Eagles-Browns: Five players to watch
Eagles starters will play about one quarter tonight against the Browns in Cleveland before the reserves get their shot. This is the last chance for first- and second-stringers to either preserve their job or leapfrog someone else, with first cuts due Monday and with the fourth preseason game reserved for bottom-of-the-roster types.
Here are five players to watch closely tonight:
So, the gap has narrowed between veteran slot corner Joselio Hanson and the rookie from Georgia? We’ll see about that. Boykin continued to impress against the Patriots and can keep pushing Hanson for the starting job with another good audition. He might get some reps on the first team. Boykin has also come as advertised on kick returns.
Ryans hasn’t disappointed in his preseason games, per se, but the savior at middle linebacker hasn’t exactly sparkled. The natives are growing restless for an impact play. A sack, turnover or forced fumble would do the trick. The worst thing he can do is struggle in his last preseason appearance.
The rookie halfback showed glimpses of his upside against the Patriots, especially on a 27-yard gain where he wiggled through a hole and kicked it into second gear. Overall, he rushed for 51 yards on nine carries, a 5.7 average per carry. Blitz pickup remains a work in progress, but his raw athleticism is tantalizing.
Not enough is being said or made of the second-year defensive tackle’s camp and preseason. Thornton has a sack in each game and eight total tackles. If he hasn’t already locked up a roster spot – it says here that he has – Thornton can cement it tonight. If I’m Antonio Dixon, I’m worried about my job right now.
Mike Vick and Mike Kafka should be good to go for the season opener, but just in case one isn’t, the Eagles need to know if they can rely on Edwards. At times during the spring camps, he looked lost. But he’s coming around and can make an impression on the Eagles’ coaching staff – or the other 31 teams – by putting some points on the board tonight.