Eagles kick off preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers: What to watch
Football season is finally back. After numerous months of anticipation, we will finally get our first look at Nick Sirianni and the new-look Philadelphia Eagles tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles are coming off a very solid two weeks of training camp with fans excited to see how Jalen Hurts will look under center in a new system. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s game.
How much will the Eagles’ starters play?
While Hurts will be on the field tonight, it won’t be for a while. According to Derrick Gunn, the starters are only projected to play 1-2 drives tonight. Playing this limited amount of time isn’t surprising by any means.
Preseason is meant to look at the depth of your roster and get everyone slowly acclimated to full games. Some teams play more, like the Chiefs, who will have the starters out for an entire quarter, some less like the Rams, who won’t play QB Matthew Stafford at all.
Some of the position battles to keep an eye on include tight-end between Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Goedert is the likely starter, but Ertz can hopefully show promise after an abysmal 2020 campaign. In the trenches, Andre Dillard was expected to fight for the left tackle spot but has been disappointing and currently is week-to-week with a knee sprain.
Unfortunately, Eagles fans won’t be able to see the debut of DeVonta Smith tonight, with Philadelphia having a laundry list of injuries currently. The upside is that Quez Watkins has a big shot to capitalize upon his incredible training camp and fight for a starting job. On the other side of the football, Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett are in a fierce battle for the first-team DE spot.
What will Nick Sirianni run?
It’s very likely that the rookie head coach will stick to the barebones of his offense during tonight’s game. Sirianni won’t want to give away what his offense is running for the regular season, and the team will still need the next few weeks to install a majority of the plays. The same goes for Jonathan Gannon and the other side of the football. Philly has shown some 21 speed as a possible formation while Gannon has teased a switch to a 3-4 defense this upcoming season.
Regardless of what happens tonight, there are likely to be over-the-top reactions on both spectrums from Eagles fans. Regardless, everyone is glad football is back, and it’ll be relieving to see a packed Lincoln Financial Field for the first time in over a year.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Eagles