The Philadelphia Eagles have one more preseason game before the regular season rolls around. Nick Sirianni’s group will travel to New Jersey this week to practice with the New York Jets ahead of their preseason matchup Friday night.
At this point, it’s unclear whether the starters will even play in the preseason finale. When Sirianni was asked about it following Sunday’s practice, he said, “That’s going to be something we evaluate everyday. We had a great practice, a very high energy, competitive practice… And then we’re going to get two really good practices against the Jets. We’re going to see how the work goes against the Jets and make a decision from there.”
Despite several starters sitting out of last week’s preseason debacle against the New England Patriots, the Eagles don’t seem intent on playing their starters for the final preseason contest. Holding Jalen Hurts and the starters out of this game would be a mistake.
The preseason is never a true indicator for how good or bad a team is going to be entering the season. I get that. But this new-look Eagles team has barely gotten any live game snaps in together, especially the offense. Hurts only played two series total this entire preseason, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase what he can do alongside DeVonta Smith on an NFL field yet.
There were several instances in Thursday’s game where the chemistry between Smith and Joe Flacco seemed off, which in turn hurt Smith’s production. That kind of stuff shouldn’t happen with Hurts under center — at least that’s the hope.
We’ve seen several teams around the league play their proven starters for an extended period of time this preseason. Andy Reid had Patrick Mahomes play an entire quarter against the Arizona Cardinals last week. 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger played multiple series in his team’s last preseason game. Truthfully, the Eagles don’t have many proven starters on either side of the ball. Making it all the more strange that Sirianni and Co. are hesitant to say whether their starters are going to play or not.
This is a young football team that needs as much field time as possible before Week 1 against Atlanta. While the training camp practices have been lively and competitive by all accounts, nothing can replicate game speed and atmosphere.
With the small amount of time Hurts and the starters have played this preseason, I’d be shocked if Sirianni held them out of the finale.