The two dozen or so Eagles fighting for a roster spot will get one last shot to impress the coaching staff Thursday night as the Eagles host the Jets in the preseason finale.
The Eagles must cut their roster from 75 to a season-opening-ready 53 players by Friday at 9 p.m. so this really is the last shot for guys like O.J. Atogwe, Chad Hall and Dallas Reynolds to show they belong especially since many of the starters and even top backups won’t play against the Jets.
I could break this thing down position by position but instead I’ll focus on the few battles still up in the air to make the cut.
The biggest battle remaining is for third-string QB where Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards are locked in battle. Kafka has spent most of the preseason injured while Edwards has played well behind rookie No. 2 QB Nick Foles.
I’ll defer to CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher on why Edwards should win the roster spot:
If Vick were to get hurt -- does that ever happen? -- and Foles suffered through some rookie growing pains, Edwards would be a more logical choice to steer the ship.
Other battles include the offensive and defensive lines.
On the offensive line Reynolds, Demetress Bell, D.J. Jones, Steve Vallos and Brandon Washington could be battling to be the o-lineman left inactive most weeks. It’s likely that Washington and Jones are gone and Bell could be cut after not living up to the hype of being a big free-agent signing. I think Bell and Vallos are safe so the real numbers game here is if the Eagles keep nine or 10 lineman -- keep 10 and Reynolds should be safe.
The defensive line is a stacked as it comes leaving good players like Antonio Dixon, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton on the bubble with young players like Ollie Ogbu and Frank Trotter likely practice squad bound.
I can’t see the Eagles keeping 12 linemen but I think 11 is possible. If it’s 11 then Tapp, Thornton and Dixon stay. If not a trade could be possible with Tapp and Dixon most likely to go.
I tried to come up with a scenario where Dixon makes it, but I just don’t think he’s a Jim Washburn type of guy, and he’s also been uneven this preseason. He’ll play in the league, though. Good dude.
The linebackers and defensive backs could also see a few surprise cuts like veteran linebacker Akeem Jordan, second-year safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and defensive back Joselio Hanson but more likely guys like linebacker Keenan Clayton, safety O.J. Atogwe and defensive back Trevard Lindley would get the pink slip.
Another interesting piece in the defensive backfield is safety/special teams beast Colt Anderson who is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform List while coming back from knee surgery.
The Eagles’ handling of Anderson has been a little surprising. He’s now nine months removed from his knee surgery and sure seems ready to contribute, so even though he hasn’t practiced yet and remains on the PUP list, I’m putting him on the 53, since I just don’t want to wait six weeks before having another chance to get him on the field. If he’s inactive the first week or two, so be it. Anderson is a special teams phenom and also helps out with safety depth.
A guy to keep an eye on Thursday night is punter Chas Henry. The second-year punter seemed as good as gone after the Eagles signed former Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar but thanks in large part to Henry’s skill and familiarity at holding kicks for Alex Henery, he won the job.
Once the roster is cut the Eagles can bring back some players (WR Marvin McNutt?) to join the practice squad. Also don’t be surprised to see a few trades made at the deadline.