The 2019 season gets underway soon for the Eagles as today they will be facing their divisional rival, the Washington Redskins. There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the game, but here we will detail five players (all Eagles) to pay extra close attention to when watching this legendary NFL rivalry.
This one is kinda obvious. This offseason the safety net that was Nick Foles left Philadelphia, which means Wentz will have to stay healthy in order for the Eagles to have a potentially long playoff run. If he gets off to a hot start, then there will certainly be a lot of MVP hype surrounding him. If he shows a lot of rust from not playing since early December or if the team loses, then Wentz will face tons of criticism and the local radio shows will spend all next week thinking of trade proposals the Eagles can send to Jacksonville to bring Nick Foles back.
The pressure is on Wentz right away, but I think we'll see him play an overall fine game and help the Eagles get off to a 1-0 start.
The Linc's imaginary roof will fly off once DeSean Jackson's name is announced over the PA during pregame introductions. Emotions will be running high in Jackson's first game in an Eagles uniform since 2013. Jackson is also a certified "Redskins Killer" (well technically he is a "former team killer" as he haunted the Eagles while he was away). Still, the Redskins are now a former team for Jackson, and he all for humiliating his former teams as much as possible.
The Redskins will also be without one of their starting corners in Fabian Moreau, so 7th-round draft pick Jimmy Moreland will be making his NFL debut. Jackson will be sure to give Moreland a warm welcome to the big leagues.
When the Eagles traded for Howard it seemed like everything was going well for him. He was the undeniable lead running back in a high-powered offense heading into a contract year, which meant he was going to get a ton of touches and chances to impress other teams with his play. Fast forward a few months and the Eagles have drafted Miles Sanders in the 2nd-round and re-signed the immortal Darren Sproles and suddenly Howard finds himself in a running back by committee. Not only that, but he is now being discussed in trades as his name was floated into a possible deal with Los Angeles regarding Melvin Gordon.
If Howard can get off to a hot start then he can relax a little bit then maybe he can see himself become the running back with the most touches in this dynamic Eagles running back group. If he struggles early, then until Gordon gets a new contract in Los Angeles or gets traded elsewhere he will be constantly be brought up in trade rumors with Eagles fans begging Howie Roseman to trade Howard for Gordon.
This week some interesting news came out about Bradham briefly went AWOL during the week of the final preseason game. Bradham claimed last minute that he was sick which is why he didn't end up getting on the bus with the team to go. When the team finally got in contact with him and offered get him a personal driver to take him to be with the team he said no thank you. He talked to beat writers this week and said he expects to be fined by the team for his actions, but so far there has been no official announcement of discipline for him. There's a slim chance the team could bench him for the first series or first quarter of the game to send him a message. But there's also a chance Doug Pederson makes Bradham his personal Häagen-Dazs ice cream runner. Either way, he should be someone to watch versus Washington.
Bradham is also still recovering from surgery on his toe that he injured in the playoff game versus the New Orleans Saints, so it's worth paying attention to him to see if he is still missing a step or if he is back to full health.
Thanks to injuries to Jalen Mills and Cre'Von LeBlanc, Jones had a pretty easy path to winning a Week 1 starting job this year. This season is critical for Jones to show some potential, as he is eligible for a contract extension this offseason if he performs well. However, after missing virtually all of his rookie season with an injury then missing multiple games in 2018 with more injuries, there is a growing suspicion that Jones is injury prone and not a reliable cornerback to give a new contract to moving forward.
The Redskins' wide receivers on Sunday are Paul Richardson Jr, Trey Quinn, Kelvin Harmon, and Steven Sims. That receiving corps is so dismal, that if Jones can't put up a good performance against them it's gonna lead to a lot of criticism. A good game against these inexperienced receivers will calm down the Eagles fans that don't trust him (for now).