Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals in NFL Preseason Week 2 didn’t turn out as well as the Birds had hoped.
Friday night, Philly dropped a 22-9 heartbreaker to the River City kitties that could’ve been a lot worse if not for a couple of breaks going the Birds’ way.
Last week I did 10 observations, but as the starters get more and more time, there’s less and less beyond the first team to evaluate.
So, for the game against Cincinnati, you get seven (and a half) observations. Some you’ll like, some you won’t, and the half will probably depend on your chromosome makeup.
With that, away we go!
That picture says it all about his gunslingin'.
Maybe he needs a visit from the Wizard of Oz or something, but for the second straight week, Kolb exhibited a lot of bad judgment—especially inside the 30.
On the first scoring drive, he made two big mistakes, both of which could have been critical.
On second-and-10 from the 22, Kolb unleashed a pass that just went over Jason Avant’s head in the end zone.
That happens, but what shouldn’t have happened was Kolb missing the inside slot receiver, who was running wide open on a semi-slant route and would have scored an easy touchdown.
I’d give you a name, but I couldn’t tell from the broadcast who it was (all I saw was a 1 on the jersey, which narrows it down to everyone but Hank Baskett).
On the next play, his pass for DeSean Jackson was thrown into triple coverage. Granted, he was under heavy rush (and the play came back due to a penalty), but it was just a dumb throw.
Both of those passes illustrated something that may be a major problem with Kolb, that being “receiver lock.”
By that, I mean that he seems to lock onto his hot route on certain plays and instead of looking at checkdowns, he’ll throw the ball at the intended receiver regardless of his situation.
That’s how you become Jake Delhomme, folks.
Later, on the second scoring drive, he threw a very ill-advised pass to DeSean Jackson at the goal line, a pass that was nearly intercepted because it was thrown into double coverage over the middle.
Rushed or not, you can’t make that kind of throw ever, let alone inside the red zone late in a half.
Kolb needs to work on this, or else he’s going to be leading the league in interceptions and/or second-half benchings in a hurry.
He did acknowledge a lot of that in a fourth-quarter interview with Tony Siragusa, so that’s a plus.
On the brighter side, he did finish 11-for-17 for 126 yards.
See Michael Vick running backwards for his life while three linemen block one guy?
It was that kind of night, and I don't know where to start pointing fingers.
How about I start with the fact that when he wasn’t in the shotgun, Kevin Kolb had about half a second to throw on most passing downs?
Or maybe I’ll mention that both starting tackles were called for illegal for being off the line of scrimmage.
I could even lament the fact that Jason Peters was flagged twice, with his second offense nullifying what would have been a go-ahead touchdown.
Then again, I could call out Max Jean-Gilles, who can’t seem to figure out exactly how to line up (which really caused both of Peters’ miscues) and continues to be clueless about fundamental football for the umpteenth straight year.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the “rushing” attack. Minus Vick’s scramble, the top-tier rushers had nine carries for 28 yards.
Not bad, but subtract the one good run LeSean McCoy had, and it was actually eight for 15 yards, or less than two yards per carry.
Instead, I’ll just say they all sucked. Well, minus Mike McGlynn, who made a couple of heady plays (including a quick snap to draw an offsides) and showed why he’ll probably be playing center until Jamaal Jackson returns.
The second unit didn’t do much better, giving up three sacks and looking more like turnstiles than linemen, but at least they kept the laundry off the field.
Last week, I said Vick would frustrate the hell out of you, and he did just that on Friday night.
He had one big run in the first half, but that came at the expense of a possible big gain to Jason Avant.
Then, in the third quarter…uh, he wasn’t good.
Vick started by throwing the ball RIGHT to Morgan Trent for a comically bad Madden-esque interception, and it went downhill from there.
In the third frame, Vick accounted for two terribly thrown incompletions, three sacks, two picks, two scrambles (which did pick up roughly 20 yards), and one actual completion.
Apparently, the Birds’ second-team playbook was stolen from the Naval Academy.
If it wasn’t for Eldra Buckley’s 19 yards rushing, it might have been the worst offensive display imaginable.
Mike Kafka played the fourth quarter, and thankfully for Vick, he was just as bad.
The rookie completed six passes total, but two of them were to the other team, and 37 of his 53 total yards came on the Eagles’ last-ditch two-minute drill drive at the end (which, naturally, ended in an interception).
Not looking good here, folks.
For once, the starting defense didn’t get burned by the big play. They did give up one big one, Carson Palmer’s 43-yard pass to T.O. that set up a touchdown, but in all fairness the Bengals did start that drive inside the 50.
Outside of that, they looked a lot like they did last year, playing a “contain and make it happen” style of defense.
The first-team defenders were victimized by just about everything: screens, off-tackles, dump-off, tight end slants…you name it, they ate it.
And, much like last year, it took two opportunistic interceptions and a poor field-goal decision to keep them from giving up a zillion points.
Opposing offenses will occasionally figure out how to exploit that system (hint: stop Trent Cole and the other ends), and when they do, it’s going to be a shi…err, poop show on the scoreboard.
Role reversal time!
Last week, the second unit was awful in getting torched by Jacksonville.
Friday night, they were great. Sure, they gave up x points and could’ve given up a lot more, but give them credit where credit is due.
The Bengals started their first drive of the half at the 17 thanks to Vick’s bad decision, but the Birds stoned them and held them to a field goal try (which Dave Rayner missed).
They only allowed only two first downs on four drives in the quarter, with highlights including Brandon Graham making a nice backfield read to hammer Cedric Peerman,
Dimitri Patterson at least forcing a fumble on the one big play the unit gave up, and, of course, Keenan Clayton’s thrilling interception of J.T. O’Sullivan.
The fourth quarter wasn’t as great but still okay.
The first drive, which led to Cincy’s second touchdown, was pretty much a failure due to missed tackles, which is a better “fail” than blown coverages.
They held nicely on the Bengals’ second drive, and you can’t really fault them too much for allowing a touchdown on the third one, which started on the 17 thanks to another bad pick; after all, they had already passed that test once.
All in all, it was a good enough effort from the second team despite the scoring disparity.
It was better, but when you consider that I used a photo of Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April from his Buffalo days because looking at him in Eagle Green makes me sick right now, that's not a glowing endorsement in the slightest.
Adam Jones has played all of nine NFL games in the last three seasons, but he looked like Superman against the Birds’ kick return teams. “Pacman” had two huge returns, one for 46 yards on a bizarre muff/punt interference play, and another 40-yarder on a kickoff where he just burned a good chunk of the up-backs.
Quan Cosby also had a 40-plus yard kickoff return to end the third quarter, which led to the Bengals marching down the field for their second touchdown.
Oh yeah, and A.Q. Shipley actually returned a short kick. Hilarious.
Ken Parrish who?
David Akers was perfect again, going 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 40-yarder and a 48-yarder. Yeah, his kickoffs were still a bit short, but he did have one touchback.
Sav Rocca looked great as well, nailing two boomers that went 57 and 60 yards respectively, showing a nice touch on one punt in the first half, and even making the tackle on one of Pacman’s ridiculous returns.
I’ll remind you that the Eagles cheerleaders are damn hot.
I think that’s a perfect note to end on, don’t you?
I do, and if you want more awesomeness, be sure to follow Bleacher Report's newly relaunched NFL Twitter page @BR_NFL—where NFL Editor Dylan MacNamara, AFC Content Coordinator Daniel Wolf, and I will be tweeting NFL news, observations, links to great B/R stories, and more!