Tonight features the Week 3 preseason match-up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles will be resting their starters, as Andy Reid doesn't want to show the Browns anything before our week one match up.
While we wont be able to see many key players start, we will get to see some interesting positional battles take place. Here's who to look for when the birds land in Cleveland.
5. King Dunlap
This is Dunlap's second week in a row making this list, primarily because once again he will get the start over the assumed starter, Demetruss Bell.
Either way this battle plays out, it will be a loss as the Eagles are without the best left tackle in the league, Jason Peters. Still, Dunlap has impressed these last few weeks, specifically against New England.
King has only had seven starts in two seasons, something that Eagles' coaches aren't quite too happy about. However, if King Dunlap continues to u
se his outrageous size (he's 6'9") and strength, he could very well be a key player in this offensive line.
4. Dennis Kelly
Dennis Kelly was the fifth round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. No offense to Kelly, but when his name was called, not many people thought they would see him on the field at all, much less starting a game.
That, however, is the NFL for you. Kelly made an impact during training camp and has since had a successful preseason.
Long-time offensive line stud Todd Herremans will be out against Cleveland attending a family funeral. This gives Kelly the shot to prove what he learned in his four years at Purdue and in training camp.
If he can hold his own against an above average Cleveland D-line, he will have a great shot at backing up Herremans and possibly taking over for him in a few years.
3. Mychal Kendricks
Mychal Kendricks was the third round pick by the Eagles-- a great pick. Coming out of college, he was the premiere tight end covering machine, something the Eagles had been without for many years.
On Monday however, Kendricks blew coverage all over the field and gave up a touchdown to a no-name tight end. Seriously, i can't even find the guys name online.
The worst part was how little effort it looked like he put in last week, specifically on the touchdown play.
He had some plays though, where he got behind the line with blazing, fast speed. Still, there are always things a player can fix.
The matchup against Cleveland is very important for the Eagles defense as a whole, as the Browns plan to play all of their starters, besides the injured Trent Richardson.
If Kendricks can show coaches what they've been looking for, he will be the starter, playing next to veteran Demeco Ryans. Look for the Eagles' linebacking core to take a huge step forward in 2012.
2. Brandon Boykin
Much has been made of the 4th-rounder out of Georgia Tech. He pretty much has the return position locked down, but it looks like Brandon Boykin is hot on the tail of Joselio Hanson in competition for the slot corner position.
The third cornerback (slot) is the closest position to starting, that technically isn't starting. We are seeing more and more 3-4 wide receiver sets in the NFL, prompting teams to sign more slot corners. Hanson has had a successful career as an Eagle, but Boykin is hungry.
When speaking about the third corner job, Andy Reid said, "I think you play the best guy, is what you do." It is looking more and more everyday like Boykin is the man for the job. Hanson has the experience, while BB has the athletic ability to become a top slot corner in this league.
Only time will tell, and tonight will be a great opportunity to see him play, as he will be on the field for much of the four quarters.
1. Nick Foles
I have written a whole lot about Foles in the past two weeks. I could tell you all of his stats without having to look anything up on the web.
However, it is for good reason, as Nick Foles currently holds the highest passer rating in the NFL with 120.35. Foles will get his first chance to start against the Browns, and it will be an important game as the Browns' defense will be in full effect.
Also, there is always the chance Vick isn't ready by week one, prompting Foles to start. So this game could be very helpful when it comes to the real deal Week 1.
Philadelphia has become obsessed with Nick Foles out of Arizona, something that seems to happen frequently in the city of brotherly love. Just three years ago, people were criticizing coach Reid for signing Vick and letting him stay on the roster in 2010.
Come Week 1, Kevin Kolb goes down with a concussion, and Michael Vick takes over the reigns and never looked back. The Eagles' fan base became ecstatic with Vick's play and would have even welcomed him over for Thanksgiving dinner given the opportunity. They immediately forgot about supposed 'future Eagles HOF'er' Kevin Kolb, and he was out of town by 2011.
While Foles is a sensation in Philly, let us not be mistaken, he is a rookie. Vick is a vet, not only a vet but a possible future hall of famer (whole different conversation). Vick is still in his prime, despite what his injuries tell us. Fans need to be patient with Vick, as this teams style was built around his abilities.
That said, with Vick out, I could not feel more comfortable with Foles stepping in.
While i am very confident Vick will have a stellar season, i believe it's only a matter of time before Nick Foles becomes the face of the Philadelphia Eagles. Look for Foles to have another impressive performance tonight.
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