August 28, 2007

Thoughts on the Pre Season

The pre-season is winding down, and I thought I would give some of my honest opinions about some players on the team. Outside of the two turnovers forced, the Eagles defense did almost nothing right against Pittsburgh. Jim Johnson's aggressive blitzes, seemed to get destroyed by screen plays. Overall I think the team has been average during the pre-season, and they need a lot of things to come together for this season to be a success.

Things that worry me:

Chris Gocong- He had a terrible game against the Steelers. He took bad angles, missed tackles, did not move well laterally, and just seemed very lost at linebacker. This is very disturbing to see, because he is expected to be a starter, and Jim Johnson has praised him all camp. Maybe he just had a bad game, and he can work some things out for the regular season, but right now he is making me very nervous. I also don't like the fact that his backup is a rookie. They could move Takeo Spikes to SAM, and possibly start Matt McCoy at WILL.

Sean Considine- Did anybody ever explain to Sean how to wrap up, and tackle? I keep seeing this guy jumping on opponents backs, and be taken for a ride. That was terrible, and so was that wimpy hit on tight end Heath Miller. It looked like he hurt himself, more than he did Miller. To his credit, he did have two nice blitzes, one that caused an interception, and the he tipped a pass on the other. I heard all this talk, of Sean bulking up, but it does not seem to make a difference on the field. Every time I even look at him out there, I remember Duece McAlister running him over in the playoffs.

Mike Patterson- Mike got pancaked on that Willie Parker touchdown run. A lot of guys were at fault for Parker to go untouched into the end zone, but it all starts up front, and you can't get pushed around that easily. They paid Patterson a lot of money last year, and I think they may have jumped the gun on this one. Not only has he been a liability against the run, but I have not seen much pressure on the QBs from him. Time to step it up.

Jeremy Bloom- After a good game at Baltimore, Bloom has not played well since. Reports are that he is slowed by a toe injury, and John Madden proclaimed that Bloom "did not belong on the field". Ouch. Rumor is that Andy Reid is fed up with Bloom, and he is on the way out. It was a very bad sign for him, to see Greg Lewis returning punts, and Correll Buckhalter returning kickoffs for the entire first half. Bloom had better do something great on Thursday, or he is out of here.

Deep Threat?- Where is it on this team? Kevin Curtis has looked fairly good so far, but he, and McNabb have not hooked up deep yet. I also have not seen Curtis get any big separation, on any of the deep routes he has run. Reggie Brown has had a very poor pre-season. It almost seems to me like he is disinterested. Jason Avant has done a good job, but he is a possession receiver. The only deep pass, has been that big play to Matt Schobel. I wonder if maybe losing Stallworth is a huge loss for this team. Even though he was injured some of the time, and caught only 37 balls, you always had to respect his speed on the outside. So far I have not seen anybody on the team show they can do that.

Shawn Andrews- How bad is this injury? Are the Eagles just taking the cautious approach? I definitely know that the offensive line has looked really bad without him. Scott Young has looked really bad, and Nick Cole did not seem much better. Right now if Andrews could not go, I would feel best with Max Jean-Gilles in his spot.

Things I am glad to see:

Donovan McNabb- Five is healthy. I don't care if he says he is 75%, or 85%, he looks fine to me. He is throwing fairly well, he is moving fairly well, and most importantly he seems to have no problem planting that right leg. It was also good to see him bounce right back up from getting hit. While the national media may focus in on Donovan's health being a major issue, I think there is nothing to worry about.

Brodrick Bunkley- Despite the defensive woes, Bunk has been impressive. He made yet another tackle for a loss, and got passed All Pro Guard Alan Faneca. I think now that he has his head on straight, we will start to see a big impact from Bunkley on this defensive line.

Takeo Spikes- Some People have ripped Takeo Spikes, but I think he has played really well. I've seen him shed blocks to make tackles, he forced a fumble at the goal line, and has been the best linebacker the Eagles have so far. It is also great to see that he looks 100% healthy, and is running full speed all over the field. I think Spikes is going to be a play maker for this team.

Young Guys Who Have Impressed:

Kevin Kolb- He has really come a long way in such a short time. The kid is accurate, seems very poised, makes smart decisions, goes through all of his reads well, and spreads the ball around. I have have come a full 180 with Kolb. At first I hated the pick, and did not understand. Now I see that whenever Donovan McNabb's time comes, they will have a good QB follow him. I would like to see Kolb connect with somebody deep, but really no receivers have been able to do that so far this pre-season.

Brent Celek- This guy seems for real. Every game he makes some nice grabs, and he has now been running with the first team offense. Celek has made the team, and should be rotating in every now and then with the starting unit this season. This pick falls into the Eagles history of taking risks on late round draft picks, on guys who have a lot of potential. Well this pick looks like it will be paying off big time. I wonder how this will affect L.J. Smith's contract negotiations. Will this be the leverage the Eagles need to get him signed, or is Celek good enough to make the front office just let Smith walk?

Punting Dual:

I am officially on the Sav Rocca bandwagon. The Aussie can just flat out boom the football. Dirk has played very well this pre-season, but Rocca has just been better. He barely even knows the rules, and he seems to be learning very fast. I heard that the winner of the punting job, will get all of the punting duties this Thursday. So if you see Sav out there, then you know he won. I feel bad for Dirk, because no matter how great he does, it seems like fans will hate him, if he wins this job. Andy Reid said it the other day, that no matter what Rocca will have a job in the NFL. If the Eagles cut him, somebody will definitely pick him up.

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