The Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night in their third preseason game. This is traditionally the last run of the starters on both sides of the ball. The first-team units will most likely play into the third quarter. When the game ends, some roster spots will be decided, and we will finally have a clearer picture of the regular season squad.
Here are two keys to focus on while watching the game:
Chip Kelly needs to see three quarters of regular season football, as the pace will be picked up another notch from the last two games. Kelly will not show his full hand, but expect to see more fact-paced play.
Michael Vick needs to move the ball, complete passes, read the defense and work the selection of option plays on the menu. Look for chemistry with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and increased protection from the return of Jason Peters to the line.
If Peters can stay healthy, he will only add to a group that has looked solid this far in the preseason. This is the time for tight football and for Vick to show why he is the starter on day one.
Billy Davis‘ group put on a better display last week. The Jaguars will not provide too much of a challenge, and Davis needs to build on his progress.
They need to generate consistent pressure from the line and show that gap assignments are understood and manned. Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams must decrease the number the catches they are giving up and show why both deserve to man the corners. This is where the conversion players like Trent Cole and Vinny Curry need to show that they have grasped their new positions.
This is the game where the details matter, and fans will get their closest glimpse of the starters before Week 1. The underlying theme is progress. Both units must be smooth and limit mistakes. If this happens, the team is a step closer to being ready. If not, some hard cuts are coming as Kelly must choose his guys carefully to make the most of his first season.