So much for the Patriots testing the Eagles. Thanks to some brutal scheduling that has New England playing three games in a 10-day span, Bill Belichick decided he would rest a few starters tonight -- all of them, actually.
Of course, this comes as horrendous news for the Birds, who thanks to some similarly awful scheduling -- playing their Week 1 opponent four days from now -- intended to use tonight's game as their regular season primer. So, uh, now what?
For what it's worth, I don't think you can say this game becomes any less important for the Eagles, but it does change our expectations a bit. Rather than going head-to-head with a top-tier opponent, this should be more akin to a top-25 college football program hosting an FCS opponent to open the schedule.
In other words, what we should be looking for out of the Birds' starters tonight is execution on both sides of the ball, plain and simple. On offense, move the chains, put points on the scoreboard. On defense, wrap up the ball carrier and get back to the sidelines.
Does the lack of serious competition hurt them down the road? Probably not. What matters for the Eagles in any given week is to take care of whoever is standing in front of them. If they go out and wreck the Patriots, nobody is going to shower them with praise, but as the saying in the NFL goes, good teams beat bad teams.
Not to say it wouldn't have been nice if Belichick treated this game with even a modicum of consequence, if only for pure entertainment value. Then again, I'll probably feel much better about it if Andy has his guys run up the score as much as they can in the first half.
Have any doubts about Joel Embiid's health?
Well take a look at this.
How about now?
Of course, this isn't live NBA action, and it is against 5-11 Drew Hanlen, a skills coach and consultant, but it's impressive nonetheless.
Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.
"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."
Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley.
Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.
"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy.
"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.
To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above.
The Eagles have a serious depth problem at linebacker, and they're looking at a local prospect to try to fix it.
The team will sign former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry on Sunday, pending a physical, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. ESPN's Adam Caplan first reported the deal.
Cherry, 21, first signed with the Bears after going undrafted in the spring, but was cut by Chicago in June.
The 6-1, 240-pound Cherry was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. During his time on the Main Line, he was credited with 331 tackles, 46 1/2 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Even with Cherry, the Eagles are still light in the depth department at linebacker. After starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the team has Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner, seventh-rounder Joe Walker and a couple of other undrafted free agents.
After cutting wideout Jonathan Krause on Friday, the Eagles had three vacancies on their 90-man roster. They're filling another of those openings with former Alabama safety Nick Perry, according to a league source. The perry deal was first reported by Al.com's Matt Zenitz. The 6-1, 211-pound Perry spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad after going undrafted in 2015.
Eagles training camp kicks off Monday, and the first full-team practice is Thursday.