In 2021, the Eagles had joint practices with the Jets and Patriots. While the Eagles reportedly dominated both practices, the outlook of both franchises was much lower than in past years.
Then again, so were the Eagles.
With heightened expectations towards the regular season and a much tougher practice opponent in the Cleveland Browns, the Eagles go into their first set of joint practices with a new set of pressure.
With the starters not expecting to play at all for the rest of the preseason, it’s important for the ones to succeed consistently against players that aren’t on their own roster. Otherwise, questions surrounding the quarterback and coaching staff will only grow.
Of course, questions surrounding the Browns haven’t been new for the team this offseason. With the addition of Deshaun Watson, the Browns opened up an off-season of drama surrounding the quarterback position.
There are plenty of key storylines to take away from the next two practices but we have each key point you need to know ahead of time.
Browns Poor Preseason
It was a very difficult first preseason game for the Cleveland Browns. Deshaun Watson went 1/5 passing and was repeatedly pressured on dropbacks. After a bad showing, it wouldn’t be surprising if Watson and the offense looked to dominate against a very good Eagles defense to get back on track.
In the end, expectations should be haltered from both Eagles groups. Philadelphia played extremely well against a bad Jets team while the Browns struggled. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Browns started practice hot on Thursday to get the early edge.
It also wouldn’t be the end of the world. We’re still close to a month away from the season opener and a couple of bad practices from the offense or defense shouldn’t be enough to worry anyone about the regular season expectations of the Eagles.
The battle in the trenches will arguably be the most exciting part of the Eagles and Brown’s joint practices. Philadelphia has one of the best offensive and defensive line groups in football with Cleveland not too far behind.
There are matchups all over to get excited about. Myles Garrett vs. Jordan Mailata, Jordan Davis vs. Joel Bitonio. The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing though is between the rookies in Cam Jurgens and Perrion Winfrey.
Winfrey has been a consistent force in Brown’s practice while Cam Jurgens has been superb. If Jurgens continues to develop and play as well as he has, Jason Kelce’s return from surgery won’t need to be pressed.
The matchups over the next two days will be extremely fascinating. No group more so than the trenches for both teams. As long as they are perceived strengths, it’ll be the matchup to watch.
Jalen Hurts and the Passing Offense
Let’s get this out of the way now. It won’t be a major concern if Jalen Hurts is average or even struggles a little bit over the next few days.
As good as the team was in joint practices last season, they still started 3-6 and had to transition the offense to better fit the skillset of their signal-caller. No matter what happens in joint practices, it shouldn’t diminish the excitement Hurts and the team has shown over the course of the last month.
The Browns also have a very solid secondary. Denzel Ward is expected to be the top player in the secondary for Cleveland and it will be interesting to see how he does against AJ Brown and the new-look receiving core.
Regardless of what happens, it’s not the end of the world if the Eagles play well or struggle over the next few days.
The Eagles are pretty banged up going into joint practices this week.
It’s important to get most, if not all of these guys back healthy as soon as possible but it’s not the end of the world or concerning until September.
The Eagles don’t seem concerned about any of these injuries and the expectation is that all will be ready for the opener.
But with joint practices, the odds of sustaining injuries can only grow. It’s important first and foremost that the team stays healthy over the next couple of practices.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire