Head Coach Doug Pederson announced the first team offense will stay in much longer this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Philadelphia Eagles will take the field to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight, kicking things off for the second week of pre-season. Many Eagles fans may tune this one out due to the Carson Wentz injury, but there’s still a lot to be excited about. Keep in mind these teams also meet in week three of the regular season.
Doug Pederson announced Sam Bradford and the starting offense will be playing for the entirety of the first quarter. They may even play a few drives into the second. Pederson surprisingly pulled the first team offense after one 3 play drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday. It’ll be a relief to not have to watch the Eagles backups for the entire first half again.
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It was nice to see the Birds capitalize on a fumble and score quickly, but it didn’t exactly tell us a whole lot about the first-team offense. Ryan Mathews had two solid runs for 15 total yards and a touchdown. His 2015 season was very productive as well, but he’s going to have to shoulder much more of the load this year. Given his injury history, it’s going to be important that guys like Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood step up.
The offensive line looked solid despite limited action, but it also served as a reminder of how important Lane Johnson is to this offensive line. None of the Eagles’ backups along the offensive line managed to impress. That’s a cause for concern.
Some of the hostility toward Bradford in Philly may be unfair. He is still the Eagles’ best shot to be competitive this season. He threw a grand total of one pass last week, a 3 yard completion to Brent Celek. Every wide receiver not named Paul Turner seemed to vanish last week. It’s going to be crucial that someone steps up and becomes a reliable target for Bradford, or it’s going to be a long year for this team and its fans. Newly acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham won’t be active for this game, but he’ll eventually be in the thick of things soon enough.
The first team defense, overall, was very impressive against the Buccaneers last week, and that’s encouraging considering how they made the Bucs look like “The Greatest Show On Turf” last year. Still, this should be a great test for them despite the fact that the Steelers will be sitting a majority of their offensive play-makers. We would have much rather seen the Steelers at full capacity to test this hungry Eagles defense.