We arrive at the halfway point of the preseason with questions, always. As head coach Chip Kelly said on Sunday when asked if the Eagles are where they should be, "No, you're never where you should be. You want to be clean."
The Eagles aren't clean. They are sorting through the same task list of every NFL team. They want to make sure they have the best 53 players possible on the roster. They want to make certain the players are absorbing and applying the techniques being taught. With an eye on Preseason Game No. 3 against Pittsburgh (Thursday, 7:30 PM, 6abc and NFL Network), let's go through a couple of storylines with some updates.
1. HOW SERIOUS IS THE INJURY SITUATION?
In the big picture, not bad at all (knocking on wood, trust me). Wide receiver
Kelly said that cornerback
None of the injuries appear to be ones that will drag into the regular season, or at least significantly into the regular season. That's comforting to know in this preseason of attrition around the league.
2. WHAT KIND OF PROGRESS IS THE OFFENSE MAKING?
This is going to be a really, really fun offense to watch. It's not all perfect right now and everyone understands that there is a lot of work to do, but the Eagles certainly have liked a lot of what they've seen from this group. Tight end
The Eagles are nicely stocked at quarterback with
Sanchez is just great for the Eagles. He's a perfect fit here backing up Foles. And Barkley's strong play in New England was very, very encouraging.
The offensive line has been up and down so far, so that group has to put it all together, and once it happens the offense will be humming in a big, big way.
3. IS THE DEFENSE GOING TO BE OK?
There is every reason to think the defense will be improved in Year 2.
There are also some concerns. The Eagles must generate a pass rush on a consistent basis to be elite. The emphasis placed on certain rules - specifically, no contact after 5 yards - requires better technique and discipline for defensive players. The problems on third downs in the first two preseason games need to be fixed.
Keep in mind, though, that defenses aren't game planning in the preseason. Everything changes when the regular season begins. The Eagles will be ready to go when Jacksonville comes to town.
4. WHICH PLAYERS ARE MAKING ROSTER MOVES?
1. Defensive end
2. When you get a chance, you take advantage of it. That's exactly what running back
3. With Vandervelde out,
5. ARE THERE OTHER THINGS TO WONDER WITH 2 GAMES LEFT?
Alex Heneryis the leading candidate to kick here in 2014, but he's got to deliver on 47-yard field goals. He knows it. His effort on Friday night was disappointing. Arrelious Bennput forth a strong effort in New England to win a roster spot with a blocked punt and a touchdown catch. The next two games are very important. That sixth wide receiver spot is still very much open. Emmanuel Achohas quietly been around the ball in both preseason games and he led the Eagles in tackles against the Patriots. He could be the team's fourth inside linebacker at this point. Damaris Johnsonreturns kickoffs, returns punts, plays wide receiver and can be a piece to move around out of the backfield in the passing game. It will be interesting to see what happens with him.
- How much will the starters play against Pittsburgh? History shows that the starters usually play the first half in the third preseason game. If
Nate Allengets the majority, or all, of the starting reps at safety in that game, does that mean he's the starter for sure next to Jenkins?