If you watched last Thursday’s preseason game against the Patriots, it was almost impossible to miss the abysmal play of Big V at left tackle. We haven’t seen a game like that out of Big V since his rookie season. He was matched up against Pro Bowler Adrian Clayborn, which proved to be a completely lopsided matchup. Vaitai ended up allowing 13 of the 35 total QB pressures Thursday night.
It was disappointing watching him struggle so immensely, especially when you consider how well he played in Jason Peters’ absence last season.
After the game, Big V said he just wasn’t mentally ready for the game. Here’s the full quote:
“I wasn’t ready mentally. I guess it was one of those deals where you just get mentally tired, but I shouldn’t use that as an excuse, I should be mentally ready every time,” Vaitai said. “I wasn’t doing what (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) asked me to do. I just wasn’t myself. I couldn’t bounce back. Usually, I bounce back. I couldn’t, all night.”
These are exactly the type of comments you don’t want to see as a fan of the defending Super Bowl champs. Not being ‘mentally ready’ is a piss poor excuse that even a High School coach would get mad at. And it’s even worse that he admitted to not listening to what his coach was telling him to do.
This embarrassing performance shouldn’t just serve as a wake up call for Vaitai, it should serve as a wake up call for the entire team. Because it wasn’t just Vaitai; Foles played terribly, there were multiple dropped balls, and the defense couldn’t get off the field the entire first half. This team needs to be mentally prepared to face every team’s best shot this season.
I understand it’s just the preseason, so I’m trying not to overreact. If anything, I’m glad this happened during the preseason and not the regular season where the games actually count.
This was the first time we’ve seen an ounce of complacency out of this Eagles team. For the most part, all we’ve heard this offseason was how hungry they still are for more championships.
There’s no question that the Eagles have the talent to make another run at the Super Bowl, it’s the mental fatigue that usually prevents defending champs in the NFL from repeating. Every team they play this season is going to come into the game with something to prove. Just look at the week one matchup against the Falcons; two years ago they suffered the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history, and they came into Philly as a 6th seed last season and were one play away from heading to the NFC Championship game. You don’t think they’re going to come into the Linc week one with a huge chip on their shoulder and something to prove?
The Eagles are going to need to be mentally prepared for this every single week.
Again, I’m happy this happened now and not week one. The Eagles have more than enough time to prepare themselves mentally for week one. The dress rehearsal for this next preseason game will give us a better idea of where this team will be come week one. I have faith they’ll be able to rectify this, and come out week one ready to show the NFL that they’re still the top dogs.