After following all the camp stories to death the past couple weeks, it will be nice to finally watch and get to see some of the players in actual game action, even if it is just a meaningless preseason game.
The Eagles play host to the Jaguars in their first preseason game of the season. It's important to remember that the most important outcome of any preseason game is making sure no one is on the injured list after the game.
This is however a meaningful game for a lot of the players trying to make the team. They will be judged a lot on how they perform in game action. Also, the Eagles are counting on a lot of rookies to play big roles this season, and these games are important for those players also to get some live game action under their belts.
Tonight, I will keep a close eye on the 2 starting defensive rookies, Brandon Graham and Nate Allen. 2nd round pick Nate Allen appears to have locked up the starting free safety position. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that he has outplayed everyone, or just that the Eagles are really hoping that he is the team's free safety of the future. The Eagles are very thin at the safety position in my opinion, as Quintin Demps, and Macho Harris are not starters in my opinion. This means that Allen will have to play a large role in the defense this season. I have concerns that Allen struggles with tackling at time. I have been a big advocate that the Eagles should have chosen Taylor Mays over Nate Allen. Obviously it could be years down the line before that argument is determined, but I have some definite concerns over Nate Allen, and I am hoping I am wrong.
Brandon Graham is the other rookie, the Eagles first round draft pick, who looks like he might be starting by Week 1. All indications from camp are that Graham is a special player, and has been one of, if not the most impressive player in camp thus far. The Eagles have been trying to fill the left defensive end spot opposite Trent Cole for years. I am hoping Graham can be that guy. He is another guy who we will need to keep a close eye on tonight.
On defense, the team appears pretty set. We will see how the strong side linebacker position plays out, as Moise Fokou was the starter entering camp, but Akeem Jordan appears to have taken that starting spot over. I am not a huge Jordan fan, I feel like he is adequate, but a very average player overall. I think Bradley, and Ernie Sims will be beasts this season.
The cornerback spot is another position that I feel is thin. I'm not sure Ellis Hobbs is starting material. And I'm not sure Joselio Hanson is 3rd CB material. I am interested to see how Trevard Lindley plays in the preseason, as I think he could end up being a starter; that is probably a year or two away though.
On offense, the Eagles are very young, but seem to have a lot of skill. Obviously we need to see how new starter Kevin Kolb performs in game action, but luckily he was able to start a couple games last season. On offense, the offensive line is the question mark, along with Kolb. Jason Peters did not play well last season. Todd Herramans is still injured. Stacy Andrews is the starting right guard, which is a concern in itself. And that doesn't even mention the uncertain center position.
At center, Jamaal Jackson is out, and probably won't be back for a while, and shouldn't be rushed back with the ACL injury. Nick Cole took over the center position, but seemed to struggle and also got injured. This moved 3rd year former Pittsburgh Panther, Mike McGlynn, into the starting center position, and he will get the nod tonight at center. Apparently McGlynn has played really well the past week at camp, and is a very big body at the center position.
Either way, it will be nice to see an actual game, and see how some of the young players perform, even if it counts for nothing.