The outcome won’t matter, though, as much as how certain players perform. There are still jobs and position battles to be won/lost leading up to roster cuts on Tuesday.
With that in mind, here are the most especially interesting Eagles players to watch during Friday night’s matchup. Keep in mind the starters aren’t expected to play much, if at all. For your convenience, I’ve listed jersey numbers next to the names.
1 - Jalen Hurts - #1
I’m guessing Hurts won’t even play. If he does, though, the starting quarterback will obviously be worth watching. If he doesn’t, he’ll finish the preseason with just 10 snaps played. And those came back on August 12, which is exactly a month out from the Eagles’ Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons on September 12. Hurts finished camp on a high note after being up and down for much of the summer. It’d be nice to see him look sharp in one more showing before the regular season but it probably won’t happen.
2 - DeVonta Smith - #6
Like Hurts, there’s a good chance he won’t even play. But after missing most of camp with a knee injury, it could be nice to get him some action.
3 - Travis Fulgham - #13
Fulgham didn’t even enter last week’s game until the second half and he played late into the fourth quarter. Just how safe is his roster spot after an underwhelming summer? If he’s playing late into tonight’s game, that doesn’t seem like a good sign for him. Fulgham had a good practice on Tuesday and needs to build on that positive momentum. H
4 - Kenny Gainwell - #14
Kenny G looked good in the first two preseason games and he had his best practice of the summer on Wednesday. Will that success continue? And how much will he even play in tonight’s game? The Eagles were giving him a number of looks with the first team on Wednesday. Perhaps they limit his touches with the thought he’s going to be an important role player on offense.
5 - Jalen Reagor - #18
I don’t love resting Reagor with the idea he has nothing to prove. He’s been good in 1-on-1s, yes, but it’s time for those flashes to carry over to 11-on-11 action. Some success in that regard could serve as a confidence booster.
6 - J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - #19
Is this JJAW’s final game with the team that drafted him with a 2019 second-round pick? It feels possible; he shouldn’t be considered an absolute lock to make the roster. The thinking here is the team will keep him around, especially if he shows some positive signs today. If he really struggles or goes totally invisible, well, maybe it’s a different story.
7 - Andrew Adams - #21
Adams made some plays in practices against the Jets. He might be able to push for the third safety spot since it’s not like anyone has seized that job. And it’s an important role considering Rodney McLeod might not be ready to play in Week 1. Adams has an opportunity to make his case over Marcus Epps and the injured K’Von Wallace.
8 - Zech McPhearson - #27
ZMP has looked better in practice than he has through two preseason games. It’d be nice to see the rookie turn in a performance where he’s not looking like a weak link in the secondary.
9 - JaCoby Stevens - #30
Stevens is set to make his preseason debut after previously dealing with a hamstring injury. The sixth-round rookie isn’t necessarily a lock to make the roster, though I tend to think he’ll be kept. He can strengthen his case by standing out on special teams and/or defense.
10 - Andre Patton - #41
When the Eagles signed Patton, it seemed like they were just bringing in a camp body due to the number of wide receiver injuries they were dealing with. But you know what? Patton has been low key solid. He’s kind of having the summer that Fulgham did last year. If the Eagles don’t keep him on the roster, Patton seems like a solid bet for the practice squad.
11 - Josiah Scott - #46
Scott had a really good practice on Sunday. Can he do anything in game action? He’s on the roster bubble as a backup nickel corner.
12 - Jack Stoll - #47
Stoll was one of the very few positives from last week’s game and he had a couple of nice moments in practices against the Jets. Perhaps a strong showing tonight could convince the Eagles to keep him over Richard Rodgers as TE3. At the very least, Stoll is earning a practice squad spot.
13 - Patrick Johnson - #48
With Genard Avery injured again and Joe Ostman gone, Johnson is currently the only player working in the Eagles’ SAM linebacker role. Johnson is on the roster bubble entering Friday night’s game.
14 - Le’Raven Clark - #61
Clark will make his Eagles preseason debut tonight. He’s looked solid in limited practice action thus far. The veteran could potentially be the Eagles’ swing tackle, or at least their top backup behind Jordan Mailata.
15 - Nate Herbig - #67
Herbig played the entire game against the Patriots last week, which is weird since he might be the top backup interior offensive lineman. It’ll be interesting to see how much he plays tonight. And which position(s). Is he actually a lock to make the roster? Will he make any bad mistakes like he did with a high snap to Joe Flacco last week?
16 - Kayode Awosika - #72
Do the Eagles try to limit Awosika’s playing time as to hide him from teams that could claim him off waivers? The feeling here is that the Eagles would really like to be able to sneak Awosika through to their practice squad.
17 - Andre Dillard - #77
Dillard is playing in his first preseason game this year. It’ll be his first extended action since November 2019. Expectations are certainly not high since the 2019 first-round pick has struggled mightily in practice. It should really be too late for Dillard to make the Eagles’ roster. He’s not worth keeping around as a backup considering he’s bad, not versatile, and injury prone. But maybe Dillard can flash enough on Friday for the Eagles to trick some team into giving up something in return for him.