Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (preseason)
2009 Records: Eagles (11-5; 2nd in NFC East); Jaguars (7-9, 4th in AFC South)
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
When: Friday; 7:30; WPVI
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports
What to Expect: It’s the first game of any kind for the Bird this season. Don’t expect the starters to go more than two series’ this game. Instead, look at some of the position battles for players trying to make the team and impress the coaches… Kevin Kolb will be making his first start as the Eagles preseason #1 QB… You won’t truly get a good idea of how good he will be this season until week 1 or 2 but it won’t hurt if he comes out looking sharp and ready to be the leader… Banged up players like Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Asante Samuel, and half of the offensive line may not see any playing time at all.
Players to Watch
Riley Cooper – The scrappy WR is the fifth receiver on the depth chart currently. With Hank Baskett in front of him currently, he will need to show the Eagles he has speed, size, and good hands so he can pass Baskett on the chart as the big target guy in four-receiver sets.
Clay Harbor – He is the smallest in size of the tight ends but he probably is the fastes. With Cornelius Ingram coming off of another missed season with an injury, Harbor is going to battle him for the #2 TE spot. He has great hands and isn’t afraid to take a hit, something a player at that position needs.
Brandon Graham – The rookie end shows incredible explosiveness and knack to get to the QB. With Trent Cole and Juqua Parker as the established starters, Graham is just looking to impress coordinator Sean McDermot so he could get more playing time. What benefits him is that the Eagles love to rotate their defensive line to keep guys fresh and give the better players a balanced share of reps. If Graham impresses like he did the scouts to be chosen as their first pick, he will get a heavier load.
Macho Harris – He was given his shot as a starter last season and lost it when he was constantly burnt on the deep ball or sought out the big hits. He needs to use his head to think and not to pile drive receivers if he wants another crack at starting. Right now he will have to go through rookie Nate Allen.
Nate Allen – The second-round pick is penciled, not penned, into the starting free safety spot. He will have to fight off a group of safeties in Harris, Quinton Demps, and Marlin Jackson in order to hold his spot as a starter. He’s a smart defensive back with good hands, good speed, and can lock down on a receiver to make him feel uncomfortable in catching the ball.