Eagles Football is FINALLY back. Preseason kicks off tonight for Philadelphia with a showdown at Lambeau Field marking the start of our favorite time of year. Like every preseason though, there will be plenty to watch out for. With starters and veterans taking a backseat to those who are vying for their future’s, we can always count on a surprise or two. So what can we expect tonight? Here are five prediction:
The Dane Train:
With Nick Foles still struggling with elbow soreness and Carson Wentz unlikely to play more than a quarter, Tulsa’s Dane Evans could see a lot of action. The Eagles want to develop a QB3 behind Carson Wentz and although that was supposed to be Aaron Murray, who spent time on the practice squad that time has since passed. Matt McGloin is the veteran presence at the position, but Evans has had an impressive camp, showing off his arm strength consistently…which could earn him some crucial snaps tonight.
Against a very young Green Bay secondary and a questionable front seven depth chart coming against one of the deepest O-Lines in the league, Evans could be the perfect DFF play for those who take part. For those who don’t, I’m predicting Dane Evans to build on the chemistry he’s amassed with the likes of Greg Ward Jr. and throw for 150 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Clement’s workload leads to big production:
Preseason is going to be an exciting time for the Eagles backfield. With pony packages including Sproles and Pumphrey set to steal the show, its the workhorse backup battle behind Blount that will see a lot of action. Wendell Smallwood has entered Training Camp with a completely new mindset, but his impressive run so far and now relatively secure roster spot may see the Eagles dig a bit deeper into the depth chart when it comes to preseason snaps.
Enter Corey Clement. The former Wisconsin Badger embodies that physical downhill style the Eagles crave, and with his career average of 5.4 yards per carry and 29 touchdowns, it’s safe to say he can impact the Eagles backfield straight away. A strong camp has been consistently noted, and I’m expecting that to roll over into the second halves of preseason games. Against the Packers, I’m predicting Clement to rush for 85 yards and receive for 20, scoring a touchdown in the process.
Barnett runs rampant:
The Eagles first round pick brings with him plenty of explosiveness and the label of breaking Reggie White’s sack record. Barnett does start behind Curry and Graham on the depth chart…meaning he may see a relatively heavy workload in preseason. After learning from Jason Peters and improving his counter-move, Barnett may also be poised to wreak havoc against the Packers.
I’m predicting Barnett to be a force in the backfield in his first NFL outing, amassing 5 tackles, 1 TFL and his first NFL sack.
Grymes shines again:
Last season it was former Edmonton Eskimos corner Aaron Grymes who stole the show. Consistent coverage throughout saw Grymes force his way onto the Eagles final 53…or so it seemed. Grymes injured his AC Joint which forced his rookie season to be cut short. However the Eagles kept him around and after a move inside, his space on the depth chart may seem more of a lock than ever.
Grymes has been repeating history with a strong Training Camp, but it was preseason last year where he made his name…and I’m expecting the same this year. Against Green Bay, I’m predicting Grymes to record what another preseason interception, breakup two passes and secure 5 tackles.
Who is this preseason’s WR standout?
Rasheed Bailey, Paul Turner, who’s next? The Eagles have seen their fair share of preseason standouts at wide receiver and with such a vicious competition on the outside this year, we could vey easily see another. Who could it be? Many may point towards Marcus Johnson, but with his roster spot looking increasingly certain, it wouldn’t be much of a shock to see him ball out.
The man I’d be hedging my bets on would be Greg Ward Jr. The former quarterback has transitioned with ease to wide receiver and turned many heads along the way. In his first preseason outing, I’m predicted Ward Jr to score his first touchdown and receive for 50 yards.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports