Preseason Week 3 is finally among us as the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers get ready to kick off the football week at Lincoln Financial Field for Thursday Night Football.
Week 3 is typically the season’s “dress rehearsal” as the starters generally play the first half and possibly into the third quarter depending on their coach’s preferences.
Let’s take a look at some key things as the Eagles get ready for their first game at home this preseason.
The Eagles made some moves this week picking up former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 7th round pick. Barner was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft and adds both experience in Kelly’s system and return capabilities to a team looking for returners after Josh Huff‘s recent injury. The former All-American played extremely well under Kelly picking up 21 touchdowns his senior year at Oregon while averaging 22.5 yards per kick return. As Chris Polk and Matthew Tucker still ease their way back from injuries, Barner could see a good amount of playing time these next two games.
The Eagles also traded for former Auburn kicker Cody Parkey sending running back David Fluellen to the Indianapolis Colts. It was an odd trade to begin with, but it could signal the end of Casey Spear’s attempt at trying to supplant starter Alex Henery. Spear has had a disappointing preseason so bringing on another potential challenger for Henery could be the coaching staff’s goal here.
Full First-Team Offense?
Will this finally be the week we get to see Philadelphia’s starters finally play together as a unit? Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin have been fighting nagging injuries all training camp and preseason, but both were out on the fields earlier this week. Brent Celek and Zach Ertz have really shone this preseason, making the most of their snaps with both Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. Getting the old band back together to run some plays against a live Pittsburgh defense will go a long way towards preparing for Week 1. Even with a simplified gameplan, head coach Chip Kelly can see how his offense stacks up this year against a Steelers defense that ranked in the top 10 against the pass last year.