Aug 292010


Eagles RB Mike Bell

August 28 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch

Mike Bell finally got on the field.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is the Eagles’ new running back wasn’t able to do much with his first playing time of the preseason. He rushed for just 17 yards on eight carries in an ugly, 20-17 win over the Chiefs last night. Bell also appeared to blow a blitz-pickup assignment on one of the Chiefs’ four sacks of quarterback Kevin Kolb, which is a major no-no when Andy Reid is your coach.

On a night when the whole first-team offense pretty much stunk up the joint against a Chiefs defense that finished 30th in the league in yards allowed and 30th against the run last season, Bell fit right in. His longest run went for 4 yards, and that didn’t come until late in the third quarter. Before that, his longest run was 2 yards. He was held to 10 yards on five carries in the first half.

In his defense, it hardly was all his fault. The alert level on those concerns over the Eagles‘ offensive line shot up from yellow to orange after this debacle.

The Chiefs’ 3-4 defense, which, by the way, is the very same scheme the Green Bay Packers will be using against the Eagles in 2 weeks, except with much better players, seemed to completely befuddle the Birds’ blockers, despite the fact that they finally got starting left guard Todd Herremans back.

Kolb was sacked four times in three quarters of work and spent most of the night running for his life. He completed just eight of his first 21 passes for 69 yards.

The Eagles converted just three of 12 third-down chances in the first three quarters and while they rushed for 97 yards in those first three quarters, 34 of those yards came from Kolb (18 on three carries) and the team’s other quarterback, Mike Vick (16 on three carries), who converted both of the Eagles’ successful third-down tries in the first three quarters.

It’s been a tough summer for Bell. Signed by the Eagles in March after rushing for 654 yards with the Super Bowl-champion Saints last season, he was penciled in as the main backup to starter LeSean McCoy.

But he spent most of training camp and the preseason sidelined by injuries, first a hamstring strain, then a pulled calf muscle. He finally was able to return to practice last Sunday and saw his first preseason action against the Chiefs.

“I was a little rusty,” Bell said. “It was the first real contact I’ve had in a while. I’ve got a long way to go, I’ll tell you that. A long way to go. My legs aren’t where they should be. My reaction isn’t what it should be.

“But it’s encouraging because I did some things that I haven’t done. I never had to pass-protect before with previous teams I was on. In previous seasons, I used to base how well I played on how many yards I had. But sometimes stats are deceiving.”

Said coach Andy Reid: “I thought he did some good things. He was able to knock some rust off and get into game speed. There are some things he needs to work on, though.””

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