COMMENTARY | As is the norm during the NFL preseason, Week 3 is intended to tell a coaching staff a lot about what the team will look like come the regular season.
If, in fact, that's the case for these Philadelphia Eagles, there's a lot to be desired moving toward Week 1 on Monday night at Washington.
What we learned:
Quarterback Michael Vick shows signs of resorting back to his "old ways" when facing pressure. Every player has that natural instinct to resort to an essential "comfort zone" when under pressure, which Vick was quite often during the early going of Saturday's game.
Vick was able to make plays with his feet when the protection broke down, extending drives that would've likely died out had Nick Foles been in those same situations. Vick finished the game 15-for-23 184 yards with one passing touchdown and one interception -- which we'll touch on later. Vick also ran the ball seven times for 53 yards.
Vick also took two sacks during his time on the field, nearly 40 minutes. Rookie right tackle, and Vick's blindeside protector, Lane Johnson looked very overwhelmed in the early course of the game. At certain points during the first half, Chip Kelly had tight end Brent Celek and running backs Bryce Brown and Chris Polk helping Johnson, who was getting swallowed by former Eagle Jason Babin.
Defensively, there were a lot of bright spots but also a lot left to be desired. Both starting defensive backs, Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, weren't horrible, per say, but certainly left a lot on film that begs the question of whether or not these two can be legitimate threats in 2013.
Free-agent acquisition Connor Barwin was stellar vs. Jacksonville, recording an interception and a sack.
Barwin was all over the field, especially in the offensive backfield of the Jaguars, where he provided great pressure to allow players like Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham and Cedric Thornton to wreak havoc behind the line of scrimmage.
Rookie fifth-round pick Earl Wolff out of North Carolina State spelled Nate Allen midway through the first quarter, and he looked fairly decent for a player who's only been seeing first-team reps for the better part of a week.
Kenny Phillips is as good as gone:
Former New York Giant and free-agent acquisition Kenny Phillips was slated to play vs Jacksonville; he suited up but did not play.
Chip Kelly said in his postgame press conference, "Kenny Phillips suited up, but wasn't able to go with his knee."
Phillips was already a bubble player in terms of his roster spot prior to the Jacksonville game, and now has all but sealed his fate after not playing a single down in the preseason to date. Phillips needed playing time in Week 3 to give the coaches some sort of film to determine whether or not he was worth at least keeping through the 75-man roster cut-down scheduled for Tuesday. After last night's third straight no-call no-show, Phillips will likely be cleaning out his locker come Tuesday.
Jason Avant is in for a huge year:
Jason Avant has arguably the best hands in the entire NFL, and he showed that last night with two fantastic, circus-like catches from Vick. Avant is expected to be the starter opposite of DeSean Jackson after the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin for the 2013 season with a torn ACL.
While Avant had only three receptions for 36 yards, he provides great blocking along the outside, which allows Chip Kelly's widespread running offense to reach the perimeter, a key for a player with the skill set of LeSean McCoy.
Jason Peters looks like Jason Peters:
After suffering a torn Achilles last season, Jason Peters returned in Week 3 to face the Jaguars -- and played very well. He didn't allow a sack or a single negative-yardage play during his time on the field.
Peters is without question the best lineman the Eagles have, and he allows both Chip Kelly and Michael Vick to breathe sighs of relief now that they have a Pro-Bowl-caliber left tackle blocking for their fragile starting quarterback.
Overall, the Eagles looked like a team going through apparent growing pains. Learning an entirely new offensive and defensive scheme is going to bring hills and valleys for this Eagles team, but after their win vs. Jacksonville on Saturday, there are signs that it may not be as much of a hardship as expected earlier in the offseason.
One thing Chip Kelly is much more adept at then former head coach Andy Reid is in-game adjustments and time management.
Kelly's awareness of the who, what, where, when, and why of football is remarkable, and it shows during games. Kelly is aware of what personnel needs to be on the field at what time, and in what formation they should be in.
Although the Eagles improved to 2-1 on the preseason after last night's road victory, there are still burning questions that need answers.
B+ -- Philadelphia still has one week of preseason play before heading to Washington, D.C. to open up the regular season against the division rival Washington Redskins. Kelly has stated publicly before that he doesn't intend to unveil his entire offense prior to the season opener, which could spell trouble for the Redskins in Week 1.
However, with what we've seen thus far, there's more of a learning curve to be expected in Week 1 than there is a coming-out party.
Chris is the Lead College Football writer for www.edraft.com and also runs the new NFL Draft site www.scoutingthedraft.com. Chris has covered college football, the NFL, and the NFL Draft for over 9 years for multiple media outlets. His work has been seen on SI.com and USA TODAY Sports. Chris has also been covering the Philadelphia Eagles extensively since 2009.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Michael Vick
- Chip Kelly
- Kenny Phillips
- Jason Peters