August 18, 2010

Defense shines in second scrimmage

The second Eagles' scrimmage of the fall featured a little more time for the starters and a very solid performance by the defense including a pick-six by Deleon Gause. EagleAction.com has the breakdown.

Quarterbacks

Dave Shinskie continues to get the most reps with the first team offense and after two bad passes to start the scrimmage, Shinskie seemed to settle down. He completed 13-19 for 154 yards and threw a 43-yard TD pass to Billy Flutie. Shinskie threw an interception on a pass intended for Clyde Lee in which he did not even attempt to look the defense off. He showed he learned from his mistakes, though, during a two-minute drill in which he scanned the field before settling on Jonathan Coleman for key six-yard reception to keep things alive.

Mike Marscovetra had trouble early getting first downs but finished the game with 12 pass attempts of which he completed nine. Marscovetra shows good zip on the ball and fairly good accuracy, frequently hitting receivers in the hands or chest. He totaled 83 yards with a long of 17.
Chase Rettig did a nice job sustaining a drive with the second-team offense as he completed eight of ten attempts for 65 yards. Rettig continues to show a good arm, particularly on a throw which saw him scramble to his right and throw across his body for a completion.
Joshua Bordner completed two of his nine attempts for only seven yards.
All the quarterbacks seemed most comfortable throwing towards the middle of the field and finding their tight ends.

Running Backs

Montel Harris showcased his ability today as he racked up 44 yards on just eight carries with a long of 13 yards. As Eagles fans have come to expect, Montel exhibited great field vision and quick cuts when moving up field. Not always known as a pass catcher, Harris tied for the game high in receptions with four and showed good hands and a quick turn up field. He totaled 35 receiving yards.

Andre Williams, Sterlin Phifer, and Tahj Kimble rushed for 26, 25, and 23 yards, respectively. Williams showed great open field speed while Kimble and Phifer illustrated good power up the middle. Don't be surprised to see Phifer as the third and short yardage running back or near the goalline. Mike Javorski added nine yards on five attempts and Kimble also caught three passes for 23 yards.

Wide Receivers

With Colin Larmond, Alexander Amidon and Shakim Phillips out, the wide receivers still performed well. Though the final rotation will not be fully seen until some of those guys return from injury, namely Larmond, the receivers today showed good hands and that they are not afraid to take a hit.

Ifeanyi Momah tied with Harris for receptions with four for 48 yards. Momah caught passes in the middle of the field, using his body to shield away the defenders, and fought through tackles for a few extra yards. Rettig tried for a fade to the 6-foot-6 Momah but the defense had it played well. With his height, Momah could pose a big red zone threat.

Billy Flutie's only reception came on the TD pass and Coleman had three catches for 19 yards. Coleman's catches came in traffic where he showed he can fight to haul in the ball.

Tight Ends

The tight ends continue to play a prominent role in the passing game. Chris Pantale dropped his first opportunity, but clearly made up for it as he eventually hauled in three passes for 41 yards. Pantale has very strong hands and is a solid pass catcher who can be a real threat for defenses.

Lars Anderson caught two passes and Jordon McMichael caught three.

Offensive Line

With starting center Nate Richman out with a tweaked back, Mark Spinney stepped in and seemed to struggle at times. Two snaps with Shinskie were fumbled and Spinney had trouble with Connor O'Neal and Kaleb Ramsey on the pass rush.

All in all, though, the first string O-line blocked well for the running game. The second string line needs work. They seemed to have trouble at times opening holes for the running backs and could not keep the pass rush out of the backfield.

Defensive Line

With Mike Goodman out, the starting line of Alex Albright, Ramsey, O'Neal, and Brad Newman, showed very good push. The second line also looks very strong with Kasim Edebali, Dillon Quinn, Max Holloway and Bryan Murray. Though they were up against the second string O-line in most cases, they showed a good ability to penetrate and get into the backfield.
Holloway was all over the field tonight as he registered three sacks and one pass breakup while Quinn registered six tackles, two of which were for losses, and a sack.

Linebackers

Alexander DiSanzo led all defenders with 13 tackles and also had a pass breakup. Without Mark Herzlich on the field, Will Thompson, Luke Kuechly and Mike Morrissey held down the fort. They showed aggressiveness in pursuing the ball and all three delivered big hits.

Though the defense only had one interception, the linebackers accounted for three pass breakups that almost fell into the defense's hands.

Defensive Backs

With starting safety Wes Davis out, Okechukwu Okoroha stepped in and led the D-backs with 10 tackles. Dominick LeGrande, who started at the other safety spot, had four tackles and
Deleon Gause provided a spark to the defense as he returned an intercepted Shinskie pass for a touchdown after scurrying around for 54 yards.

Special Teams

Nate Freese continues to impress with his leg strength as he connected on all three of his attempts of 42, 48, and 30 yards. The 48-yarder just cleared the cross bar as Freese launched it from the left hash.

Ryan Quigley sat out the scrimmage with an injury that occurred during practice today and Gerald Levano took over punting duties. While two punts went end-over-end, the others seemed to get good height and rotation.

Deleon Gause and Chris Fox returned punts and both called for fair catches each time.

The team will be back in Alumni Stadium on Sunday for its third scrimmage.


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