Young Philadelphia Eagles Ready to Shine in First Preseason Game

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IAugust 6, 2008

The Eagles spent their last full morning practice before Friday's preseason game running through basic plays without the pads on again. Today marked the second straight morning practice where the Birds strayed away from heavy hitting.

Running-back Brian Westbrook says the first team offense will only play a quarter and a half Friday against Pittsburgh. Donovan McNabb says that's all the playing time the first team needs for now.

"We've been together for years now. We kind of know what we can do. What we can do is go in, execute the plays, and get out. That's what it's all about. Being able to execute plays, go in healthy and go out healthy," McNabb said.

McNabb says the young players will learn quite a bit during their extended playing time. "These young guys will benefit from this game as well as the second game. They will begin to understand a little bit more of being in the NFL and how to prepare," he said.

Brian Westbrook says he'll enjoy watching the young players get a chance. "Guys talk trash saying they can do this, can do that, but you never really know until its live and full go. I like to see those guys have success. We know what they can do in just pads and helmets, but we want to see them out on the field with live bullets being thrown around. It will be exciting to see those young guys play."

Westbrook says he remembers what his first preseason game was like. "I was nervous," he said. "I don't think I prepared myself for my first preseason game. I just didn't know what all it took to be an NFL player. As you continue to grow, as you continue to get older, you learn what it takes to prepare yourself for a game."

While many players will be using Friday's exhibition to gain valuable experience, the coaching staff will be using it for something else. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson says he has a laundry list of groups and players he wants to evaluate.

"I want to see how Stewart Bradley handles the situations in the middle. I want to let him make a lot of calls and maybe in the two minute situation. [I want to] evaluate our nickels and the defensive line with the two ends inside. After that I want to look at the guys trying to make the team and how that second and third group even plays," Johnson said.

So while Friday may seem like just another preseason game for some, Friday's contest will be as big as the Super Bowl for the many others fighting for a job.

Jameson Fleming is an intern at ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 and will be at training camp every day, filing radio reports and publishing his transcripts on Bleacher Report.