5 Players with Most to Gain from Philadelphia Eagles' 2nd Preseason Game

John McGonigalCorrespondent IIAugust 14, 2013

5 Players with Most to Gain from Philadelphia Eagles' 2nd Preseason Game

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    Generally speaking, the Philadelphia Eagles' first preseason game was disappointing.

    Against the Eagles defense, the New England Patriots cleaned up nicely the first two drives. First, they ran the ball down the Eagles' throats. The second time with the ball, Tom Brady had his way with Philadelphia's developing secondary. 

    Offensively for the Eagles, Michael Vick looked sharp, including a 47-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson, but he wasn't in when the rhythm picked up. 

    By the time Chip Kelly's offense had a head of steam tempo-wise, Nick Foles came in for Vick, leaving fans wishing they'd seen Vick operate in that kind of environment. 

    Not all was ho-hum as undrafted linebacker Jake Knott impressed and Jackson made Pats corner Aqib Talib look silly. 

    But there were some players who could have taken the first game as a golden opportunity to show something and failed do so.

    With that, there were also players who could build off last week's contest and put themselves in a better position on this team. 

    Let's take a look at guys who can take advantage in the second game of the preseason. 

Jeff Maehl, WR

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    The new guy to the party, Jeff Maehl has to be itching for the chance to make an impression with the Eagles. 

    The word is still out on whether or not the former Oregon Duck will play on Thursday after being acquired just on Monday. 

    But if Maehl does play, expect a big play or two whether it's on offense or special teams. 

    Maehl was a monster in Eugene during his college days, putting up more than 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns at wideout under Chip Kelly. 

    After speaking with Maehl and Kelly on Tuesday, the offensive terminology is a bit different now compared to three years ago, but the former Houston Texan said it certainly helps knowing the schemes. 

    Maybe that will translate to success on the field on Thursday, and for the sake of making the roster, Maehl should hope it does. 

Nick Foles, QB

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    Nick Foles logged a typical Nick Foles performance against New England: He didn't "wow" anybody but was still effective. 

    The only problem was that Michael Vick stood out in a big way. 

    Vick had a deep 47-yard pass for a touchdown, and Foles completed five balls for 43 yards. 

    If Foles wants to win this battle, he needs to be more assertive with the football. 

    No, he shouldn't force throws into slim openings or go too far outside his comfort zone. But, he needs to do something to stand out and combat what Vick is doing thus far. 

    If he does against the Carolina Panthers, he can change the tone of this quarterback battle.

Chris Polk, RB

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    On the offensive side of the ball, running back Chris Polk has been the most impressive at camp since it opened on July 22 with the exception of DeSean Jackson

    Being at camp multiple times this summer, it's easy to see that Polk is more fit and ready to contribute at the NFL level. 

    But, seven yards on four carries against the Pats? 

    That doesn't show a slashing rusher who displayed massive progressions over the first few weeks of camp. 

    He'll have his chances out there; if he seizes those chances, he can solidify his No. 3 running back role and potentially catapult his way to compete for backup time. 

Jake Knott, ILB

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    An undrafted free agent coming out of the draft, Jake Knott had a lot of offers but chose Philadelphia for one reason: the chance to see the field. 

    Speaking with Knott after Eagles practice on Tuesday, it's apparent he's happy with how he's doing thus far throughout camp. 

    Knott tallied four tackles (three solo), a pass defended and two quarterback hits against New England, and is now seeing exclusive second-team action. 

    And with Casey Matthews being held out all week, Knott's situation seems to get better as the days go by.

    Look for Knott to continue his instinctive play at inside linebacker against Carolina and secure his slot as a backup 'backer in a depth-oriented 3-4 scheme. 

Bradley Fletcher, CB

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    For Bradley Fletcher, the Patriots' test wasn't a total failure. 

    But, Tom Brady did pick on him quite a bit. 

    Fletcher was signed in the offseason to provide veteran leadership to one of the starting corner positions. 

    That role doesn't seem to be diminishing, but a strong performance against Carolina's mediocre wideouts (minus Steve Smith) could be the confidence booster Fletcher needs to finish training camp strong.