In a normal offseason, in a normal summer, we’d be preparing to watch a football game tonight. The Eagles were scheduled to be in Indianapolis tonight for a 7 p.m. kickoff of their preseason.
Alas, this is not a normal summer. The entire preseason was canceled.
So instead of watching the Eagles take on the Colts in Indianapolis tonight, Reuben Frank and I are left thinking about what we would have been watching.
Here are five things Roob would have watched.
While some players won’t miss the preseason, I will. I love every bit of training camp and the preseason. There were plenty of things I wanted to watch too.
Here are five:
Jason Peters at right guard
This would have been our first chance to see an experiment in game action. Obviously, if games were being played, Peters would have had practice time before them, but playing a new position in game action is much different. It really is a fascinating experiment with Peters this year. He’s 38 and has had a Hall of Fame career as a left tackle. But an injury to a great right guard forced the Eagles to bring Peters back at a different position on a different side of the line. I can’t wait to see how this works. But we’ll now have to wait for the regular season.
Does the offense really look different?
No, it’s unlikely the Eagles would have given away all their secrets in the preseason. But I really wonder what kind of changes we’ll see on offense after plenty of turnover on the offensive coaching staff. The Eagles have downplayed those changes and most of what they do in preseason would have been vanilla anyway … but maybe there would have been some hints tonight. I at least would have watched Carson Wentz closely to see any changes.
Jalen Mills at his new position
Like Peters, Mills is switching positions this season. He’s going from a cornerback in Jim Schwartz’s scheme to a safety and is pretty much replacing Malcolm Jenkins. That’s a big ask. No one expects Mills to be as good as Jenkins but based on how much Jenkins meant to the Eagles’ defense over the last several years, it’s fair to wonder how they’ll fare without him. Mills’ success or failure in this role will go a long way in determining that.
The young running back battle
As long as they’re healthy, I expect Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Corey Clement to be on the roster. But the Eagles traditionally keep four running backs, which leaves a three-man competition for that last spot. Elijah Holyfield is a second-year undrafted player who got here late last winter. And Mike Warren and Adrian Killins are undrafted rookies this year. Killins is a speed demon, so his skills should show up in practice. But Holyfield and Warren are more known for their between-the-tackles running style. It’s awfully hard to replicate that style in practices.
The linebacker rotation
Sure the Eagles drafted two linebackers and they added Jatavis Brown. But Brown retired, Davion Taylor is raw and Bradley was a 6th-round pick. So that means all their additions might not amount to a ton in 2020. And they lost Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill to free agency, so they return a group of Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley and Alex Singleton. We have a lot of questions about this group and we would have seen the rotation start to come together tonight. As it is, we’ll just have to watch closely in training camp.
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