Browns vs. Eagles: 5 Players with a Point To Prove?
The Eagles looked far from sharp, and with a few poor performances from the talisman within the team, the fans are left with a lot of questions that still need answering ahead of the upcoming season. We look at five players who have a big point to prove tonight that could be judgmental to their success.
5. Casey Matthews
I know this probably sounds like a broken record, and it probably seems that I have a vendetta against rookie linebacker Casey Matthews, but it’s a long season ahead with many fans hoping for prosperity. It's obvious Matthews still has a lot to learn and many are doubting the youngster already. Is it too early to write him off?
Tonight has to be a big game for Matthews, who struggled against the Ravens and especially the Steelers.
Could this be his last chance to show he is a worthy leader? I hope he can prove the critics wrong and show he is ready for any obstacle the regular season might have in store for him.
4. Michael Vick
We all know Michael Vick struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a convincing first drive against the Baltimore Ravens, many believed he was already back to his best. Come Week 2 however, he faltered, and his invincibility cloak was seemingly shot.
Completing just five passes, and three interceptions to a ironically eagle-eyed Pittsburgh defense, many people were quick to critique the quarterback again.
Whatever happens in tonight’s matchup, he must show the ability to bounce back. He must prove that his poor outing last week was just an off-night and put those doubters to bed.
3. Jason Kelce and Jamaal Jackson
Rookie Jason Kelce looks like he will get his chance to shine tonight. The center has been splitting reps with eight-year veteran Jamaal Jackson all week and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg believes he has earned his opportunity.
Howard Mudd is still looking for the perfect offensive line that will enable Vick to expose and attack defenses. Kelce must take center stage and prove himself as the solution to last week's woes.
Nothing will be more paramount to the Eagles success than the protection of Vick.
2. Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Jarrad Page
The Eagles secondary was burned by a well-oiled offensive unit operated by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers last week. It was youth versus experience and experience prevailed undoubtedly. Blown coverage assignments were too frequent for the Steelers, who took full opportunity.
The combination of Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman has been tested and needs to prove it is strong enough for the new season against the best quarterbacks the NFL has to offer. If not, come Week 1, Sam Bradford and the St Louis Rams could walk away with the win, spoiling the Eagles' party.
It's likely safety Jarrad Page will step in for Nate Allen this week. Allen is reportedly still having issues with his knee. Let’s see if he can provide an answer to young quarterback Colt McCoy’s offensive onslaught.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Celek, and he did catch Vick’s first touchdown of the season, but I want to see him more active tonight. In 2009 he picked up eight touchdowns, but in 2010 this was reduced to just four touchdowns as Celek was moved to provide support on the offensive line. This season he needs to become more of a prominent figure in Vick’s repertoire.
So far he has just one catch for three yards, but he has proven if he is given the time to get open, he is the perfect target for checkdowns.
Let’s hope we see less blocking assignments and more big plays tonight.