I love preseason games.
There, I said it.
Blowouts, scoreless ties, endless fourth quarters in empty stadiums?
I love every minute of it.
Because those games are our first, best and in some cases only chance to see a lot of the young players that we've spent the last few months talking about.
Preseason games might not be great football, but to the truly hard-core football fans, they're always fascinating and revealing.
The Eagles' preseason opener would have been tonight in Indianapolis against Frank Reich's Colts, but for us preseason fans, we'll have to wait another year.
If the Eagles did play tonight, Dave Zangaro and I would have been at Lucas Oil Stadium soaking it all in.
Instead, we figured we'd share our top five things we would have been looking out for if there were a game.
And here are mine:
I would have been interested in Taylor, the rookie 3rd-round pick out of Colorado, even before Jatavis Brown retired. Now, there's even more of a spotlight on the Eagles' young linebackers. Taylor and Brown don't play the same position, but there will definitely be more reps to go around, and if Taylor looks like he belongs he'll be in the mix for playing time. Taylor just hasn't played much football and losing the preseason doesn't help, but you'd want to see how comfortable he looks in coverage, which is where he's most likely to make an impact here.
Whether it's Randall as a rookie, Donovan as a rookie, Nick Foles or Carson Wentz at rookies, you always love seeing the young quarterbacks play in the preseason. Not so much the stats they put up but just how they carry themselves, how they lead the offense, how comfortable they look in game situations, how they bounce back after mistakes. Hurts doesn't project to play QB this year, but he's one guy who really could have used four preseason games to get some valuable reps that the Eagles hope he doesn't get during the season.
The return of Vinny Curry raises some questions about Miller, questions he could have gone a long way toward answering in the preseason. He was one guy I really would have liked to see after he sat the entire 2019 season. The preseason games would have shown whether he developed more moves, how he held up against the run and what kind of energy he brings to the defensive front. It's been a long time since Miller played any meaningful snaps, and it might be a long time until he plays anymore.
This is an obvious one. JJAW's rookie year was awfully disappointing, and we all would have wanted to see him go out in the preseason games and use his frame to get position against corners and secure the football, get yards after the catch, and most of all just show confidence and a connection with whichever quarterback he's out there with. I would have expected a guy like JJAW to get a ton of reps in the preseason games and work against some 2nd- and 3rd-team d-backs where he'd have a huge advantage, catch some passes and feel good about his performance. It's a shame he won't get that chance.
John Hightower and Quez Watkins
It's never easy for rookie wide receivers to flourish in the preseason games. They're often just over-matched making that leap from college to the NFL, where cornerbacks can be so tough and physical and keep you from getting releases off the line of scrimmage. We all know Hightower and Watkins can motor. But like most young NFL receivers, the big question isn't how fast they are, it's how well they adjust to the NFL game, and it would have been fun to see if these two rookies could translate their blazing speed into getting open down the field and making plays.
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