Eagles' football is finally here! Tonight at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles will take on the New England Patriots for the 21st time in the preseason. The team enters its latest chapter with its first new coaching staff since 1999 and Chip Kelly's NFL head coaching "debut" will be against his friend Bill Belichick. The Patriots have spent the last few days in Philadelphia and have been practicing with the Eagles, much to the dismay of the home team's defensive backfield. Tom Brady will likely take the field for a series or two as Michael Vick and Nick Foles will ride a merry-go-round for the first quarter.
When and Where to Watch
7:30 p.m. ET, 6ABC and NFL Network
Eagles to Watch
Michael Vick and Nick Foles: Duh.
Matt Barkley, QB, Rookie: Barkley will reportedly get the entire 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Chris Polk, RB, Second Season: With the Eagles likely to sit LeSean McCoy and potentially Felix Jones (injury), Polk will have the opportunity to prove that his tremendous performance in training camp has not been a fluke. Expect Bryce Brown and Polk to share carries in the first half.
Russell Shepard, WR, Rookie: Shepard has been the talk of training camp but now it's time to prove he's not just a practice player. A hamstring injury may prevent him from playing effectively, but at least can see him on the field in live game action.
Ifeanyi Momah, WR, Rookie: The Boston College alum needs to make his mark in the preseason. Thus far, his training camp performance hasn't been spectacular and he needs to take advantage of the playing time he will get with several other wide receivers being out with injuries.
Allen Barbre, G/T, Sixth Season: The journeyman will start for Jason Peters tonight at left tackle. He may already have a spot lined up as a backup linemen, but a strong preseason would be a great sign for the coaching staff with Dennis Kelly sidelined.
Lane Johnson, OT, Rookie: The fourth-overall pick will be blocking Vick's blindside and he needs to prove he can be a starter right way. He could see some time at left tackle depending on the rotation of the linemen.
Zach Ertz, TE, Rookie: Ertz will likely be used a lot this season and the preseason should go a long way into proving that he can be a play-maker behind James Casey and Brent Celek.
Clay Harbor, TE, Fourth Season: Harbor has been in Philadelphia for three seasons and this preseason is a make-or-break for his spot on the team. The former draft pick needs to force the coaching staff's hand over the next four weeks in order to make the roster.
Vinny Curry, DE, Second Season: Curry is play a five-technique instead of being an edge rusher this season. That is new to him and he is likely to struggle. How much he struggles in the preseason will determine his future in Philadelphia, just one year after being select in the second round of the draft.
Trent Cole, OLB, Ninth Season: You know the story: Long-time pass rusher switches position and fans wonder if he can do it efficiently. Cole will have his opportunity to prove he can handle the transition on Friday night.
Brandon Graham, OLB, Fourth Season: Can he cover or is he domed to be burned all season?
Curtis Marsh, CB, Third Season: This is a huge preseason for Marsh as he is not on scholarship anymore. The converted college running back needs to show he can cover NFL talent.
Nate Allen, S, Fourth Season: Was the Wide 9 Allen's burden or is he a bust? Allen has no excuses this year.
Kenny Phillips, S, Sixth Season: Phillips is the most talented safety in the division if healthy, but unfortunately some reports indicate he is not. The preseason will be a real test to Phillips' versatility.
Earl Wolff, S, Rookie: Is the winter coming or is Wolff just a puppy that will be teething on the sideline this season? Wolff has the talent to make it in the NFL, but he needs to prove he can mentally deal with the transition from NC State.
Check out Pats Pulpit for a New England Patriots perspective.
Former Eagles on the Other Sideline
Kyle Arrington, CB, Hostra (Eagles' Training Camp 2008)
Things to Consider
How long will the Vick/Foles carousel last?
Will the defense be able to step-up against Brady with hitting now allowed?
How many times will the Patriots and Eagles swap players before the start of the season?
Is the wide receiver unit a mess or can the Eagles get by with what they have?
Is the defense able to get to the quarterback efficiently?
UPDATE (5:30 PM)
No LeSean tonight, from what I was told.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) August 9, 2013