EAGLES AT PACKERS PRESEASON GAME: BIGGER FOR THE PLAYERS THAN FANS
The Eagles play their first preseason game of the 2017 season Thursday night at Lambeau Field (8 p.m, NBC 10).
For the rookies and players trying to make an impression on the coaching staff, this game and the preseason finale against the Jets are their best opportunity to make a statement, as the starters, for the most part, will not be playing.
For second-year quarterback Carson Wentz though, this game is the start of his preparation for game day. He will go through his routine as if it is a regular season game.
Wentz will start to get his ritual down for meals, taping, warmups, etc. So while he won’t play for more than one series, Wentz said it is still and important game for him.
“It’s all kind of part of that,” Wentz said. “I want to get used the routine of a game and everything. Obviously I don’t know how much I’ll play and how it’s all going to unfold. I think we’re just excited to go up against everyone else and see some of the young guys get their first live action. Going to Lambeau (field), that will be pretty cool as well, so we’re excited.”
Wentz missed most of the preseason last year with an injured rib cage. He said he looking forward to the experience.
“Yeah,” Wentz said. “Obviously things are a little different this year, but yeah I am looking forward to it.
For backup Matt McGloin, this is a chance to land the No. 3 spot on the quarterback depth chart going into the season.
McGloin, who played for Penn State before landing on the Oakland Raiders roster for the past four seasons, needs to play well Thursday. He has had some good moments in camp and some not so good.
He is also looking forward to playing against different defensive players.
“I’m kind of looking forward to playing against somebody else.” McGloin said on Tuesday in the locker room after practice. “Obviously training camp, we’ve been here for a while practicing against each other, so it’ll be good to get out there, work some plays against a different team and hopefully do some good things out there and put some good stuff on film.”
McGloin realizes he needs to take advantage of the small window he and other players in his situation will get.
“No doubt,” he said. “That’s the point of these preseason games is for you to get out there, execute the game plan and show this organization the progress that you’ve made, that you’ve picked up the playbook rather quickly and make their job difficult and make their decision difficult on whether or not they want to keep you as a quarterback.”
For center Tyler Orlosky, the high regarded rookie free agent out of West Virginia, he finally has a chance to show his skills to Eagles coaches and other teams in the league. Orlosky missed almost all of OTAs and mini-camp with a leg injury suffered during rookie camp. He also is looking forward to playing against different players.
“I just want to get out there,” Orlosky said. “I think everyone will get a chance to play in the game and finally put together everything we’ve been working with in camp, OTAs together and go against a different team.”
Orlosky said he is happy with his camp so far.
“Body is 100 percent, camp is going well, it’s a learning experience every day,” the 6-foot-3, 298 pounder said. “You learn something every day. There is stuff you need to work on every day too. Overall it’s been a good experience so far. I am looking forward to it.”
Orlosky was asked about trying to do too much. With so few opportunities to impress, it can be tempting for a player looking for a spot to be a hero. He talked about staying within himself and his abilities.
“You have to understand what you are good at and what you’re not good at,” Orlosky said. “You should go out there in the game and work on what you’re able to do and try your best, the rest you can only control what you can and just go from there.”
Rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey talked about the same thing. He agreed he has to have the discipline to stay in the game plan. Pumphrey will be returning kicks, a job he did not do at all in college. So the temptation to gamble will be there.
“Definitely, it’s going to be a very exciting moment for me,” the fourth round pick out of San Diego State said after Tuesday’s practice. “It’s going to be my first NFL professional football game. I definitely have to stay disciplined and continue to play the way I’ve been playing.”
Rookie receiver Mack Hollins, a fourth round pick out of North Carolina, said he has no intention of moving outside the box his coaches set up for him.
“Your job as a player is to never do something you’re not coached to do,” Hollins said. “There’s times you can make plays they don’t expect you to make but that doesn’t mean you’re going outside your box and doing something out of the norm that’s different than the other 10 guys on the field. It’s a team sport, everyone has to be on the same page. You can’t be out there doing your own thing because you think it might work. My job is to do what I’ve been coached to do these last couple months and go get a win.”
Doug Pederson will no doubt be looking at at his secondary. It is the No. 1 concern with this team from the coaching staff to the observers and fans.
Projected starters Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson plus reserves Ron Brooks, C.J. Smith, Aaron Grymes and rookie third round pick draft Rasul Douglas out of West Virginia will all be looking to earn points with coaches.
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii