By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For the Eagles’ top players, the third preseason game will serve as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
The top players on both offense and defense will play at least a half on Saturday when the Eagles face the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Coach Chip Kelly said there is a possibility many may play into the third quarter depending on the number of snaps for each unit in the first half.
“We’ll monitor all those guys no matter who it is at every position and see really how many snaps are we getting,” said Kelly. “Are we getting enough work, not getting enough work because you have no idea going in. You kind of have a ballpark plan what you want to do, but how does it express itself. You get a lot of three‑and‑outs and don’t have many snaps in the first half, then you’ve got to get them a lot of reps in the second half.”
With the first cutdown day set for early next week, many jobs could be on the line this weekend. The Eagles will have to trim their roster to 75 players, but Kelly said all of his options will be open despite several crowded position battles.
“There’s not one position we would say we’d rule out looking at anybody because you don’t know who’s available,” Kelly said. “We’re always going to try to improve this football team and take a look at what’s available.”
With Jason Peters returning from a hamstring injury and Todd Herremans likely to play after battling knee inflammation, this should be the first game where the entire starting offensive line will play together. Center Jason Kelce i slooking forward to having Peters back on the field.
“I’m really excited for offensive line to have Jason out there,” said Kelce. “He’s arguably the best tackle in the game right now. It’ll be good moving forward and it means were closer to the season getting going.”
The top unit will look to continue to improve after an impressive showing against Carolina in the second preseason game. Cornerback Cary Williams believes the work ethic has been with the players ever since the start of training camp, and Saturday’s game will give the Eagles a chance to take another step forward with the regular season opener drawing closer.
“I just think we have to get better each and every week,” Williams said. “I think that guys have already taken their jobs seriously and have taken their roles seriously and have worked on things.during the off-season and in their free time.”
The Eagles will leave for Jacksonville on Friday. They will hold their final open practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday.