CRUSHING the Steelers 17 – 0, was nice to see on a scoreboard. Even if it was only preseason, and even if it was over a second string unit. I mean, think about it for a second. (At first) it was our starters vs not quite their best. A shutout is what’s supposed to happen, right? So in that regard the Eagles handled business.
But what about the stuff that the final score doesn’t reveal? That’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. To have an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that we’re forced to honestly answer questions AFTER the game.
So, of the four things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) The defense picking up where it left off vs Tampa Bay: They most certainly did exactly that. Pass rush, picks and being stingy against the run. While we weren’t going against their star QB, RB and WR, we did go against the other 8/11 of their starting unit. The result was that our Defense was consistent, and did to a back-up QB what a defense should do to a back-up QB. We check out great here.
2) Giving half the game to QB Chase Daniel: We got that one done too! I was thinking that it would be smart to sit Sam Bradford after the first quarter, but with Pittsburgh holding the ball for much of the first quarter, in order to get him some work, he played until the half.
3) Seeing someone other than Lane Johnson start at RT: Head Coach Doug Pederson shuffled his line in the manner that I’d suggested (even prior to the first preseason game) in my Surviving The Suspension article. The result was a far more cohesive unit than the one we’d seen just seven days before. Any time you shuffle the line, you have to give it time for the chemistry to set in. However, at least NOW there is a clear plan for moving forward and remaining competitive. (Three for three so far!)
4) Wendell Smallwood running inside: Didn’t happen. (Shit.) Smallwood didn’t play due to injury. Instead we got to see RB Kenjon Barner. To his credit. Barner kept his inside runs to the inside for a change. In order to avoid contact, he has a tendency to try and bounce everything wide. I for one am sick of watching him run 11 yards for a 1 yard gain (because 10 of those yards were run sideways). But he kept to the script vs Pittsburgh, and while he didn’t break tackles or wow anyone, he showed some reliability. It felt good to see.
Overall we so far seem to be on a good track, meeting 3 of 4 this week, as opposed to 2 of 4 last week. This suggests that he coaching staff is handling priorities. That heralds terrific things if we keep going at this rate in the next couple of weeks.