Aug 292010
 

Eagles WR DeSean Jackson

August 28 Philadelphia Daily News

“There is a reason NFL teams don’t play the starters much in the preseason, and it doesn’t really have a lot to do with the crucial need for an extended look at the Martell Malletts, Jerail McCullers and Jared Perrys of the world.

Andy Reid’s plan to sharpen his starting offensive and defensive units with their most extensive preseason playing time last night started to veer off track on the Birds’ first snap, when DeSean Jackson took a wideout screen 4 yards and got clobbered by rookie safety Eric Berry, the guy many fans wanted the Eagles to trade up to draft this year. Jackson left the field with what the Eagles said was an upper-back injury. He did not return to what would become a 20-17 win over the Chiefs.

Odds of an upper-back injury being something really awful are remote, but the offense without Jackson certainly lacked sharpness. Picking up blitzes seemed to be a lost art, as former Eagles practice squad linebacker Andy Studebaker roamed free for a pair of first-half sacks of Kevin Kolb.

By halftime, the most indispensable defensive player, defensive end Trent Cole, had ridden a John Deere cart to the locker room for right ankle X-rays, which were negative. Cole was followed by Mike McGlynn, the guy who ought to be the No. 3 center, but has started every preseason game because Jamaal Jackson is still recovering from anterior cruciate ligament surgery and Nick Cole has lost several weeks to mysterious knee soreness. For the final drive before the half, A.Q. Shipley, a longshot to make the roster (before last night, anyhow) was snapping the ball to Kolb.

McGlynn, knowing the enormity of the opportunity in front of him, returned for the second half.

The Eagles scored on that first drive. Shady McCoy took a Michael Vick handoff 18 yards up the gut, getting excellent blocking from just about everybody on the field. The Eagles started on the Chiefs‘ 22 following a fumble recovered by Trent Cole.

The Birds settled for a 39-yard David Akers field goal at the end of their third drive, a 16-play marathon that went off course when Kolb was pressured into an end-zone incompletion to Jeremy Maclin (who had a terrible first half in his return to his home state, dropping a long bomb and a couple shorter balls), then Jason Peters took the first of his two first-half false starts.

Kansas City had the ball much of the second quarter, thanks to a rare defensive delay penalty on the Eagles as the Chiefs were about to punt. Apparently, someone tried to entice a false start. Kansas City’s bumbling offense promptly awoke and drove smartly downfield, Matt Cassel hitting a wide-open Dwayne Bowe in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 3.

The Eagles’ 2-minute drill worked well enough to net a first down at the Chiefs’ 24, but a Studebaker sack, a Maclinand a Peters false start later, Sav Rocca was punting.

Midway through the third quarter, Kolb had been sacked four times, all by linebackers, and had spent

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