PHILADELPHIA — NFL preseason action begins Thursday night for the rest of the league after last week's Hall of Fame Game preseason primer. The Eagles will take on the Steelers as the Washington Football Team squares up against the New England Patriots.
On Thursday's Locked On Today podcast, host Peter Bukowski talks with local experts from the Eagles and Washington about storylines for their teams ending into the season, plus Evan Sidery of Locked On Colts joins the show to react to news that Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson could both possibly be available by Week 1.
Who is the face of the Eagles?
"This isn't a retool anymore like it had been from 2018 to 2020," DiBiase said on Locked On Today. "This is a complete rebuild now with a new head coach Nick Sirianni . And of course all eyes today are on QB1 Jalen Hurts and to see if he can be the franchise quarterback and hold off these Deshaun Watson trade rumors and the three first round picks the Eagles could have next year to use to get a quarterback in the draft. So obviously we're all watching Jalen Hurts tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers."
While the Eagles will look to Hurts to step up as their franchise quarterback, DiBiase said there is another player who will look to step up as a core piece of the future for Philly.
"There's some other guys too that I think are trying to earn their way into becoming a long term core piece with the opportunity finally presenting itself and one of those positions finally presenting itself for the first time since 2009 is the left tackle spot with Jason Peters being gone," DiBiase said. "Jordan Mailata taking over, I cannot wait to see what he does building off of a strong 2020 campaign. This is a young player still with all the upside in the world. So on offense, it's really those two staple positions that the Eagles are starting fresh now from Jason Peters and Carson Wentz to Jordan Mailata and Jalen Hurts."
How can WFT improve on offense?
The Washington Football Team won their division last year en route to the playoffs, but they're flying under the radar again heading into 2021.
The story for WFT last year was the defense, which is expected to be incredible again this season. But how can the offense improve to make Washington a legitimate contender?
Chris Russell of the Locked On WFT podcast joined Locked On Today to talk about key upgrades, especially in speed, that Washington has added on the offensive end, especially with Curtis Samuel and third round pick WR Dyami Brown.
"I think this team is going to be a lot better on offense than people on the outside realize and maybe even some people on the inside," Russell said on Locked On Today. I think they're going to be a tempo offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought here because he can extend plays, which Alex Smith really couldn't do last year. And because he's got a better and stronger arm than Alex Smith/Taylor Heinicke/Kyle Allen or maybe even a rookie draft pick that they would have had to trade up for. This offense is not going to be perfect, but they are going to help and they are going to be much better than they were last year."
New hope for the Indianapolis Colts?
Just last week, the Indianapolis Colts announced new quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson would be out 5-12 weeks recovering from foot surgeries and everyone all but wrote off the Colts' season.
Well, on Wednesday, reports indicated that both players could be ready for the Colts' season opener next month against Seattle.
Locked On Colts host Evan Sidery joined Locked On Today to break it down.
"It was a situation where the Colts really had to kind of weather the storm," Sidery said. "You had Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason get into a camp battle for the quarterback spot. Luckily if Carson Wentz does return week one and Quenton Nelson can stabilize the offensive line for them, it's a situation where the Colts have a chance in the first few weeks of the season where beforehand I don't know if they really had a shot. You have the Seahawks, you also have the Rams the first two games of the season and then the Tennessee Titans. So I think that's a really tough first three weeks. On top of that, the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens. Maybe they could split those games now instead of 1-4, potentially 0-5 if you have Wentz and Nelson back in the fold."
How close are the Colts to potentially making themselves a championship contender?
"The Colts are still very young," Sidery said. "They're one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, I think most of their core on defense is under 26 years old. So I think a lot of this has the chance to be really special about couple years down the line. (GM) Chris Ballard did mention the window is just now opening for a Super Bowl run. I think the Colts are thinking two to three years down the road."
SUBSCRIBE: Locked On NFL is your daily podcast for NFL news, rumors and analysis. Listen for free wherever you get your podcasts.