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Game Day: Let's Get It Started!

Posted Aug 24, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- It's the first road game for Chip Kelly, albeit one in the preseason, and how the Eagles handle the routine is just part of the fascination with No. 3 against Jacksonville ...

Not that it matters, but the Jaguars have been outscored 64-16 in two preseason losses under new head coach Gus Bradley. Jacksonville can run the football, so that's the test for the Eagles' defense tonight.

So let's talk about the defense for just a minute. Nate Allen and Patrick Chung start at safety and seem to have jelled pretty well. Chung, in particular, has given the Eagles a lot this summer. He's been durable and versatile, showing coordinator Bill Davis that he can line up over the slot receiver in coverage. Chung is a tough guy and his availability is extremely important here.

Allen continues to start and he played well last week against Carolina. Earl Wolff has been pushing, and will continue to push. It's a critical game for Allen to solidify his starting spot.

Want a guess on the five safeties on the roster? Chung, Allen, Wolff, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. David Sims needs to step up in these final two games to make it, and Kenny Phillips has to get on the field and stay there to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

  • Interesting questions in The Florida Times-Union today and an indication of just how much defenses think of Chip Kelly's' offense and the challenges it presents. "It's been a little bit tricky to prepare, just because they're so unique offensively," said linebacker Russell Allen. "They do things that you don't see every week, especially with their tempo. Typically, you're seeing the same plays out of the same formations, it's just more tendencies. It changes your week of preparation quite a bit."

  • He's a game-time decision because of a hip-flexor injury, but Luke Joeckel was the Jags' first-round draft pick in April, and the second draft pick overall. Meanwhile, Lane Johnson has been absolutely terrific in his time with the Eagles, and he'll get a look at former Eagle Jason Babin tonight. It's a good test for Johnson against a veteran speed rusher who has a history of getting to the quarterback.

  • The Eagles have to release 13 players prior to Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline to reach the 75-man roster limit, and the question is this: How many of those 13 players will see time tonight? It's tough to get many reps when the starters are expected to play at least a half.

  • How many tiight ends can the Eagles keep? If they're going to use as many as three in a game at a time, they could very well keep four and maybe even five on the 53-man roster. I don't have any idea what Kelly is thinking, but the Eagles sure have a lot of talent at the position and are going to use it.

  • Don't expect newly acquired Adrian Robinson to play tonight, unless he gets a rep or two on special teams. Robinson doesn't have much time to impress the coaches. The Eagles have Sunday off, then a full practice on Monday and Tuesday before tapering down for Thursday's preseason finale at the Jets.

  • Greg Salas has done a good job opening eyes and putting himself in position for strong consideration to make this roster. He has caught everything in the last three weeks, sometimes in spectacular fashion, and Salas has been a solid player on special teams. If the Eagles keep five receivers, and who knows how the numbers break down, Salas would appear to have the lead among the current players on the roster. He needs to keep it going, and Salas should expect a lot of reps on Thursday against the Jets.

  • We're seeing the value of veteran Donnie Jones at punter. He's an excellent directional kicker who has outstanding hang time, and the Eagles have the opportunity to get down the field and cover. Brad Wing has a big leg and a future, and his consistency is improving. It's been a good competition that has helped both men.

  • What kind of depth do the Eagles have along the offensive line? It's a good question and something that needs to be identified. Allen Barbre has had a good summer and can play tackle and guard. Julian Vandervelde is backing up at center, and he also has the ability to play guard. Dennis Kelly is out with a back injury and there is no word on when he will return. Kelly is a key player in this picture. Danny Watkins? There is a spot to be earned here. Michael Bamiro took a step forward with his play last week.

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