Although we don’t need the Eagles to save us from the Phillies this year (anyone see that comeback last night?), it’s still nice to have football back in our lives. Tonight’s matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars won’t see the team’s bonafide starters play more than a few series, but besides the sheer joy at seeing organized football going down in South Philly, many of the players on the cusp will want to go above and beyond to make their case for the final roster.
Additionally, tonight’s game won’t see an announcement of the same caliber as the one that came during last year’s first preseason game. But we’ll see plenty of action from the man in question, Michael Vick, after Kevin Kolb gets his one quarter or less of playing time.
One thing that has been stressed throughout the entire off-season and training camp is that this is a new team, and a much younger team, and some of the faces we could see starting come Week 1 might be surprising. We all know that the look of the offense will be markedly different with Kolb in control, effected by both player turnover and injuries. One surprise tonight will be the inclusion of Mike McGlynn as the starting center. Jamaal Jackson is well on his way to healing, but he’s still a a ways from returning to the offensive line. Nick Cole seems like the logical choice to fill in here, but barring injury, it could very well be that McGlynn has simply made the case to be the starter.
A guy that has gotten a lot of ink in training camp is fifth receiver Riley Cooper. His play has impressed Reid, and although Hank Baskett sits in front of him on the depth charts, continued solid play could make a case for him to see increased playing time. At tight end, the injury prone Cornelius Ingram remains a question mark, so the small yet quick rookie Clay Harbor could climb a rung in the ladder and see significant playing time behind Brent Celek.
When it comes to returns, Chad Hall will be taking punts and Quintin Demps will return kickoffs. The nod towards Hall doesn’t sound like an indictment on DeSean Jackson, but just a chance to see what another guy can do in a quasi-game situation. Plus, DJax is a little banged up, so Reid is going to want him healthy for the season.
How will the Birds fare tonight? Don’t look at the final score – that’s meaningless. We’ll want to watch how the rookies are performing under pressure, how newly-healed players are handling, and
which players on the cusp of increasing their chances of making the team.
Most importantly, football is back! It will be great to see the Birds’ exciting young talent take the field and fulfill the high expectations that we have for them.