The Philadelphia Eagles host the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night in a preseason opener that marks the start of the season for a team some are calling a "Dream Team." The Eagles were very active in free agency, with their biggest splash being the addition of all-world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles also added Ronnie Brown and Vince Young to act as backups to Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy and seem to be emerging as one of the favorites in the NFC.
This first preseason game will allow the Eagles to figure out what some of their young guys can do. Starters generally do not play a whole lot in the first preseason game, often playing no more than a quarter. The Eagles preliminary depth chart has rookie Danny Watkins slotted in as the starter at right guard. Although Vick and the other starters likely won't see a lot of playing time, Watkins is one starter who may stick in the game a bit longer. Eagles fans are excited about the young offensive lineman and will be keeping a close eye on him Thursday night.
As could be the case for many Eagles opponents this season, the Baltimore Ravens will be in the Philly shadow in this opener. The Ravens saw several long-time veterans leave this offseason including Todd Heap, Le'Ron McClain, and Dawan Landry, among others. The Ravens were not all that active in free agency, but they did make one splash in signing Vonta Leach as a legit replacement for McClain. Leach was one of the keys to Arian Foster's breakout season in 2010 and should be a solid man in front of Ray Rice.
The Ravens are set with Joe Flacco at starting quarterback, but they will likely be paying close attention to the performances of Hunter Cantwell and Tyrod Taylor. Marc Bulger's decision to retire leaves the Ravens without an experienced backup to Flacco. They might add a veteran that doesn't survive roster cuts elsewhere, but in the meantime they need to see what Cantwell and Taylor bring to the table. Cantwell has a year in the NFL but no serious on-field experience while Taylor will have to overcome the stigma of being more of an athlete than a quarterback.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 7:30pm ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eagles: WPVI 6abc
Ravens: WBAL-TV | CSN | WJLA-TV | WHTM-TV
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Eagles: 94 WYSP | Sports Radio 610 WIP-AM
Ravens: 98 Rock | WBAL-1090 AM