Preseason is almost upon us! The Philadelphia Eagles kick off the 2014 preseason on Friday against the Chicago Bears. It’s almost time for the talking to stop and for the players to strut their stuff on the field. I can’t wait!
Whilst preseason games tend to have a strange feeling to them, they can be some of the most important games of the season for players “on the bubble”. Those players who are competing for their roster spots will live or die by their performances in these four preseason games. NFL players don’t want to be known as workout warriors, or training camp bodies. They want to make it onto a full roster and take part in real NFL games.
Let’s take a look at some players who need a great preseason, to cement their place as an Eagle for the 2014 season.
At six feet nine inches, the new defensive end isn’t going to be missed when he takes to the field. Many Eagles fans know his back story, serving as a Captain in the US Army. This has made him a popular figure around Philadelphia. The key question for the Eagles coaching staff, however, is can the guy play football? Recently converted from tight end to defensive end, Villanueva has a lot of work to do to make the 53 man roster. He’s at a position where the Eagles are very strong already and will have to demonstrate outstanding play to make the roster. I wish him luck, but I don’t feel he’ll make it this season.
Wide receiver Benn has a glittering pedigree. A former five star recruit out of high school and a second round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he definitely has potential. Injuries kept Benn out of the team last season, but Head Coach Chip Kelly saw enough to keep Benn around until he was fit. Now that he is fit, he’s received glowing reports this preseason at training camp. Now he’s locked in a battle for the fifth or sixth wide receiver position with players like Brad Smith and Jeff Maehl. Whilst being a long shot to make the final 53 man roster, Benn has turned enough heads to draw attention to himself. With a couple of good preseason games behind him, Benn will make an NFL roster this year, whether it’s with the Eagles or not.
Kicker Carey Spear will almost certainly get a chance to show what he can do in preseason. Up against veteran kicker Alex Henery, Spear will have his work cut out. The rookie from Vanderbilt has received mixed reviews in training camp so far, whilst Henery seems to have raised his game. I predicted a couple of months ago that Henery will make the Pro Bowl this year. I stand by that prediction, as I expect Spear to fail in his attempt to make the team.
Heading into his first full preseason with the Eagles, guard Bamiro will be eager to prove that he’s worth keeping around as backup. The Eagles value their offensive lineman and have a settled line. The main back up appears to be tackle Allen Barbre, who has edged ahead of fellow tackle Dennis Kelly. The fact that Bamiro can play guard or tackle may be in his favour when the axe falls at the end of preseason. Could Bamiro be seen as the long term replacement for veteran guard Todd Herremans? If so, this season is the year to start subbing Bamiro in for some plays.
It’s great to be talking about a game, even if it’s just preseason. Let’s hope the Eagles fly to victory.
Tags: Philadelphia Eagles