One of the upsides from Friday’s preseason game for the Philadelphia Eagles was the performance of some rookie and second year players. Bryce Brown showed flashes of last year without fumbling the ball. Vinny Curry was all over the field. Lane Johnson emerged as the most solid lineman in the group with Jason Peters standing on the sideline. Greg Salas, a journeyman receiver, showed that he deserves serious consideration for a receiver spot. Besides Salas, the team sorely missed contributions from the veteran core of players.
The Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson touchdown was a thing of beauty. We need to see that unity when the season commences. Where was Brent Celek? Todd Herremans, other than getting badly beat on the Nick Foles‘ fumble, turned in a pedestrian performance. DeMeco Ryans, like last preseason, was invisible. James Casey was invisible. Bradley Fletcher got nailed more than once by rookie receivers and perfect Tom Brady throws. Nate Allen and Patrick Chung did not inspire confidence with their safety play. Dennis Dixon demonstrated how he stole his two Super Bowl rings from his prior teams, with an uninspired effort. Peters and Cary Williams must get on the field and stay healthy.
Chip Kelly needs the veterans on the team to contribute. His first draft class will develop and make plays as the preseason continues. Not all will make the roster and not all can carry the roster through a successful season. Yes, this is a team in transition, but that transition will be eased if the experienced members of the roster make their presence known. This team is lacking leadership (see the Williams and Kelly spat this week over the mentality of the defense), and they will get nowhere until players step up and take those roles. This team, since last year, has lost the swagger that personified the Andy Reid successful seasons. The veteran players are just as important as the rookies, and until they realize that, performance on both sides of the ball will suffer.