The Philadelphia Eagles play their second preseason game Monday night on the road against the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots. Most likely, both teams will play their starters at least an entire half. The Eagles and the Patriots are both deemed as playoff caliber teams with lofty aspirations of winning a Super Bowl Championship. The match-up will be shown in prime-time on ESPN.
Most everyone would agree that the Patriots have nothing to prove in this contest. Patriot’s head coach Bill Belichick and his on the field general, quarterback Tom Brady, will be sharpening their skills leading up to the 2012 NFL regular season. What is clear to me is that the Eagles fall under the opposite end of the spectrum as far as proving themselves. Coming off of an extremely disappointing 8-8 2011 season, the Eagles starters, on both offense and defense, fell flat in their preseason opener.
The potent Eagles offense will be looking to string together a cohesive scoring drive. The offensive starters managed zero first downs on two three and outs in the first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Michael Vick looked unassured and the play calling seemed quite typical for an Andy Reid coached team. The Eagles offense must give the appearance of being sharp or the fan-base will question their own confidence. The Eagles offense should show effectiveness against a Patriots defense that finished the 2011 season 17th against the run and 31st against the pass.
The Eagles revamped defense was lackluster against the Steelers. The linebackers were often out of place and the tackling was atrocious. Many viewers were too often reminded of the Eagles defense of 2011. Newly acquired middle linbacker DeMeco Ryans and second round pick Mychal Kendricks (Strong side linebacker) have much to improve upon. The Eagles secondary must tighten up their coverage. Safeties Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman will try to perform at a level that will assure them starting jobs.
The Eagles are under the microscope of every fan this week, as well as the local media. Andy Reid will not be heavily criticized for poor decisions/play calling, however, the personnel most definitely will be criticized for their play.