Philadelphia Eagles vs. Super Bowl Runners-Up: What to Watch For

Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Foles vs. Tom Brady.

Plus – Eagles football.

Do you really need any other reason to watch?

Brady is reportedly supposed to play most of the most half tonight, which is infinitely more interesting than six series of Brian Hoyer.

But beyond the Super Bowl rematch and Brady/Foles angle (I’m certain Brady will speak to Nick pregame and congratulate him on winning it all), here are a few more things to look for tonight:

Dallas Goedert and maybe Zach Ertz

By far the biggest positive from game one, Goedert I’d assume is good to go after coming back from a minor arm injury over the weekend.

Zach Ertz didn’t play against the Steelers, but if he goes tonight I’m really curious to see him and Goedert on the field together, especially in the red zone. I wouldn’t expect the Eagles to show any wrinkles and just keep the offense fairly vanilla, but the deployment of two tight-ends that know how to use their body, hit that seam route, and catch the ball in traffic is something I think fans should really look forward to this season.

At the very least, we’ll see Foles chucking the ball to Goedert for a bit before Nate Sudfeld enters the game. Eagles tight ends combined for 163 targets last season and functioned as a vital cog in Doug Pederson’s offense.

Oh yeah, one other thing – can he block?

Looks okay so far:

Running back

Donnel Pumphrey hasn’t been practicing.

Josh Adams hasn’t been practicing.

Matt Jones didn’t play last week (but apparently is fine now).

One of the more interesting preseason positional battles has fallen flat, if we’re being honest.

Adams looked decent enough against the Steelers, picking up 30 yards on 6 carries with a 15 yard burst in there. He caught two balls for 11 yards while Wendell Smallwood, who is also competing for a roster spot, went for 24 yards on 6 carries but fumbled in the second half.

Unless Pumphrey and Adams became healthy over the last 48 hours, I really don’t know how much we’re gonna see from those guys tonight, if we see them at all. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement (probably won’t play tonight) and Darren Sproles are roster locks, so it’s not like the 4th spot is uber-important, but it’s at least something to keep an eye on.

Linebacker and slot corner

Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill have a leg up on Corey Nelson right now. That’s not what I expected after the Eagles gave Nelson $2.25 million on a one-year deal.

Gerry started at the WILL spot last week and finished with four tackles. Grugier-Hill had 6 tackles, two for loss, and LaRoy Reynolds finished with four tackles and a sack.

If the Eagles keep Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Gerry, Grugier-Hill, and Joe Walker (the latter three are special teamers), that really leaves only one spot for Nelson, Reynolds, Kyle Wilson, and Asantay Brown. They’ll carry six linebackers.

As I’ve said before, WILL isn’t the most important position to fill on the defense, which I think goes to slot corner. Hicks and Bradham will play LB in nickel sets, and the Eagles can benefit from their significant corner depth when they come out of their base defense (which happens more often than not).

Avonte Maddox got the 1st team slot looks in camp on Monday and Tuesday. Sidney Jones seems like the leader in the clubhouse. I really do think Patrick Robinson was a big loss for this defense, but the Birds have plenty of talent ready to step up and fill his shoes.

The punter

Cameron Johnston hit that 81-yarder last week (net 76) which was called back for a penalty.

What did you think of him otherwise?

It just seems strange to me that they aren’t making him at least compete for the job. Donnie Jones is still out there. You could have at least brought in a second punter and put a bit of pressure on Johnston to show consistency throughout camp and into the Steelers game.

Defensive tackle

Interested to see how Destiny Vaeao does with first team reps against the Patriots’ starting unit. The Eagles couldn’t get much pressure on Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, not until Brandon Graham got to him in the fourth quarter.

Otherwise, keep an eye on how they use Michael Bennett. They stacked him at tackle on some third and long plays last week. And let’s see what they do with Haloti Ngata, too. I thought for sure he’d be starting alongside Fletcher Cox while Tim Jernigan is out, but nope:

Mike Wallace

Expected to play tonight.

No Alshon Jeffery or Nelson Agholor (I think), but at least one of the starting receivers is gonna be on the field.

Not gonna lie, I think it’s a bit worrisome that some of these guys have been out for a prolonged period of time. We’re three weeks away from the season opener.

Returning

Rashard Davis and Shelton Gibson handled kick return duties last week. Davis and Clement returned one punt each. I’d assume Darren Sproles takes over when he’s ready.

Jump balls

Couple of instances last week where Maddox and Rasul Douglas had great positioning but didn’t make the right play on the ball. Maybe Rasul took a slight hand in the back on the one touchdown, but there were a couple mistakes in the secondary on 50/50 toss-ups.

Helmet rule

Sidney Jones got popped last week. I don’t think there was another flag though, was there? My wife turned on “The Real Housewives” of whatever late in the fourth quarter.

I compiled some clips of helmet-first collisions from week one of the preseason games.

National anthem

Actually.. nah who cares.

That’s about it. Let’s see if anything else pops up tonight.

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3 Comments

  • The south Philly pepper 🌶 man August 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    The pats -4 get it and bet it .
    Phils game 2 money line . Get it & bet it

    Reply
  • Brandon Lang August 16, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Mike miss is dating Kristen Rogers ? Guy loves his news anchors

    Reply
    • Pat E. gan August 16, 2018 at 10:51 pm

      Mike Miss is dating his hand. He’s in love with himself.

      Reply

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