked light years ahead of Foles last preseason

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            He didn’t

          • Dsjunior

            Yes he did…more completions, TDs, no turnovers, better completion percentage, better QBR, more rushing yards & more command of the offense!

          • Anebriated

            light years is too much. It was a close competition between the two. Vick having the pro experience gave him the first crack at the job. Also by letting the fans see Vick go in and fail it prevented the inevitable comment of “Well just imagine how good Vick would be in this offense” had Foles started at the beginning of the season.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            Should have prevented those comments. They still came though lol.

          • Dsjunior

            It wasn’t a close competition, the media made it seem that way…stats, command, & his scrambling presence was a lot better than Foles until the actual season

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            You’re clearly just a Vick fan. This debate was over when Foles outplayed him by LIGHT YEARS in games that actually matter. Go troll elsewhere.

          • Dsjunior

            I was a Vick fan, I’ll admit that 100%, I hated Foles til he proved me wrong when games mattered…I’m just downplaying that guys comment saying it’s not a comparison Sanchez/Foles and Vick/Foles

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            Vick had a pick. It was on a hail mary so it absolutely diserves an asterisk, but it’s still not accurate to say “no turnovers”. He certainly outplayed Foles on a whopping 15 preseason pass attempts. But “lightyears” is more than a little hyperbole. Foles led the team to the same number of points per possession during the competition.

          • Dsjunior

            Even in practices Vick looked like I said LIGHTYEARS ahead of Foles and more in command…stats don’t tell the whole story…clearly you aren’t an athlete! Vick opened the run game for shady a lot more than Foles

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            lol. bye

          • Kev_H

            They didn’t play enough to put light years between them.

          • Dsjunior

            Nearly 3 months of football is enough and Vick showed that…accept it…it wasn’t a close competition, you and a bunch of other ignorant people just got caught in the media hype

          • Kev_H

            You seem to be the person who has a problem accepting reality. Foles won the starting job under Andy Reid in December of 2012 and was clearly the better QB in 2013 when he played better than Vick is capable of. Sorry your hero had such a disappointing career, but don’t take it out on others.

          • Dsjunior

            Lmaaaao what? Vick was hurt soo was shady and djax so they just shut them down for the season, Foles didn’t win that job and as for last year, Vick lost that job due to injury and Foles played great in Oakland and GB before Vick was healthy soo Kelly let him start the rest of the way

          • Kev_H

            I’m sorry buddy. I know it hurts. OJ Simpson was my favorite player when I was growing up and he really let me down.

            Jackson was placed on IR in November, Shady caught 14 passes the last two games so I don’t see how you can say he was shut down. And Reid announced Foles was the starter for the rest of the season on December 3rd because he thought he could win and noted that Vick was realy professional about it.

            There is a nice site called ganggreennation.com where you can go chat about how awesome Mike Vick is.

          • Dsjunior

            He thought he could win? The eagles had 3 wins at the time lmao go to bed lol

          • blair

            Junior your an idiot.

          • Dsjunior

            You’re** an idiot lol

        • UKEagle99 à l’orange

          Lol how did that work out? Think about what you said…

          Edit; my bad phone stacking comments… And I may be drunk…

          • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

            Haha… Well the backup wound up… No no no. I’m not doing this.


    • Adam

      I can’t say you’re wrong. But circumstances are important. 2nd team offense are almost always better than 2nd team defenses.

    • 370HSSV 0773H

      Sanchez looks good – until he makes a bad decision. That was his problem in NY. He’s like Favre where he gets cocky and starts making questionable throws.

  • Ertz looks unstoppable, Matthews looks like an 8 year vet playing the slot – will be a tremendous asset as a possession receiver.

    Sanchez looks like a fine backup. Only an idiot or someone who has never seen a preseason game would say he’s had a better night than Foles.

    • B-West

      Rolling things way too far foward… I’ve now seen 3 QBs in Foles, Vick, and Sanchez have success in this offensive system. All three QBs had question marks coming in. Sanchez and Vick’s are obvious, and Foles was a 3rd round pick in his second year that had shown flashes of competency as a rookie. He certainly didn’t have a look of a 27/2 guy down the stretch.

      Kelly has the kind of offensive system where we might not need to pay big dollars for a QB. We saw him roll through QBs at Oregon. We’ve seen him make 3 guys look great with the Eagles. Why pay 15 to 20 mil to our QB position? We’ve seen three guys with limited/blemished resumes be very productive. Imagine how big of an advantage that would be in the current NFL.

      Obviously, if Foles is even better than last year over a 16 game span, we pay him the money and he’s the man. But if he (reasonably) regresses a little bit and falls into that second tier of NFL QBs, I don’t know if you give him a giant contract. You could pay a guy like Sanchez 20% of the money, and get 85% of the production.

      And then take the money and get a friggin pash rusher.

  • 1977

    Please cut curtis marsh. The last of the andy reid draft picks

    • hrtak

      And also Roc…. Hopefully some team will cut usable corner

      • we should be OK – our 1 though 5 seem set in stone at this point. Williams, Fletch, Boykin, Carroll, Watkins.

        • shady25

          Yeah too bad 3 of 5 were hurt. I think it would have been a different defensive outcome for the first unit if Cary Williams doesn’t get hurt

    • Nick Foles? Trent Cole? Shady?

  • UKEagle99 à l’orange

    Football aside. Spuds just referred to the sideline tablets as iPads, Microsoft will be peeved as they have the contract with their surface!

  • D-von

    I mean after the pick Sanchez was only throwing check-downs.

  • John E. Zang

    The refs need to stop. They’re already too big a part of the game and if the game has to be an hour longer because there’s a flag every play it’s going to be bad for the game. They’re starting to remind me of small town law enforcement getting excited at the thought of heaving that yellow flag for things like trash talk and looking at the qb the wrong way.

  • Phillies fan

    There has to be a spot on this team for Brandon Bair

  • kenkap

    Huff was stupid to try and run that ball out. Welcome to the NFL. Henery should be gone. If Matthews and Sproles connect, offense should hum. Marsh is such an Andy Reid defensive pick. Glad that clueless man is out of town.

    • MagatBrackendale

      And who is going to replace Henery?

      • shady25

        Doesn’t matter. Can’t be any worse

      • Puddle Pirate

        I’d take a Rob Bironas for this season, then look for a long term solution before next season. I’ve rooted for Henerey to get it together, but I don’t trust him to get the job done when it’s needed. A past his prime Bironas is better than Henerey right now.

  • knighn

    Curtis Toasted Marshmallow.

    • Richaud Jeaffreson

      He seemed to be in position most of the time, he just never EVER turns his head around to look for the ball. He is always staring right in the receivers’ chest.

  • AFEagle

    Why with 3rd and goal, 4th and goal with 4:30 left, don’t you give the ball to Trey Burton instead of DJohnson? Burton being twice the size, and can no doubt give you a much better push than Johnson.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Maybe Chip was just trying to get DJ a TD knowing he’d be cut soon enough? I dunno, I thought that was rather bizarre.

      • AFEagle

        If they weren’t so thin at RB, I can’t even see why he gets on the field.

    • Adam

      DJohnson is Sproles “backup”. Wanted to run Sproles type plays. Give the lineman a chance to see what they can do blocking for a smaller back. Chip doesn’t care if they score in a preseason game.

  • scrapplejoe

    Being in Afghanaland, it makes me sad to think C. Marsh made $625k last year playing football.

  • Saul Wells

    Smith II got knocked on his butt a few times. He looks small to me. Like not as big as Cole or Barwin. A lot of confusion on the D side of the ball. Lots of players getting pushed around. Again I like Bennie Logan as a rotation guy, but with more reps I can see B.Allen really taking over that NT spot. We have to get rid of Marsh n Carmicheal those two couldn’t cover a twin bed. All this hype bout Nolan Carroll but with his injury we haven’t got a chance to see em yet. The O looked good but fought for every inch on that TD, the Pats were moving the ball at will. While I was waiting for the Eagles to fold on a 3rd down. Still a lot of areas to improve. From what I saw 9 wins is where the team is headed with that D.

  • 370HSSV 0773H

    Foles looked good considering he didn’t have his two best wideouts. Vinny Curry broke through a double team and had constant pressure. Mathews looked really good. Momah has bad hands and has yet to use his height to an advantage. Specials teams is hit or miss. A backup receiver still hasn’t stepped up. Josey has some game.

    • RJ

      And for that matter, Sanchez looked just as good throwing the ball without the benefit of Cooper and Maclin. He’s looking like the backup to Foles, which I can definitely live with that. And agree on Momah. It’s a shame he can’t put it all together, because his size alone would evoke comparisons to the last gigantic receiver we had in good ole Harold Carmichael.

  • D-Von Funk

    Random musings after an (almost) unwatchable Game 2…

    – That game probably sealed Marsh’s fate, and rightly so. Every Pats QB picked on him unmercifully. The guy has zero ball skills. Even when his coverage was good, and he had position, he was unable to get his head around and locate the ball. At this point in his career, he’s still too much of a project and may never put it all together. Given the choice, and given our current injury situation at the position, I’d take Roc over Marsh, but ideally, neither will be on this team come September. Forgettable game for most on D really, including Boykin. Rough night for #22.

    – I want to see more Josey. Really liked what I saw from him last night. I like his upside and scheme fit better than Fluellen or Tucker, and given his skill set, I wonder if he has any return ability. Personally, I have no idea why this staff seems to be so high on Tucker. I have seen nothing from him this year – or last – to suggest he’s anything other than just a guy. In fact, I liked what I saw out of Fluellen, in very limited action, more than what I’ve seen from Tucker thus far. If it’s all about pass pro, then ok, there’s that, but I’m really at a loss otherwise. Seeing as how Polk has been MIA, we’ll likely keep 4 backs initially, and it probably will be Tucker, but I’d love to see Josey on the PS, at the very least.

    – Bair is making a push to be on this roster. Between him, Hart, and Kruger, I think he has the edge, although Hart would seem like a lock.

    – I like Acho as our 4th ILB. Seems like he’s outplayed both Matthews and Phillips. I think he can get it done on Specials, too.

    – I don’t understand why Reynolds, a FIFTH round pick, has to make this team. Has he shown anything? He’s a FIFTH rounder, folks. I want the best 53 on this team, and right now, he’s the fifth best safety (at best). I’m fine with keeping four safeties. Stick him on the PS, if he earns it.

    – Really hoping this no pressure, soft zone coverage, huge cushion BULLCRAP is by design, and not a sign of things to come. After last year’s progress, I’ll trust Billy D for now, but we’ve generated almost zero pass rush aside from a few of the backups. Given all that, it’s no wonder we can’t stop anyone on third down.

    – Loving Ertz’ progression. Counting on big things from our TE group this year. Celek really needs to tighten that chin strap, get some more air in that helmet, something! That thing pops off WAY too much. Smith II needs to develop some pass-rush moves. He’s a one-trick pony at this point. Looks a little too light for my liking, too. Still really like his upside, though. Not impressed by our first-team OL up to this point, if they don’t perform, we’re in for a rough season. Big bounce-back game for Matthews, but at what point do we start getting really worried about our receiver situation? Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are the two best pass rushers on this team. They both make it. Unfortunately, Graham is a train wreck in the open field, and can’t tackle, but we can’t afford to cut him, at this point.

    I’m sure there’s more, but that’s it for now…

    • RJ

      To answer your question about Josey, he only had seven kick returns at Missouri, but he did average 24.1 yards a return, so it might be something to look into if he makes the team.

      Definitely agreed on the corners. Marsh and Carmichael are both terrible, but unless Watkins has a tremendous bounce back effort against the Steelers and Jets (assuming he even plays), one of them will be the 5th CB.

      The no pressure thing was addressed by Billy Davis has being a “vanilla” approach to the defense in preseason, not showing his hand too much. Hopefully he is right, because otherwise it’s going to be another long season on that side of the ball.

      And I don’t see why Reynolds has to make the team. If I was posting up the safeties so far it would be Jenkins, Allen, Wolff, and Maragos. I put Chris fourth because not only is he far more valuable on special teams, but he did it on the Superbowl Championship team no less.

      • D-Von Funk

        Watkins had an up and down (mostly down) first game, but to be fair it was his just that; his first game. We all saw how Matthews bounced back after a poor first outing. The thing I liked about Watkins effort, was he doesn’t strike me as the type of corner to get down on himself. Yeah he got beat, got sloppy in his technique, and missed a jam. It happens. Then he came back and got a pick. That’s such an important character trait for a corner.

        Bottom line, is that I like his upside vs. Roc and Marsh, especially now that he can just focus on one position. Whereas the other two are what they are, at this point. But like I said, if it comes down to Roc vs. Marsh, I’ll take Roc because at least he’s been able to show he can make plays on the ball at times. He doesn’t have Marsh’s size and length, but he’s feisty and will keep competing. I’d be shocked though if we weren’t scanning the market for corners once guys start getting cut. Shocked.

  • D-Von Funk

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the TWO blocks we’ve had on Special Teams in the past two games. Given the state of our ST in recent memory, it’s so refreshing to actually see our ST units actually making plays, Preseason or not. Kudos to Coach Fipp and our ST, keep it up!

    Come to think of it, if Momah needs to contribute on ST to make the team, why not stick him in the middle of that block kick team ala King Dunlap?!?!

    • RJ

      Momah might have looked good on special teams, but I think he sealed his fate when he fumbled twice and gave a touchdown pass away to Benn, who also had a blocked punt. To me, Benn is showing he wants that last receiving spot a lot more than anyone else who is in contention.

      • D-Von Funk

        I agree, I’d keep Benn over Maehl and Momah, no question. I’ve actually seen Benn make plays in this league, which is MUCH more than can be said for the other two guys. I just think Benn brings so much more to the table and is much more of a total package.