Offense Game Review: Bell Still Struggling
Here’s a player-by-player look at how the Eagles’ offense performed Friday night against the Browns, after having re-watched the game.
Nick Foles – He finished 12-for-19 for 146 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. You’ll have a very difficult time right now finding anyone who thinks he doesn’t deserve the backup job. As Andy Reid said, Foles got greedy on the interception. It’s fine to take that shot if DeSean Jackson has one-on-one coverage, but not a smart throw with the safety there also. On the first touchdown, he waited as long as he could before seeing Brent Celek release and lofting a pass for the 7-yard TD. Foles once again showed the ability to fit the ball into tight spaces on the 2-yard score to Dion Lewis. And he connected with Damaris Johnson on a 45-yard bomb. Foles has been the story this preseason for the Eagles. Be sure to check out T-Mac’s story on him from this morning.
Trent Edwards – The numbers look great: 14-for-17 for 127 yards. But Edwards was doing a lot of dinking-and-dunking, and was going up against backups in the second half, so let’s not get carried away. Good patience and good throw to Brett Brackett for a 20-yard completion in the third. Don’t know what Edwards was thinking on the pick-six that was called back for roughing the passer. I guess he was throwing the ball away? Still don’t see him making the roster.
LeSean McCoy – Got a couple touches early on before heading to the sideline. McCoy took a screen 11 yards and had one carry that resulted in a 4-yard loss. Now is the time for rest. Things aren’t going to come as easy for him with Jason Peters no longer at left tackle.
Stanley Havili – Ran with the first team. Havili ran into a brick wall on his only carry, picking up a yard in the red zone. It’ll either be him or someone not currently on the roster as the first-team fullback in Week 1.
Dion Lewis – On the touchdown catch, he started out in the backfield to Foles’ left before motioning out wide to the right. Lewis was matched up against the safety, started towards the corner of the end zone, then changed direction to the middle of the field for the score. The throw was perfect, but give Lewis credit. He had a safety on his back and a linebacker closing in, but held on. Later, he took a screen 22 yards. Lewis did that a lot at Lehigh. Could be a nice option during the regular season. As a runner, he had just 4 yards on five carries, but didn’t get very good blocking with the second-team offensive line. As a blocker, it wasn’t a fair fight, but he did nothing to slow down Juqua Parker with his chip on the play where the former Eagles defensive end slammed Foles to the ground.
Bryce Brown – Seven carries for 18 yards. Brown made a defender miss in the backfield and picked up 4. And later, he had a nice 7-yard cutback run. He leaped over the pile at the goal line, but had the ball slapped out of his hands. I’m surprised that doesn’t happen more often on those plays. As a blocker, he missed his man on the Edwards INT that was called back. Feeling strongly that he makes the final roster.
Chris Polk – Six carries for 39 yards, 20 of which came on one run late in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were running clock. Polk has been an excellent blocker all summer, but he missed a blitz pickup in the fourth. He’s on the bubble, with the likelihood being he doesn’t make it.
Emil Igwenagu – Had one carry for no gain and a pair of catches for 17 yards. Can’t see him making the roster.
DeSean Jackson – Foles took a shot to him deep in the first that was intercepted. Didn’t play much. That was his only target.
Jeremy Maclin – Had an 8-yard grab in the red zone to set up the Eagles’ first touchdown. Caught a screen on the next play that was blown up for no gain.
Jason Avant – No catches, no targets.
Damaris Johnson – He was the Eagles’ leading receiver with two catches for 58 yards. Johnson got the ball in space on a shallow cross in the second and made defenders miss for a 13-yard pickup. Good-looking play. He deserves more credit than Foles on the 45-yard completion – great adjustment and concentration. Johnson delivered a nice effort on the 23-yard touchdown that was called back. He and Foles have developed a nice chemistry.
Chad Hall – Squarely on the roster bubble. Had one catch for 10 yards. Foles targeted him on another play and tried to fit one in between three Browns defenders, but the linebacker got his hand on the ball.
Marvin McNutt – Also on the bubble. Targeted on a slant, but the ball went right through his hands. Later, McNutt ran an identical pattern on the other side of the field for 13 yards. Certainly doesn’t look like a contributor as a rookie, but has a chance to sneak onto the roster.
Brent Celek – He was helping Dennis Kelly as a blocker, but then released at the last second, just in time for Foles to find him for a 7-yard touchdown. Celek broke a tackle around the 2. He had another grab for 8 yards.
Clay Harbor – No targets, no catches. Limited playing time.
Brett Brackett – Three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. His 20-yard catch got the Eagles in the red zone in the third, and Brackett delivered a great effort on the 4-yard touchdown. As a blocker, he did a good job on Lewis’ 22-yard screen, but a poor job in pass protection on the Edwards INT that was called back. Longshot to make the team, although I’m not ready to rule it out completely.
Chase Ford – Two catches for 16 yards.
King Dunlap – I thought he played pretty well. Dunlap started the game and then rotated with Demetress Bell. He did a nice job in pass protection on Foles’ 13-yard completion to Johnson. Dunlap had a little bit of an issue around the edge on the Foles TD to Johnson that was called back. And he couldn’t hold his block on a Lewis run that lost 2 yards in the second. If the goal is to keep Michael Vick upright, Dunlap is clearly a better option than Bell at this point. Not sure he gives you much in the run game, but that’s probably secondary right now.
Demetress Bell – I don’t mean to be harsh, but he just looks really uncomfortable and is constantly chasing pass rushers from behind as they rush the quarterback. A Browns defensive lineman blew right past him on a backside block, dropping McCoy for a 4-yard loss. Keep in mind, that was a play that was not even run to Bell’s side. He got beat by an inside move on third down, forcing Foles to escape the pocket. He had trouble with the defensive end going around the edge on the Foles touchdown pass to Lewis. He got beat inside on a Foles incompletion to Hall. And he missed his block on a linebacker as Igwenagu got stuffed for no gain in the third. If you want a bright spot, Bell gave good effort on a block that helped spring Brackett for the 4-yard TD. I just can’t see the Eagles putting him out there to start the season unless a light bulb suddenly goes on in the next two weeks.
Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins – Including these guys together because they each just played eight snaps. Seven of those were pass plays, and they held up well in protection.
Dennis Kelly – He got the start at right tackle for Todd Herremans, who missed the game because of a death in the family. Kelly had ups and downs, but did not look overmatched. He had some trouble with the bull rush of Jabaal Sheard, getting pushed back into the pocket in the first. And Kelly had some trouble late in the first half as Foles escaped and threw incomplete to Hall. Good job one-on-one in pass protection on Foles’ deep attempt to Hall. In the run game, it looked like he did a decent job on Lewis’ 4-yard run to the right. Later, he had trouble with Parker on Lewis’ run that picked up 1. There’s a chance he’s active on gamedays as the first reserve tackle – at least early in the season.
Julian Vandervelde – He played with the second group at guard and then gave center a shot. At guard, he did a good job in pass protection on Foles’ touchdown pass to Lewis. Vandervelde also had a nice block on Brown’s 7-yard run. It looked like either he or Steve Vallos should have picked up the DE, who looped inside and rushed Edwards untouched on the TD to Brackett. At center, he had issues. Vandervelde had a bad snap/fumble in the fourth that Polk recovered. And later, on third down in the red zone, he snapped the ball before Edwards was ready. Don’t think the Eagles will be comfortable with him as the backup center to start the season.
Steve Vallos – He played center with the second team, and I think right now has a good shot to make the 53-man roster. The defensive tackle got past him and Vandervelde in the second on Foles’ 13-yard completion to Johnson. But later, Vallos did a good job of picking up a blitzer on the 45-yard completion to Johnson. He also made a nice block on Brown’s 7-yard run in the third.
Dallas Reynolds – He played right guard with the second team and delivered possibly the best pancake block we’ve seen out of an Eagles offensive lineman this preseason. Reynolds just crushed linebacker Craig Robertson on Lewis’ 22-yard screen. Earlier, the defensive tackle beat him to the inside and hit Foles in the second. And Reynolds was slow to get to Parker on the play where he slammed Foles to the ground. Squarely on the roster bubble right now.
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