The Eagles and Ravens will strap it on Thursday night in a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. This won’t go a long way to determining anything, just a chance for fans to catch a quick glimpse of what many are hoping is a special season for the Birds.
In today’s print edition, we give you “3 Storylines to Watch.”
Here, we tell you what to expect …
Who’s In, Who’s Out » For the Eagles, no surprises: WR DeSean Jackson, WR Jeremy Maclin, DT Trevor Laws, DT Mike Patterson, DE Brandon Graham are all OUT.
For the Ravens … NT Brandon McKinney, CB Jimmy Smith, RB Ricky Williams are all OUT.
What to Expect » For the Eagles: Michael Vick and the first-team offense is expected to play the first quarter, according to Andy Reid, with Jason Avant and Riley Cooper starting at the receiver spots. Johnnie Lee Higgins will start as the No. 1 return man, with Chad Hall also getting some looks. The first-team defense will also get a quarter. Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha are your starting cornerbacks, with Joselio Hanson seeing action in nickel packages and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in dime looks.
For the Ravens: The first-team offense and defense will play the first quarter, according to coach John Harbaugh, although he left the window open for pulling people earlier — especially veterans like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata. Those guys will probably see a series, maybe two.
Our take » Don’t expect too much from either side. Reid will be quick to pull the trigger on his ones, once they get a good series or two in. Likewise with the Ravens. Remember, Harbaugh came from Reid’s coaching tree. The first preseason game is more for the rookies and undrafted free agents to showcase their skills for the rest of the league. The Eagles’ defense might get a little longer look since there are so many new pieces, starting with new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and ending with the big unknowns in the linebacking corps (Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney, Moise Fokou).