Eagles: Five Things to Watch for in Tonight’s Preseason Opener
Finally, the first preseason game has arrived for the Eagles.
Like most teams, the Eagles aren’t expected to have starters on the field too long when they open their preseason Thursday against the Tennessee Titans. Often, the first game only includes the starting quarterback and a few starters for one series, but the Eagles most likely won’t even have Carson Wentz in action.
The Titans were a playoff team last season, but are part of a very competitive AFC South Division this season, and there's potentially a interesting quarterback battle between incumbent Marcus Mariota and former Miami Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill.
Here are five things to look at in the Eagles’ pre-season opener vs Tennessee:
• You will see Nate Sudfeld, who replaces Nick Foles as the backup quarterback job. Behind him, you'll see veteran Cody Kessler and rookie Clayton Thorson battling for the third team snaps..
• One of the keys to the season will be the pass rush. Two players to keep an eye on are Shareef Miller and Josh Sweat who will battle for reps behind Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry. The Eagles hope one of those guys can make a jump and give the team some more depth and pass rush to make up for the loss of Michael Bennett.
• It's doubtful to see Alshon Jeffery and DaSean Jackson play, so guys like Marken Michel, Greg Ward, Charles Johnson, Carlton Aguodosi and rookie second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside could show what they can do as he competes for roster spots at wide receiver.
These receivers behind the starters have shown a lot at the beginning of camp; now we will see what they can do in a game.
• The battle for the Eagles’ cornerback job should be interesting. A couple of key guys are not available to play right now, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, due to injury. That leaves guys like Avonte Maddux, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones getting more work. Veteran Orlando Scandrick is also in the mix.
• Another rookie to watch is left tackle Andre Dillard, who should get plenty of reps for Jason Peters.