Eagles vs Browns dress rehearsal

Philadelphia Eagles vs Cleveland Browns

The Philadelphia Eagles face the Cleveland Browns in the third preseason game for both teams.  The game in of itself is not as important as some of the underlying issues bubbling beneath the surface.  When the Eagles arrive at FirstEnergy Stadium tomorrow night, the starters will play the entire first half.  Quarterback Nick Foles will get an opportunity to put last weeks pathetic performance against the New England Patriots behind him.

Foles preseason game rebound

Foles certainly wants to get the bad taste of last week out of his mouth.  The second preseason game did not go how anyone, and certainly not me, imagined.  The Patriots obviously had an ax to grind after losing the SuperBowl to the Eagles last year.  They game planned for Philadelphia and Tom Brady played the entire first half.

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It didn’t help that Halapoulivaati Vaitai, starting at left tackle for Jason Peters was a complete turnstile during the game.  Foles took a nasty shot and was out for the rest of the game.  He hasn’t looked sharp at all, and that is one of the underlying issues facing the Eagles this preseason.

Is Wentz ready?

There has been uncertainty about  Foles’s sharpness this preseason.  The question of the availability of starter Carson Wentz for game one is an even more pressing issue.  There is still no definitive answer as to whether Foles or Wentz will start game one.  Until Wentz gets clearance by the doctors and the team feels he is ready to play, we still don’t know.  Whether it is health or conditioning, until the organization feels he is 100%, they will not risk him playing.

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Injured offensive starters

Another pressing issue facing the Eagles are the number of players expected to start that haven’t even played yet in a preseason game.  The list of players includes Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Peters and Darren Sproles.  The offense has been the unit that has been the most disappointing in these preseason games.

Other than a couple of flashes from second-year wideout Shelton Gibson and some nice downfield throws by Nate Sudfeld, they have been pedestrian at best.

Defensive questions

The defense has been only slightly better than the offense in the preseason.  This isn’t surprising considering the starters out on this side of the ball as well.  Brandon Graham has just come off the PUP list and hasn’t played.  Tim Jernigan remains out for an undetermined amount of time with a herniated disc injury and Sidney Jones has been up and down.

This third game is the final chance for most of the starters to get some game time action. Its imperative that they have a good showing against the Browns. For the team, the coaches and the fans to have any semblance of a good feeling going into the season, they must show that they do not have a SuperBowl hangover that’s befallen many past champions.

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stats courtesy of espn.com
Photo courtesy of Flickr via Keith Allison