Week 2 of the preseason is upon us, and the Eagles will be hosting their second straight Thursday Night game at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly is coming off the heels of an outstanding week of joint practice against their upcoming opponent, the New England Patriots. First off, let's recap what we have seen from the Eagles in practice against the Patriots.
The Eagles and Patriots scrimmaged on both Monday and Tuesday, and the Eagles got the better of New England both days. On Monday, second year wideout Quez Watkins continued his impressive camp as he burned star corner J.C. Jackson on a go route for a deep touchdown. DeVonta Smith was back in pads both days, and scrimmaged on Tuesday. Smith beat Jackson on a route in the red zone, but Hurts hit Ertz for a touchdown as both Ertz and Smith were wide open. Reagor made an "OBJ like" one handed circus catch in the corner of the end zone, and this catch from Reagor is coming on the heels of another one handed touchdown last week in practice.
With the Eagles success in practice, could we see less of Jalen Hurts and the starters than anticipated? Nick Sirianni previously said that Miles Sanders is not playing in the preseason due to injury risk, and this could be true for other veterans like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Darius Slay. However, it is likely that the majority, if not all of the Eagles first team offense, is in the game for at least the first few drives, but in all probability they won't be in much longer than that. Sirianni also stated that he wants rookie receiver DeVonta Smith to play in the preseason, but with Smith looking outstanding in camp, it would be unlikely for Sirianni to risk re-injuring the knee sprain Smith is coming back from.
As we do not know the full details of who will be playing and for how long, there's a few guys under the radar you should keep your eye on.
With Milton Williams playing defensive end throughout the preseason opener, this opens the door for T.Y. McGill, who is fighting for the third defensive tackle spot behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Gargrave. McGill has had an outstanding camp, and followed that up with a sack in the preseason opener. When the top two defensive tackles come out of the game, expect McGill to get the majority of the first team snaps, as he is in prime position to earn his roster spot.
Kerryon Johnson was placed on the Waived/Injured list and Miles Sanders is not playing, which leaves the rookie Kenny Gainwell to have an expanded role. Gainwell was the second back behind Jordan Howard last week, and Gainwell looked sharp with 3 touches for 21 yards and a couple of broken tackles. The rookie is expected to receive more snaps in week 2, and these next two preseason games could determine Gainwell's role heading into the regular season.
It seems like DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins have been the stars of camp, as the rest of the wideouts have taken a back seat. Also, the second team touches on offense have been dominated by Kenny Gainwell and Tyree Jackson in practice, but with Jackson expected to miss 8-10 weeks with a back injury, Hightower has the perfect opportunity to earn the fourth receiver role. Hightower is easily the most talented receiver after the three starters, but had an up and down rookie year with flashes of both good and bad. Hightower needs to become more consistent if he wants to earn significant snaps, and the Patriots game is the first step towards doing so.
Today's game has a 7:30 Kickoff Time and will be broadcasted on NFL Network as well as NFL Game Pass.