Running Backs Stand Out in Eagles’ Preseason Opening Loss to Pats

The Eagles lost their preseason opener to the New England Patriots, 27-25. They had a chance to take the lead with a minute left, but pressure on a field goal attempt led to Akers’ pulling his kick wide left.

Despite the loss, there were some positives. The Eagles’ running backs looked impressive throughout the game.

LeSean McCoy is the real deal. Wow. The kid knows how to get skinny, and he’s not afraid to plunge ahead and pick up the tough yards. He ran the ball ten times for 55 yards with a long of 16. He was great in picking up the blitz, and caught the ball cleanly and naturally, hauling in 2 passes for 12 yards, with a long of 19. One catch was for a negative seven yards, but credit to the rookie, because it should have been a loss of 15.

How long has it been since we’ve had a real fullback in Philly? Next question; how long has it been since we had a good fullback in Philly? Well, we’ve got one in Leonard Weaver. He can run, catch and block. He ran twice for eight yards, and caught one pass for a gain of 10. He was effective as a pass blocker and a run blocker. Oh, and he was effective on Special Teams, getting down the field quickly and not afraid to make a tackle.

Lorenzo Booker and Eldra Buckley will be fighting it out for the third RB spot. Booker was impressive in pass protection, and made an absolutely fantastic catch down the right sideline for a gain of 25 yards. Buckley had the overall better game though. Buckley had eight carriers for 23 yards and one touchdown. He also hauled in 6 catches, for 56 yards and a touchdown with a long of 24.

It should be interesting to see how this battle turns out. Booker has definitely improved since last year, and for the Eagles to put Buckley above Booker would mean admitting that they made a mistake in sending a fourth round pick to Miami last year for him. Something they are not going to do unless Buckley proves that he is head and shoulders above Booker.

Other Notes and Observations:

Rookie Receivers Impress:

First round pick Jeremy Maclin, and sixth round pick Brandon Gibson, were both impressive in their first game action. Maclin showed why he was taken 19th overall. He was fast, caught the ball well, and showed flashes that he could be great. He muffed a punt in the first quarter, but after that he was very effective in the return game, averaging 25 yards per kickoff return, and breaking several big returns on punts.
Brandon Gibson caught everything thrown his way, was good at run blocking, and just played like a man on a mission to make this team. If he continues like this, the Eagles are going to have some tough decisions when the roster cuts come around.

The Lines Need Work:

The defensive line couldn’t generate any pressure throughout the first half. Tom Brady had all day to throw. The second and third team did a better job, but they were facing second and third team offensive lines.
The Offensive line looked terrible at points. You can tell that the missed practices have hurt Jason Peters. He just never looked in sync and gave up a sack. Winston Justice looks like he improved, but not enough to make me forget that he let Osi Umenyiora slam McNabb to the turf 20 or 30 times in one game.
Sheldon Brown picked off Tom Brady: Awesome!


Jason Peters re-injured his thigh that kept him out for most of training camp.

Brent Celek has an AC sprain in his shoulder. No word on how long he will be out.

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