PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We’re going to learn some thing about the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.
Of course, we saw last year that sometimes we over-analyze the third preseason game, but it is a dress rehearsal for NFL teams. While we should certainly take things with a grain of salt, it will be our first extended look at the Eagles’ starting unit.READ MORE: Hundreds Gather In Haddonfield For First Major Rollout Of Fourth Of July Fireworks Since Pandemic
And Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts is a heck of a test for a dress rehearsal.
The Eagles defense is expected to get linebacker Mychal Kendricks back on Saturday night. Kendricks, 25, missed the first two preseason games with an injury. The talented 2012 second-round pick of the Eagles has missed seven games over the past two seasons.
And new Eagles linebacker Stephen Tulloch could make his debut this season, as well. The Eagles signed Tulloch earlier this week.
4. Paul Turner continues to make his case for a roster spot
Paul Turner has, arguably, been the brightest Eagle through two preseason games. Turner, a 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, has nine catches for 78 yards in two preseason games including a ridiculous one-handed grab against the Steelers last week.
Furthermore, the Colts’ weakest position is cornerback. Six, yes six, of the Colts’ corners will not play on Saturday night: Jalil Brown, D’Joun Smith, Tevin Mitchel, Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, and Antonio Cromartie.
With Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, and new Eagles receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (we’ll get to him later) likely locks for roster spots, Turner is competing with Chris Givens, Rueben Randle, and Josh Huff to make the 53-man roster.
3. Eagles’ corners vs. Colts’ receiversREAD MORE: Wheeler, Hoskins, Realmuto Lift Phillies Over Cardinals 4-0
The Colts are expected to have one of the NFL’s most dangerous passing attacks in the NFL. Led by Andrew Luck, who missed nine games in 2015 with a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle, was 8-8 for 69 yards in the Colts’ second preseason game. In 2014, his last full season, the former No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford, threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Joining Luck in the passing attack is arguably the most explosive trio of receivers in the NFL with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and second-year WR Phillip Dorsett who have respective 40-yard dash times of 4.39, 4.40, and 4.33. Throw in 6-2, 255 pound tight end Dwayne Allen and the savvy veteran running back Frank Gore, and the Eagles defense will have their hands full as long as the Colts’ starters are in the game.
For the Eagles, rookie corner Jalen Mills is expected to return after missing the second preseason game. The team’s 2015 sixth-round pick, cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, is hoping to make his debut after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Nolan Carroll, who had a pick-six last week, and Leodis McKelvin are expected to be the starting corners for Philadelphia.
2. Wendell Smallwood makes his NFL debut
I’m a little bit excited about Wendell Smallwood. While Smallwood is far from a power back at 5-10, 208, he can certainly carve out a role for himself in the Eagles’ backfield thanks to his 4.47 40-yard dash speed (84th-percentile). Smallwood, who missed the first two preseason games, was the Eagles’ fifth-round pick out of West Virginia. As a junior, Smallwood ran for 1,519 yards and 9 TDs at WVU and caught an impressive 68 balls in three seasons.
1. Dorial Green-Beckham makes his real Eagles debut
All eyes will be on Dorial Green-Beckham. Technically, his Eagles debut was last week, when he entered the game for a poorly thrown end zone fade from Chase Daniel. But Saturday night will be the real Eagles debut of Dorial Green-Beckham, who Doug Pederson says will play with the starters.MORE NEWS: Woman Had Several Valuable Items Stolen While Helping Stranger In West Deptford, Police Say
DGB, a second-round pick of the Titans last year, will look to show off his 4.49 speed inside of a 6-5, 237-pound body for Philly fans. With six corners, including two-time Pro Bowler Vontae Davis out for the Colts, DGB should be able to make some plays. And we all know the Eagles could sure use a playmaker on the outside.