PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is congratulated by head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles after the Patriots won 38-20 at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Andy Reid said today that his starters will play "at least a half" if not more on Monday night when they face the Patriots in their second preseason game.
Typically, that amount of playing time for the starters is reserved for the 3rd preseason game, but Reid said today that his starters will actually play less in that game then will against the Pats. There's a few reasons why this makes sense.
For one, the NFL has scheduled preseason games 4 days apart for the Eagles, which Andy clearly wasn't happy with. There's no good reason why games should be that close in preseason. Obviously you don't want your starters to shoulder their biggest load of the month just 4 days after playing another game. Not when the games are for practice.
Plus, the Eagles will play the Browns in week one. So the less familiarity they have with the Eagles top unit, the better. Cleveland will actually have an extra day of rest before preseason week 3, so they are likely to play starters for longer.
So this means that Monday night should be the closest thing to a dress rehearsal we'll get this preseason and our best shot to evaluate the team before it all goes live in week 1.
Despite all the analyzing and sometimes hand-wringing we've done over that first preseason game, we've really seen very little of the Eagles starters so far. The offense only played 6 snaps against Pittsburgh and were without Jeremy Maclin & Brent Celek. The defense played longer, thanks to their inability to get off the field, but did so without most of their starting defensive line as well as starting safety Nate Allen. Its really impossible to take a lot from that.