That will be the case for Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin, who get to see how they stack up against the league’s elite Monday in New England.
Kendricks, who has been running both in the base and nickel at linebacker, will likely get a crack at the dynamic tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Standing at 5-11, many wonder whether he’ll be able to cover larger tight ends at this level. Here’s a chance to find out.
“We’re getting a whole heap of situations, so we’ll see,” said Kendricks. “You have to tune in.”
Boykin will be working in at nickel corner. And while Joselio Hanson will get the start, Boykin believes he’ll get an opportunity to lock up with Wes Welker.
“I think so. Hopefully,” said Boykin. “I just have to be prepared.
“I was watching film on him today and yesterday, the tendencies that he has, just trying to learn those as much as I can before that game.”
Does the fact that they’re facing players like Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez, and going up against a team like New England, add to the excitement level for the young bucks?
“This is my second NFL game. I’m excited, period,” said Kendricks.
WHAT YOU MISSED
We heard a lot from the assistant coaches Friday. Juan Castillo says Brandon Graham is on a mission. Marty Mornhinweg has entertained the idea of Chris Polk as a fullback. And Jim Washburn tells first-round pick Fletcher Cox, “No pressure.”
Nnamdi Asomugha returned to practice but is having a difficult time speaking, according to Sheil.
The NFL handed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a $21,000 fine for his hit on Byron Leftwich. There are some around the league that believe there should have been a much harsher punishment. DRC, believe it or not, disagrees.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com wonders whether we’ll really see a different DeSean Jackson this season:
I do not know which type of guy Jackson is, but we found out last year that he’s not the type of guy who’s driven to perform better in the face of adversity. Lots of players, when they’re looking for new contracts, play their absolute best in their current contract’s final season. Jackson went the other way, sulking and struggling. What does that tell us about the way he’ll handle prosperity?
Brandon Weeden will get the start in Week 1 when the Eagles face the Browns. Cleveland saw imrpovement from the rookie quarterback during last night’s preseason game against the Cardinals. Weeden completed 12 of 20 passes for 118 yards. Per The Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
“For the most part, Brandon played well,” said coach Pat Shurmur. “Today, he saw some different things. He played against a lot of pressure. He moved the team and he found a way to drive the ball. He completed a couple of third downs that were important.
“What comes to mind are a couple of third-downs are plays we’re just getting a feel for. He’ll do better at those the next time. He’s like any of the other young one out there working. He’s going to look at the film and say, ‘Darn it, I need to do better at that next time.”
An 11:45 practice, the final tune-up before Monday’s preseason game against the Patriots. Andy Reid and the players will speak with the media afterwards.