In their third pre season contest, the Philadelphia Eagles will play against the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field. The third pre season game means many things. For starters, it is the longest period they will play before the regular season. For the players that are on the bubble, they will be competing for about an extra week, as first cuts come on August 30.
What should you look out for this game?
1. How will Juan Castillo handle his biggest game yet?
The Eagles have announced that they will play this game as if it were a regular season game. This means that Juan Castillo, the new Eagles’ defensive coordinator will have his work cut out for him as he tries to get a hold of all his new players. For coming into his first year on the defense, he is also coming in with five new starters on defense.
The question for him will be, how does the defense hold up against an extremely talented rushing attack led by Peyton Hillis. The secondary will be playing against lower level talent, so it may be a better idea to put more men in the box.
2. How does Michael Vick rebound from his horrific performance last week?
Last Thursday, against the Steelers, the speculated MVP candidate posted a 13.5 quarterback rating. For those of you who don’t know how this stat works, that is one of the worst possible quarterback ratings someone could have. The maximum is 158.3, while the minimum is zero.
Does Vick bounce back or does he extend his cold streak?
3. How do the right tackles fair?
On Andy Reid’s depth chart under right tackle, penciled in as the starter is a huge question mark. Is it Ryan Harris? Is it Winston Justice? Is it (dare I say) King Dunlap?
Despite the fact that Ryan Harris and Winston Justice are injured, tonight you will see many variations of right tackle. The guess is that King Dunlap will start, but they will rotate guys in such as Evan Mathis, Austin Howard, and maybe even Reggie Wells, who the Eagles recently re-signed.
Whoever is in there must play their hearts out, because quite frankly, someone must step up. The position is anyone’s at this point, and watch to see who ruins their chances, and who grabs their oppurtunities.
4. How does Center Jason Kelce play tonight?
Jason Kelce is on the verge of becoming the starting center for the Eagles. To read more extensively, click here.
5. Who proves themselves at safety tonight?
With Nate Allen’s knee injury still lingering, other players like Colt Anderson, Jarrad Page, and Kurt Coleman have the chance to separate themselves from the pack. Page has been filling in for Allen during practices when he needs some time off. Coleman has yet to solidify a spot, depending on how many safeties the team keeps. If they keep four safeties, he may have a spot already, but if they keep three safeties, he may be in trouble.
6. Who does the team keep at defensive line?
The Eagles have a handful of players competing for a role on this team. Jim Washburn runs by a rotation, and will likely keep 10 players along the line. This means that players like Anthony Hargrove, Derek Landri, Philip Hunt, Daniel T’eo Nesheim and Jaqua Parker will be battling it out for the last two to four spots. Every player in this group has had their moments this pre season, and the question is, who impresses the coaches most?
7. How does Alex Henery do?
Every game thus far, Alex Henery has been counted on to show us something, but he has yet to have a big oppurtunity. He nailed two field goals in the first game, but from short distances, and didn’t attempt a field goal in the game against the Steelers. The most important thing for him is consistency in games. We know he has the leg strength, but can he have the accuracy in games?
8. Can Casey Matthews be a starting middle linebacker in the NFL?
With Matthews prepared to have the most starting time of any game so far, he will need to show he can play with the men. Last week he didn’t prove anything, getting pushed over most of the time, even by the receivers.
9. How will Nnamdi Asomugha do with all the playing time?
No doubt that Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the most feared cornerbacks in the league. His talent has been proven over the last 8 years in Oakland. Can he flourish in the Eagles defensive system? He hasn’t been able to showcase his skills yet, but with all the playing time, look out for what he can do.
10. How much time will the starters get?
Whether it is one half or three quarters, the Eagles can not afford any injuries. Disregarding injuries however, how long will each player get? How will stamina effect it? How will the rotations take place?
Overall, this should be the most exciting game of the pre season, with the starters going for the longest time, and the coaching staff treating it like a real game.