Eagles RB LeSean McCoy breaks loose for a 49-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. (AP Photo).
Jackson, McCoy shine in first game
By John Russo (@Roose_TTB)
Lost in all the buzz of the off season was the type of year LeSean “Shady” McCoy could potentially have for the Eagles.
In Week 1 of Shady’s encore performance, he did not disappoint. The third-year back from Pitt tallied 137 yards from scrimmage as the Eagles made a statement in their 31-13 win in St. Louis.
McCoy rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown while adding 15 yards in the air on two catches and a touchdown. His seven-yard score tied the game up for the Eagles in the 1st quarter.
The game didn’t start out too hot for the Eagles, who gave the Rams a short field to work with. Running back Steven Jackson broke loose on the Rams first play for a 47-yard touchdown score to give St. Louis a 7-0 lead.
But Jackson would carry the ball only one more time (a 9-yard gain) and the Rams would reach pay dirt. Jackson left the game with a leg injury and the Eagles defense tightened up around the Rams QB Sam Bradford and his receivers, who had a hard time holding onto the football.
Back-up running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams took over for Jackson, and gave the Eagles young and inexperienced line backers some problems. He rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries and added 49 yards on five catches in the loss.
DeSean Jackson also had a statement game. The fourth-year wide out, who is in the last year of his rookie contract and looking to see a substantial raise, caught six balls for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Lost in the game though was Michael Vick’s poor game in the air. Granted the Pro Bowl QB, in the wake of a $100 million deal, rushed for 98 yards on 10 carries and threw two touchdown passes, he managed only 187 yards in the air. He also lost a fumble and completed under 50% of his passes (14-for-32), a number he will need to improve next week versus Atlanta.
The defense managed five sacks, including two from Jason Babin. They also scored when Darryl Tapp forced a fumble on Bradford that was scooped by Juqua Parker and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.
*DE Darryl Tapp, who had three tackles including a sack and forced fumble, injured his pectoral muscle. He will have an MRI tomorrow along with Akeem Jordan (shoulder).
*WR Steve Smith didn't register a catch but was out on the field for a handful of plays.
*95 of RB LeSean McCoy's 122 yards on the ground came in the 4th quarter alone on five carries.
By John Russo
PHI: 2010 record – 10-6, 1st in NFC East
STL: 2010 record – 7-9, 2nd in NFC West
Spread: Eagles by 5
Where: Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis, MO)
When: 1:00, FOX
Last time met: Sept 7, 2008: DeSean Jackson caught a 47-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage, setting the tone for the Eagles 38-3 win. Donovan McNabb threw for 361 yards and three touch downs and both Jackson and Greg Lewis had over 100 yards receiving.
Opposing player to watch – RB Steven Jackson: Jackson is still one of the top running backs in the NFL. Coming off a 1,241-yard season, his sixth straight season with at least 1,000 yards, Jackson will give the Eagles linebacking corps its first test of the season against a premier running back. Expect to see a lot of #39 on the score sheet, especially with a young quarterback like Sam Bradford.
Eagles: It’s another highly-anticipated season for the Eagles, who boast potentially the most dynamic offense in the NFL. The key to their success this season won’t lie on the weapons however. Instead, the pressure will be pitted on an offensive line who hasn’t taken a single game snap together. But with the line aside, the weapons Philadelphia boast include Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy and star wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Jackson will be what is going to put them far beyond the Rams. Both Maclin (illness) and WR Steve Smith are expected to play on Sunday, adding more weapons to Vick's arsenal.
Rams: It’s a new era under center in St. Louis. With Marc Bulger out and Bradford in, the Rams are looking to rightfully take back the NFC West. With a running back like Jackson, the Rams are going to be a run-heavy team heading into week 1, providing the test for the Eagles’ inexperienced backers. Receiving the ball from Bradford will be former Eagle Danny Amendola and newly acquired Mike Simms-Walker. Bradford has a lot of speed and a handful of comparable weapons to work with. But the pressure will be on Jackson to keep the Eagles defense on their heels.
Advantage: The Eagles have more experience playing together than St. Louis. Advantage goes to them.
Eagles: The big question mark for Philadelphia will be their linebackers. Obviously the secondary and defensive line are among the league’s best with the additions of DB’s Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Cullen Jenkins and DE Jason Babin. Manning the middle linebacker position will be rookie Casey Matthews, younger brother of Green Bay’s Clay Matthews. Akeem Jordan, Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, Nate Allen and Mike Patterson lead the group of returning Eagles.
Rams: DE Chris Long and LB James Laurinaitis head a young and inexperienced Rams defense. Long will be the first test for newly named RT Todd Herremans of the Eagles, who made the move from left guard a week ago. Former Eagles safety Quinton Mikell signed with St. Louis in the off season and will be their starting free safety.
Advantage: The Eagles boast one of the top three defenses in the NFL. This should be a no-brainer.
Eagles: Questionable: QB Vince Young (hamstring), WR Steve Smith (knee). Probable: S Nate Allen (knee), WR Jeremy Maclin (illness).
Rams: Out: WR Mark Clayton. Questionable: TE Michael Hoomanawanui (calf). Probable: WR Danario Alexander (knee).
Prediction: Despite an inexperienced offensive line and linebacking corps, the Eagles have a far more talented and elite team than St. Louis. With all the playmakers the Eagles have on both sides of the ball, they should come out firing on all cylinders, ready to play football. In conclusion, the Philadelphia Eagles football season will start out on a high note with a 31-14 win over the Rams.
Extend Weaver, Lose Peppers
By Kevin K.
The Eagles made one smart move today, and one move that seems at this moment stupid.
Leonard Weaver was extended today for 3 years. It is exciting to know the Eagles obviously care about the best FB in the NFL. With Weaver on the team it brings leadership to the offense, something that the Eagles lost when the released Brian Westbrook.
The Julius Peppers move hurt today, just because he is talented and would work great with Trent Cole on the other side. The problem here is money, and as Westbrook said after he was released, "the Eagles seem to care more about money then they do about winning". Peppers is due a lot of money in Chicago and I for one could not see the Eagles spending that amount on him. Now the Eagles are looking at DE/LB Aaron Kampman of Green Bay. He constantly puts pressure on the run and QB, but his main problem is he is coming off an ACL tear. Look back at last free agency period and who the Eagles signed, Stacy Andrews .... a OL who was coming off of an ACL tear and barely played this season.
Eagles also need a RB to play along side LeSean McCoy.