1. The offensive line won't miss Evan Mathis
Outside of Allen Barbre pushing Ryan Mathews into the end zone, the Eagles got some incredibly poor guard play last night. (See Ryan at Chipwagon for all the ugly.) Even Chip gave up on his signature inside zone runs because he didn't trust the inside blocking. Thank your lucky stars that the injury to Jason Peters (who looks pretty much the same as he did at the end of last year) wasn't serious.
2. 11 new starters won't take time to adjust
Including the guards, the Eagles replaced about half of their offensive and defensive starters this offseason. And despite their sterling offseason work (which was little more than a couple quarters of work against vanilla schemes), this team needs time to gel. Sam Bradford was out of sync with every wide receiver and tight end not named Jordan Matthews. The defense frequently looked confused presnap. While the second half was more promising, this looks like a team that may not put it all together in the first few weeks.
3. Byron Maxwell is a #1 shutdown corner, worth $22 million guaranteed.
The Eagles paid Maxwell like he was a top five NFL cornerback. Hard to look at his performance last night and not think Cary Williams could have done just as poorly for a fraction of the cost. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the league, so any corner is going to struggle--but you don't get the the Super Bowl without getting by a few great wideouts. Oh, and old man Roddy White made it look easy against Maxwell too.
4. Nolan Carroll is a starting cornerback.
Chip and company praised Carroll to high heavens this offseason. Now we see he's the same player who could couldn't beat Bradley Fletcher last year. And if he's this bad, what about rookie and supposed instant contributor Eric Rowe? While we're at it, isn't everyone glad that the Eagles traded Brandon Boykin? It frees up playing time for future Pro Bowler Chris Maragos, who completely lost Roddy White in the end zone.
5. DeMeco Ryans isn't washed up.
Two Good Things: Walter Thurmond and Kiko Alonso
Neither played a perfect game, but they were difference makers on a defense that generated little pass rush and couldn't cover. This looks like a boom-or-bust unit that can mostly stop the run but has the same problems on the back end as last year. If that's the case, they'll need turnovers to make up the difference (looking at you, Malcolm Jenkins -- spend some time with the JUGS machine).
One Wait-And-See: Sam Bradford
Bradford was on fire most of the second half, raising his final completion rate (69%). Overall, you'll take that line from him, and the progress he showed in his first regular season game in 23 months. But I'll be interested to see in the All-22 whether he had opportunities deep and didn't take them. You want quarterbacks to take what the defense gives them, but one major concern with Bradford is whether he's willing to throw it long. He ended on Monday night with just 6.46 yards per passing attempt, basically his career average.
Overall Thoughts: no, the sky isn't falling. It's one last minute road loss against a team that could be better than we thought. But if you were predicting Super Bowl for this Eagles group, consider that this first game was remarkably similar to the opener last year--when the team needed a few lucky breaks to win 10 games, and still didn't make the playoffs. There's a long way to go.