Panthers vs. Eagles: Philly fans encouraged by defense, improved QB play

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles fans felt much better about their team after Thursday night's win over the Panthers. Among the highlights: Michael Vick, an improved defense and LeSean McCoy's ridiculous agility.

The Philadelphia Eagles didn't blow out the Carolina Panthers, but their 14-9 preseason win Thursday night had to be satisfying coming off a loss to the New England Patriots in Week 1. All eyes were on the quarterbacks once again, with Nick Foles being given the start this week over Michael Vick. Foles did a nice job moving the ball downfield, according to Brandon Lee Gowton at Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation, but struggled come the red zone:

Entering tonight's game, then, there were two main areas to focus on. The first was obviously the quarterback battle. Nick Foles got the start, and he did a nice job. The Chip Kelly offense as a whole looked seamless on his first drive, moving the ball down the field at will. Then they got to the redzone, and well... not so good. Foles threw a interception in the endzone. It was a really bad decision, and a ball that should have just been throw away.

The miscue may have helped give Vick a leg up in the competition. Vick was 8-for-8 for 96 yards at one point, and finished 9-for-10 with an end-of-half Hail Mary interception. Foles went 6-for-8 for 53 yards and a pick, though he did lead the Eagles to their first touchdown, which he ran in from seven yards out from the goal line. Vick also led two strong drives, however, the first ending in a Chris Polk fumble and the second in a one-yard LeSean McCoy touchdown plunge.

Whichever quarterback is given the starting nod for the Eagles' Week 3 preseason matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars could be telling, given how fast the regular season opener is approaching.

Also encouraging for the Eagles was how well the defense performed after getting shredded by the Patriots. Gowton once again:

The second big thing to watch was on the other side of the ball. The Eagles starting defense certainly left cause for concern last week. They didn't stand a chance of stopping the New England Patriots' starters. This week, the defense got off to a better start. Instead of a big play, they got a stop on the Panthers first drive. And the second one! And the third one, where they only allowed a field goal! Sure helps not having to play against Tom Brady and the Patriots, huh?

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