Semi-Coherent Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers Preview


Most football fans know they shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from a preseason game. We all realize that these games don’t count, many starters barely play – if at all – and schemes are kept relatively basic. That said, it’s always nice when your team plays well. It’s even better when they flat-out dominate their opponents.

The Eagles certainly dominated last week as they outplayed the Ravens on both sides of the ball. The first team defense had two interceptions and the offense scored touchdowns on its first two drives. It’s hard to do much better than that.

The third preseason game is generally considered the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. If the Eagles have another dominant showing, then maybe there is cause to get excited about their chances; especially since they’ll be facing a team considered to be one of the favorites in the NFC.

What’s the Deal with the Packers?

Aug 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass against pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Arthur Moats (55) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When a team has one of the league’s best quarterbacks, they will generally be considered a Super Bowl contender every year. And there is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers is one of the best in the league.

Last season, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game where they kind of choked away the game to the Seahawks. It wouldn’t be a shock if they made it that far again this season.

How About Those Backup Quarterbacks?

It isn’t clear if Rodgers will even play against the Eagles. The Packers are missing three members of their projected offensive line, and after Jordy Nelson‘s injury last week, they might be feeling a bit skittish about exposing their quarterback to a potential injury.

Rodgers has already expressed disdain for the preseason, and considering the amount of returning starters on offense, he probably doesn’t really need any more work.

So if not Rodgers, who will be taking the snaps?

–Editor’s note-since the publication of this article, it has been reported that neither Rodgers or Tolzien will play–

Scott Tolzien

Eagles fans may remember Tolzien from two years ago. Rodgers was out with an injury, and the Eagles knocked backup Seneca Wallace from the game. Third stringer Tolzien entered the game in relief, and made a nice showing for himself.

However, Tolzien is dealing with an injury of his own. He suffered a concussion in last week’s game. Will the team really try to rush him back for a preseason game? It seems unlikely.

Brett Hundley

Aug 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Hundley played his college ball at UCLA and set the school’s record for touchdown passes. He was expected to be a high draft pick, but lasted until the 5th round.

Hundley’s biggest strength is his ability to run, as he rushed for 1,747 yards in his three college seasons.

Matt Blanchard

Blanchard has been on the practice squad of both the Bears and Panthers the past few seasons, but has yet to make a team’s regular roster. Will he be able to change that this season?

Tolzien seems like a safe bet for the roster, and it seems doubtful that the team will cut ties with a fifth round draft pick. So it seems like the practice squad might be Blanchard’s best hope at this point.

A Brief Discussion of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Leading into the 2014 draft, many Eagles fans were hoping that the team would select Alabama safety Ha Ha

Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) returns an interception ahead of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) during the second quarter in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Clinton-Dix in the first round. This is partly because safety had long been a weakness for the team (and still might be), but I think it’s also because Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a really funny name. Really, try to say his name without laughing a little.

Clinton-Dix had a solid rookie season, although many fans remember his blunders in the NFC Championship game. In the fourth quarter, he had a potential game-sealing interception go through his hands. He then went on to blow coverage on a two-point conversion attempt.

Despite those mistakes, Clinton-Dix looks to be on his way to becoming a top safety in the league, making Eagles fans even more upset that he didn’t slip to their spot in the draft.

Sam Bradford: Human Target

Last week, we finally got our first look at Sam Bradford in action. He didn’t play for very long, and he didn’t look all that sharp, but the one drive which he led resulted in a touchdown, which is generally the goal of most drives.

More important than how he played was that Bradford remained healthy, despite the best efforts of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. Much has been said about the questionable legality of the hit, but it seems clear that teams will be targeting Bradford’s knees all season.

Key Eagles Storyline: The Secondary – Is it Good?

The Eagles had a lot of turnover in their defensive secondary this offseason. This was viewed as a good thing because for the most part, the Eagles’ secondary sucked in 2014.

Will Byron Maxwell and the rest of the secondary be improved? Image credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s tough to draw too much of a conclusion from two preseason games, the secondary has looked much better so far. They have yet to allow a pass of longer than 25 yards, and they intercepted Joe Flacco twice in the first quarter of last week’s game.

If Rodgers does play, it will be an excellent measure of any improvement. It’s tough to forget the way the Packers repeatedly torched the Eagles’ secondary in their matchup last season. If the secondary has any weaknesses, Rodgers is sure to find them.

The Week in Tebow

Neither Tim Tebow nor Matt Barkley did much to prove they deserve the third-string quarterback job last week. Barkley took a step back from his excellent showing the week before. Meanwhile, Tebow continued to show that while he has some strengths, directing an NFL offense from the pocket may not be one of them.

Many people believed that due to Tebow’s versatility, Barkley had to really shine as a passer to win the job. It isn’t clear that he’s done that.

Since neither man is expected to get as much playing time this week, it seems that this battle will be decided next week.

Mocking the East

Part of the fun of being a football fan is taking pleasure in the misfortune of your favorite team’s rivals. Each week, I’ll find a reason to make fun of one of the other teams in the NFC East. (Note: Although I’m sure I could feature the Redskins every week, I’ll try to spread around the mockery a bit.)

Aug 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) gestures while walking to the locker room after being injured against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins coach Jay Gruden received a lot of criticism for his handling of quarterback Robert Griffin III last week. In the first half of the team’s preseason game against the Lions, Griffin took a ton of punishment, and eventually was knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Many critics claimed that Gruden should have protected his quarterback and removed him from the game. Was that really an option? Gruden needs to have his starting quarterback work get in-game action with the rest of the first-team offense.

The real problem is that Gruden can’t trust his starting offensive line to keep Griffin protected. What’s Gruden supposed to do in the regular season? Pull Griffin every time the opponent gets some pressure?

Super Bowl Year Song of the Week

The Eagles have not made many appearances in the Super Bowl (Two, to be exact). I’m hopeful that this season will mark their third appearance in the “big game,” so each week I’m going to take a song from one of the franchise’s Super Bowl seasons (1980 and 2004) that somehow relates to this week’s game.

Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders, 1980

It’s become clear that teams will be aiming for Bradford’s knees. If the Eagles are going to succeed, he’ll need to ignore the pressure and stand tall in the pocket.


It seems clear that in the preseason, Chip Kelly’s high-tempo offense has an advantage. Teams don’t specifically prepare for it, and considering that the games don’t count, players may not give top effort in trying to keep up.

After suffering a major loss in last week’s game, the Packers will probably show less urgency, allowing the Eagles to get off to a decent-sized lead.

Eagles 30 – 13

Next: Reactions to Passing of Darryl Dawkins

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