Michael Vick is now the Philadelphia Eagles official starter at quarterback. So far during practice and during the two preseason games Vick has played some of his best football since his outstanding 2010 season. Now that he has been named the starter for the team, Chip Kelly and the rest of the Eagles organization is hoping that he can continue to play that way this week against the Jaguars and throughout the rest of the season.
Expect to see a couple scrambles out Vick — the quarterback who never seems to age. He claims that he has put on muscle in anticipation of this season which should give him the durability to run without getting injured. The likelihood of his muscle gain protecting him, however, is slim considering his past history of injuries. Eagles fans everywhere hope that Vick will truly be able to stay on the field and contribute.
The running backs on the team are poised to be group to watch in this game. The Jaguars had the third-worst run defense in the league last year, letting up over 2,200 yards on the ground. This group of Eagles running backs now consisting of Lesean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk has begun to dominate on the field. It is entirely unpredictable who could have the best game. Every time one of these three running backs gets into the game there is a possibility for an explosive run. Felix Jones, a solid contributor in the NFL for years, was beat out by every one of these running backs, which really attests to their ability. Jones was traded because there was simply no room for him among the other skilled running backs.
Watch for leaders to emerge in the secondary. The secondary of the Eagles right now is up for grabs at nearly every position. The only lock, it seems, is Brandon Boykin playing slot corner. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are the named starters right now at cornerback but with a bad game from one of them, one of the other corners on the team could easily step up and take the place as a starter. The safety position is even blown more wide open than the cornerbacks are. Right now there are five safeties competing for two starting spots and it seems like every one of them has an even chance at earning the role. The game against the Jaguars is the perfect spotlight for one of these young players to step up and knock last year’s starters out of their roles.
The linebackers and defensive lineman have had one more week to learn the idiosyncrasies of the 3-4 defense. This game will be another chance to see who is able to make the transition and who is still struggling to adapt. The newest member of the Eagles team, Adrian Robertson, will help that transition go smoother than ever. He is a force as a pass rushing linebacker who is used to playing in the most effective 3-4 system in the league just west of Philadelphia in Pittsburgh. Those last couple linebacker spots are still up for grabs between Sam Acho, Jamar Chaney, and Chris McCoy. McCoy was clearly the underdog coming into the preseason but he has made a name for himself and is probably leading the race among the three. If he can continue to be the force he has been he will not only make the team but will be a solid contributor.