The Eagles started the Carson Wentz era with an impressive win over the Cleveland Browns and will very much look to build on that on Monday night, when they face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Here are five players to watch as the Eagles look to stay undefeated under Doug Pederson against the Bears, who are coming off of a tough loss to the Texans.
Zach Ertz suffered a rib displacement in the season opener and as a result is likely to be sidelined for a few weeks. In his place, versatile tight end Trey Burton will make his first NFL start and could provide just as much explosiveness as Ertz. While three-TE sets will again be absent from the gameplan, the presence of Burton in the Eagles passing attack will be crucial.
Burton stood out in Training camp and followed it up with a strong preseason where he received for 48 yards and a touchdown on 7 receptions. The third year player has proven his worth on special teams
Over the course of his collegiate career with the Florida Gators, Burton proved to be an incredibly versatile weapon. As someone that’s showed his efficiency as a receiver, a tight end and even a fullback..Burton could add yet even more levels to an ever complexing Offense.
What makes Burton even more enticing is the amount of reps taken with starting quarterback Carson Wentz during Training camp. With Ertz and Celek spending most of their time with Bradford and Daniel, Wentz saw plenty of action with Trey Burton and as a result will have yet another familiar pair of hands to throw to on Monday night.
Brooks had a lucky escape against the Browns as his sloppy play went unpunished. The Browns failed to capitalize on the inconsistency of Brooks, with a couple of overthrows to wide open receivers. Against the Bears stacked receiving corps, Brooks could be in for another tough day at the office without the help of Leodis McKelvin.
As Turron Davenport pointed out on the latest episode of our “The Outside Insider” Podcast, Eddie Royal is the receiver who could be tasked with beating Ron Brooks in the slot for some big yards after punishing the Texans Secondary for 57 yards and a touchdown on four receptions last week.
With McKelvin out of action, Ron Brooks will see a much bigger role with only three active cornerbacks on the roster..but with his skill set suiting the nickel formations much better than an outside corner, being able to keep Royal at bay will be a tough, but very important task.
The Eagles committee backfield accounted for 134 yards and a touchdown last week, but after Lamar Miller rushed for 106 yards on his own, the Eagles will be looking to establish a dominance on the ground very early on.
Mathews wasn’t as explosive as he seemed in preseason, or even in 2015 against the Browns, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. The backfield did however establish a balance, with Wentz throwing just three more passes than total backfield rushing attempts. The Eagles will need to do the same against the Bears if they’re to enjoy the same level of Offensive success..and a lot of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the explosive Ryan Mathews.
The seventh round pick was dropped in the deep end last week when McKelvin was taken out of the game with an injury..but was able to take like a duck to the water, showing strong coverage and making some big plays. He will be called upon once again but this time as an integral part of the secondary against an impressive Bears receiving corps.
Jim Schwartz stated that part of the reason behind the Eagles decision to trade Eric Rowe, was the development of Jalen Mills. The Eagles Defensive coordinator has had nothing but praise for the former LSU cornerback..but it’s time to see if Mills is ready to emerge as a starter in a depleted cornerback corps.
Mills will be likely be lining up against a mix of Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White which is by no means an easy task..but after a tough preseason, it will be interesting to see what Mills is made of as he’s tested against some very strong and very dangerous wide receivers.
Despite a preseason where it seemed like Huff had finally found his niche, the former Oregon Duck was invisible in the Eagles season opener. Expect that to change in week 2 however as Pederson continues to add levels to his Offense and get the ball into the hands of the likes of Agholor and Huff.
A name on the lips of many fans for the wrong reasons in 2015, Huff looks primed to enjoy the season he never enjoyed under Chip Kelly..but it just becomes a case of incorporating him into the Offense..which against a Bears Secondary that could be missing Kyle Fuller seems to be a huge possibility.