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5 Things To Know Today: August 25

Posted Aug 25, 2014

A week from today, the roster will be trimmed to 53 players and preparation for the season opener against Jacksonville will be in full swing. This is a critical week for both players and the personnel staff. The battle is on for the final roster spots, which will be sorted out by Thursday night's preseason finale against the Jets. Meanwhile, the personnel staff will have the opportunity to sift through the 700-plus players who will be released later this week to see if any can make this Eagles team better. With that in mind, here are the 5 Things To Know Today for August 25 ...

1. Would The Eagles Trade Mark Sanchez?

Over the weekend, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford re-tore his ACL and is done for the season. There was immediate speculation as to whether the Rams would reach out to the Eagles and inquire about Mark Sanchez because he worked with Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in New York. In addition, the Rams expressed interest in Sanchez when he was a free agent back in March. Head coach Chip Kelly was asked about this scenario last Sunday and this was his response.

"What are you giving me? I mean, we'll listen to anything for anybody," Kelly said. "We're not going to bury our head in the sand and say no. But it better be a pretty good deal in terms of what it is. But that's not any of our thought process. We need him. In terms of how he's playing right now, how he can function in what we're doing, and I've always said you need to have two quarterbacks."

Just how good has Sanchez played this preseason?

"Mark Sanchez, to me, has been the most impressive quarterback in the NFL this preseason," said former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski in Peter King's MMQB column. "His accuracy is astounding (25 of 31), and his comfort level in (the Eagles') offense is amazing. He’s been just sensational.”

2. McCoy Praises Kelly's Coaching Approach

Running back LeSean McCoy was sporting a wrap around his injured right thumb at Sunday's training session, but said afterwards that it will be fine for the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

McCoy is coming off of a historic 2013 campaign - one in which he set the franchise record for yards rushing in a season with 1,607. The All-Pro is on pace to set the franchise's all-time rushing record this season. McCoy is thankful for head coach Chip Kelly, who has helped push and motivate him to be in the position that he's in.

"He just finds different ways to challenge me - on the field, about the game, in so many different ways," McCoy said. "That's why I like him as a coach ... a lot."

3. Brandon Graham's Advice For Marcus Smith II

Linebacker Brandon Graham fully understands what it means to deal with the pressure of being a first-round draft pick. Now, Graham is entering his fifth NFL season and on Sunday's Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity he was candid about how he wants to live up to the fans' expectations. He also offered some advice for fellow linebacker Marcus Smith II, this year's first-round pick.

"I know what you're going through. I've been there before. There's a lot of pressure, but forget all of the pressure, come in and do you," Graham said. "Come in, do your film, do all that they ask you to do, work on whatever you need to work on. He told me his weakness is his technique right now. I told him go out there and do some extra work. Go to (outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern), talk to him. Use all you can before this first game because when the first game of the season comes, it's go time. It's not, 'Oh, we've got to wait on Marcus until he gets it right.' No, one play and you mess it up and you cost us, they're going to be mad."

4. The NFL's Point Is Getting Across

Cornerback Nolan Carroll II was impressive in his Eagles debut Thursday against the Steelers. After missing the first two games with a groin injury, Carroll made a diving interception in the 31-21 win over the Steelers. Carroll looked at home in the Eagles' scheme, but admitted that the NFL's major point of emphasis this offseason of eliminating contact with receivers beyond 5 yards off the line of scrimmage was in the back of his mind all night.

"I really felt with the new rules I was more conscious of my hands - when to use and when not to," Carroll said. "I felt like at points I got stuck when I thought I should have used them, but didn't and that caused me to run with the receivers more when I could have really done my work at the line. Just looking at that, I feel something that down the road I can get better at as far as knowing when and where to use my hands and not get flagged for it."

5. The Top Receiver This Preseason Is ...?

Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews leads not only the Eagles this preseason, but the entire NFL with 15 receptions. He's gained 134 yards receiving working out of the slot. As the Eagles prepare for their final preseason game, it remains to be seen whether Matthews will play. Matthews said that he's treating the week like a regular game watching some film of the Jets' defense, but is also looking ahead and starting to prep for the regular season opener. 

"I've still got a lot of work to do, a lot of things to get better at," Matthews said.

Matthews explained that the biggest area of improvement he's made since entering the NFL as a second-round pick is getting more comfortable with the offense.

"Being able to slow the game down and being able to play at a controlled pace that helps the offense," he said.

While Matthews has done his work out of the slot, he is still learning all of the receiver positions.

"I'm trying to figure out everything about the offense whether it's the outside, the backfield, the tight ends," Matthews said. "I'm trying to learn everything about it so when I get out there, I'll be ready."

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