The third preseason game is usually the one that matters most, in terms of getting a read on the starting lineup, and Doug Pederson said Tuesday he wants to get a really good read — at least a half of action for the starters Thursday at Cleveland.
Pederson said Nick Foles will play and presumably Foles will start at quarterback, only a week after suffering what the Eagles called a right shoulder strain at New England. The strain turned out to be extremely minor.
The Eagles are looking to define this week who is going to emerge as the nickel cornerback and as the starting weakside linebacker, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Monday.
Though Pederson said he would like to see some offensive continuity and the first team's first points of the preseason, he acknowledged that his main focus is on keeping players healthy for the regular season, which starts Sept. 6 vs. Atlanta. He said 36-year-old left tackle Jason Peters and 35-year-old running back/returner Darren Sproles will not play in the preseason.
With Sproles held out, the only running backs available this week would seem to be Wendell Smallwood and Matt Jones, both of whom struggled against New England. Jay Ajayi, who played briefly against the Patriots, is sidelined with a "lower body" injury, Pederson said. Then again, Josh Adams, out since the preseason opener with an ankle injury, seemed to be practicing Tuesday, though Pederson didn't mention the possibility that Adams might play.