August 9, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) returns a kick off against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Earlier we took a look at some specific players to watch tonight, but now I want to focus on some battles.
Weakside linebacker - This one is really wide open at this point. Brian Rolle will start, but after a rough outing against Pittsburgh, Jamar Chaney is likely to see some snaps with the first team as well. Keenan Clayton should also be in the mix here a well. A strong showing from any of those guys could cause a shuffle on the depth chart later this week.
Punter - Matt McBriar was decent last week while Chas Henry was inconsistent. These two should get equal opportunities tonight for round two of their battle. It will also be worth watching who takes snaps at holder. Henry got them all last week, but if McBriar gets a few tonight, it could be a sign that his grip on a roster spot is tightening.
Wide Receiver - Things are pretty set at the top of the depth chart, but there are spots to be earned lower down. Damaris Johnson had a bad drop last week, but he also caught a 70 yard TD pass, so another strong showing could all but lock up a roster spot for him. Especially if he plays well on special teams. If Johnson does look good and we assume Riley Cooper has a roster spot (which maybe can't), a guy like Marvin McNutt should be feeling the pressure right now. He could use a standout game to ensure himself a spot.
Defensive End - Basically, everyone dominated last week. So its up to the guys at the bottom of the depth chart to keep it up this week. The battle between Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt will be especially interesting to watch. It could be that its a moot point and both make it, but as we noted in our 53 man roster projection, the numbers on the D-line are tight. And with some uncertainty at other positions on the defense, the team may choose to drop a guy at a position they're already so strong at.
Corner - The top two are set, but beyond that there are a lot of jobs to be had. Wes Welker may not play tonight, but Tom Brady should at least see some time and we know he'll look to use his slot receiver. Whether that's Julian Edelman or someone else, they will likely give Brandon Boykin and Joselio Hanson a test at slot corner. Cliff Harris will also make his debut tonight and has a lot of work to pass the likes of Brandon Hughes or Curtis Marsh.