Eagles in the a.m. -- Aug. 20

After a long wait, it's a gameday. The Eagles play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. Let's get to the morning roundup...


Which unit are you more interested in watching tonight: The offense or defense, and why? Answer and discuss in the comment section below.

Onto the links:



-Much is made about DeMeco Ryans, the leader. What about DeMeco Ryans, the football player? Jeff McLane explores that in his story on Monday:

The Eagles may have never needed a middle linebacker to be so many things as they do this season. When they traded for Ryans in March, they said he would fill that multifaceted role - a three-down player who will be the defensive quarterback and lead not only a young linebacker group, but the entire defense.

- Also, here are five things to watch in the game, from McLane.


-Ever wonder what goes into the Eagles determining to draft or sign players with off-field issues? With Damaris Johnson as the example, this Sunday story explores:

Johnson is one of three undrafted players the Eagles signed whose draft stocks were mired by off-field issues. Cornerback Cliff Harris and safety Phillip Thomas are the others. The Eagles, like the 31 other NFL franchises, weigh the risk and the reward of a player such as Johnson. It was a quandary the team explored on a more high-profile scale three seasons ago, when Michael Vick was signed after 18 months in prison.

- Maybe the left tackle competition is more about King Dunlap than it is about Demetress Bell, as Jeff McLane writes:

A year after Dunlap and a number of other Eagles offensive linemen had trouble grasping the veteran coach's teachings, Demetress Bell is struggling to adapt to Mudd's aggressive blocking techniques, which are antithetical to the vertical step.

- Nick Foles has an opportunity to determine the backup quarterback competition himself, writes Bob Ford:

No one will be as interested as Mike Kafka, the previous backup, who is out with a hand injury, and Trent Edwards, the veteran who is getting a chance with the Eagles after failing to land an NFL job in 2011. Those quarterbacks know that Foles is going to cost one of them a roster spot unless he falls horribly flat against the Patriots. How well Foles does may also determine which of them is the odd man out.

- Also, here's your update on Eagles injuries and playing time rotations for the game.


- Mychal Kendricks hears often about his height and whether he can cover tight ends. The Patriots provide a chance to answer that question.

Fast forward four months, and Kendricks will have an opportunity to answer that question before a national audience - one way or the other. The Eagles play the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, and it is the Patriots' use of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez that is often cited when discussing the evolution of the tight end in NFL offenses.

- All your notes here, including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's fine and Nnamdi Asomugha's neck.


It's gameday, and The Inquirer will all your updates and coverage from Foxborough, Mass. Pay attention to Birds' Eye View, philly.com and Monday's Inquirer for everything you need to know.