Setting the scene: Patriots-Eagles
|08.20.12 at 5:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The two longest tenured coaches in the NFL renew acquaintances as the Patriots host the Eagles in New England’s final home preseason game of 2012.
Bill Belichick may or may not start Tom Brady again, depending on his comfort with his offensive line while Andy Reid will go with Michael Vick at quarterback. Ideal conditions of clear skies and temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s are expected for the 8 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN.
The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe tweeted three hours before kickoff that there will be “no Brady” against the Eagles. Also not expected to play are Wes Welker and Jerod Mayo.
Vick injured the thumb on his throwing hand in a 24-23 win at home against the Steelers on Aug. 9. Reid called a minor injury afterward as the Eagles dodged a bullet.
The Belichick-Reid bond is arguably one of the strongest in the NFL, as shown when Belichick took time out two days before New England’s first preseason game and traveled to Philadelphia to attend the funeral of Garrett Reid, Andy Reid’s 27-year-old son who died on Aug. 5 during training camp at Lehigh University.
This game is just the kind of test Belichick wants to see his first-team offense pass after coming up very short and weak against the Saints on Aug. 9. Brady was just 4-for-7 for 30 yards, strip-sacked once for a turnover while his offensive line was overwhelmed by the Saints defensive front.
The Patriots figure to be tested by an Eagles front that sacked Pittsburgh quarterbacks seven times and hit them seven more times in Philadelphia 11 days ago. Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri and Trent Cole lead an impressive D-Line group for Philly.
To that end, tonight could be the first time we see how Logan Mankins looks after taking part in practice all last week. By the end of the week, Mankins – four-time Pro Bowler – was taking reps at his customary left guard spot with the first team offensive line. His return could help left tackle Nate Solder feel more comfortable. Another thing to keep a close eye on is how much time center Dan Koppen and guard Dan Connolly get. Koppen has been going back and forth with Ryan Wendell for first-team reps while Connolly was bumped back to the second team unit, occasionally spelling Donald Thomas at right guard. Marcus Cannon is expected to start again at right tackle.
Sebastian Vollmer won’t be available but his return could come this week in Tampa. He will reportedly be taken off the physically unable to perform list as the team leaves Tuesday for practices Wednesday and Thursday with the Buccaneers in advance of their game against Tampa Bay Friday at Raymond James Stadium.
Another player who won’t play against the Eagles but rather join the Patriots in Tampa Wednesday is running back/kick returner Jeff Demps. The Olympic sprinter out of Florida was signed by the Patriots on Friday.
Also expected to come off the PUP list this week is tight end Daniel Fells.
Aly Raisman will be one of five Olympians expected to be honored in ceremonies before the game honoring New Englanders who medaled in London. The Needham, Mass. native will be recognized for winning gold as captain of the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team.
Others to be recognized are Rhode Island’s Elizabeth Beisel, who won silver and bronze medals in swimming, Kayla Harison of Wakefield, Mass., a gold medalist in judo; and Asjha Jones and Tina Charles, two former UConn stars and current members of the Connecticut Sun, who helped the United States win gold in women’s basketball.
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
- Fantasy Outlook: Patriots RB Stevan Ridley
- The Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2012: Number 5
- New England Patriots Links 6/18/13 - Shane Vereen: Offense Has 'Sour...
- New England Patriots Links 6/17/13 - Leon Washington Hopes to Contribute...
- New England Patriots Links 6/14/13 - WRs: It's Amendola, Everyone Else
- New England Patriots Links 6/13/13 - Don't Expect Tom-Tim Tag Team
- Patriots Cancel Final Minicamp Practice