BY PETER HAILEY
After ranking fifth in points per game and fourth in passing yards per game a year ago, the sequel to the 2013 Eagles offense was supposed to be even better than the original. However, while it's just one game in August, the early reviews are far from favorable.
The Eagles first team offense, especially starting quarterback Nick Foles, struggled mightily in their preseason debut, a 34-28 loss in Chicago against the Bears. After throwing just two interceptions in 317 attempts last year, Foles needed just nine throws against the Bears to match that total.
"I just made a couple of bad throws," Foles said to USA TODAY. "Everybody's going to look into it and try to think all these different things. Me, personally, it's a sick feeling in your stomach. At the same time, I can correct those."
Foles wasn't alone in his poor play, though. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews, a first round draft pick out of Vanderbilt and the SEC's all-time leading receiver, has by all accounts been a standout in training camp thus far. But in his NFL debut (he played with the team's second unit) the first year pass catcher looked more like a pass dropper, putting two catchable balls on the ground and mishandling a third that good players hold on to.
"It's just concentration, I've got to just bring in those balls," Matthews told CSNPhilly.com. "Nothing more, nothing less. Just got to make those catches."
Overall, the first team offense as a whole generated a measly 44 yards of offense on three drives and did not score a point. Despite the ugly start, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly chose not to overreact.
"It's one preseason game. You get 'X' amount of snaps. We'll make corrections and go from there."
The news is not all bad for Philly fans. Backup QB Mark Sanchez looked sharp, completing 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards. Perhaps there's a QB controversy brewing in Eagles camp?
All jokes aside, the Eagles offense isn't too worried, and understandably so, as it is just one preseason game. But when they take the field against the Patriots on Friday, they'll likely be feeling a bit more pressure to look like the high octane offense they were in 2013.
While preseason games don't count, they do matter, and after a bad debut, the Eagles' second preseason game just became all that more important.