The Eagles will be looking to build on their strong preseason opener while the Steelers will look to rebound from a sorry showing against the Redskins as the two teams square off tonight in Pittsburgh. Andy Reid says he plans to pay his starters for a full half, but as usual that's probably flexible depending on how they look. So, here are five things to look for tonight.
Keep up the pressure from the front four
Easily the most impressive unit in the first preseason game was the front four and the pressure they generated. The way they seemed to be in the backfield every play was basically everything we all hoped to see when Jim Washburn was brought in. What we'd like to see tonight is that last week was no fluke and given how bad the Steelers' pass protection is, they will certainly have every opportunity.
How will DeSean Jackson look?
While DeSean certainly looked like he was already at full speed in his first couple practices, it will be good to see him in a game situation. He missed about the first two weeks of camp and didn't play against the Ravens last week, so while this will be his first test to be sure he's fully fit and ready to go.
Can Casey Matthews start to settle the debate?
If there's one big giant question mark on the Eagles defense, it's right in the middle with Casey Matthews. The rookie is really the only projected starter that we really have no idea what to expect from. Some people liked what they saw from him last week, others didn't... personally, I don't know how we could really get much of anything from the eight total snaps he played. Here's hoping he gets some real time in there tonight so we can finally get a good look at this kid.
King Dunlap on the blind side
There will be no Ryan Harris or Winston Justice this week, which means King Dunlap will start at right tackle tonight. Andy Reid said that it's a big opportunity for King to prove he belongs.
"It's an opportunity, right? What more can you ask for being a football player? You're given an opportunity to work with the ones so you go in and try to capture the moment."
How will the secondary look with more time to play?
One thing we know for a fact is that the Eagles secondary is going to be good with Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel as the two starters. You really can't go wrong there... but it is a new look and they really only played a handful of snaps last week so we didn't really get to see them in action. It will be good to see those guys work for a at least a couple series.
The law offices of Henery and Henry
It's important just to see these two get work tonight and in every other preseason game. Alex Henery hit both of the FGs he lined up for last week, but both were 35 yards or less. It would be nice to see him line up for a 40+ yarder and be put under some pressure.
As for Chas Henry, it's also about getting him work. He looked fine last week, but with punting it's really all about consistency. So the rest of this preseason will be about seeing if he can be consistent and basically not screw up.
Andy talked about the kicking game this week.
"I'm good with it. Listen, we have a couple young guys who are feeling their way out with this thing. You know, they're new in it and it's important that they get a lot of reps. So I'm okay there. I know there's going to be a good day and a bad day and I understand that right now. I always go back and mention the greatest kicker, if not one of the best kickers in Eagles history, was [K] David Akers. And David was released from a team and brought here as a backup and you saw him grow. So it's important, something you learn from that is give [K Alex Henery] an opportunity here; give him an opportunity to grow here and the more balls he kicks under pressure the better. And you come out to Lehigh and there's a little pressure plus the players and that's all good stuff, man. That helps you down the road and he handles that pretty well. And then our punter, it's a little different deal but if you don't have people hootin' and hollerin' at you and they're more in awe when you kick the ball as a punter. But he's done a nice job too. So I'm happy with them, they just need to continue to progress."