KANSAS CITY -- They emerged from the team plane and then the six buses and folded into the hotel here knowing that Friday night's game is, as preseason games go, a biggie. The starters will play three quarters if all goes according to the script. The second team plays after that. The Eagles want to get something going, get a look at some players who haven't seen action in the preseason, and then make some roster decisions.
As we roll through the preseason, here are some players to watch against Kansas City ...
*TODD HERREMANS, LG *
The running game to the left side has been ineffective in two preseason games, and now Herremans makes his preseason debut. You wonder if Andy Reid will order up some runs behind Herremans just to test the Herremans-Jason Peters combination. Herremans may not go a full three quarters, but his playing time is vitally important. The Eagles need him on the field in the regular season, and they need him healthy. Herremans is a good left guard in both the running game and the passing game. He is a solid staple for an offensive line that has not played as well as needed in two preseason outings.
MACHO HARRIS, CB
With a roster spot in the balance, Harris makes his preseason debut. Does he have time to make the roster at cornerback, or as a combination cornerback/safety in this secondary? Harris was a starting free safety last season, but the Eagles moved him to cornerback and Harris promptly injured his hamstring in training camp and missed a lot of time.
With the Eagles expected to keep five cornerbacks, Harris needs a strong showing to open some eyes. He has Dimitri Patterson, Trevard Lindley and Joselio Hanson ahead of him as backups at cornerback. Harris has a lot riding on these next two games.
MIKE BELL, RB
Another player making his preseason debut, Bell has played very well when he has been healthy. But the knee and calf injuries suffered have cast a bit of a cloud over his situation here, and many have mentioned his injury-plagued past. The Eagles are counting on Bell to back up LeSean McCoy and to add a valuable dimension to the offense with his powerful style and his between-the-tackles abilities.
Look for Bell to share reps with McCoy, and to get as many as 8-10 carries. The Eagles need to see Bell move the chains and make a difference in the power running game.
NATE ALLEN, FS
He is always worth watching as a starting rookie, but Allen is going to be matched in the minds of some with Chiefs rookie free safety Eric Berry, the team's first-round draft pick. Here is a chance to take a look at both of them and eye them up early in their careers.
Allen has been terrific in the preseason. Let's see him continue his good play in what should be his final preseason action of the summer.
AKEEM JORDAN, LB
Who watched Jermichael Finley of the Packers on Thursday night against Indianapolis? The young tight end is a beast -- he had 6 catches, 85 yards and a touchdown -- and is a major weapon in the Packers' passing game. And much of that responsibility on September 12 to contain Finley will be on Jordan, the SAM linebacker. Jordan has played well in the preseason, and the Chiefs like to throw to the tight end, so we can evaluate Jordan as opening day draws closer.
KEVIN KOLB, QB
It goes without saying that Kolb is going to be a focal point as the offense looks to sustain drives and finish with touchdowns. The first-team offense has yet to score a touchdown, There have been flashes of outstanding play, but the offense would like to get something going in this contest.
Kolb enjoyed a terrific outing against the Chiefs in the regular season last year, and this is his first road start -- albeit in the preseason -- in his career. The Eagles anticipated some noise and they want to see Kolb shine. How will he handle the road?
BRANDON GRAHAM, DE
The new starter at left defensive end sees his first extended playing time and we will have a real chance to evaluate the promising youngster. Graham has been impressive at every turn. He has great ability and a huge motor and, well, it is easy to get excited about Graham and what he can provide to this defense.
Keep an eye on Graham not only as he rushes the quarterback, but as he plays the run against a strong ground game, and how he reads and reacts as Kansas City uses end arounds and gadgets to get the ball to scatback rookie Dexter McCluster. Does Graham stay at home? Will he be physical against the run? Is he really as good as he has looked so far?