Pregame News & Notes: Eagles vs. Panthers

We know Nick Foles will start at QB. We know LeSean McCoy will make his preseason debut. The question is, can the defense stop anybody?

The Eagles are counting on DE Fletcher Cox to make a big impact up front

The Eagles are counting on DE Fletcher Cox to make a big impact up front

What you need to know:

  • OLB Phillip Hunt has just been diagnosed with a partially torn ACL, and he will likely join Jeremy Maclin, Jason Phillips, and Arrelious Benn on injured reserve. His injury leaves Chris McCoy a clear path to the fourth rush linebacker job and a coveted roster spot.
  • It’s QB Nick Foles’ turn to start. Michael Vick landed the first blow in the quarterback competition, so Foles needs a big night.
  • Chip Kelly, who hasn’t proven to be a reliable source so far, claims that the first team will play into the second quarter.
  • CB Cary Williams and RB LeSean McCoy are the notable Eagles who will be making their preseason debuts tonight. Expect OT Jason Peters to sit out.

Watch list:

  • RB LeSean McCoy. McCoy will be the centerpiece of the most highly anticipated offense in football. How can he not be on this list? He should get a quick hook in favor of Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, but could energize the team if he breaks off a big run or two.
  • TE Zach Ertz. Amazingly, Ertz already seems to be at the top of the Eagles’ depth chart at tight end. The coaching staff envisions Brent Celek as mostly an in-line blocker and they didn’t give James Casey a single snap with the first team against New England. If Ertz makes plays against the Panthers, he could run away with the ‘move’ tight end job, effectively flushing the $12 million the Eagles gave James Casey down the toilet.
  • DE Vinny Curry. Curry was the most pleasant surprise for the Eagles in their preseason opener. He worked mostly against an undrafted rookie, but if he can continue to be disruptive, he could work his way into the defensive line rotation, especially on passing downs.
  • DE Fletcher Cox. The Eagles are trying to get tougher and stouter up front, and Fletcher Cox has to be a part of the solution along the defensive line. He has all the talent in the world, and the Eagles are counting on him to take a leap as he enters his second pro season. The Patriots gashed Billy Davis’ defense for almost 250 rushing yards last week, and that can’t happen again.
  • CB Cary Williams. Williams has barely practiced all offseason, and just called out his fellow defenders publicly. It’s put up or shut up time for the controversial corner. While he’s no Darrelle Revis, he should be the best cover man on the team and is capable of shoring up a right corner position that has been a sore spot on the roster since the days of Sheldon Brown. If he doesn’t perform, don’t expect Philadelphia fans to give him the benefit of the doubt.
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