The Eagles are on the road for the first time this pre-season as they seek revenge against the Green Bay Packers. It may be pre-season, but passion and emotion are still two very prominent factors for the birds and their fans. Here are three things to watch out for in particular this game.
3) Linebacker luxury
FINALLY! For the first time this off-season, all of the Eagles inside linebackers will be available for selection. Kiko Alonso, newly extended Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans are yet to step onto a football field this pre-season, but the linebacker core has still proven to be more than effective. There was a lot of hesitation before the Colts game over how efficient the linebacker core would be without its three stars. Now hesitation turns to excitement as we wonder just how dominant the unit will be with all three big names in rotation once again. We already know what two of the three players can do in midnight green, but a lot of people are stoked to see how the former Bills ILB Kiko Alonso will perform. A force to be reckoned with in camp and a man who who is ruthless in the pass rush..watch out for Alonso this game. He may well set the new standard for the new look Eagles Defense.
2) Turning the Corner
The battle over nickel Corner is far from over but that could all change come the end of tonights game. Nolan Carroll has been working in the slot during this weeks training sessions and may well get a huge shot in the nickel position tonight. Eric Rowe has been the standout so far whilst the seven season veteran E.J. Biggers, Denzel Rice and Jaylen Watkins have all featured in the teams opening pre-season games. This won’t be the stage they had hoped for however. With Nelson out, the Packers receiving core will be half as dangerous as what it could be, giving the nickel guys an easier night..but also the perfect time to rotate and see who can turn nothing into something special. We dissected the situation in our article here.
1) All eyes on Bradford
Understandably, all eyes will be on the Eagles Quarterback tonight. Bradford completed just one game in his first appearance for the Eagles in pre-season and is expected to take many more snaps tonight. It’s almost impossible to judge any characteristic of a Quarterback from just one drive, so people are looking to gauge just how comfortable and effective this laser arm truly is. He has proven he can take a big hit and keep moving, he’s also showcased the fire power he possesses in his arm. It now becomes a case of settling down quickly and taking as many snaps as Chip will allow. A full quarter with the firsts would be the perfect scenario considering he has to endure four full quarters a few weeks later, so he needs to prepare for an hour long fight in the pocket..where he will be hit a lot more and potentially forced to scramble. Not many stars play in the fourth week of pre-season, so it’s almost imperative that Bradford gets a healthy chunk of playing time tonight. But what do we watch out for when he’s in the pocket? The receivers he targets: Look for any partnerships that are clicking and to spot for a “favourite” target. He has already linked very well with Matthews all camp long. If Bradford is partnering well with a certain receiver, expect that to be exploited hugely come week one. Linking with someone in camp is vastly different to what we see in a gameday scenario.