The Eagles kicked off the 2018 NFL preseason last Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though they did not secure the victory, losing 31-14, preseason is all about progression.
Philadelphia’s coaching staff got to see quarterback Nate Sudfeld extensively and saw rookie tight end Dallas Goedert and second-year wide receiver Shelton Gibson score touchdowns.
However, Thursday’s preseason game will be a tad bit different as veteran quarterback Nick Foles will be making his 2018 preseason debut.
What should we expect from Foles and what else should we be looking out for in the Eagles’ second preseason game?
To answer those questions and more, here are three things to watch for:
1. Nick Foles vs. Tom Brady II
Not only will this be Foles’ preseason debut, it will also be Brady’s. The same time we saw Brady was in Super Bowl 52, throwing a desperation Hail Mary pass to possibly win the game.
However, that pass would be incomplete and the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. It should be interesting to see how both signal callers look in this game, even though they will not play that many snaps.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked about Foles’ availability on Tuesday heading into Thursday’s game. Foles missed last week’s game with an upper-body injury.
“I do expect him to get in the game. For how long I don’t know, but I do expect him to get a few plays in this game,” said Pederson.
This game will not have the same magnitude that the Super Bowl boasted, but it will be fun to see Foles run some plays with the first team offense.
2. Youth Movement
Aforementioned, Goedert and Gibson definitely made their presence felt in the Eagles’ preseason opener. Goedert, this year’s second-round pick, had a nice touchdown grab in the second quarter and finished the game with four receptions for 66 yards.
In terms of Gibson, he blew past Steelers cornerback Dashaun Phillips showcasing his speed for a 63-yard touchdown reception. It was a much-needed play from Gibson, who had a disappointing preseason last year.
Defensively, rookie fourth-round pick defensive end Josh Sweat flashed a couple of times on the field, while second-year cornerback Rasul Douglas had an interception.
Therefore, with the first game in the books, who might stand out on Thursday?
A few options could be undrafted free agent running back Josh Adams, who had a solid debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receivers Rashard Davis, Greg Ward Jr., and cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox.
3. Starting third linebacker spot
In last week’s preseason opener, the Eagles named second-year linebacker Nate Gerry the starter at the will spot. The former safety out of the University of Nebraska impressed head coach Doug Pederson with his smarts and versatility. He finished the game with four tackles.
While Gerry may have the inside track on winning the job, third-year linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still making his case too. The former Eastern Illinois University product had a nice game against the Steelers with six total tackles.
Pederson said after last week’s game that he feels like Grugier-Hill has done a good job and is off to a good camp.
By no means necessary is the competition for the starting will spot is over. Matter of fact, it is just getting started. Whoever plays the best on Thursday night and next week against the Cleveland Browns will be starting on Sept. 6 against the Atlanta Falcons.