It's only a preseason game, but Friday night's matchup against the Jaguars at the Linc presents an opportunity for several Eagles.
For some, it's an opportunity to show the fans the franchise is going in the right direction. For others, it's a chance to show the coaches they should start, or at least that they belong on the roster.
Here's a quick list of players on offense who have something to prove in Friday's game. I'll do the defense in the morning. I grouped a couple together for obvious reasons.
Kevin Kolb, QB: This one is more for the fans than the coaching staff. Defenses generally don't show a lot in the preseason, and that will almost certainly be the case here since the Jaguars and Eagles play each other for real in six weeks. Jacksonville's defense will be very basic. They're not going to do much to confuse Kolb, but it would be nice for the offense to show the fans something. Kolb and the regulars were not sharp last week at Flight Night. A scoring drive or a standout play that gets the fans out of their seats would be a nice touch. Especially considering those in attendance are forced to pay full price.
Mike McGlynn, C: I'm looking forward to see how McGlynn does in terms of just finding the right defender and blocking him. Maybe that means a blitzer. Maybe it means helping Max Jean-Gilles or Stacy Andrews. I'm not sure. It would also be good if the Birds could avoid any miscues on the center-to-quarterback exchange. It's a simple thing that's often taken for granted. But in the regular season, a fumble there can change the course of the game. We won't get much of an indication on how McGlynn directs protection because, as I mentioned, the Jaguars' defense will likely be very basic.
Stacy Andrews, G: Andy Reid has said Andrews is definitely further along as a run blocker than a pass blocker. In all honesty, I'm going to need the regular season to believe he's ready to effectively start at right guard. But a strong showing here would be a start.
Kelley Washington, WR: There's no doubt in my mind he can put himself in position to steal a roster spot from Hank Baskett, who is injured. He's a guy worth watching once the second unit comes in. Don't forget - Washington set career highs in yards and receptions last season. And let's see if he can have a stand-out moment on special teams.
Eldra Buckley/Charles Scott, RB: These two are likely fighting for one roster spot. Scott has been pretty average at camp and has added backup fullback to his title. The Eagles know what they have in Buckley, and it's probably his job to lose at this point.
Clay Harbor/Cornelius Ingram, TE: Regardless of how he plays, it's hard not to feel good for Ingram, who will be playing in his first game since the 2008 Capital One Bowl. There's a chance both guys make the roster, but Harbor enters Friday night's game with a leg up. Keep an eye on how much each guy plays, and in what situations. Harbor needs to show he's picked up the mental aspects of the position. Ingram needs to show he can block and still has some athleticism.
King Dunlap/Austin Howard, T: The Eagles' backup tackle situation is tough to sort out, mostly because of the uncertainty around Todd Herremans and his injury. I am confident that Howard will make the team. Dunlap? Not so much. At this point, though, it's a numbers game. And I'm not sure the Eagles have enough tackle depth to leave Dunlap off the roster. At the same time, if they can't count on him to come in and play in the regular season, then what's the point of keeping him?
Chad Hall, WR: He has more to prove as a return man than a receiver. I still think it's a longshot for Hall to make the team, but he can make the coaches' decision a little bit harder with a good showing.
Earlier today, I posted five thoughts on the state of the Eagles.
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