Good morning, Eagles fans! Preseason telecasts can be tough for out-of-market fans because most games are broadcast live only in the team's region. Well, there's no excuses tonight. The Eagles-Browns showdown will be shown on FOX beginning at 8 p.m. That's the good news. The bad? You won't get the Eagles Network broadcast team. It'll be Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth and Erin Andrews on the sideline. Our live coverage begins at 7:50 p.m. with The Kickoff Show presented by Axalta, featuring the team's live warmups, analysis, and much more. Once the game is over, join us for The Postgame Show presented by Ricoh to see highlights and hear from head coach Doug Pederson.
Until all of the excitement gets underway, check out the Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft:
Take a look at the what the Eagles are wearing as they travel to Cleveland to play the Browns.
1. The Battles To Watch Tonight
The starters are expected to play the entire first half against the Browns, and possibly into the second half. Head coach Doug Pederson ideally wants to see either the offense or defense get into a specialized situation such as a two-minute drill. The third preseason game is usually called the dress rehearsal for the regular season because most of the starters won't play next Thursday in the exhibition finale against the Jets.
Here is one thing to watch at each position:
Nick Foles wasn't able to get into much of a rhythm in his preseason debut against the Patriots going 3 of 9 for 44 yards before exiting with a shoulder strain that didn't result in any missed practice time. We don't know who will start at quarterback on September 6 against the Atlanta Falcons as Carson Wentz has yet to be cleared for full contact. Foles will look to build some momentum for the offense for whoever leads the offense in two weeks.
Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles aren't expected to play tonight. Who will step up? Wendell Smallwood, Matt Jones, and Josh Adams have the opportunity to establish themselves in the battle for the fourth running back spot.
Shelton Gibson's preseason has elevated his stock more than any player on the team's roster. Gibson is looking to position himself as not only a potential weapon on special teams in the kickoff returner spot, but carve out a role on offense once the regular season gets underway.
The uncertainty surrounding Richard Rodgers' knee injury could open up a job for either Billy Brown or Joshua Perkins.
Can Halapoulivaati Vaitai bounce back after his performance last week in New England? He'll square off against 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.
Brandon Graham's return to practice is an encouraging sign about the depth at defensive end. There are some questions inside as Tim Jernigan continues to recover from back surgery. Destiny Vaeao showed some improvement as an interior pass rusher last week. Can Elijah Qualls or Bruce Hector make some noise tonight?
The Eagles will see former weakside linebacker Mychal Kendricks tonight, as he is now a member of the Browns. Who will take his spot for the Eagles? The battle between Nathan Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill is too close to call. Furthermore, Nigel Bradham will be suspended for the season opener. How will the Eagles adjust?
The other "starting" position up for grabs is at nickel cornerback. Avonte Maddox has pushed Sidney Jones in the last week and a half.
I'm still looking for one of the young safeties to emerge. We've seen flashes from Tre Sullivan, Jeremy Reaves, and Stephen Roberts. The Eagles need a player to develop at this position.
Cameron Johnston has been solid in his first two games. Can he secure the job? Plus, I mentioned Gibson as a potential option as the top kickoff returner. Darren Sproles will assume the punt return duties in the regular season.
2. What To Expect From Carson Wentz?
Questions regarding the Pro Bowl quarterback's Week 1 availability hasn't stopped analysts from projecting his 2018 numbers. ESPN's Bill Barnwell explains why Wentz could see a drop in his performance, but still be in the MVP discussion this season:
Even if Wentz hadn't torn up his knee, I think he would have struggled to maintain that level of play in 2018. He is still going to be a very good quarterback, but there were some elements of his game from a year ago that will be tough for him to recreate, no matter how good he gets.
The four areas of Wentz's game that Barnwell dissected were: third down, red zone, interception rate, and deep passes.