Eagles vs. Browns: What to Watch For

Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

This is the one preseason game that matters, so look for the starters to play the entire first half tonight, per Doug Pederson. 

I can’t think of many storylines that differ from what we’ve been talking about over the past two games. Obviously you need to see the first team offense put together a nice drive that finishes in the end zone. You want to see Nick Foles get in a rhythm, string together some passes, and move the ball down the field. You want Big V to pick it up at left tackle because Jason Peters will be inactive alongside fellow starters Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery.

More than anything, I think you just need some reassurance that this team has knocked off the rust and will be ready for the Falcons after last Thursday’s sleepy performance.

Couple of other things to keep an eye on:

Slot corner

Seems like it’s down to Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox. Whoever starts on the field tonight likely starts against Atlanta, and I think they’re giving the gig to Jones to begin the season.

For what it’s worth, Maddox got 30 defensive snaps and 19 special teams snaps last week. Jones received 47 and 3, respectively, including reps on the outside as well. You might remember the whiff he had on the one Patriots touchdown. There was some good and some bad as he logged the most meaningful amount of snaps he’s had since being selected by the Eagles in the second round of last year’s draft.

As it stands, the corner depth chart probably looks like this:

  • outside 1: Jalen Mills / Sidney Jones
  • outside 2: Ronald Darby / Rasul Douglas
  • slot: Sidney Jones / Avonte Maddox (not including the possible use of Malcolm Jenkins or another safety in this position)

De’Vante Bausby, D.J. Killings, and Chandon Sullivan round out the group.


Running back

Darren Sproles won’t play. Josh Adams will be back after missing time alongside Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey. Jay Ajayi has a lower body injury and requires rest.

That means the only two fully health ball carriers on the roster are Wendell Smallwood and Matt Jones, the latter of whom dropped three passes last week.

Again, I feel let down by the competition for the fourth running back spot. Pumphrey hasn’t played in a single preseason game. Adams looked good in limited action and we’ll see how he does tonight. Jones doesn’t seem like he’s long for this world and Smallwood has had some moments, but nothing groundbreaking. Nobody has really stepped forward and claimed the job.

I want somebody to come forward, take a hand-off, truck an opposing linebacker, get up, and yell, “this is my job,” or something along those lines.


Kamu Grugier-Hill played 41% of the defensive snaps last week and 50% of the special teams snaps. Nate Gerry, Joe Walker, and Corey Nelson were each given around 30% of the defensive plays.

I’d like to see them come out tonight with the starting group we’re gonna see in week one, which means leaving Nigel Bradham on the bench to start (suspended for the opener). Present me with Jordan Hicks and the two linebackers you’ve chosen to play on the outsides. Give those guys a full half playing together, then you can choose whether to give Bradham some run in the third quarter with the backups. I’m not sure that’s the best idea, but it is what it is because of the suspension.

Line rotations

Destiny Vaeao got four more snaps (26) than Haloti Ngata last week (22). Fletcher Cox played 24 snaps and Elijah Qualls 15. That looks like your DT rotation as we head into the season, but you’re gonna see more of Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett at tackle when the Eagles inevitably put opposing offenses into 3rd and long situations.

Graham won’t play tonight, so you’ll get Bennett, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, and Steven Means on the outside. Josh Sweat and Joe Ostman got some good run last week as well.


Another opportunity tonight for Shelton Gibson to continue his strong preseason.

Apparently no one knew about Mack Hollins’ offseason sports hernia surgery, which is part of the reason Gibson has been able to play his way towards a roster spot. I had a sports hernia a while back and the injury really is a pain in the ass to recover from because it’s one of those things where you go out, you’re feeling fine, and then one misstep or awkward landing and you’re feeling like dog shit all over again. You can’t really stretch it out and it’s a bitch to play through, requiring rest and patience more than anything.

Anyway, let’s see more of Mike Wallace tonight. Nelson Agholor began this week in a “day-to-day” status and will not play. Anybody getting a little nervous with the injury situation, now two weeks from the season opener?

Helmet rule

I hate the fact that this is probably going to be a section in every Eagles recap or preview I write this season.

The Birds have been flagged five times so far for leading with the helmet. This week they spent time looking over league-wide film and studying how officials are calling the penalty. The NFL came out yesterday and explained that there will be no changes to the rule after listening to feedback from teams and players.

Mychal Kendricks

Great player. Super Bowl champion. Chip on his shoulder:

I get what he’s saying but I disagree. There was plenty of talent on that team, Mychal Kendricks included. To suggest that the Browns have more talent than the Eagles is highly questionable.



25 Responses

    1. I’ll watch for him to jump off the WaltWhitman after get shitcanned and replaced
      by NatEgg.

      1. She better get rid of the lisp, terrible Mayfair accent and learn how to do a live read

    2. Maybe you should just goto his house and toss his salad since you are so enamored with him.

  1. Mychal Kendricks needs to jump the fence and go into the Grizzly Bear exhibit at the zoo.
    Then we’ll see how much he brags and spouts off aimlessly.

  2. Is Jim Swartz still arrogantly walking around Novacare complex trying to take Doug’s job?

  3. The black unemployment rate, the record setting economy, the record setting low crime rate, the decimation of isis doesn’t matter………..Trump paid off women he had affairs with….he’s got to go.

    1. Nothing to do with him paying off women…He beat Hillary in the election, that is his crime and Washington wants revenge any way it can have it.

    1. eh, i was a bleeding heart liberal when i was her age too. Identity politics wasn’t as relevant as it is today.

  4. I am just waiting to rage tweet about the next awful thing that comes out about me. I’m the bestest!

  5. I thought russle was the king of bad take articles, wanks said hold my beer. I think bwanks needs to go to timeout with joy on broad, guy writes an article saying the phillies’ season is over and than complains in the comment section about the lack of interest in the team and attendance. Can’t really have it both ways. No one with a brain is going to waste their time and money with this abortion of a team. Inconsistent offense, worst defense, no fundamentals and you wonder why no one cares. I would be worried more if the place was sold out. I would be sure that I live amongst a large amount of brain dead morons and would be scared for my life. On top of the fact that the team is god awful and insanely lucky to have the record they do, the team isn’t marketed well and there’s no real personalities on the squad. Not wasting any money or time until the front office puts a watchable product on the field.

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