5 Veterans Who Have Been Disappointments for the Eagles in Preseason
It's been a tale of two completely different games in preseason for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles' first team offense scored a touchdown during its only series against a very stout Baltimore Ravens defense. The second week of preseason proved to be a more daunting task, as they failed to score in an entire half against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
All the hype surrounding the Eagles' masterful offseason had turned into a pretty gloomy state of mind after being dominated by the Steelers' first and second team in the first half. The defense got torched for three touchdowns in the first, while the offense couldn't move the ball and also had three turnovers.
Very few players had even a decent game for the Eagles, and some serious questions remain for a team that looked to be a serious contender, if not the favorite, in the NFC. But it is just preseason, right?
Michael Vick was awful against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw three interceptions in the first half, including two that were bad throws into double coverage. Vick made poor decisions all night and failed to make good throws down the field. It was a performance to forget.
The biggest knock on Vick in the past has been his lack of pocket presence and good decision making. He demonstrated just that last week in Pittsburgh.
The criticism is very valid with Vick, but don't expect him to revert back to his play during his early years with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick proved last year that he is learning to become a complete quarterback, and one bad half in a meaningless preseason game shouldn't change that.
Expect Vick to bounce back with a stellar performance against the Cleveland Browns Thursday night. Vick has shown he go through his progressions in the pocket and make the right decisions. The starters are expected to play at least through the first drive in the third quarter and possibly longer, depending on how head coach Andy Reid feels about the performance.
The 2009 season seems like such a long time ago for Brent Celek. The Eagles' starting tight end had 76 receptions for 917 yards and eight touchdowns that season. His numbers dropped off dramatically in 2010, with 42 receptions for 511 yards and four touchdowns. Dropped passes and a lot more plays where he stays in as a block have hurt his stats. Celek stays in to block on 127 passing plays in 2010, fifth most among tight ends.
Celek does have a three yard touchdown reception this preseason, but has been invisible since that early first quarter touchdown against the Ravens.
Celek will still be the starting tight end going into the 2011 season, but he needs to be the player he was back in 2009. The Eagles need that red zone and third down target that can be the difference in a close game. Vick has already stated that he wants to get the ball more to Celek similar to the way he utilized Alge Crumpler in Atlanta.
Ryan Harris hasn't had a good start with the Eagles. He looked to be the starting right tackle going into the season, with Winston Justice still on the mend, but after a mediocre performance against the Ravens in the first preseason game, he has yet to practice or play due to back spasms.
Harris has had a history of injury problems in Denver, missing 18 of his first 64 games in his short four year career. Harris is already missing a lot of time in practice and may not play the rest of the preseason.
Harris has gone from the front runner at right tackle to possibly not making the team at all. The Eagles will start King Dunlap at right tackle in the third preseason game against the Browns. Justice is expected to be ready to suit up by the season opener on September 11, and the Eagles signed utility lineman Reggie Wells for insurance purposes. The Eagles also have guard Evan Mathis, who can play tackle if need be.
Harris has to get healthy enough to practice in order to prove he belongs on the team; otherwise, he may fall victim to the final roster cuts come September.
If you had been casually following the Eagles preseason thus far, you would swear that Juqua Parker isn't on the team anymore. It would make sense, as Parker is 33 years old, on the declining stage of his career and is set to make $3.5 million this season.
Parker is still an Eagle; he has just been injured throught preseason. Parker did start against the Ravens but missed the second game against the Steelers due to an injured calf muscle. Parker has yet to record a single stat through preseason.
With all the depth at defensive end for the Eagles, Parker will have to get healthy quick and prove he is worth his $3.5 million cap hit.
Joselio Hanson had a great training camp, but has struggled in his first two preseason games. Hanson locked down every Eagles receiver he matched up against in camp at Lehigh. Last week in Pittsburgh Hanson got repeatedly burned for first downs.
The Eagles are absolutely loaded at cornerback with three former Pro Bowlers(Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), along with two young promising stars(Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh).
Just like Juqua Parker, Hanson is at a position that has a ton of depth, and has to prove to the coaches why he should earn a roster spot.
Hanson has been a proven stud covering the slot, but has struggled covering on the outside. He still can be a valuable slot corner for either the Eagles or someone else.
As of right now, Hanson is probably playing for a spot on another team more than he is with the Eagles. He could bring in a fifth round draft pick in a trade; otherwise, he will be one of the many talented Eagles players that will fall victim to the final roster cuts.