Eagles

What you need to know as Eagles face Patriots in preseason

Eagles

The Eagles will continue their preseason tonight against the Patriots. This is the second of three preseason games in 2021.

This game comes after the Eagles hosted the Patriots for two days of joint practices at the NovaCare Complex. Now, the two teams will meet again a couple blocks away at Lincoln Financial Field.

As a reminder, any fans heading to the game are required to wear face masks in any indoor spaces at the Linc. Fans are not required to wear masks outside but those who are not fully vaccinated are “strongly encouraged” to wear them. Fans should bring their own masks.

If you’re not going to the game, here’s everything you need to know:

6:30 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia

7:30 p.m.: Eagles vs. Patriots on NBC10 and in Spanish on TeleXitos

10:30 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The television broadcasters will be Scott Graham (play-by-play), Ross Tucker (analyst) and Dave Spadaro (sideline).

Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will also have the call on 94WIP.

Keeping it crisp

Nick Sirianni’s major takeaway from the Eagles’ first preseason game was that they looked very crisp on both sides of the ball. I agree. Coming into last week’s game I was a little skeptical that would be the case. Because they have new offensive and defensive schemes and they’ve been having short practices all summer. But the communication on both sides of the ball was solid, there weren’t a ton of silly penalties and Jonathan Gannon’s unit even tackled well on defense.

 

The Eagles didn’t win their preseason opener but it felt like a win because all those things went well. They should want to see that continue in this game.

The other thing to watch is the Eagles’ depth. They were in control with their first and second teams last week but their third team, especially that third-team defense, struggled. Some of those players are fighting for roster spots.

Back to vanilla

Doug Pederson’s favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. And that happens to be Sirianni’s favorite flavor of preseason calls. Sirianni actually admitted this week that he’s more willing to show off his scheme during joint practices than he is during preseason games.

“This is a little different,” he said on Tuesday. “There's only two teams that see this, ourselves and the Patriots or ourselves and the Jets. We are very professional with them and they are very professional with us knowing we want to continue this relationship with both the Jets and the Patriots, so whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?

“So whatever happens on these practice fields stays here. We're able to do a little bit more than what we do in a preseason game at this particular point because not all 32 teams get to see it.”

One of the major advantages the Eagles have coming into this season is that the rest of the league doesn’t exactly know what to expect from Sirianni’s offense or Gannon’s defense. So they’ll be using these preseason games to evaluate their players, but don’t expect them to pull out all their tricks. They’re going to save them for the regular season.

How much will starters play?

Jalen Hurts and the first-team offense played just 10 snaps last week. Hurts looked good but it was obviously a small sample size. It’ll be interesting to see how much the starters play in this game.

Because the Eagles are having two rounds of joint practices, and because Sirianni values them so much, it would actually make sense to continue to limit starters’ reps during the preseason. It doesn’t make for a great product for fans in the stands, but it might be the best thing for the team.

And, after all, preseason games are more about the lesser-known players, the guys clawing to stick around in the league.

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