With the first Eagles pre-season game completed, many excited fans saw the "dream team" debut. Lots of Eagles were wearing Eagles white for the first time in their careers. Some of the most notable appearances were Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown, and Cullen Jenkins. While the most important assignment was to play as well as possible, it was a very nice win. And the majority of the Eagles did just that. Below are my thoughts from the Eagles first action.
6 sacks for a loss of 33 yards.
Wow, are you kidding me? It seemed as if JJ's (RIP) defense was out there performing. Jim Washburn has already done an amazing job. The defensive line brought havoc every single play and put the opposing quarterbacks under pressure. They have looked like they have been working with Washburn for months rather than weeks. All three defensive line strings harassed the Ravens offensive line and quarterbacks. The reports that Hunt was fast were true, as he ran Tyrod Taylor too many times for the Ravens offense to get a rhythm and also beheaded Taylor on a sack. Darryl Tapp looks perfect in the 9 technique, pressuring the Ravens 1st and 2nd string offensive tackles. Look for Tapp to really push for the starting job versus Jason Babin. If Tapp doesn't start, look for him to get double digit snaps during the season, having a Mathias Kiwanuka impact.
But the defensive lineman of the game was by far Derek Landri. He was the through the Ravens stating offensive line right at the snap, rushing Flacco out of the pocket multiple times. Landri is a known journeyman in the NFL, however he may have just found his niche with Washburn. Could be the next Jason Babin in Washburn's scheme. Look for him to be a serious contender for this years roster.
More after the jump...
Juan Castillo Defense
The defense really thrived behind that dominate line. The linebackers were fast and flying around the field, cleaning up anything that made it past the defensive line. The secondary thrived behind the defensive line and vise versa for the defensive line. As expected, the rest of the defense is a compliment to the defensive line, evident by the performance. Castillo called the right coverages and seemed to have a real handle behind this team. Not many mistakes, however the most notable was a quick bubble pass to Ray Rice for a first. My speculation is that Nnamdi had a deep zone and the linebacker was late to cover the outside, resulting in the first.
A total of 20 first downs: 5 rushing which is very impressive considering this is a very rush heavy team, 12 passing, and 3 penalties. What is impressive was the 3rd down percentage for the Ravens, 3 of 12 or 25%. Extremely impressive and if that can be carried over to the regular season, we'll win a lot of games defensively. 2 pick thrown by the rookie Tyrod Taylor were thanks to the defensive line, but the ball skills by the safeties were nice. Colt Anderson showed that he is much more than a special team ace, which is a big surprise to me. Jarad Page might not be such a lock anymore.
Michael Vick and the Receivers
Didn't seem like there was even a lockout for him, playing as if the Packers game was yesterday with him 4 of 6, 1 TD performance. Looked poised and calm in the pocket and was even more accurate than last year if that is possibe. Watching the replay of the Avant catch for the first down was an great catch but a even better thrown into that window.
The best thing offensively that I saw was the timing with Jason Avant and Riley Cooper. Avant looks great and so do his hands. His touchdown catch was very close too, and while most thought Andy was up to his same old antics, I liked the challenge.
Cooper had the offensive play of the game with that amazing 42 yard catch. Love that big play ability with him and reminded me how close that Green Bay game was. He's really developing as a receiver and many can't best Ed Reed, big time props.
The Running backs
The two stars rushing tonight were Ronnie Brown, former Dolphin 1st round pick, and rookie Dion Lewis. Together they combined for 48 yards on 19 attempts, but those numbers can't accurately portray the running of these two tonight. Ronnie showed many that he is more than a speedy wildcat runner, rushing north and south with sweet moves all night. His most memorable play was 3rd and one where he completely froze the defender with an amazing stop and go and then accelerated for the first. Lots of tough running from Brown, who took some big hits from a notorious Ravens defense, amazing performance.
Dion Lewis may be 5'8", but he doesn't look or play like it. He hard nose runner also proved to be a good north south runner with some speed. He proved durable and did his best with the backup offensive line. Another good performance from him could likely end the 3rd running back competition.
Flashes of Brilliance
Till next time, Eagles fans. Thanks for reading.
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