In the lead-up to the New England Patriots' week two preseason match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles, I asked Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation five questions about what to expect from the Eagles.
Check out our Q&A below:
1. It seems as if Jeremy Maclin has performed well in training camp thus far. Is he the answer to the departure of DeSean Jackson? What do the Eagles have for depth at the receiver position behind Maclin and Riley Cooper?
Jeremy Maclin is not THE answer to replacing DeSean Jackson, but he's definitely a big part of the replace-DeSean-Jackson-by-
2. How did Eagles fans and players react to the comments made by Cary Williams? If anything, they don't seem in line with the organization's collaboration with the Patriots. Have players / coaches backed off of them?
It's fair to say a number of Eagles fans consider the Patriots as the team's biggest non-division rival, so I think they loved to hear what Williams said. It's been nearly 10 years since that Eagles Super Bowl loss but I don't think the fans are quick to forget it.
3. Entering his second season as Eagles coach, what kind of progress have you seen from Chip Kelly? We know about his relationship with Bill Belichick - is there anything about the direction of the team that falls in line with the so called "Patriot way?"
Great question. I think one of the biggest themes this offseason has been continuity. Kelly (along with various coaches/players on the Eagles) have continued to tout the narrative of how they're improving by keeping things constant (for the most part) and having another year in the system. Kelly's rookies season in 2013 was all about laying the foundation whereas 2014 that foundation is already established and the Eagles can go from there.
I definitely think there is an "Eagle way" in the sense the Eagles look for certain kind of high character players with little baggage. In the draft, for example, they specifically like to target seniors who have finished (or are on track to finish) with their degrees. Part of DeSean Jackson's release probably had to do with not fitting into that model.
4. What's one intriguing battle for a starting position (or key role player) on the Eagles that Patriots fans should be on the look-out for tonight?
At this point the Eagles don't really have any major position battles taking place. They didn't have too many to begin with. I'll give you a player to watch, though: Mark Sanchez. Patriots fans are obviously familiar with his time on the New York Jets. Sanchez looked sharp against the Bears last week (7/10 with the incompletions being two drops and a failed hail marry attempt) and it wouldn't surprise me if he carved up the Patriots back ups.
5. Since the starters are only likely to play a half of football or less, who is one lesser known Eagles player that might stand out tonight?
Let's go with wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah. The 6-8 pass catcher is potentially competing for a sixth wide receiver roster spot. The fact that he played football at Boston College seems like a natural tie-in for some Pats fans. Oh and I should mention that Momah told reporters the Patriots (along with the Steelers and Eagles) were one of the three teams that offered him a future/reserves contract this offseason.