Not a bad showing from the Eagles tonight as they eventually lose 16 to 10 to the Steelers. The #1 thing to take away from tonight is that McNabb looks like he's completely back. He was moving around better than he has in quite a while, he looked more confident, and had the usual zip on his throws. McNabb finished the night 10 of 13 for 97 yards and a TD. McNabb moved the #1 offense(sans Westbrook) to a score in each of the two drives he led.
Brian Westbrook, who just hours before the game signed a new contract that will reportedly pay him $13 million over the next 2 years, did not play(coaches decision). He was suited up on the sideline however.
The Eagles did escape the game with no injuries, the Steelers were not so lucky... backup QB Charlie Batch broke his collarbone presumably on a hit from Sean Considine.
Now to stock up/stock down
Jerome McDougle - Easily the story of the night was the play of Jerome McDougle. His effort doesn't show up in the stats, but Jerome was very active all night continually beating the Pittsburgh OT and pressuring the QB on several occasions. He also got off blocks and played the run well. For a guy that's been through so much and had such bad luck in his career it really was great to see him play well tonight. I'd love to see him get a couple reps with the first team next week to see how he performs against better competition.
Desean Jackson - Not a bad debut for the rookie, especially his work at WR. Desean got some work with the first team and pretty much was the featured guy with the second team. Desean linked up very well with Kevin Kolb and seemed to get open with ease, catching everything that came his way. He actually led all recievers on the night with 5 catches for 51 yards. What was most impressive is that he made tough catches over the middle, took a big hit, made a really nice adjustment on a ball McNabb threw just behind him, and displayed a pretty decent ability to catch short stuff and turn upfield for positive yardage.
As for Desean the return guy, it was a less spectacular night. He didn't get a ton of opportunities to make returns, with all but 3 punts ending up fair catches or out of bounds. In his final punt of the night he ended up runnign backwards, losing 8 yards.
Quintin Mikell - I thought Q was solid last year when he took over for Sean Considine, but he looked better than solid tonight. Mikell delivered 2 big hits on the night including one that broke up a pass to Santonio Holmes that would have gone for big yardage.
Max Jean-Gilles - Max was flat out dominant tonight. He was opening up holes in the run game and was an impossible to penetrate wall in pass protection. Max looked very powerful and clearly lived up to that "road grader" moniker. It's clear the differences between his and Andrews game. He's simply not the athlete Shawn is. You can pull Shawn, get him out in front of the RB and all types of other things to move him around. The Eagles don't really have that option with Max because he's just not all that quick or athletic. Tonight all they asked him to do was stay at home and man the couple of feet around him, which he seems to do very well.
Nick Cole - When you snap the ball before the QB asks for it... you've not had a good night. That was the most obvious of Nick Cole's several mistkaes on the night
Brent Celek - Where was he? Celek was the darling of last year's preseason and didn't register a catch last night. Frankly, I'm not sure I even remember seeing him out there.
It pains me to say this one...
Brian Dawkins - Sacrilege! Whether he was out of postion or simply got beat for speed, Dawk looked to be at fault for Pittsburgh's only TD of the game. I dare not speak any further on this subject...
Trevor Laws go the one and the only Eagles sack of the game. Desean Jackson had a standout performance with 5 catches for 51 yards. Bryan Smith didn't do much to pressure the passer, but he moved around well and laid a nice hit on none other than Jeremy Boom! Joe Mays registered 5 tackles, 3 of which I counted as bigtime hits. I thouht King Dunlap struggled a bit later in the game. A the very end of the game King got upset at a defender and had to be restrained by some teammates. If he's going to get beat, it's nice to at least see it bugs him. I also thought Andy Studebaker moved around very well. For a guy who never played linebacker before he certainly looked comfortable out there with a few tackles and a pass defensed. Quintin Demps had a nice night returning kicks with a 23 yard KR and a nice 12 yard PR.