Eagles Anxious to Open Preseason Thursday
The Eagles will get their first chance to face another team when they open the against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field Thursday night.
Although the final score is meaningless, the game does have value in terms of allowing players to finally show what they can do against another team. That's something that didn't happen last year, as Covid-19 shut down the NFL preseason and training camps.
"We didn't have it last year, so I don't really known what to expect," second-year wide receiver Jalen Reagor told the team's web site Wednesday. "But I'm planning to go out there and have fun. I'm looking forward to the preseason games."
It also represents new coach Nick Sirianni's first opportunity on the sideline. He's already established that he's enthusiastic and optimistic, but has yet to show what he can do in a game.
He'll be following a vanilla game plan, but can still make a positive first impression.
"It's definitely a trial run," Sirianni said Tuesday. "We're really prepared - really, really prepared - but there will be things that pop up and I look forward to the trial run."
Although Sirianni hasn't made it official, expect the starters to play approximately a quarter before giving way to the players vying for spots on the 53-man regular-season roster.
Here are four Eagles players and one Steeler to watch.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts: He missed some valuable time last year because the preseason and training camp were cancelled, so this gives him an opportunity to show how well he's picked up on Sirianni's system. He's reportedly been inconsistent as a passer in training camp, but his versatility as a runner makes up for it.
Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat: By all accounts, Sweat has had an outstanding training camp. He's outperformed Derek Barnett so far, though both will be getting extensive playing time during the regular season as part of defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon's defensive line rotation.
Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata: Mailata has taken the early lead over former first-round pick Andre Dillard at left tackle. Some observers have already anointed Mailata as the winner, but Dillard still has ample opportunity to make it a closer race.
Eagles linebacker Alex Singleton: He's tied with Sweat in the race for most impressive defensive player during training camp to day. Singleton is known for his playmaking ability and seems poised to join former Viking Eric Wilson as a starter.
Steelers defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson: The Galloway Township resident and Absegami High School graduate is in his first season with Pittsburgh after previous stints with Chicago (2018 and 2019) and Minnesota (2020). Anderson, 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, is trying to earn a backup spot at defensive end. An impressive showing in the preseason could also merit a spot on the Steelers' practice squad. For local fans tuning in Thursday, he wears No. 65.