Some Shreds of Optimism In Philadelphia Eagles' Preseason Opener

By williambontrager
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The entire Philadelphia Eagles nation will be filled with enough ridicule and criticism concerning their play against the New England Patriots. I won’t do that, this time. As a lifelong fan I am well acquainted with the bitterness that creeps in the Delaware valley like a lazy fog. Yet there I was, watching the game, and seeing the way the Eagles missed some big plays. It didn’t prevent the smile from spreading across my face.

Why the goofy grin? It is because I saw the Eagles play with something that has been missing for a long time, some heart. Watching DeSean Jackson dive and snag a perfectly thrown pass by Michael Vick was a refreshing site. He made a little double move that did not fool Aqib Talib. It didn’t have to with his scary speed. It is something that has lied dormant in Jackson since the 2010 season.

Then I saw Nick Foles befuddle the Patriots defense three consecutive times before handing to Bryce Brown for a touchdown. On the sidelines there was enthusiasm. They almost looked like they enjoyed the careers they chose. Brown didn’t fumble once. Jason Avant continued to grab catches consistently, and the line provided enough pass protection to even make the mediocre play of Matt Barkley look astounding.

For all the bad that existed in the defense, especially the secondary, players like Vinny Curry, Earl Wolff, Casey Matthews and Fletcher Cox had great games. Even when they were hideous, and allowed big plays, their hustle made up for it. Wolff diving towards the end zone, sacrificing his body, so the Pats would have to make an extra play for the touchdown is a key example. These aren’t paper victories, but they are moral ones, and stepping stones to greater play.

So, I will avoid the negative for tonight and let it recharge. For now, I am happy that the team looked like they worked hard for that close-game loss. The season may yet be a bust, but determination and courage makes a winning formula eventually

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