There was nothing special about the special teams in the Eagles' preseason opener against the New England Patriots last night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jeremy Maclin whiffed on a punt return. The punt coverage allowed a 75-yard touchdown return. There was an illegal block on an Eagles kick return. And a 44-yard David Akers field-goal attempt was blocked.
Needless to say, new Eagles special-teams coordinator Ted Daisher couldn't have been pleased with his unit's performance. It certainly contrasts with what the former protégé of John Harbaugh said that he wanted out of his players one week into training camp.
"I'm going to be as straight as I can," Daisher said during camp. "We need to be hard-nosed, running, hitting, getting - nonstop, relentless every second of every play of every day. I don't know if you guys have noticed that, but I've tried to instill that a little bit in practice, and I think the guys have kind of grasped that. I think they're running with it, and I see some good things coming."
It is only the first game, but the first half was a disaster in Daisher's area of expertise. The Patriots took a 14-3 lead when Julian Edelman broke a would-be Sean Jones tackle before scoring.
Akers had two field goals in the first half, but his third attempt, which would have cut the Patriots' lead to 12 points, was batted down. New England, instead, took a 21-6 cushion into the half.
Maclin, in his first NFL appearance, had a 24-yard kickoff return to open the game, but the rookie completely missed a punt a few possessions later. Joselio Hanson recovered for the Eagles.
It's always good to get some perspective on injuries and, in the Eagles' case, it's as bad as it seems right now.
A total of 11 players missed last night's game because of injuries, including seven projected starters: running back Brian Westbrook, middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, defensive ends Trent Cole and Victor Abiamiri, offensive tackle Shawn Andrews, and guards Stacy Andrews and Todd Herremans.
By comparison, the Patriots had nine players sit out last night, including four projected starters: tight end Ben Watson, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, cornerback Shawn Springs, and defensive tackle Ty Warren.
Bradley is out for the season after undergoing surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and Shawn Andrews has yet to practice because of his surgically repaired back. Those are the Eagles' most serious injuries.
The Patriots' most serious injury is believed to be Warren, who is recovering from double groin surgery he underwent in the off-season. It's possible some of the Patriots' other injuries are more serious, but only the Patriots know for sure because coach Bill Belichick does not reveal injuries until the beginning of the regular season, when the NFL requires a weekly injury report.
Middle linebacker watch
As expected, Joe Mays was the starter at middle linebacker and also as expected, Omar Gaither replaced Mays in passing situations. Mays remained on the field in goal-line situations.
Former Eagles defensive end Derrick Burgess, who played against New England and had two sacks in Super Bowl XXXIX, was in uniform playing for the Patriots for the first time last night. New England acquired Burgess in a trade with Oakland a week ago. He's listed second on the Pats' depth chart behind outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, but he should see plenty of time as a pass-rushing specialist. . . . The Eagles captains last night were Sheldon Brown, Donovan McNabb and Akers, the senior-most members of each of the team's three units.