How the players have performed at training camp has given the coaching staff pause to set up the depth chart and assign duties for the Pittsburgh game. The pecking order is fairly established and if history holds true, the starters will play for maybe a quarter, the second team will play in quarters two and three and the third-team players will get at least the fourth quarter.
The idea is to get as many reps as possible for the players so the Eagles can accurately evaluate them and keep the strongest 53 players to open the season on September 9.
Several players have caught my eye in the last week. Here are the ones who are making plays and rising up the ladder ...
MARVIN McNUTT, wide receiver
He has turned
It isn't going to be easy to make the roster at wide receiver. The Eagles have a very talented group competing for four or five roster spots. McNutt has stated his case emphatically in the last several practices. A big game against Pittsburgh would really help his cause.
CEDRIC THORNTON, defensive tackle
Stronger and more proficient in his technique,
The Eagles love talented defensive linemen. A strong showing against Pittsburgh will give Thornton a nice boost.
TREVARD LINDLEY, cornerback
The Eagles are seeing
Will Lindley make the team? Again, a good showing against the Steelers is a good thing. Lindley has size and he can run, and those kinds of players are tough to find at cornerback. The Eagles are likely to keep as many as five corners. Can Lindley work his way into the picture?
KURT COLEMAN, safety
Too often we take for granted the starters on a team in training camp. Coleman has stepped up his game in his third season. He looks great out there.
EMIL IGWENAGU, fullback
The non-drafted player from the University of Massachusetts has moved into the backup spot at fullback and is also getting reps at tight end.
I say Igwenagu is going to eventually push
KEENAN CLAYTON, linebacker
It is now or never for former fourth-round draft pick
Of course, Clayton has shown flashes before. He must put it all together, of course, and make a real push for a roster spot.
DAMARIS JOHNSON, wide receiver
The young receiver has been outstanding since the first practices after he signed as a non-drafted rookie.
Johnson is also listed first on the depth chart at punt returner, so we'll see on Thursday night just how ready for the prime time he is.
BRYCE BROWN/CHRIS POLK, running backs
We have talked about them throughout training camp and the rookies continue to shine.
Both have shown so far that they have enough ability to make it at this level. The next challenge is to do it in a preseason game against a physical defense that goes after the football. Both Brown and Polk figure to get a lot of touches. Let's see them bring it on Thursday night.
BRETT BRACKETT, tight end