Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Semi-Coherent Preview

Jul 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws during training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws during training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the preseason matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: The NFL preseason! It’s time for four games of sporadic appearances by the stars everyone knows and loves, with lots of action from third-stringers and future CFL mainstays!

The preseason doesn’t have to be boring, though. In fact, last year’s preseason might have been the most entertaining in Philadelphia Eagles history. Unfortunately, there are two major reasons why we probably won’t see a repeat of that this year.

Chip Kelly is gone

Chip Kelly certainly wasn’t a great general manager, and last season provided plenty of evidence that he wasn’t a particularly good coach either. But his team’s offenses always seemed to excel in the preseason.

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As we know, Kelly’s offense wasn’t especially complex, he just liked to run it really fast. And over the last season and a half, we saw the limits of that approach. But in the preseason, when defenses are generally playing basic schemes without specific game plans, speed kills.

Remember how awesome Sam Bradford looked last preseason? Chances are, with the Philadelphia Eagles running a more normal tempo, he’s not going to look quite so spectacular this year.

No Tim Tebow

The second half of preseason games are often boring affairs. Most of the players involved won’t end up making the regular season roster, and those who do probably won’t see the field. Last year, the Eagles found a remedy to that boredom: They brought in the most intriguing player not in the NFL to compete for their third-string quarterback job.

The adventures of Tim Tebow added some much-needed excitement to the proceedings. We got to watch as he scrambled away from defenders and attempted to complete passes against fifth-string defensive backs. And then we all mourned when the team ended up cutting him anyway.

With Tebow pursuing his dream of becoming a major league baseball player, the fourth quarter will likely be near unwatchable.

What’s the deal with the Bucs?

The Bucs are led by second-year quarterback Jameis Winston. The former Heisman Trophy winner had a solid season in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl. (If we’re being honest, making the Pro Bowl isn’t really that impressive. So many quarterbacks drop out of the Pro Bowl that they basically take anyone who is willing to go. If Winston dropped out, they probably would have called Tebow.)

The Bucs’ biggest offseason acquisitions were guard J.R. Sweezy (which might be the greatest football name of all time) and cornerback Brent Grimes. Neither man looks to be that much of an upgrade, but at least the Bucs are paying them a lot of money. That’s almost the same thing, right?

Discussion of the Bucs’ backup quarterbacks

Why talk about the Bucs’ starters when they probably won’t play more than a couple of series. Instead, I’ll write about the guys who are vying to back up Winston this season.

Mike Glennon

Glennon is entering his fourth season with the Bucs. You might remember him starting a game against Nick Foles and the Eagles in 2013. That game was memorable for providing what was likely the goofiest-looking matchup of starting quarterbacks in league history.

Despite the Bucs being quick to draft Winston to supplant him, he could actually be one of the league’s better backups. He’s started 18 games over his career, although none since 2014. His career totals of 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions are perfectly acceptable.

Ryan Griffin

I’m not saying Griffin is obscure, but Pro Football Reference doesn’t even link to his player page; it points to the page for the tight end of the same name.

I know nothing about Griffin except what Wikipedia has told me: He played his college ball at Tulane and has never taken a snap in the NFL.

The debut of Carson Wentz

The most intriguing part of the game for most Eagles fans will be the professional debut of Carson Wentz. There have been mixed reports on how he’s looked at practice, so it will be interesting to see how he does in his first live action.

Hopefully, everyone keeps things in perspective. If Sam Bradford doesn’t come out looking sharp and Wentz lights it up in the second half, it’s probably not going to cause a change in the depth chart. On the other hand, if Wentz struggles, it isn’t a sign that he’s a bust and that the Philadelphia Eagles ruined the franchise by trading to get him.

Sturgis vs. Parkey: The Kicker Battle

Perhaps the Philadelphia Eagles’ most riveting roster battle is at the kicker position where Cody Parkey and Caleb Sturgis are fighting to see who will get to kick field goals for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. You may remember Parkey as the hotshot rookie sensation from 2014 who ended up making the Pro Bowl. And Sturgis was the veteran they picked up midway through 2015 who – despite some early struggles – had a solid year.

From most reports, Sturgis has had the better camp, but ANYONE can kick the ball well at practice. (It’s true. Even Alex Henery was good at doing that.) The real test will be when the clock is ticking down in the fourth quarter, and three points will decide which team wins and which team loses.

Viva Xavier Rush!

Since it’s the first preseason game, any player who is even remotely injured won’t be suiting up. So we probably won’t be seeing Ryan Mathews, Jason Peters, or Malcolm Jenkins. On the other hand, we could get a good look at rookie wide receiver Xavier Rush. I know nothing about Rush, but I’m rooting for him simply due to the awesome name.

Next: Eagles Season Preview: Talking Iggles with Jason La Canfora


Wentz is going to have a big debut, and the Philadelphia Eagles will pull ahead in the third quarter. Or not. I mean, it’s the first preseason game. There’s no way to predict these things.

Eagles 24 – Bucs 10