The Eagles are scheduled to play another meaningless football game tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The final result doesn't matter, but it will still be interesting to see how Philadelphia's players perform as they prepare for the 2016 NFL regular season. Here are the nine most interesting Eagles players to watch in tonight's game. Keep in mind the starters will only play for the first quarter or so.
1) Sam Bradford
Sammy Sleeves only played three snaps last week. He attempted one pass and it was a checkdown because of course it was. It looked like Bradford had Zach Ertz open for a first down but he dumped it off to Brent Celek for a three-yard gain instead.
Bradford has had a relatively good summer. Then again, the same could be said last year when he lit up the preseason. The Eagles will hope his offseason success can carry over into the regular season this time. I'll believe it when I see it.
2) Chase Daniel
It was a really rough debut for the quarterback with two first names last week. Daniel never really looked comfortable in an offense that he's supposed to be familiar with. In Daniel's defense, he received very little help from his receivers and his blocking. Still, he isn't without blame. He needs to look much better this week in order to prove he's a solid backup quarterback behind Bradford. Otherwise, that $21 million contract with $12 million guaranteed isn't looking so hot.
3) The wide receivers
I'm just going to lump all of the players at this position together. The Eagles' receivers were abysmal last week. They combined for 52 yards and 10 catches on 21 targets. The longest reception was 10 yards. Just awful. The performance was so bad that it encouraged the Eagles to make a move for Dorial Green-Beckham.
Nelson Agholor is the key player to watch from this group. The 2015 first round pick has been invisible all summer (except for when he's dropping passes). He needs to show something. Josh Huff needs to show he can survive a game without making a major mistake. Rueben Randle needs to show he actually gives a damn about playing. The Eagles need Chris Givens to show up in some form. Maybe Paul Turner, who has been taking some first team reps in the slot, can continue to step up.
It's far from an encouraging group right now. The Eagles desperately need someone ... anyone ... to emerge at this position.
4) Wendell Smallwood
Smallwood missed last week's game with a quad injury. The rookie running back may have fallen on the depth chart after sitting out but now he'll have a chance to make up lost ground. Smallwood should have ample opportunity to get work in this game, especially if the passing attack continues to look dreadful. The Eagles reportedly believe Smallwood can eventually be a feature back for them. He hasn't been overly impressive in camp but he's shown some potential as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Philadelphia's running back situation is sketchy if/when Ryan Mathews goes down so the team could really end up needing Smallwood at some point.
5) Allen Barbre
Lane Johnson got the start at right tackle last week despite his expected 10-game suspension. This week the Eagles are starting Barbre in his place. Barbre entered the 2014 season as Philadelphia's right tackle before getting hurt in Week 1. Barbre struggled out on the edge and it's not like he was great at left guard last year, so expectations are low.
6) Isaac Seumalo
With Barbre moving out to tackle, the Eagles have promoted Seumalo to the first team. The rookie third round pick had some nice moments last week. He showed off good athleticism on a reach block. He also struggled in protection at other times. If Seumalo mightily struggles, the Eagles could end up turning to Stefen Wisniewski. For now, the rookie has a chance to prove himself.
7) Trey Burton
Burton had a fantastic camp. He didn't have trouble getting open and he caught everything thrown his way. He's in line for more playing time this year, which was apparent last week when the Eagles limited him to only six offensive snaps. The Eagles could look to get Burton more involved on offense this week since the starters will be in longer. It'll be interesting to see how the Eagles continue to use him in three tight end sets. Last week the Eagles scored their first rushing touchdown on such a formation.
8) Leodis McKelvin
The cornerback position in general is a position of interest. McKelvin will be especially interesting to watch because he struggled last week. Despite this, the Eagles seem to believe in him as their No. 1 corner. The veteran needs to show some positive signs in real game action.
9) Marcus Smith
It's hard to justify keeping Smith on the 53-man roster at this point. The 2014 first round pick, who missed the first preseason game due to injury, has thoroughly been outplayed by Steven Means. He also doesn't have the special teams prowess that Bryan Braman provides. Even if Smith can't play his way into convincing the Eagles to keep him, he'll still be motivated in hopes of getting a job with another team.