Any good will left over from a fairly productive training camp was gone Friday night after the Eagles struggled with inefficient backup QBs, penalties and an offensive line wholier than Swiss cheese in a 22-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Let’s start with Vick.
He had two appearances in wildcat-type of formations in the first half and then took over for Kevin Kolb under center in the second half and looked lost for most of the third quarter.
Vick’s line couldn’t be much worse. He went 1-for-5 for just six yards with no TDs and two interceptions.
At least Vick led the Birds with 34 rushing yards on three carries. But he looked unsure of trying to throw the ball into coverage before taking off for the rushes so even that could be seen as a negative especially considering he also took three sacks.
And it might not be crazy to think that the Eagles could be looking at another QB to backup Kolb considering that third-stringer Mike Kafka didn’t look much better going 4-for-12 for 29 yards, no TDs and a pick while posting a paltry 2.4 rating.
Don’t be surprised if Vick and Kafka being so inept against backups nonetheless will bolt the Birds into signing another backup -- calling Jeff Garcia?
As for the penalties, the Birds got called for more than the six penalties that showed up on the box score.
The most-called penalty -- not properly being lined up on the offensive line. Starting tackles Jason Peters was called twice and Winston Justice was flagged once for illegal formation penalties.
Which brings us to the rest of the offensive line. The starting unit looked terrible and it got worst from there. Mike McGlynn looked the part of a backup at center and Max Jean-Gilles just didn’t have it. Lower down on the depth chart Dallas Reynolds basically sacked his own QB when he was bull rushed into Vick. And, guys like Zipp Duncan and Jerail McCuller did little to stake a roster-spot claim while looking bad protecting the backups.
There were more problems for the Birds against the Bengals.
Jeremy Maclin left the game in the second quarter with what was described as a shoulder contusion. Luckily X-rays were negative, according to head coach Andy Reid.
The special teams again relied on kickers to help bring down returners twice as both David Akers and Sav Rocca were forced into action on long returns.
And Kolb again failed to punch in home in the red zone as the Birds relied on three Akers field goals instead of TDs.
Kolb summed up some of the problems for the first unit:
"First of all they have a good defense. Our running game needs to get going a little bit earlier. We need to get into a better rhythm, I think. We just went three and out. We need to get a couple first downs and get into that rhythm. I think that's what I think will kick-start an offense a lot of times. If we had gotten a couple of five or six play drives, it would help us. We finally did it and we were able to move the ball and got into the red zone and should have had some scores there."
There is some good news, though, at least this was just preseason and the game didn't really count.
Here are some other observations, winners and losers from the second preseason game:
- Chad Hall recorded no catches and had no rushes after being featured prominently in both areas last week.
- Riley Cooper looked impressive while hauling in two passes for 22 yards including a nice grab in tight traffic.
- Former Eagle Terrell Owens schooled his old team (and Joselio Hanson for that matter) while hauling in a 43-yard pass that led to the Bengals first TD. T.O. finished up the game with three catches and a rush good for 68 total yards.
- Eagles weapon DeSean Jackson one-upped T.O. D-Jax led all receivers with four grabs for 74 yards.
- The Eagles running game was average as the RB/FB combo of Shady McCoy, Eldra Buckley, Martell Mallett, Leonard Weaver and Charles Scott put up 67 yards on 19 carries (3.5 yards per carry).
- Trevor Laws looked like a winner on an impressive rush early in the third quarter. But rookie Brandon Graham took credit for the knock out as he racked up his first sack.
- Also on the defensive side of the ball Nate Allen was burned once but didn’t let it happen again, looking good the rest of the game. And, Ellis Hobbs looked solid as the No. 1 DB since Asante Samuel was sidelined.
- Fourth-round LB Keenan Clayton made his case for making the roster with an interception and special teams tackle.
Two Penn State guys who are long shots to make the roster at least got their moments in Cincy. Former Nittany Lion center A.Q. Shipley got to return a kick 14 yards on a fourth quarter squib kick and safety Anthony Scirrotto nailed Cedric Peerman to prevent a TD (for the moment) also in the fourth.