Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots


By Glenn Erby | August 15, 2021 2:32 pm ET Follow @thacover2

The Eagles are set for a physical and spirited two days of joint training camp practices with the New England Patriots at the NovaCare Complex.

With Philadelphia needing to reduce the roster down to 85 and 80 players over the next week, here are 10 players to watch over the next two days.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) in action during a pre-season NFL football game against Pittsburgh Steelers, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

The Eagles’ presumptive starter this season, Hurts growth will be put on display against an aggressive and physical Patriots defense. Hurts ability to read defenses, show accuracy and decision-making will be key over the next two years.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Jul 29, 2021; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Kerryon Johnson (34) in action during training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Howard got the start at running back in place of Miles Sanders on Thursday and his top-notch pass protection is a major reason why he’ll make the 53 man roster. Johnson suffered a knee injury recently in practice and his status for both joint practices and Thursday’s game could be in question.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Kenneth Gainwell #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The rookie running back excels as a pass catcher and it’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles can exploit the matchup against a Patriots linebacker group that offers physicality, but not much athleticism in space.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball prior to the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Cut down day is fast approaching and after another preseason game that saw Arcega-Whiteside go without a catch, he’ll need to impress on Monday and Tuesday.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Tyree Jackson #80 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

A smoother route runner than most expected, Jackson is in store for a big week and if he can have success against the Patriots linebackers and safeties, things could get interesting on the roster bubble.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Sweat has mistreated Andre Dillard for two weeks now, but how he fares against Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown and others will go a long way towards determining his prospects for a new contract.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 29: Zech McPhearson #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during training camp at the NovaCare Complex on July 29, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The rookie cornerback is confident and aggressive and he’ll be a player to watch against N’Keal Harry and Nelson Agholor.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley (54) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, and Davion Taylor (when healthy) continue to separate themselves, Bradley and Rashad Smith were blamed for the Steelers’ running game flourishing after the first and second-team linebackers exited the game.

Bradley will need to stand out against Sony Michel and the Patriots’ running backs.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Le’Raven Clark looks on with a mask on during practice at NFL football training camp, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Clark is off the PUP list and how he performs at left and right tackle could determine what the Eagles do with Andre Dillard in potential trade talks.

Philadelphia Eagles: 10 players to watch during joint practices with the Patriots

Jul 28, 2021; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Elijah Holyfield (33) catches a ball during training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

While the Eagles’ athletic running backs have stood out, Holyfield has not. A big-bodied running back, Holyfield could flourish with the Patriots’ physical brand of football coming to town.