By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
After an impressive debut last Sunday, Eagles fans had to wait a little longer to see rookie quarterback Carson Wentz take the field again.
The wait through a full day of football was certainly difficult, but Monday is here and the Eagles return to the field at Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears.
Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. from Chicago.
What more could you say about Wentz in his debut? He was confident and successfully managed the NFL's level of competition. There are more tests ahead for the rookie, but for now, as long as he stays protected behind the offensive line and keeps his confidence up and remains himself, it will be a joy just to watch the rookie grow even further.
On the opposite end, Jay Cutler is entering his eighth season as the Bears quarterback. He is what he is at this point. Cutler is a capable quarterback when he is protected and safe in the pocket. Get his feet moving and he is very prone to mistakes. The Bears game against Houston in Week 1 turned once the Texans got pressure to Cutler and the offense stalled.
In his first game of the season, Ryan Matthews put together a solid afternoon. While his average yardage per carry was below four yards, he was effective enough to keep the offense moving. Look for the Eagles to take a similar strategy this week, balancing the run and pass early and seeing what works before heavily favoring one side.
With Matt Forte no longer in the picture, Jeremy Langford assumes the lead back duties. Langford had a solid debut, including getting a touchdown on the ground, but the Bears ground game overall was limited to 73 yards rushing in its first game.
Wentz certainly helped get the ball to Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, among others, last Sunday. The rookie loses a weapon in Zach Ertz for this week, but has a few options to spread the ball around, including Matthews, Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham. Wentz hit six different receivers in Week 1, so he can definitely mix things up in terms of offensive targets.
The Bears offense runs through Alshon Jeffery, and despite the veteran receiver having just four catches in Week 1, averaged 26.3 yards per catch. With Eddie Royal and Kevin White also aiding the passing game, the Eagles secondary has its work cut out for it in this game.
Fletcher Cox will lead a pass rush looking to disrupt Cutler's rhythm. Watch for the Eagles pass rush to be active early and often. Nigel Bradham led the team in tackles in Week 1, while Rodney McLeod grabbed one of two turnovers in the game, an interception.
Jerrell Freeman was a tackling machine in Week 1, recording 17 total tackles. Tracy Porter is also a solid corner for the Bears defense. He also had an interception in Week 1.
Player to Watch
The Eagles won't have Zach Ertz at tight end, so Brent Celek's role becomes increased. He won't be used solely as a blocking tight end with a target here and there. He'll probably be a focal point of the offense.
Like we said, the Bears offense runs through Alshon Jeffery. Given his speed and size, he is always a threat. The Eagles will need to keep an eye on him at all times.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Chicago Bears (0-1)
TE Zach Ertz
CB Kyle Fuller
CB Leodis McKelvin
WR Bryce Treggs
TE Trey Burton
Where to Watch
TV: ESPN (Sean McDonogh, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)Radio: 94 Sportsradio WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)National Radio: Westwood One (Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Hub Arkush)