Tomorrow evening at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots will face off in each team’s second preseason game. Often the second game of the preseason could mean that the starters will play about a half of football, however the ebb and flow of this game could vary depending on both the weather as well as the fact that the two teams have taken part in joint practices since Tuesday. Regardless of the outcome tomorrow the most important result is minimal to zero injuries. Both teams are surely keeping their cards close to the vest in preparation for the regular season, but the exposure to such a well run franchise has it’s benefits for all members of the Eagles franchise.
Chip Kelly Can Learn From Bill Belichick
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t speak much publicly, so when he does it’s vital to dissect each and every word. Prior to the joint practices Tuesday and Wednesday, Belichick noted how effected last year’s practice session with the Philadelphia Eagles was for both squads and both head coaches. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this three day scrimmage is that the Eagles (and Patriots) get elongated exposure to an opposing squad’s veterans. Tomorrow evening the Eagles will see Tom Brady for a short amount of time. Being able to practice against the future hall of famer is exposure that head coach Chip Kelly can utilize in a myriad of ways.
“I think you have to give Chip a lot of credit for that,” Belichick said. “There are a lot of other teams that have good players, too. They produce more big plays than anybody else, so I think certainly his scheme has something to do with it.”
Eagles are not at Patriots Level…Yet
One good season does not make a dynasty. While the Philadelphia Eagles have become accustomed to continued success since the year 2000, the New England Patriots have won 76% of their games the past four seasons and have a 181-69 overall record since the year 2000. And while the Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles, the fact remains that they are a consistent playoff caliber team each and every season. Chip Kelly has a miniscule resume in the professional ranks, but if last season is a precursor of future success the Eagles could very well be taking large steps in the right direction. And unlike the skirmishes that have erupted across the league during joint-practices (Here’s looking at you Dallas and Oakland), there has been nothing but two football teams putting in the work and skirting around the funny business.
Eagles Youth Given Opportunity To Grow
The rumblings out of training camp leading up to this week’s practices with the Patriots has been the marked improvement of second year tight end Zach Ertz. After Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices, the aforementioned rumblings have become noisy chatter. Zach Ertz dominated the second string New England defense yesterday in practice in both the passing game as well as run support. It’s becoming increasingly evident that Ertz is in line for significant opportunities to help this football team this season.
Despite both quarterbacks having limited to no interactions during this week of practices, Nick Foles certainly has taken notice of Brady’s work ethic in practice. Additionally, Bill Belichick has long been known in the NFL community as a defensive minded coach. So when Foles and the rest of the Eagles are able to practice against a defense featuring Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork, each and every repetition has raised value.
Now or Never For These Eagles
There are less than two weeks until the first mandatory roster cuts in the NFL, and for some players, tomorrow night’s game could be the very last time they get a chance to make an impression on the coaching staff. Second year running back Matthew Tucker and rookie David Fluellen both had impressive games against the Chicago Bears last week. Unfortunately for both, there is likely one roster spot at best to go to a fourth string running back, and contributions on special teams could be a deciding factor. As a result, it’s imperative that both running backs seize the opportunity afforded to them by Chris Polk‘s lingering injury.
Putting my man crush aside, I believe that Joe Kruger can not only play effectively but will also make the 53 man roster. The pedigree is there (brother of Cleveland linebacker Paul Kruger) and the natural talent was on display against the Chicago Bears. And while there’s a log-jam of talent amongst the defensive line, history has proven that depth in the defensive front four is perhaps one of the biggest keys to winning late in the season.
Davis: Joe Kruger is getting better every day … Like a lot of the young guys, preseason games are very important.
— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) August 11, 2014
G.J. Kinne might not have been the prototypical quarterback in college, but he’s certainly in the running for the third quarterback spot on the Eagles roster. With the limited minutes that will be available to both he and Matt Barkley, pay close attention to how Chip Kelly divides the minutes (if at all) to both quarterbacks.
Tags: Philadelphia Eagles