PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 18: Todd Herremans #79 of the Philadelphia Eagles crouches into position during the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Lincoln Financial Field on November 18, 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Last week's big question revolved around the play of the defense. We wondered how that unit would do against stronger competition than the incompetent Jaguars. And, overall, it was a positive outing.
There were a few issues putting pressure on Carson Palmer and getting off blocks in the run game, but the secondary (with the notable exception of Joselio Hanson) showed that it was up to a bigger challenge. Rookie Nate Allen, especially, looks promising at free safety.
So going into tonight's third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the biggest question is:
Can the offensive line rebound from a miserable game?
Against the Bengals, the Eagles' first team offensive line had a litany of issues. To start with, multiple players were flagged for lining up incorrectly. That's just unacceptable. Then, when the play began, the unit ceded complete control of the line of scrimmage.
In the run game, where you want creases for your running back, LeSean McCoy spent most of the game diving into the back of his interior linemen. McCoy showed potential in one gashing 18-yard run. But if he can't get any space to run, that won't matter a bit.
Pass protection might have actually been worse. The holes were everywhere. It's tough to tell if many of the mistakes which allowed free rushers were individual mental mistakes or bad line calls by new center Mike McGlynn. Either way they have to be resolved before the season begins.
The line will get a boost tonight with LG Todd Herremans back from a foot injury and starting once again (although it's unclear exactly how much he will play). He's a solid, experienced starter who can push the inconsistent Max Jean-Gilles over to steal some repetitions from the only guy who's been worse — the completely overmatched and overpaid Stacy Andrews.
Kansas City doesn't exactly have a stellar defensive unit, so if the Eagles offensive line continues to struggle we'll have good reason to start panicking. On the other had, a rebound performance from the big uglies would be greatly reassuring.