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Philadelphia Eagles 2012 Preseason Recap

With the 2012 preseason in the books, what can Eagles fans make of their expectations for the upcoming year?

Now that the Eagles have completed their three preseason games, fans are able to see the shape of the team, if only partially.

Eagles fans like to complain. They complain that preseason games are a waste of time, and then complain about what they see.

Mike Vick’s inability to last more than six plays is alarming. He talked all offseason about protecting himself in an effort to stay healthy and on the field. The initial result of that talk has been abject failure. Now he will enter the season after having played a quarter of preseason football. That is not the ideal way to begin a season.

Vick’s regression has placed a downward arrow on fans' expectations for the Eagles this season. Their preseason concerns started and ended with his continued inability to stay healthy and his erratic play; the regular season may hold more of the same.

The most intriguing aspect of this preseason has been the play of rookie QB Nick Foles. He has been more impressive than anyone anticipated, and has seemingly locked up the backup QB position. Given Vick’s continued struggles to remain on the field, it is likely the backup QB will play an important role on this team.

It is easy to get carried away with preseason performances, and a lot of fans have done just that with Foles. Entering the third game he had the highest QB rating in the entire NFL, compiled mostly against backup players (although Foles started against the Browns' first-stringers and looked great again).

Statistics do not tell the whole story for a young QB. In Foles' case, he has not only put up gaudy stats, he has impressed with his ability to stay relaxed in the pocket, feel pressure, take a hit and deliver both deep balls and short passes with precision. It has been very encouraging.

Michael Vick is still the starting QB and should be. Depending on how this Eagles season plays out, Foles may be the Eagles' future. It is entirely possible that Vick remains healthy and leads the Eagles to double-digit wins. It is also possible that Vick misses a few games, and in real game action, Foles falls flat on his face.

If Vick were to suffer an injury and Foles were to play well enough to convince the Eagles brass that he can be a starter, the franchise could cut ties with Vick in the second year of his two-year contract. It will give fans something other than the scoreboard to watch as the season progresses.

Preseason stats are imperfect, incomplete and misleading. Wins are often determined by players who won’t make the team. But they're all we have to go by at this point, and the Eagles have fared pretty well in their three exhibition games, winning all three games.

After the pre-season, the Eagles rank fourth in the NFL in defense and first in sacks. Their defensive line is loaded. Some fans have concerns about the secondary, but it was fourth against the pass, thanks largely to a relentless pass rush. The defense is sixth in the league against the rush and third in yards per rush, allowing a paltry 2.8 yards per attempt.

Some of the same confusion in the defensive backfield that plagued the team last year cropped up again this preseason. The full offseason was supposed to remedy that problem. Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo, did not distinguish himself last year, and has only this year to show improvement.

Even without their starting QB, the Eagles ranked fifth in the NFL in preseason offense—the only team in the top five on both sides of the ball—but temper those expectations. The Patriots, a perennial powerhouse, rank in the bottom third in the NFL in both offense and defense. No knowledgeable fan believes those rankings are indicative of how good the Patriots will be in the regular season.

In some cases, the stats paint a more positive picture than what fans have seen on the field, and the unsettled left tackle position is a major concern.

Free agent Demetress Bell was supposed to solidify the position in Jason Peters' absence. Bell was benched after six plays and replaced by suspect veteran King Dunlap. The Eagles face a number of tremendous pass rushers in their division this year—DeMarcus Ware, Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Pierre-Paul, to name only a few. Depending on Bell or Dunlap to protect Vick is worrisome.

Michael Vick’s shoulders are a precarious place on which to rest the fortunes of a team and the dreams of its fans, especially when he is lying prone of the field. Fans have to hope Vick misses no more than two or three games and that Foles can step up in his inevitable absence. Otherwise, it will be the old refrain of "wait until next year" once again. Hopefully, Vick can save himself from injury—and save his fans from that fate—this season.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Diviney August 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Yes, after last year's disaster(s), first order of business is to get there.
Mike Diviney August 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Gary, I saw when it originally ran, didn't have time to go back and watch the whole thing right now, but I liked what I saw then. I like what I've seen so far in the preseason from him even more. Actually looking forward to a 4th preseason game for maybe first time ever just to see more of Nick.
Baumer August 29, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Agreed that it's way too early to get all excited about Foles. I like what I saw from him and it's definitely encouraging but it was the preseason. The competition and motivation of the opposing defenses was weak at best. However I do feel better knowing that Pop Gun Kafka isn't going to take over when Vick gets hurt...and he will get hurt. I just hope Vick is back and healthy in time for that late season push for the playoffs. It's still on him this year, make or break! I'm going with 11 wins and the 3 or 4 seed in the NFC
Phil McConkey August 29, 2012 at 07:52 PM
ugh please let's not take whatever Baldy says seriously. Can't stand the guy. He's on the list for the worst possible person to be stuck in an elevator with. It's a close tie between him and Bruce Vilanch.
Bo August 30, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Sure but what does not liking him have anything to do with his expertise on the subject of offensive line play, which you I and anyone here don't have to the same degree as he does. He commented on the Eagles two offensive guards on that NBC Sunday sports final show, which was the position he played for eleven seasons in the league. I imagine that working for the NFL network and living a spits throw from NFL films, wherein he maybe watches more film on whatever NFL team or player than any comparable analyst. To question his credibility sounds foolish. But hey I wish and hope he'll be proved wrong, and both guards and tackle Dunlap will be more than competent this season in protecting Vick and creating space for Shady.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Still all on Vick Baumer, but nice to know we have a young QB to develop. Kafka's smart and savvy but lacks the requisite size and arm strength to ever be a front line starter. For now, I'm rooting for a healthy Vick and double digit wins... if and until Foles is ready.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM
He's actually grown on me... like a fungus. He's not bad, but in an elevator, with no "mute" option and him waving his retarded finger at you- yeah, bad situation. However, he's not an analyst on the Ray D. level or anything close to it.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Kind of creepy that you know where Baldy lives- just a joke Bo. As a player, he made the most of the limited talent he had to stick for that long. I don't think his credibility is beyond reproach. That type of reverence is reserved for Ray D. in my opinion. The airtight pass protection this preseason belies his analysis.
Porterincollingswood August 30, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Foles is much faster than I thought, and makes better decisions than I thought him capable of. He throws the ball very well into the windows he's presented in zone coverage, and leads his receivers very well when facing man coverage. I hated the pick, am now very impressed. Tomorrow we may see some hybrid schemes where the defense tries to float a LB in zone coverage when it looks like man. Hoping Foles locks on to and follows his receivers, doesn't see the defender, and throws a pick. Jets have the personnel to do that. His field vision will be tested. Should be a good test.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 01:46 AM
He's obviously not very fast, but he feels the pressure and slides well. His accuracy, pocket presence and poise have been the most impressive things I've seen from him. Don't know how hard the Jets will be playing in the last preseason game, but hope to see more of the same from Foles. Porter, you're "hoping" he throws a pick??
Porterincollingswood August 30, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I thought Foles made Bledsoe look like Usain Bolt. The Jets are hoping their scheme makes him throw picks - I'm not in the camp of those who want to see Foles get knocked down a peg so that Vick doesn't feel threatened. I think the Jets will play hard, they've looked like trash and should be feeling some pressure to perform.
Porterincollingswood August 30, 2012 at 01:58 AM
To clarify...I thought Foles was slow when he was drafted, based on what I'd read.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Haha. I think since he's so tall, he looks even slower than he is. The QB's that win Super Bowls can usually be clocked with sundials, but they slide deftly away from pressure- like Peyton and Brady. Vick's speed is great, but he's too small to step up and that gets him in trouble. I think the Jets might be a mess this year.
Bo August 30, 2012 at 06:57 AM
FYI Mike: Baldy is on the radio everyday and has referenced that he lives in Marlton. I wasn't talking about Ray or his opinion. But both spend time together in Mt Laurel where I suspect the secret NFL Films bunker is, but that is just a hunch. What I do know for sure is that his analysis has credibility, but we will see, let's hope for the best.
Bo August 30, 2012 at 07:31 AM
I think if you were listening to his show on 97.5 fanatic then you may have heard about Jason Peters injury,
Phil McConkey August 30, 2012 at 11:48 AM
over/under on how many restraining orders local sports personalities have on Bo............4
Porterincollingswood August 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Jets go 5-11 and Rex gets fired. That team made brutal mistakes. You don't bring in Tebow when you have an 'embattled' young QB you invested a lot in. You don't rely on a plodding RB in Shonn Greene who has never shown you that he's a franchise back. You don't make Santonio Holmes a captain, and you certainly don't keep him around after his antics last year. They should've gone for broke and traded for one of the Carolina backs or maybe even MJD.
Reed Rothchild August 30, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I'll take the over Phil.
Bo August 30, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I guess Frick and Frack here don't listen to the Baldy's show on radio, or enjoy watching the eagles post game with Ray D on it. There's lots of places to enjoy football talk and satisfy my appetite for info on whatever about the great sport. Tell you what Abbott and Costello, if you both happen to be in the same fantasy league, and since you both sound ignorant on many levels here with your comments. I'd love to be in this league if it participants are anything like you two comedians, then I sense it could be very easy money. I've heard its fun to gamble on the sport, wherein getting good info in different places enhances those odds of success, and there are a variety of ways we all do that, but I could be wrong.
Phil McConkey August 30, 2012 at 06:14 PM
with all due respect Bo, I'm flattered you would like to be in a fantasy football league with me but per your previous comments I would be a little scared if I was in first place. You know where Baldy and Ray live and work so know telling what you would do so I couldn't change my running back.
Reed Rothchild August 30, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I'll tell you what Bo, I don't listen to Baldy's show but I have scanned your plethora of posts and feel like your regurgitation of his nonsense will suffice. As for fantasy football, you can stick to your league of extraordinary gentlemen dressed up each Sunday and talking "smack". Somebody who tries to hype up a Defense from the Atlanta falcons back in the day has zero credibility among many other examples. Plus as Phil states, I'd hate to be exposed to anymore hot air in another venue besides the comments on Mike's blog. I'm sure you'd win the league though since everyone else knows nothing and you, Baldy and Ray D are the oracles of the Eagles and NFL. I don't gamble, but I bet your "appetite for info on whatever about the great sport" is never truly satisfied. GO BIRDS!
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Yeah, I listen to him pretty often and he's good, not great. I'm sure that's where the bunker is. I'm hoping for the best and I don't think the offensive line will break them this year. Last year's very good line is intact aside from Peters, their best player. On possible negative is it seems like Celek may be asked to stay in and block more, which isn't good.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Bo, everyone's just joking around. Nothing to get worked up about.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Phil, can't change your RB with 10 broken fingers or if locked in the trunk of a car.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 06:38 PM
4 was the over/under in 2000. He blew past that number years ago.
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 06:39 PM
League of extraordinary gentleman dressed up each Sunday... that is classic!
Gary B August 30, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Just saw someone in my window...he was wearing an Eagles colored tee shirt that said "I love you Donovan, always and forever" ...while I can't prove who it was, I have my suspicions... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCiPkazVzFA
Mike Diviney August 30, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Bo is your suspect?
Gary B August 30, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Just got off the horn with Didinger, we're gonna meet up tonight and break down some security film, let you know how it goes
Fabiola Et September 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Anxious to know what they have in store for us this year. I'll keep them in my prayer as always :)

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