The New England Patriots are set to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow on Monday Night Football in the second week of the preseason. Let’s take a look at five storylines and notes to look at a day prior to tomorrow’s game.
1. Backup quarterback Mike Kafka will be out for a few more weeks with a broken left hand, so the focus will be on rookie Nick Foles. He has looked impressive so far this offseason and is coming off of a great college career for the Arizona Wildcats. Foles has a big chance to show his stuff, and a few big preseason games could do wonders for his positioning on the Eagles depth chart. A lot of people are high on him, and he could potentially usurp Kafka as the team’s primary backup. It isn’t likely, but it’s certainly possible.
2. Head coach Andy Reid stated his intention of allowing the Eagles starters to play into the third quarter in tomorrow’s game. Be sure to watch for that. The opposite will likely happen for the Patriots, as the team’s more important players will get limited action due to the rough schedule ahead.
3. Undrafted rookie running back Chris Polk should have went drafted, as Polk had an excellent college career with the Washington Huskies. It is uncommon for a rookie to be a great pass protector in the backfield, but that’s exactly what Polk brings to the table. The Eagles have actually been discussing moving him to fullback, and he remains in a deadlock with Bryce Brown for the third-string job. Brown is a better pure rusher and was initially ahead of Polk, but the UDFA has risen and offers more as a pass blocker and receiver. As for Dion Lewis, the Pittsburgh product (one of my favorites as a Panthers fan) is clearly the Eagles No. 2 back.
4. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett needs to have a big game for the Eagles tomorrow, as he has been a huge disappointment so far this offseason. Jarrett’s roster spot is in grave danger, and he is playing with the third-stringers. He really needs to impress against the Patriots, because things are slipping. I don’t think the Eagles will cut him since he has talent as a second-rounder, but they will if he keeps up the terrible play in the preseason.
5. After a scary collision with young safety Nate Allen, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha’s status for Monday’s game was uncertain. But it’s been six days since the collision and, thankfully, Asomugha hasn’t had any signs of a concussion. He was back to practicing on Friday and has neck has healed. He will be ready to play against the Patriots, but it will be interesting to see just how much he plays tomorrow. Reid stated that he wants to keep the starters in, but they might limit Asomugha. He’s fine and said, “It’s just my mouth now”.
I’ll have more notes on both teams tomorrow, as well as a game preview for the preseason game. It’s going to be a big day for Brandon Deaderick and Ron Brace, who are fighting for a roster spot among the defensive tackles.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.