Offensive Guys to Watch

The Eagles head to Lambeau for the third straight season with the most important game on the preseason awaiting them on Saturday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  We’ll continue with our guys to watch on both offense and defense.  The Eagles offense has looked great for the first two weeks and we’ll see how they handle the first road game of the season albeit preseason.  The Packers defense did a solid job against the Steelers first team unit in their game this past Sunday at Heinz Field.  Pro Bowl running back Leveon Bell was pretty much held in check in the running game with the exception of a few nice screen passes.  Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was not active for the Steelers game and I expect to see him on Saturday to get geared up for the regular season.  Look for the Eagles starters to go most of the first half and possibly beyond that for some guys.

Kenjon Barner-

Barner has been electric this preseason with two punt returns for touchdowns and one rushing touchdown as well against the Colts.  He is cementing his case for a spot on the 53 man, but the question is will there be room for him?  I’m looking to see Barner again returning punts against a Packers special teams unit which leaves much to be desired.  Packers punter Tim Masthay could play it safe and punt away from Barner or the Packers coaches might be looking to challenge their coverage unit against the best special teams in the league.  From the offensive perspective I expect to see Barner a lot in the 2nd half once the starting running backs are out of pads.  Barner is a threat in the passing game as well so watch for him on the wheel routes against the Packers linebackers.  Mark Sanchez missed Barner on one of those routes last weeks versus Baltimore.

Rasheed Bailey-

Bailey has flashed during the first two games and has definitely improved his stock.  The disappearing act of fellow wideout Miles Austin, which was to be expected, improves Bailey’s chances as well.  Chip stood up for Austin this past weekend and said it was his call to hold Austin out of the Ravens game.  I’m not sure if I totally buy that due to Austin’s history of lingering leg injuries.  Bailey had a fantastic catch from Tebow in the Colts game and followed it up with a nice performance against the Ravens.  The battle for the 5th wide receiver spot could come down to Bailey, Jeff Maehl and Seyi Ajirotutu.  Ajirotutu has the leg up on special teams, but has a few bad drops this preseason.  Maehl has made the squad the last two years and brings familiarity which Chip desires.  I am not a Jeff Maehl fan.  Bailey will need to have another stand out game on Saturday.  He might even get a few more opportunities to play with backup Mark Sanchez as opposed to Matt Barkley.

Lane Johnson-

Big Lane looked a tad uncomfortable going up against Ravens pass rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil on Saturday night.  Dumervil’s height and ability to get under Lane’s pads seemed to cause him difficulty.  He had a bad holding call early in the first drive and looked shaky on a few other snaps.  I’m expecting a big step forward this year from the 3rd year right tackle out of Oklahoma.  He will face another stiff test this week against either Clay Matthews or Julius Peppers.  Both of these guys are taller than Dumervil, but still great pass rushers nonetheless.  This should be the third straight start with Lane next to right guard Andrew Gardner so hopefully that eliminates any potential unfamiliarity as well.  Look for Chip to start off with some running plays towards his side to get the big fella in the flow of the game early.

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