NEXT Thursday the Eagles will take the field for the first time under new Head Coach Doug Pederson. While many fans will be hoping for a win, I couldn’t care less if we win or lose. I just can never bring myself to give a shit about a “W” or an “L” for the first preseason game. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the game itself. Because I will be on the lookout for certain things during Pederson’s first chance to sit in the big chair.
First, while I understand that working on timing is huge in the passing game, I want to see a real effort made at running the ball between the Tackles. By real effort, I mean 9 or more carries INSIDE, by halftime. Regardless of who is the RB.
Second, I want to see a player take accountability to his teammates when he screws up, and I want to see his teammates behaving like teammates. This will be a long, brutal season. Seeing how players treat each other NOW, will tell you volumes about what’s to come when things get tight.
Third, I want to see the triangle of the Defense (DT-MLB-DT), hold up well against the run in the first half. I’m less concerned with runs bounced outside, but early success inside vs the run, will tell you if the interior players understand their gap responsibilities now that they have more freedom in this new scheme.
Fourth, I want to see how much Cover Two and Cover Four we play. Our CB’s aren’t the greatest and they will need help deep. If new Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn’t get that, then his fancy rush schemes are doomed, and we’re no better off than we were last year under Bill Davis.
While I don’t care if we win or lose this game, I want to see that the players understand the underpinnings of our schemes. Errors are fine. This is preseason. Interceptions, a missed block on a screen, confusion as to which DB was supposed to cover a receiver, the MLB taking extra steps before coming downhill… All this is what preseason is for. There is no shame in needing time to learn new things.
In the event that we win, I hope it’s not a blowout. I don’t want our guys riding any false confidence this early on. (Remember how I kept telling people to calm down last preseason?) In the event that we lose, I want it to be a close loss. No need to have guys second-guessing good coaching. A close game is good for keeping everyone hungry and focused.
And FYI, while I don’t generally care about preseason wins, I’m also no fan of going 0-4 during that period. Ideally we go 2-2 or 1-3, with a win in the third game, vs starters who play at least a half.
Tell us what you’ll be looking for during the game. Leave a comment down below.