If you’re an Eagles fan, and you’re not absolutely pumped for tonight’s game, you’ve gotta be crazy. I know it’s the preseason, and it’s long, and it’s not competitive, but you have to be excited about the first game.
We will get our first look at the new Eagles squad against another team for the first time. The starters will play the first quarter before being relieved by the second team and then the other backups.
The thing I’ll be looking at first, as will everyone, is Kevin Kolb. Since it’s the first game, the Eagles won’t be divulging too deep into the playbook, but I’m excited to see his timing with the starting receivers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles run a lot of quick hit passes so Kolb doesn’t have to hold onto the ball too long. The line is suspect right now, and the last thing they need is for Kolb to get hammered every time he drops back.
I’m also interested in seeing how the Eagles can run the ball. LeSean McCoy has had a good camp, bulking up a bit, and is looking to pick up where he left off last year. I’ll also be interested in seeing how often they run Leonard Weaver compared to how many formations he lines up and blocks.
Tight end Brent Celek is another player I’ll have a close eye on. I think Kolb will look to Celek a lot this season. The Pro Bowl caliber tight end is flying a bit under the radar because of the explosiveness the receivers have. However, I think as the season moves forward, we will see Celek putting up numbers as if he was a wide receiver.
When the second team offense takes the field, a ton of people will be watching to see what Michael Vick can do. We won’t see him playing in this fashion in the regular season, so it will be fun to watch him run the offense as a full time quarterback.
Defensively, I feel like this unit is almost brand new. Brandon Graham should see a lot of time opposite Trent Cole, and it will be our first opportunity to see what havoc these guys will wreak on opposing quarterbacks this year.
The linebackers look much different than last year but much improved. Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims are extremely talented and should have a big year if they can both stay healthy. Sims has been doing damage to his own teammates in Training Camp, so I can’t see what he ends up doing to players in a different uniform.
The Jaguars aren’t one of the top teams throwing the ball, but we’ll get to see how Ellis Hobbs and some of the other corners look. This is one of the biggest weaknesses on the defense, so we’ll get to see just how much of a problem (or not a problem) we have on our hands.
Keep your eye on Nate Allen too. It’s hard to tell how a safety is playing if he’s not laying guys out or intercepting balls. However, I’ll be watching to see Allen’s positioning on passing plays and how quickly he gets to the ball carrier on running plays. He’s a great young player but has a lot of work to do.
Last, I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what rookies can make plays. This was a big draft class numbers wise, but I think they did very well. There are a lot of late-round draft picks with a legitimate shot of making the team, and this will be a great opportunity for them to prove something.
I am absolutely PUMPED! What will you be looking for tonight?