Typically, this is the one that most Eagles fans, and, frankly, fans of any team, get a chance to really see where their first-string players are at, how the squad is shaping up. In general, the third act of August usually gives the best glimpse into what Week 1 of Reality Check will hold each fall.
But things have changed. This isn’t your father’s exhibition season anymore. Or your grandfather’s. Heck, it ain’t even your own.
Nope. More than ever anymore, player safety or player pampering, take your pick, rules the day. It’s a preemptive strike against injury seemingly embraced by a league concerned about its image and credibility – not so much with you the fan, but those who actually take the field.
With “health,” “safety” and “the welfare of players” the buzzwords governing football like never before, organizations from the youth to professional levels will, if anything, err on the side of caution in any decisions they make.
In other words, don’t expect to gain any better insight into Sam Bradford’s knee, Kiko Alonso’s head or DeMarco Murray’s overall being with tonight’s contest at Green Bay … unless, of course, any step onto the field and incur some mishap.
With Eagles coach/GM Chip Kelly anointed the end-all, be-all of innovation at the NFL level, it should be obvious that your team would be ahead of the pack with protecting its players any way possible before “unleashing the hounds” once the standings matter. But the Birds are not alone in that. Don’t expect to see uber-star QB Aaron Rodgers performing for the Pack in this one, unless he’s doing some stand-up routine on the sidelines.
Not really if this is progress or not, but it does confirm one thing: the preseason matters far less than it did in years, decades and generations past.
FRESH BLOOD: With the Phillies, finally, thankfully, giving in to the rebuilding realities that a “future” required, we’re getting to see some new faces and what they’re providing has been a mixed bag. The most positive since the purge has to be Aaron Nola. Last year’s first-round pick out of LSU was rock solid for his second straight outing Friday night, allowing just one run in seven innings. He stands at 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA.
But he ain’t the only one turning heads. Aaron Altherr has come from, well, nowhere to provide some pop. In just eight games with the club, he has two homers and seven extra-base hits all told. His slugging percentage is a Ruthian .704.
HARD TO BELIEVE: Temple football failing to sell out a home opener at the Linc still a week away isn’t exactly a surprise. The fact Penn State is the opposition and seats remain right now, though, is.
Yo, what gives, Nittany Lions fans? Considering that PSU, its alumni and its supporters dominate, or claim to dominate, the city and surrounding area, it’s kinda hard to believe.
Then again, maybe cockiness would keep them away (shocking). Or, perhaps, fear (shocking, with tongue not firmly planted in cheek).
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org