The flavor of football will still be vanilla, but the brand being served to the Eagles tonight at Lincoln Financial Field is the best the NFL has to offer.
In other words, this preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is going to be a pretty good gauge as to where the Eagles are with two weeks left before the season opener in Houston.
"Pass-blocking and run-blocking doesn't change," Eagles safety Brian Dawkins said. "You can do fancy routes and fancy reverses, but blocking and tackling, that doesn't change. You can definitely tell a physical team in the preseason."
The Steelers, of course, are known as one of the most physical teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball.
"It's a blitz defense," coach Andy Reid said. "They are going to bring people and use zone coverage with man coverage behind it. The bottom line is they are bringing extra people and you have to be sharp up front. Their offense right now, they're keeping it vanilla, basically like we are, but at the same time it's good players against good players and they'll get good work in."
The Steelers have lost their first two preseason games, but they held Arizona to 57 yards rushing on 32 attempts in their exhibition opener and averaged 5 yards per carry in their second game against Minnesota.
This is a chance for the Eagles' offensive line, which wants Reid to run the football more this season, to prove it can clear holes against one of the best run defenses in the league last season.
"Coach Reid is going to place that opportunity on the offensive line's back, and if we don't get it done, he won't run the ball, and that will put pressure on us because we'll have to pass-protect on just about every down," guard Shawn Andrews said. "What we have to do as an offensive line is be concerned with our assignments, and they do several different blitzes that we feel comfortable taking on. We have to be in the right spot at the right time, and I think it's going to work out run and pass."
On defense, the Eagles want to show they can stop the Steelers' physical running game while putting pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.