There is one thing apparent after watching the Eagles game yesterday—the future looks bright for Philadelphia.
With the absence of role players Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, I’m sure there were many fans that were worried about Sunday’s game being the Bengals game of last season (I know I was).
But then we saw the reason that the Eagles picked Kevin Kolb and took a risk in drafting DeSean Jackson. LeSean McCoy proved why he was arguably the biggest steal of the draft and Brent Celek made all Eagles fans forget the days of L.J. Smith.
While the spotlight was on Michael Vick’s NFL comeback, these four offensive players stepped up and answered any questions that Eagles fans may have had about the young offense. The wildcat offense was solid, the passing game was clicking, and the defense bounced back after getting torched by the Saints.
My prediction was pretty much spot on for Vick’s role in the Eagles offense. He did not make any large impact, but he also did not make any mistakes. This is going to be a long process for the former Pro-Bowl quarterback and it’s nice to see that he is content with slowly working back in to a prime role on the team.
Now it’s time for this week’s edition of the team report card.
Maybe Kevin Kolb read my blog last week and used it to fuel his fire for this weekend’s game. He looked like the quarterback he was in college and finally proved that he can step up in times of need. He threw for over 300 yards for the second consecutive week and scored three touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rush).
Kolb had his fifteen minutes of fame in the City of Brotherly love, but his run will most likely come to an end in two weeks when the Eagles return to action. Pro-Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb will hopefully return to action after breaking his rib in the opening week. However, Kolb’s performance on Sunday definitely assured Eagles fans that he can be trusted to come in for McNabb if anything were to happen.
Running Backs- B +
Similar to the quarterback position, this was another big question mark coming into the game against the Chiefs. However, LeSean McCoy averaged over four yards a carry and scored the opening touchdown of the game. Granted he did not rush for the most yards, but he did a sufficient job pass blocking and taking on the role of starting running back in just his third game at the professional level. I think the Eagles have found their second back for the years to come.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends- A
Who would have thought that two Eagles receivers would be in the top 10 for receiving yards? If you don’t believe me, check it out here. Yes, that does say DeSean Jackson at No. 9 and tight end Brent Celek at No. 10. When was the last time you saw an Eagles tight end with 245 receiving yards after three weeks? In his third year, Brent Celek is really coming out of his shell in the league.
This past game marked the second consecutive week that Jackson and Celek notched over a hundred yards each in the same game. They caught a combined 14 receptions for 254 yards against the Chiefs. Eight different receivers contributed on Sunday and the team averaged 13.6 yards per catch.
Offensive Line- A –
The banged up Eagles offensive line looked stellar against the Chiefs. They allowed no sacks on Sunday and only three this entire season. As I referenced earlier, the pass offense was clicking and the offensive line was one of the main proponents of that success. They opened gaps for LeSean McCoy and did a good job blocking during the wildcat plays.
Defensive Line/ Linebackers- A —
The defensive line and linebackers held the Chiefs to just 18 yards in the first half. They dominated the offensive front for Kansas City and finished with three sacks on the game. Larry Johnson, who granted has not been the same the last few seasons, averaged just two yards per carry on Sunday. Twenty-two of the 99 rushing yards came on one play and the Chiefs only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Overall, very impressive performance by the Eagles defensive front.
Defensive Backs- B +
Granted the Chiefs only threw for 97 yards on the game, but they only threw the ball 19 times against the Eagles. Even though the secondary allowed two passing touchdowns, they improved their tackling and yards after the catch. The Chiefs were also without their top receiver Dwayne Bowe, so I was expecting more from the Eagles. Because let’s be honest, can you name three other receivers on the Chiefs roster after Bowe?
Special Teams- B +
Akers finished the game a perfect 2/2 on field goals and 4/4 on extra points. One glaring difference in this week’s special teams was the lack of penalties committed. Last week against the Saints, the special teams caused five penalties, whereas they only committed one this past weekend. Ellis Hobbs did a better job kick returning and did not turn the ball over at all. The only improvement I would like to see is with Jeremy Maclin. His only attempt resulted in a three yard loss. There was a hope coming into this season that Maclin would take the weight off of DeSean Jackson’s shoulders and return punts for the Eagles. With Jackson continuing to get better every game, it would be nice to see the Eagles make a top-tier return man out of Maclin, but Sunday was not a convincing effort from Maclin.
Maybe I was a little generous with grades this week. However, when national television turns off the game in the Midwest to play the Titans vs. Jets game, you know it’s a good sign that the game is pretty much over.
The Eagles are now 2-1 heading into the bye week. Even though the Eagles were not expected to lose the game at home against the Chiefs, it was still a very productive win for the young team. Let’s not see how McNabb and Westbrook heal in the next two weeks before the Eagles take on Tampa Bay at the Linc.