Eagles coach Andy Reid reiterated that he expects his starters to play as much as three quarters Monday night at New England, in the Birds' second preseason game. He said they definitely will play the first half, then he'll play it by ear -- presumably, if the offense has rolled to multiple touchdowns, they'll call it a night, and conversely, if the defense gets some stops, that would shorten its evening. Probably if either unit ends up playing the entire three quarters, things weren't going that well.
Reid said DE Jason Babin (calf), WR Riley Cooper (collarbone), QB Mike Kafka (hand) and LB Casey Matthews (ankle) will sit out the game, as expected.
Reid acknowledged the Patriots' tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will test the Eagles' smallish linebackers and safeties.
"Your safeties and your linebackers, that's a big challenge. That's the primary part of their offense ... you've gotta be disciplined, it'll be great for [strongside rookie Mychal] Kendricks, he's a young guy, it'll be a great experience for him," Reid said.
Reid said he had no qualms about playing corner Nnamdi Asomugha, who suffered whiplash in a scary collision with Nate Allen Monday at Lehigh.
Reid said the only question about Asomugha the past few days was "just getting the spasm out. He was X-rayed, we knew everything was good ... He felt great. He's a good communicator, so it feels like he's ready to go."
Reid was asked about the replacement refs, who come from the ranks of small college football, as the NFL and the regular refs fight over money.
Reid said the replacements are "trying their hearts out ... busting their tails to catch up to the speed of our game ... whatever situation goes on goes on. We go with it. I appreciate their effort."