The NFL is considering cutting two games from the preseason schedule.
Instead, the Eagles should consider asking the NFL to add two games to the preseason schedule.
The Eagles certainly weren’t ready to play when the season opened Sunday. They may have looked better in the second half of their 27-20 loss to Green Bay. But they certainly weren’t prepared to play in the first half.
After several weeks of training camp at Lehigh University and another month of preseason games and preparation, it’s unfathomable that a team could line up in an illegal formation on its first offensive play from scrimmage. But that’s what the Eagles did.
The Eagles committed penalties on the Packers’ first three offensive series and the Eagles’ first two offensive series. That’s a sign of a team not ready to play.
At one point during the first half, the Eagles had more penalty yards than yards of total offense. That’s the sign of a team not ready to play.
To be fair, the defense played very well. On the other hand, the offense was horrendous.
Who was at fault for the awful first half? Kevin Kolb? The offensive line?
“I’m going to take responsibility for this,” head coach Andy Reid said.
Reid, of course, always says it’s his responsibility. This time he speaks the truth.
The Eagles offense wasn’t ready Sunday. And that’s Reid’s fault.
During an appearance on The Raffaele Report on WCHE (1520 AM) the day of the final preseason game, I was asked if Reid should play his starters that night. I answered the question with a question of my own: “Do you think the Eagles are ready for the start of the season?”
If the answer were yes, I said, there was no need to risk injury by playing the starters. If the Eagles weren’t ready, however, I said they should play at least the first quarter that night against the Jets.
Reid chose not to play the starters in the final preseason game. He must have believed they were ready for the season.
But the Eagles didn’t score a touchdown during the preseason with Kolb at quarterback. Should we be surprised they didn’t come close to scoring on Sunday with Kolb at quarterback?
The starting offensive line never got an opportunity to play together as a unit during the preason. In fact, there were never more than three of the starters on the field at the same time. Should we be surprised that the line was inconsistent against Green Bay?
The special teams coverage was poor during the preseason. Should we be surprised that the kickoff coverage was terrible against the Packers?
Sometimes too much stock is put into the preseason, and that’s definitely the case with regard to wins and losses. But the preseason is important for evaluating talent and ironing out flaws.
The flaws the Eagles displayed during the preseason were on display again during Sunday’s loss to Green Bay: undisciplined penalties, an ineffective offense and poor special teams coverage.
Maybe – just maybe – a little extra live-game experience could have fixed or alleviated some of those problems. That certainly would have been preferable to watching the Eagles try to work through those problems during Sunday’s game, which, unlike the preseason games, counts in the standings.
The Eagles weren’t ready to play when the season started. At least I hope that was the problem.
The alternative is that the Eagles are really that bad. If that’s true, this will be a very, very long season.