By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Eagles have a walkthrough scheduled for Wednesday, but they are already focused on Thursday’s preseason game.
The Eagles will take on the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at the Linc, and Chip Kelly put his team through the first of two straight walkthroughs on Tuesday. As Kelly lightens his team’s workload in practice, the Eagles coach has set his rotation for Thursday. Kelly plans on having his top units play throughout the first half, with both Nick Foles and Michael Vick seeing plenty of snaps over the first two quarters.
“It just depends on how it plays itself out,” said Kelly. “If we get a lot of reps in the first quarter, it’s more by the number of snaps. In the ideal world, we’d like to get them into the first and second quarter, and not see those guys at all in the second half, but it depends on how it plays itself out.”
Coaches traditionally play their top units more in the second preseason game. Kelly not only wants to get a longer look as some of his potential starters, but also believes they need more game action with the regular season opener less than a month away.
“Part of this is they’ve got to learn to play a little bit longer,” Kelly said. “They’ve got to start to extend them a little bit as we get here, so we’re hoping we get more out of all of our guys.”
There are still plenty of starting spots up for grabs, and Thursday’s preseason game may go a long way towards determining who will be out on the field in the regular season. The secondary has been a concern for the Eagles since the start of training camp, but Safety Nate Allen says they’ll have an opportunity to correct their mistakes this week.
“We’re getting there,” said Allen. “There’s a few things we have to clean up. That’s what we’ve been doing all week. We want to clean everything up so we can play instinctively and not think at all.”
The secondary had several rough moments in the preseason opener against the Patriots. Kelly is seeing signs of improvement, but knows Allen and the rest of the safeties have to get better before the start of the regular season.
“I think overall as a group they’re coming along,” Kelly said. “But I think every single one of them will tell you that they need to improve in terms of how they played last week. They can, I think, understand and recognizing and being a little quicker in diagnosing what the plays are and coming up and being able to understand where they fit and some of the schemes that we’re doing.”