Will Cary Williams back up his big talk with big play this season? Credit: Getty Images
It’s time to make some new memories.
Sure, we had some incredible moments last season, as the Eagles surprised everyone during Chip Kelly’s rookie season as head coach. He led the team to an NFC East title afterall.
But the 2013-14 campaign had a bitter end against New Orleans, and the Eagles are eager to shake off the taste of failure.
There is a considerable amount of hype fueling this training camp, and the sooner the Birds can start confounding fans’ (and pundits’) expectations the better.
The result on the scoreboard of Friday night’s contest matters very little. But the performance on the field matters a great deal. Here are three things to keep an eye on.
1. Eagles new-look defense
The Eagles’ defense was its biggest weakness last year, but also the area many think has been most improved.
With several new additions, as well as veterans returning a year smarter within Bill Davis’ system, some questions are still prevalent.
Is Cary Williams a shutdown corner? Will Malcolm Jenkins become an answer at safety for the first time since Brian Dawkins? Can the pass-rushers collect more sacks?
2. The newest offensive weapons
Chip Kelly intends to get both the veterans and rookies some playing time in the first preseason game Friday.
We’re trying to get our starters or 1’s somewhere between 10 to 15 snaps,” Kelly said in a Wednesday news conference, “just depends on how the game goes, and then we’ll start to substitute after that.”
This being said, look for first-year receivers Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews to get playing time after the Eagles’ debut of Darren Sproles and the return of Jeremy Maclin in the first quarter.
3. Battle of the Trojans
After Nick Foles exits the game in Chicago after what Chip Kelly predicts will be 10-15 snaps, the battle to back him up begins.
Few will argue that Mark Sanchez has had the best camp, but Matt Barkley has had an extra year with Kelly’s offensive scheme and is still a candidate to be the No. 2 when the season begins.
With the two quarterbacks, each formerly of the USC Trojans, likely to get the majority of the action during the Eagles’ four preseason games, the competition for the backup role makes it interesting. It doesn’t hurt that they will have Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews and company to throw to.