The highly touted Wentz v. Foles matchup is finally here! Except neither of the QBs are expected to play for their respective teams. As much as we might (or might not, depending on who you ask) want to see Carson play against the former Superbowl MVP, there are still a great deal of players to keep an eye on for the Birds.
The obvious choice for an important player to watch here is Cody Kessler. With the Birds’ primary backup in Nate Sudfeld going down with a broken wrist in the first game of preseason, Kessler looks primed for the backup gig until he returns. Kessler struggled mightily coming in for Sudfeld Week 1, throwing for an abysmal 12 yards on 3/6 passing.
The only reason he’s the #2 QB right now is because 5th round pick Clayton Thorson has somehow found a way to be worse. Throwing 2/9 in his first action, with an ugly interception to boot, I’m not sure Thorson will ever have a place in the NFL, and I still question what made Howie pick him to this day. We need to see Kessler take command of this offense if we are to believe he can win a game in any capacity if Carson goes down. I don’t need him to set the world on fire, but I’d like to see him make at least a couple competent NFL passes.
Gerry didn’t do a whole lot to impress in the previous game. With Grugier-Hill out, Gerry is in line for a huge uptick in playing time heading into the season if he can get his head in the game. It is just one game of preseason, but he needs to show he can be effective in both the run and passing game. I don’t think his roster spot is in jeopardy by any means, but he needs to show the coaches something that allows them to think that he can be relied on.
The Penn State product has to try and run forward this week rather than backwards. Granted, the offensive line didn’t help him at all in Week 1, but Sanders has shown in camp that he has the ability to evade defenders. Hopefully we see a bit more of Sanders this week as three carries isn’t a justifiable sample size. It’s been noted in training camp that he’s at times looked like the best back on the roster, and we all remember the impressive jumpcut that he displayed at the open practice. I’m holding out hope that he makes one highlight play against the Jags reserves.
The Birds released Blake Countess earlier in the week after the safety sustained a hamstring injury. The competition for the fourth safety is now down to Cyprien and Tre Sullivan. To help his chances, Cyprien will need to rebound from a blown coverage last week that allowed a touchdown. He possesses the versatility to play defensive back as well as linebacker, and that is a skillset the Eagles could use. He’ll need to display more than an impressive Titans/Jags resume to beat out Sullivan for that spot.
Prediction: Jaguars 20 | Eagles 3
I don’t have any confidence whatsoever that Kessler or Thorson can lead this team down for a score, even against a second and third string Jags defense. There will be some players giving their all for a roster spot, and that is always the most intriguing part of preseason. Here’s hoping we don’t have to watch Matt Pryor commit three more egregious penalties.