Sunday, August 16, 2015

Top 10 takeaways from Eagles - Colts

QB4 on roster, QB1 on marquee
10) Mark Sanchez's first quarter TD to WR Nelson Agholor showed why being a QB in a speed system is such a blessing. The throw was terrible, but Agholor's adjustment to the ball made the CB overplay the throw, and then the rookie beat everyone to paydirt. After multiple misses to wide-open receivers that prevented drives from continuing, Sanchez's final numbers were a lot better than they had any right to be. As for anyone who thinks that Sanchez in Year Two is somehow not still Sanchez, AKA a QB2 that should never, ever, be a QB1... well, um, please come to my poker table. I can not invite you strongly enough.

9) Agholor dropped a 3rd and 12 throw from QB Matt Barkley that was right in range, after also missing an earlier catch. He's got obvious skills, but let's not call him Jeremy Maclin Jr. yet, or pencil him in for 1000+ yards.

8) The run defense from the first and second team was good, but it's not as if the Colts are known for their ability to get separation at the line. The Colts' first team converted a number of third and longs against too-soft coverage, so yeah, Bill Davis is still involved. Watching him turn Byron Maxwell into Bradley Fletcher is not going to be fun. As for defense for the entire game, they played well, with S Ed Reynolds getting two fourth quarter picks, but the pass rush wasn't much, and for the most part, my read was the Colts didn't play worth a damn, more than Green playing all that well.

7) Barkley's interception was one of those not his fault, but enough of his fault, blemishes that has been endemic in his limited NFL career. He's got an NFL arm, and his size and feet aren't terrible, but there's just been far too many mistakes to keep getting chances. (He also got very lucky to not have another one picked off to start the second half, which would have led to far too much Tim Tebow puling.)

6) There may never be a pre-season game in the Kelly Era where the offense does not look, at the very least, tolerable. This system fails against good and physical defense that prepare for it, and bring the intensity to stop the all-critical initial first down. That's not pre-season.

5) One of the drumbeats among the Kelly geishas has been how much better last year's first round whiff, LB Marcus Smith, has been. While he had a moment or two in the first half, he's still, well, horrible. Watching nickel CB candidate Jaylen Watkins whiff on a tackle that led to the Colts TD was also Not Encouraging.

4) Just in case you needed a mid-season moment of Nero Kelly, Poor Game Manager, who had a Whuuut? 4th and 3 middle run for RB Kenjon Barner, inside the red zone, rather than kick a chip shot field goal. I understand, it's pre-season and no one cares, but it's not as if Kelly has gotten any better at this sort of thing in the first two years of trying. Also, there was a 3rd and 4 throw into the end zone with 1:20 left in the second quarter that made no sense in terms of saving the defense some snaps.

3) Who the hell thought it was a good idea to have a pre-season game at 1pm on a Sunday? Last one was in 1968, for reasons. It was 100 degrees on the field in humid South Philadelphia, and I can't imagine it was much more fun to be in the stands. Schedule these wastes of time in the evening, now and forever. Better yet, don't have them. They are pointless, people get hurt, and the season is way too long as is.

2) Regression Alert: PK Cody Parkey missed one of those extra-long point afters, got lucky on a twisting longer duck figge to start the second, missed another short figgie in the third, and did not get his kickoffs to the end zone. One of the sneaky ways in which the Eagles are going to be worse this year is special teams erosion, and Parkey's near-magical materialization to Pro Bowl level kicking is something to file away for later.

1) I'm not saying the Colts mailed this one in, but Andrew Luck left in the middle of a drive, their back ups look as bad as any in the league, and Barner's punt return touchdown to end the first half was as lackadaisical as an effort as you are ever likely to see on an NFL field. It's nice for Barner, who has a real uphill climb to pick up NFL pension time, but anyone that thinks a blowout win matters, um, poker game. Week from Friday.

* * * * *

Fine, fine. QB Tim Tebow came in on his first drive, made easy plays to obvious targets, and was cheered as if he cured cancer. His first incompletion was in the red zone and missed by a mile. The second drive ended in a sack, and so did the third, because God's own QB with the girl-ready abs can not make a decision at NFL speed, and also does not throw the ball quickly enough to cover for that crippling problem. The fourth drive would have ended with a sack as well, but the Colts took a late hit while doing it. The fifth drive ended with a terrible overthrow, and on the sixth, he scrambled in during the absolute zenith of garbage time to score a touchdown. Guess what will be the only play from his game that will be shown in national highlights?

Barkley is a better real QB and GJ Kinne is a better NFL prospect, and Barkley can't even get on the field during games he should play -- Week 17 against the Giants last year -- and Kinne hasn't made the team in the last two years of mopping up preseason games. Can we end this charade already, or do we need Tebow around for a few more weeks to separate more idiots from their money by selling a few more jerseys?

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