The Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their third and arguably most important game of the preseason. The first team offense and defense will play three quarters tonight, which will likely be their last action of the preseason.
The offense will welcome the return of Todd Herremans to the starting lineup. He's missed the whole preseason and most of training camp with a foot injury he's been recovering from since last season. Another injured Eagle, RB Mike Bell, will make his preseason and Eagles debut. Bell has been bothered by calf and hamstring injuries all through camp, but he finally seems healthy and will take over his role as LeSean McCoy's backup tonight.
The Eagles offense will look to get over its Red Zone struggles tonight, the first team has yet to score a TD in three quarters of action so far this preseason. With so little playing time and the vanilla schemes used in the preseason, it's hardly a major concern yet, but Andy Reid did say he think it's important to finish drives in the preseason.
"I think it's important. I would tell you that when you get into the red zone, you want to score. We try to do that in the preseason with a limited package, but at the same time you if execute, you score. I've mentioned this before, so I'll mention it again here, we did get it in the end zone this last time, and then we had the penalty, so we have to clean that up, and make sure we take care of business there. I think our guys have the confidence that'll it'll get done, whether it is now or during the season."
Rookie Brandon Graham will make his first start as an Eagle tonight. Andy Reid pointed out that he'll be among several Eagles rookies that will see significant time with the first team offense tonight.
"Well, there are going to be some rookies that start. [DE] Brandon [Graham] will start, as will [S] Nate [Allen]. [DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim] will be in there in nickel situations. Then, we'll get into our rotations where the guys, in particular the defensive line, that first group that had the whole duration of the time and the one's that have been out there, we'll get into more of a game situation where we rotate those guys."
Although tonight's preseason game will be more about getting the starters work than it will be about the rest of the team being evaluated, the coach stressed that he doesn't see anyone on the team as a "backup player" and every guy on the roster should be fighting for a starting job on every play.
"They've worked very hard. I think there's great competition as some of those spots there and that's what [GM] Howie [Roseman] and I try to do, is bring people in here that can compete, and Howie's always talking about you bring in guys that are starters. Now, they may not be a starter this year, maybe next year, or the following year after that, but you don't bring in guys that are backup players, you try to strive to bring in guys that have the opportunity to play. With that philosophy, it creates great competition and makes our job hard in a few days here."