Philadelphia Eagles: Quick Reactions from Week 6 Win Over Atlanta Falcons
-- How about Kevin Kolb? I've been a vocal opposition to Kolb for the way he's played, but he stepped up big time against a very good Atlanta Falcons defense. We'll talk more Kolb later in the week, but he seemed confident in the pocket, didn't stare down his receivers (as much), and took a lot of successful shots down the field. All in all, it was a very impressive showing.
-- DeSean Jackson was on pace for a career day. He had a touchdown on the ground and one through the air, but got absolutely destroyed by Dunta Robinson. Head coach Andy Reid says he has a concussion, so he could be sidelined for a couple weeks.
-- On that play, Robinson was called for hitting a defenseless receiver. Can someone explain to me how they can call such a penalty while Jackson still had the ball? Had Jackson dropped the ball and then got hit I would understand the penalty, but it seems like these refs are told to find a reason to flag a vicious hit. This is football, hits like that are unfortunate but unavoidable.
-- Jeremy Maclin was spectacular. He made a few tough grabs, showed off his speed, and is beginning to show that his success is his own and not the result of playing across from Jackson.
-- Brent Celek finished with four catches for 46 yards, but was a disappointment against the Falcons and has been all season. His blocking has taken a step backwards and he seems to drop the ball two or three times per game. I'm not sure what happened to Celek, but he needs to figure it out quickly.
-- I've been pounding my chest about LeSean McCoy all year because of how highly I spoke of him when he was drafted, but he let me down against the Falcons. He looked tentative and indecisive even when he had a clear hole to run through. Everyone has their bad week, so hopefully McCoy got his out of the way.
-- Conversely, I had very little faith in King Dunlap because of the poor technique he showed when he played against the San Francisco 49ers. However, Dunlap got lucky as the Falcons failed to exploit a mismatch and played John Abraham over Winston Justice most of the game. Kroy Bierman is certainly no pushover, but Dunlap caught a break.
-- The interior of the line could have been a lot better. Todd Herremans and Max Jean-Gilles were not very good at making blocks at the second level, and Mike McGlynn still seems a bit slow reading the blitz. All three were able to do enough to get their jobs done, but there is still a lot of meshing that needs to happen between those three guys.
-- Winston Justice, outside of one play where he completely whiffed on his block, had another good game. He was usually given the responsibility of blocking Abraham—a responsibility most lineman would gladly give up—and stepped up big time as Abraham was a non-factor.
-- Eldra Buckley did a great job closing out the game. Instead of dancing around like McCoy was doing all game, he went straight ahead, took what he could get, and got the team the yards they needed to move the sticks and kill the clock. He's probably never going to blossom into a legitimate running threat, but he's the kind of guy you want on your team.
-- Owen Schmitt, as he's been all year, was sticking his nose into the action and creating running lanes. This is going to be a tough guy to ditch even when Leonard Weaver returns to action.
-- Jason Avant hasn't made a huge impact this season (18 catches for 180 yards) but made his presence felt against the Falcons with five receptions for 62 yards. Avant is starting very slowly in 2010, but he should find his rhythm soon enough.
-- Chad Hall could be a guy to watch. He only had one catch, but also had one rushing attempt for a total of 10 yards. He came open a few times but Kolb always seemed to miss him. That could be from the lack of chemistry, but Hall could morph into a Danny Woodhead or Percy Harvin do-it-all type of player.
-- Antonio Dixon was very, very good in his first NFL start. He filled in for the injured Brodrick Bunkley and was immovable. He was able to eat up two blockers at a time on several occasions and really opened things up for the other guys. He's not Bunkley, but his impressive play means the team won't have to rush Bunkley back to action.
-- Mike Patterson and Trevor Laws were serviceable. They were upstaged a bit by the great game Dixon had, but I can't recall any times they blew an assignment or got blown off the line. Laws got stonewalled a few times on third down, but that can be forgiven based on what he's done so far this year.
-- Trent Cole is a hit-or-miss, all-or-nothing type of guy. He completely disappeared against the 49ers last week, but was all over the place against the Falcons. He was making tackles behind the line, played extremely well against the run, and racked up two sacks and a forced fumble.
-- Juqua Parker, as expected, has fizzled a bit. It can't be a coincidence that he has not been as effective since taking over as the starter. Unfortunately, Brandon Graham was just not good enough against the run and the move was necessary. Hopefully Graham can get better against the run and retake the job and Parker can back to how he played in the first month.
-- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim played in his first NFL game, but was a non-factor. I would be surprised if he's active again next week.
-- Once again, the linebackers were a non-factor. Moise Fokou was probably the most impressive as he had a few nice tackles, but Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims were nowhere to be found for the most part. Bradley did get credited with a sack, but a 60-year-old lady could have come through the hole he had and sacked Matt Ryan. Still, the 'backers remain unimpressive.
-- Nate Allen seems to be getting a bit too comfortable with his early success. He's taking some chances on passes and undercutting them too soon or too late, and missed a couple easy tackles that almost cost the defense. Allen must go back to simply doing his job and letting the rest fall into place.
-- Quintin Mikell was solid again. He is doing a good job of playing in and out of the box but, like Allen, missed a couple tackles and has missed some easy tackles all season. I'm not sure what is going on with Mikell, but he's not looking like a borderline Pro Bowler as he has in the past.
-- Asante Samuel had a good game, but it could have been a lot better. Outside of the interception he did pull in, he probably could have had three more. An errant throw on a quick out went off his hands early, then there was the time he was molested by the receiver, and another time the ball went right off his hands into Roddy White's.
-- Ellis Hobbs got shaken up early but responded well. He got beat a couple times, but also got his hands on a couple balls and, overall, did a pretty decent job. He must be better as the season goes on, but he got the job done against Atlanta.
-- Joselio Hanson is what he is. As a starter, he's below average, but he's very good in the nickel role and as long as Hobbs can stay healthy the Eagles shouldn't have to worry about the secondary.
-- David Akers had a rough day. That's putting it nicely. He seemed to be compensating too much for the wind and missed three field goals for the first time in his career. He did end on a good note by hitting his final attempt, and it's likely this will turn out to be an aberration.
-- Sav Rocca is playing like a Pro Bowler. He has been great so far this season and has made a huge impact for a defense that could be giving up a lot more points on a shorter field.
-- Jorrick Calvin was due. Every time he touches the ball he looks explosive, and it finally all came together on a 44-yard punt return that eventually set up a touchdown. With a guy like Calvin on the roster, why risk using Jackson or Hobbs in the return game?
-- On offense, the playcalling was as good as it's been all year. On defense, however, it remained poor. Sean McDermott's blitzes are still incredibly predictable, he still backs off too much in the second half, and plays not to lose rather than put the game away. Until further notice, I'm still on board with Dick Jauron taking over the defense.
-- The coverage teams also much, much better. The Falcons don't have a great return game, but it was still good to finally see a team not run wild on the Birds' special teams. Unfortunately, it's more likely this game was an aberration rather than a turning point in the season.
-- Overall, the team showed they can stay in the thick of things in the NFC. That's not saying a whole lot since the conference looks very weak this year, but if they can stay consistent and start getting healthy, this young squad could actually turn into a playoff team.
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