The most anticipated moment of the Eagles' preseason could come Saturday if Sam Bradford is behind center for the first offensive snap of the Eagles-Ravens game.
Although coach Chip Kelly has not officially confirmed that Bradford will play and start on Saturday, Bradford said he expects to play and he has taken first-team snaps during practice throughout the week - including Friday's walk-through. Kelly was not made available for comment on Friday.
Bradford's passing ability should be clear in the game. He has shown off his arm throughout the summer, and the Eagles' excitement about his accuracy appears merited.
But what has not been seen during training camp - and can only be seen in the game - is how Bradford moves in the pocket and what he looks like after taking a hit. The last time Bradford was hit in a game, he suffered a torn ACL.
"I wouldn't hate going to the ground once, getting up, and knowing I'm going to be OK," Bradford said.
Bradford was not the only high-profile player who was absent last week. Running back DeMarco Murray and inside linebackers Kiko Alonso, DeMeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks also sat out the opener. They all returned to practice this week.
Murray did not take team drills with the first-team offense during walk-through on Friday, and his status remains undetermined. Murray said he was open to playing, but he conceded that it would be Kelly's decision.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said before practice Friday the team has not determined whether Ryans, Kendricks, and Alonso will play. They were more involved on Friday, though, with Ryans and Alonso practicing with the starters and Kendricks with the second-team defense. The Eagles are expected to rotate the three inside linebackers, so Saturday could provide the first glimpse of how they will split playing time - if they're in the lineup.
The Eagles' coaches have said that the right guard competition is not determined, yet Andrew Gardner continues to take the first-team snaps at the position. He was there in last week's game and remained in the spot this week.
The 29-year-old, six-year veteran started eight games with the Eagles last season, including six games at right guard. He has familiarity playing between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. If he has a good showing in limited work against the Ravens, Gardner could lock up the job in time for the third preseason game.
"He's very consistent and you know what you're getting," Kelly said. "He's extremely intelligent, knows how to run angles and knows where he's going on every play."
With Marcus Smith out of the lineup on Saturday and three other outside linebackers already lost for the season, the Eagles have little depth at the position. When the starters come out of the lineup, pay attention to who comes in.
Brad Jones, who has spent most of the summer as an inside linebacker, will take snaps at outside linebacker on Saturday. A former starter in Green Bay, Jones has experience both on the inside and outside.
Defensive end Vinny Curry is also expected to get work at linebacker. Curry must show he can drop into coverage, which he did in college but has not needed to do in the NFL.
Cody Parkey was a revelation as a rookie when he fortified the Eagles' kicking game and reached the Pro Bowl. But Parkey missed an extra point and a field goal from within 40 yards last week, and he was inconsistent during practice this week. Kelly said there's no reason to panic after the first preseason game, and Parkey did enough last season to earn that trust from his head coach. If he misses more kicks from that distance, though, there could be cause for concern.