What to Watch: Eagles vs. Chiefs

Eagles defense needs pass-rush
Trent Cole and the Eagles need to generate a pass-rush Thursday night against the Chiefs.

McNabb to be honored at halftime

Maybe lost in the shuffle Thursday night will be the retirement of Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 jersey. Then again, maybe that’s for the better.

With so much attention being paid to Andy Reid’s return and Chip Kelly’s ever-evolving offense, McNabb might feel a little cheated. The greatest quarterback in franchise history will be honored at halftime as he enters the team’s Hall of Fame.

McNabb, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, was often criticized by fans during his tenure, but never by his former coach.

“I thought our organization felt this way, we thought he was the best,” Andy Reid said, of McNabb. “Best fit for Philadelphia, best fit for our offense. I think history has said that. The things that he did for that franchise, he had a great relationship with me, but he also had a great relationship with Jeff [Lurie] and Joe [Banner]. That pick was a win-win for everybody.”

 

3 Things To Watch at The Linc

The Chiefs are playing the Eagles Thursday (8:25 p.m., NFLN) in the most anticipated game on the schedule. Chip Kelly’s team comes in at 1-1 coming off a loss to San Diego, while Andy Reid’s Chiefs are 2-0 after beating Dallas last week.

There isn’t a shortage of storyline in this one, especially from a fan’s perspective. However, let’s focus on football for minute. Here’s what we’re watching:
1. Can the Eagles stop Jamaal Charles? Kansas City’s starting tailback is one of the best in the game and Reid is using him the same way he used Brian Westbrook when he was here. Charles has been a factor in both the run game and the pass game, averaging 16 carries on the ground and five receptions. He has accounted for 203 total yards.

2. Can the Eagles generate a pass-rush? After a surprisingly strong showing in Week 1 — the Eagles recorded three sacks — the front seven struggled mightily last week. Yes, they did register one sack, but they rarely got close to Philip Rivers. Expect a renewed commitment to the pass-rush, which may include rushing cornerbacks and safeties in blitz packages.

3. Has Andy Reid really changed? We’ve heard a lot about how the coach has been running the ball more, even adding a read-option look. However, the knock on Reid here was his love affair with throwing the ball. When asked if knowing Reid’s tendencies would help the Eagles’ defense, Trent Cole joked, “Pass … I’m done.”

4. Does Reid have an advantage? It’s hard not to think he won’t have a huge advantage in this one. After all, he’s the guy who drafted a large majority of the roster. He’s also the coach who resurrected Mike Vick. If he does, Reid wouldn’t admit it. “I don’t think it hurts you, I don’t think that happens,” he said. “But, after that, you still got to go play, that’s what you still got to go do.”

5. DeSean Jackson or LeSean McCoy? The Chiefs have a tough task on defense deciding whether to load the box and take away LeSean McCoy, something the Chargers did in Week 2. Or put a safety over the top to protect against DeSean Jackson’s breakaway speed. It’s a case of pick your own poison.

 

Follow Mike Greger on Twitter: @mike_greger

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