LAST week’s preseason game was a chance to learn, and to grow, and to experiment. We were handed an opportunity, and we just (smh) chucked it out a window. I picture a closed door, the smell of mary-joowanna, loud giggling, and Head Coach Doug Pederson inside saying “Let’s bench everybody! Like everybody, everybody. Will the coach let us do that? Oh shit. We’re like the same guy. Yeah. Tell him that we’re benching everybody”.
With any luck, MJ
won’t show up this week.
This week. It’s just preseason. It doesn’t count. The point is studying. Yadda-blah yadda-blah. Have I said all the necessary boilerplate? Good.
This game will feature a duel between QB Carson Wentz and QB Nick Foles. They will both likely play less than a quarter, and will be running vanilla versions of their respective offensive systems.
While neither played in their team’s opener, both teams will feel a need to rebound after poor showings as the Eagles lost 10 – 27 to the Tennessee Titans, and the Jags got absolutely shit-canned 0 – 29 by the Baltimore Ravens. (Seriously. They got blown out by a team that can’t even score points.)
Of the Four Things we need to focus on, three are from last week, because we didn’t even attempt them, so we still need to see how they shake out.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Jaguars.
1) Starters need to play a quarter: One quarter, that’s it. We need a few looks at how some of the new guys (DT Malik Jackson, WR DeSean Jackson, MLB Zach Brown) are meshing. While we don’t want to overwork those guys, we need a large enough sample size to be able to say “Okay, X has got this” or “X needs to work on such and such”.
2) Go deep to Djax: Not too much this week. One shot over 30 yards should be good. The idea is to test the chemistry between Djax and QB Carson Wentz. If there are any bugs in their timing, now is the best time to throw interceptions. Also, the longer we wait to “unveil the weapon”, the more pressure there will be for it to work, when people first see it. Get the ‘Oooh Ahhh Ohhh’s’ out of the way early.
3) Look good running the ball: Despite all the buzz about rookie RB Miles Sanders, the guy we need to have a big year is RB Jordan Howard. Finishing with a stat-line of (5 – 20 – 4.0 – 0 – 0) with a 10 yard run somewhere in there, would be a solid indicator that we’re better off now, than we were during the playoffs.
4) Generate some pass rush up the gut: DT’s getting turned parallel to the line of scrimmage has to stop. And ( Yo Malik!), it has to stop, THIS WEEK. We can’t have another week of QB’s standing flat-footed and delivering strikes.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Ignore that. This is still a classroom. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Everybody important will be on a pitch count, so it’s too early to forecast which player to watch out for, or who might have a breakout day. Thus, like last week, this week and likely the next two of these, I will keep things really really general. I hate it more than you do, but that’s part in parcel of these next four weeks.
Neither team played their starting QB last week, and so now a rush has to be put on getting both offenses to gel. This puts both of these teams on the same clock, and makes them easier for me to read in advance.
Since the starters on both teams likely won’t log a down in PsG4, this game will serve as the measuring stick, and then PsG3 will be the dress rehearsal. So expect a little razzle dazzle mixed into both game plans. Less for winning’s sake, and more just to energize the psyche of the rosters. However, when the starting QB’s come out, expect the game to slow to an ugly crawl.
The Jags have homefield advantage, but the Eagles have the more polished roster, with more dangerous players on offense. Seriously, the Jags added WR’s Chris Conley and Terrelle Pryor to bolster their receiving corps. Yes. That, Terrelle Pryor. Him. They’re giving him actual money to catch passes. So we should win this one. The wins don’t count, but if we lose to these pussycats, I’ll dust off my panic button. I won’t press it yet, but I’ll get out of storage with my Chip Kelly memes.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 16 – Jaguars 13