Good morning, Eagles fans! It's gameday! For the first time, the defending Super Bowl Champions play at Lincoln Financial Field, opening the preseason tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our live coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with The Kickoff Show presented by Axalta and the on-field action starting at 7 p.m. Once the game is over, we'll have highlights, analysis, and live reaction on The Postgame Show presented by Ricoh.
You can watch the game on NBC10 or right here on PhiladelphiaEagles.com if you are in the Philadelphia market. You can listen to the game on 94WIP or the Eagles app in the Philadelphia area or anywhere on PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
NFL's GamePass also offers live streaming of all preseason games for out-of-market fans.
We hope you'll join us later this evening. Until then, here's the Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. Dave Spadaro's Seven Players To Watch
In his latest On the Inside column, Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro features seven players he's keeping an eye on tonight. Here's one, cornerback Sidney Jones:
One of the summer’s most-anticipated stories is how second-year man Sidney Jones develops in his first on-field summer with the Eagles. Jones didn’t play in last year’s preseason, as he used the time to recover from his pre-draft Achilles tendon injury. Jones played in the regular-season finale against Dallas and used his offseason to get bigger, faster, and stronger. So far, we’ve seen Jones line up primarily as the team’s nickel cornerback, along with De’Vante Bausby and Avonte Maddox, so this test on Thursday night will be significant. Where is Jones in his development? We’re going to learn a lot in the preseason, starting in the opener.
2. The Voice Is Ready
The Voice of the Eagles Merrill Reese starts his 42nd season in the booth tonight. You know he's ready to roll.
3. What's More Nerve-Wracking? First Game Or Fatherhood?
Some of the veterans shared their memories from their first preseason game. There are some good ones here.
“I felt like I was on a highway and cars were whizzing by me,” defensive end Chris Long said. “That’s how fast it felt for me.”
Lane Johnson had something a little more important on his mind.
“My son (Jace) was due the next day so that’s all I was thinking about,” Johnson said. “I was nervous, to be honest. I think on that first drive, (Michael) Vick threw a touchdown pass. But once that touchdown came, everything else went away.”
4. On The Trade Block?
ESPN is polling each of its writers on various topics. The latest was which player on each team would be a possible trade candidate. Tim McManus selected second-year cornerback Rasul Douglas. Here's McManus' explanation:
Not that there has been heavy trade buzz, but the Eagles are well-stocked at corner and are in position to trade a DB if the right offer comes in. Douglas, a third-round pick out of West Virginia, is a big (6-foot-2, 209 pounds), physical cornerback with some upside. The Eagles have decent depth at receiver and along the offensive line as well.
Take a look at what the linebackers are up to during 2018 training camp.
5. This Offensive Line Goes Wiz Wit
2017 was extra special for guard Stefen Wisniewski. He not only took over as the starting left guard during the season, but he was part of a winning team for the first time in his career.
Signed by the Eagles as a free agent in 2016, Wisniewski entered Training Camp as the starter, something that hasn't happened since his arrival.
“It’s honestly more exciting,” Wisniewski said of 2018. “I know we have a really good team here. My expectations are high, personally, and I know as a team we have high expectations, and it’s honestly much more exciting knowing that you’re going into a season with a legitimate shot to compete for a Super Bowl.”
6. Halapoulivaati Vaitai The 'Cream Of The Crop'
NFL.com ranked the best backup offensive linemen in the NFL and left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai was named the best in the league.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound lineman from Texas Christian University, saw extended starter action for the first time in his career and flourished, replacing Peters with near-exact performance. His athleticism shined in particular, as Vaitai excelled in both the pass and run games, serving as a reliable blind-side protector and an effective zone blocker in Philadelphia's dynamic scheme. While the Eagles soared, little attention was paid to the contributions of Vaitai. But it wasn't lost on his teammates.
"The strength of the offensive line is really going to determine the success of an offense," Eagles tight end Zach Ertz told me last month, "and lucky for us and a credit to Howie (Roseman) and (coach) Doug (Pederson) and (offensive line) coach (Jeff) Stoutland for putting those guys in place and having depth behind them, too, so when you lose a guy like Jason Peters, you don't crumble. You have a guy like Halapoulivaati Vaitai that comes in and has a great postseason."
7. No Carson Wentz For The Entire Preseason?
Carson Wentz will not play in tonight's game against the Steelers. He told Sirius XM's Ross Tucker that he might, in fact, not play at all in the preseason. If you recall, Wentz only played in the preseason opener as a rookie in 2016. He suffered a rib injury that knocked him out for the final three games, and he still started in the Week 1 win over the Browns.