It doesn't take an expert to make that observation, but the fact is Kevin Kolb did not impress last night. There's really no sugar coating it. He stank. He was unable to find open receivers, missed a few throws, got flushed out of the pocket a few times, and by the time his day was finished, he seemed hesitant to even release the ball. Downright brutal to watch.
This is not turning into a pleasant report on the Eagles' second annual Flight Night practice at the Linc. Surely there must be something positive to take away from the event. I dunno, maybe the festive atmosphere?
For starters, let's consider the fact that the first team offense was without its numbers one and two wide receivers. No DeSean Jackson. No Jeremy Maclin. Obviously the potential exists for the same scenario to exist in a meaningful game, and he'll need to handle it far better then. For the time being, we can probably give the young quarterback the benefit of the doubt, and chalk up some of the struggles to practicing with the B team.
Protection was also an issue on a few snaps, particularly early on. The defensive line was definitely putting some pressure on Kolb, and there were at least a couple times where he probably would have taken a sack in a real situation. Again, the O-line is a bit of a question mark, and the quarterback will need to deal with it. Perhaps Kolb should have gotten rid of the ball sooner a few times.
Most importantly, it was just a practice. There's nothing here to get really fired up about, but it was certainly disappointing. In fact, you might go so far as to say the lack of success by the first team offense put a damper on the entire evening.
Vick... Looked Pretty Good, Actually
I spent a lot of time watching the quarterbacks. It was easiest, number one, and I'm lazy. It's also difficult to take much away from most of the other positions during such a casual practice. No hitting, and all.
As bad as Kolb was, it wasn't very hard for anybody to outshine him. I felt Vick accomplished that and more. Sure, he was carving up the second string defense, but he did it while playing within the offense. He showed recognition, moving through his progressions before taking off. He showed anticipation, hitting at least a couple of receivers as they turned around or made their break. He wasn't bad running around either, deftly avoiding the pressure and following with decent throws downfield.
He made a few mistakes, too. Overall, I came away impressed though, much moreso than by anything I saw last season. He may still have much to learn about how to conduct business in his personal life, but it appeared he may be making some progress as a football player.
Mike Kafka, too.
Kafka actually made the play of the evening, hooking up with wide receiver Jared Perry on a 50-yard touchdown pass during his first set of 11-on-11 reps. He had by far the highest completion percentage of the three quarterbacks, and he also aired it out the most often, despite taking the fewest snaps. Nice practice for the rookie.
Thoughts on Flight Night experience
The Eagles were definitely trying to create a fun, party-like atmosphere at the stadium, as opposed to the intense, blood-thirsty mentality that typically is attached to a pro football game. To accomplish this, they turned to DJ Dave Spadaro, who rambled on and on over the microphone while Jeffrey Lurie and various players threw souvenirs into the stands, and continued for some time even once practice began.
He interviewed a few players on the field as well, including Leonard Weaver and Brent Celek, both of whom led the crowd in Eagles chants. That was kind of nice. Overall though, I didn't see the appeal of having Spadaro run around the field yukking it up for all that time.
They were trying to create excitement, but it wasn't really there. After the players were introduced, by far the loudest crowd pops of the night, they immediately went into their position drills. This seemed to zap the life out of the stadium. Some solid 11-on-11 football might've created some energy, but the documented offensive struggles and lack of big plays didn't give the crowd much to cheer.
While I can see ways this format could work, and I think it's a very nice event for families or fans who can't get their hands on a ticket and won't make it to Lehigh, the experience is missing something. Tickets are cheap, and there were a ton of giveaways, but parking and what not cost the same.
Honestly, a preseason game seems like a better investment. It's a bit more money (face value), but at least guys are out there hitting and playing for real.