Preseason Report: Some Good Individual Performances, Some Terrible, and Undisciplined Mistakes

Preseason Report: Some Good Individual Performances, Some Terrible, and Undisciplined Mistakes
August 22, 2012, 11:20 am
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We
already discussed the quarterback situation following the game, which
you can read here. Let's jump right into the good and the bad from
Monday night's 27-17 preseason victory over the Patriots.

The Good

King
Dunlap appeared to solidify himself as the left tackle going forward.
He seemed calm and solid, and I only counted one pressure coming from
his assignment. The Eagles ran to the right side more, but the few times
they went left, he looked okay. And while it's true the Patriots
weren't using many of their starters, Dunlap had a decent test going
against first-round pick Chandler Jones most of the night. Meanwhile,
Demetress Bell looked adequate at best when he entered the game in the
second half.

As we mentioned in the past, Dunlap could very well
be the solution there
. He's generally played very well in seven starts
over the past two seasons, and so far, so good this summer.

Mychal Kendricks

For
the second week in a row, the rookie linebacker gets a mention in the
good column. While Mychal Kendricks was beat for a touchdown pass, it
was close to the only notable flaw you could find in his performance on Monday
night. Kendricks was disruptive in the backfield, causing several plays
to go for a loss, and he's been excellent at diagnosing screens this
preseason.

With his speed and instincts, Kendricks may already be
the best linebacker on this team. DeMeco Ryans hasn't looked bad, but
he looks like he's running in mud compared to the second-round pick, who
finished the game with six total tackles.

Running Backs

We
all know LeSean McCoy can play, and he eased some concerns that the
running game might not be nearly as effective without Jason Peters anchoring
the left side, rushing for 30 yards on seven carries and a score. Nice
night, now keep him on the shelf until the real deal begins, please.

But
the backs who really caught my eye are a pair who were thought to be potentially fighting for roster spots -- and may have ended any debate
with strong outings. Bryce Brown and Stanley Havili impressed in several
phases of the game. At 6-0, 223, and sporting 4.48 speed, Brown is really something to
behold when carrying the football. He's got good burst, is able to gain the corner, then
finish runs with power. Brown finished with 51 yards on nine
carries, including a 27 yarder, plus caught two passes and made a tackle
in the return game. Havili's action was limited, but the fullback had a nice series,
taking a trap play 14 yards to the goal line, followed by a nice
block on the next play to help McCoy punch it into the end zone. Havili
had a tackle on special teams as well, and if these guys can play on the
third unit, there will most definitely be space for them.

Nate Allen

While
he didn't do anything that overwhelmed, I thought Nate Allen
played a very strong game. The third-year safety led the team in tackles
with seven, was aggressive in run support, and batted away a deep pass
in coverage. His effort against the run was the biggest thing that stood out though. On several occasions, Allen came flying into
the picture, but under control, limiting runs to just a handful of
yards. Good night for Nate Allen, as he and Kurt Coleman have both
looked fine so far.

The Bad

Penalties

This is going
to be a short list, because penalties were primarily what the negatives
on defense boiled down to. The Patriots managed to put 14 points on the
board with a pair of backup quarterbacks in the game and all their star
players on the bench, but it didn't have to be that way.

On New
England's touchdown drive, the Eagles had them pinned twice. First,
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a Ryan Mallett pass deep inside
Patriots territory, but the pick was erased by a Fletcher Cox late hit
on the quarterback. It wasn't malicious, but under the rules, it is a
penalty. No need to kill the rookie for it, you just chalk it up as a
less of the preseason, hope he learns from his mistake. Three plays
later, it's third down again, only this time Mallett is sacked and they
will be forced to punt -- except a Nnamdi Asomugha holding penalty
results in an automatic first down. I did not see this shown during the
broadcast, so we'll take the officials at their word.

The Pats
converted three more third downs on the series, including the score, and
there is something to be said for the defense's inability to get off
the field in some of these situations. The blog McNabb or Kolb takes a
detailed look at all 13 third downs
, of which New England converted
eight total. That's far too many, especially with the B-team out there,
and considering it's been a recurring theme.

However,
the Eagles most likely don't face anywhere near 13 third downs if it weren't for the
fact they shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions. All three
Patriot scoring drives were aided by a 15-yard personal foul (as an
aside, the words personal foul are telling -- when a player hits
somebody late, I fail to see how that's on coaching), and if only DRC's INT
holds up, that's likely a 10-to-14 point swing in Philly's favor. This
alone would've made the outcome, and the way the defense was viewed,
quite a bit more favorable.

All of which is not to make excuses.
They committed the penalties, and plays that ensued then ultimately led
to points falls on the defense. It made for a miserable viewing
experience, and plenty of reasonable second-guessing. The question now
is whether they can clean it up, because in the NFL, you can't give
anybody -- not even the backups -- second and third chances.

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