I've re-watched the match up between the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars multiple times now, and not all is lost. While we must remember after all, it is only the first preseason game, there are still some observations that can be made, good and bad. Today, we'll look at some of the things that went right.
There were a couple plays I noted where David Garrard made the correct decisions and reads, despite not always getting the desired result. I re-watched all of Garrard's series multiple times and gave my play by play on Twitter early Saturday morning. For those who don't follow me on Twitter, I've been using player numbers to save space.
On the second drive under pressure Garrard made the correct decision under pressure:
- Shotgun, 3-wide, 3 step drop. Pressure up the middle, 9 dumps it to 32 for 6. Right decision. Trent Cole pushed Jordan Black into Garrard.
The following drive against the Eagles number twos, Garrard's best play occurred and was followed up by a good throw away:
- Hurry up offense. Shotgun, 3-wide with 32 out wide, 33 next to 9. 3-step, steps up in pocket fires to Thomas for 16. Easy play.
- Shotgun, 3-wide, 32 lined up wide behind 11. Quick screen, pumps and it's covered, thrown away. Good throw away.
On all three of these plays, Garrard made the correct reads and correct decisions. Even on his throw away, it was the correct throw away. The Eagles sniffed out the quick screen to Maurice Jones-Drew and stepped in the path, so wisely David chucked the football out of bounds.
Even on the final play, where Garrard sailed the pass to Mike Sims-Walker who dropped the football after getting hit by Kurt Coleman, Garrard felt the pressure coming from rookie Brandon Graham after he ran past Paul McQuistan who looked like he was standing still. Garrard knew he had limited time to throw and got the football out. He wound up rushing the pass however, and it sailed and fell incomplete, but he felt the pressure and got the football out.
Knighton was targeted earlier over the weekend as my game MVP, even over Luke McGowen. His play was nothing short of fantastic.
Derrick Harvey wound up with a sack and force fumble on Michael Vick. Harvey rushed wide and then ripped back inside punching the ball out on quarterback Michael Vick. Aside from that play, Harvey had a couple of other plays where he was able to get some pressure and effect the quarterback. I still believe with a healthy Aaron Kampman on the other side, Harvey is poised to have a very nice season.
It appears Justin Durant has finally learned to control his speed, at least after a single pre-season game. Durant was all over the field being back at his outside linebacker position. He was able to break up a touchdown pass and showed nice awareness throughout the game.
Reggie Nelson? Yes, Reggie Nelson. While overall his play was up and down, he showed some nice plays Friday night. There was a play in which Rashean Mathis was playing a trail technique knowing Reggie Nelson would be helping over the top, and Reggie Nelson broke on the pass and nearly intercepted the football. Nelson was also able to come up and support the run on occasion.
The undrafted rookie out of Rutgers got a lot of playing time at both right tackle and left tackle, and I thought had a really good game. He had his brain-fart moments, but overall Haslam held his own and I believe showed why the coaching staff is so high on him.
Both rookie return men were fantastic. Unfortunately, neither really got much opportunity returning punts, but both looked excellent returning kicks and look like they will be threats on special teams. Both averages over 30 yards per kick return, Karim with a long of 68 and McGee with a long of 46.
The much maligned by the fans punter actually had a really good game. Podlesh, with the help of Kassim Osgood, was able to pin the Eagles inside the five yard line, and finished with an average of only 37 yards, but four of his six punts were downed inside the 20 yard line.