Developing storylines for Friday night’s Eagles preseason tilt with the Patriots in New England:
Can this guy be for real? Sanchez, a national punchline for his last few years and punching bag for Jets fans and media, has really put together a nice camp. He played well in the preseason opener, completing 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards with the second string. We haven’t seen the rampant turnovers, bad decisions and woeful inaccuracy that he showed in his two-year regression up the Turnpike. History says the Eagles will need Sanchez at some point this season. He’s already the unquestioned No. 2 behind Nick Foles, but fans might feel a little better about the backup situation if Sanchez can have another nice preseason outing.
Middle and underneath coverage
It remains to be seen if the Eagles will be any better covering tight ends, slot receivers and running backs out of the backfield, an area where they struggled last year, especially at the linebacker and safety level. It’s slightly alarming that Bears tight end Zach Miller caught two touchdowns against the Eagles on virtually the same route in the opener. The Patriots have crafty possession receivers in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and like to get running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen involved in the passing game, so this should be another good test for DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and co.
Hello? You there, Fletch? Been kind of a quiet camp for you, buddy. No reason yet to be alarmed that we haven’t really heard much from the 12th overall pick from 2012, but it sure would be nice to see him make a play or two against the Patriots. Cox is entering a big third season and is among several young players who’ll be eligible for a contract extension after the year. After a slow September last year, he really came into his own and emerged into a force on the defensive line, leading the defense with 21 pressures. He had only three sacks, so that’s an area where he needs to improve. A few hits on Tom Brady might help us remember he’s out there.