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:
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.
Shot 8 – There were a couple of plays he’d like to have back, but Sidney Jones pulled double duty on Thursday, seeing significant time both inside and outside, and he made a number of impressive plays on the ball. Here are two of my favorites #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/okcjgg8vCb
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) August 17, 2018
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.
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.
Hey Eagles fans.
This is a thread of *Steven Means* causing problems for Trent Brown https://t.co/g8qzPtxSrs
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) August 17, 2018
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?
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.
Great player. Super Bowl champion. Chip on his shoulder:
Philly was the best team last year not because of having the best talent, but because we were the best overall unit in football. How else would a team beat the Patriots? Here at the Browns, we have the capabilities to be an even better team because of the natural raw talent here! https://t.co/JQSgvzLbPJ
— Mychal Kendricks (@MychalKendricks) August 22, 2018
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.