1. The return of LeSean McCoy
McCoy has been taking it slow during training camp as he recovered from a knee injury. He’ll get his first crack at game action under Kelly and–more importantly–he’ll have the starting five in front of him. It should provide some excitement in an otherwise dull affair.
2. Bryce Brown vs. Chris Polk
These two are battling for the rotational spot behind McCoy but have had varying success. Brown, who was an out-of-nowhere sensation last season, gained 22 yards on five carries against New England. He’s been considered the favorite to take the job.
However, Chris Polk has been reportedly having a great camp and just might unseat Brown despite his elite physical talent. With a four carry for seven yard performance last week it’s time for Polk to prove he can play.
3. Run Defense
This point matters for the Eagles two-fold.
On the most basic level, Carolina is an absolute force on the ground. With Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, and Cam Newton the Eagles will be facing a team ranked third and ninth in the league in rushing over the last few years. After being embarrassed by Stevan Ridley and LeGarette Blount this will be a redemption game.
The Eagles also won’t face many mobile quarterbacks during the season, but they will have RGIII two times. Pay attention to how this fledgling defense contains an otherworldly athlete in Cam Newton when plays break down.
The Eagles have a punting battle still between Donnie Jones and rookie Brad Wing. Wing was given lots of opportunities last week notching 4 punts for an average of 38.5 yards and a long of 50. Jones kicked for 48 yards in his lone punt of the night. As a result, Wing will need to maintain some consistency if he wants to stay with the team.
The only player that seems to have locked in a position as a starting safety is Patrick Chung. Otherwise, Kenny Phillips, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Earl Wolff are all competing to start. Basically, pray that it’s anyone not Coleman who gets the most reps.