The Philadelphia Eagles need a bounce-back game Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns in order to go into the regular season with the same confidence and aspirations they had after a monster offseason. All the big names the Eagles acquired in the offseason have now been overshadowed by serious concerns about Michael Vick's first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the run defense.
Vick threw three interceptions in the first half of last week's preseason game against the Steelers, two of which resulted from passes thrown right into double coverage. Vick forced the issue all night and did not look like the player who may have finished second in the NFL's MVP voting a season ago (Tom Brady received all the votes).
The run defense didn't fair much better. The Steelers ran for 144 yards against the Eagles with most of those yards coming in the first half. The Eagles' run defense will get another test against Browns running back Peyton Hillis.
The Eagles appear to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The time to start proving just how good they can be starts Thursday night. It will be the last chance for the starters to play until the season opener September 11th in St. Louis.
For some, it's a great chance to lock up their starting spot; for the other players who are already guaranteed starters, it's a good chance for them to get back some confidence going into the season.