Tonight's game should be entertaining for a number of reasons. The biggest of course being the fact that both Tom Brady and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will be on the field for the first time this preseason.
The QB matchup certainly adds some juice to an otherwise dull preseason game, but there are more pressing issues at hand.
Here's 5 things to watch other than the QBs...
1. The linebackers
Where is Corey Nelson?
The Eagles thought enough of Nelson to sign him on day one of free agency. He was considered to be the favorite to replace Mychal Kendricks at the WILL.
At this point it looks like he may not even make the team.
I personally didn’t think Nate Gerry played all that well last week. He needs to step up and prove that he is a starting—or close to a starting—NFL linebacker.
Kamu Grugier-Hill looked really good last week. Could he play well enough to run away with a starting spot?
Watching Jordan Hicks flying around last week was a beautiful sight. We should see more of Hicks tonight.
Shelton Gibson, Kamar Aiken, Markus Wheaton and Greg Ward should specifically have your attention.
Gibson looked good as both a receiver and a return man last week. He will need to prove that he can do it again.
Jeff McLane mentioned Aiken as one of his least valuable players from camp. While I commented on that yesterday and found it interesting, McLane isn't my go-to for player evaluations. With a good showing tonight, Aiken could put himself very much in the mix to make the roster.
Wheaton and Ward are currently on the outside looking in. They will both need to impress tonight to have any shot at making the roster.
We will also get our first look at Mike Wallace.
3. D line depth
The Eagles need a defensive tackle to step up.
Elijah Qualls stunk last week, and that's putting it nicely. He was slow off the ball, constantly stayed engaged with blocks, and committed penalties. It's now put up or shut up time for the former 6th round pick.
Undrafted free agent rookie Bruce Hector should get a long look tonight.
Defensive ends Josh Sweat and Steven Means should also have your attention.
4. The corners
For as long as Tom Brady is on the field the corners will be tested.
Rasul Douglas struggled mightily last week. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back.
According to reports, Avonte Maddox has stood out at practice as of late.
Can Maddox be the answer at the slot?
De'Vante Bausby played well last week, but will need another solid game to make his case.
And of course the development of Sidney Jones is always something to watch.
5. Wendell Smallwood
If Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey and Josh Adams are all out for tonight’s game, Wendell Smallwood and Matt Jones will be in line for a lot of reps.
With a good showing, Smallwood could potentially run away with the 4th running back job.
Will he rise to the occasion?
If Josh Adams is able to play, Smallwood will be on the hot seat. Adams played well last week and would be my preferred option to make the team.