The Eagles put the finishing touches on their undefeated preseason with a 28-10 victory over the New York Jets on Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles finish the preseason 4-0, which means exactly … nothing. But that doesn’t mean Thursday’s game was meaningless. For players trying to make the Eagles’ roster, Thursday was their final opportunity to convince the coaching staff they belong on the team.
NFL teams have to cut their roster to 53 by Friday night (9 p.m.). The following is a rundown of some players who helped their chances, and some who hurt their chances, during Thursday’s win over the Jets.
- Trent Edwards is making it very difficult for the Eagles to keep him off the team. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Edwards also ran four times for 36 yards. He repeatedly displayed a veteran presence, making correct decisions on when to run or throw the ball away.
- Chris Polk gained 61 yards on 14 carriers. Polk ran with power, as was evident when he bounced off a would-be tackler and entered the end zone standing for the Eagles’ final touchdown.
- Bryce Brown, Polk’s main competition for the final running back spot, ran nine times for 20 yards, but also caught three passes for 30 yards. I still think that head coach Andy Reid would prefer to keep both Brown and Polk instead of fullback Stanley Havili if one of them could fill in at fullback in short-yardage situations.
- Linebacker Ryan Rau seems to always be around the ball. And he is a solid tackler. The practice squad may not be enough for Rau, who made the case that he deserves to make the final roster.
- Defensive end Brandon Graham continues to use his speed effectively to pressure opposing quarterbacks. He did, however, start a little too quickly one time, drawing an offside penalty.
- Mardy Gilyard dropped a long pass early in the game, but bounced back to lead the Eagles with five receptions for 71 yards.
- Chad Hall caught four passes for 47 yards. He seems to have a sense for finding a seam in the defense.
- Tight end Brett Brackett caught three passes for 21 yards, including a touchdown for the second straight game.
- Chase Ford, Brackett’s competition if the Eagles decide to keep three tight ends, had a solid game with two catches and a nice seal block on the left side on Bryce Brown’s game-tying touchdown run in the second quarter.
- Linebacker Brian Rolle, demoted from his starter position in favor of Akeem Jordan, got off to a rough start Thursday. He was beat on a pass play at the start of the Jets’ lone scoring drive and seemed to be out of position or unable to fight off blocks. He turned his game around, however, and ended up leading the Eagles on Thursday with six tackles. He may have saved himself a roster spot.
- Left tackle Demetress Bell, who, like Rolle, lost his starting position, didn’t fare so well Thursday. He was beaten badly on a first-quarter series, resulting in a hit on quarterback Nick Foles, who threw the ball away and somehow wasn’t charged with intentional grounding. On another play, Bell was pushed right back into Trent Edwards.
- Brandon Hughes, battling to make the roster at cornerback, was beaten on consecutive plays during the Jets’ lone scoring drive.
- Veteran safety O.J. Atogwe suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problems during the first half. That’s not an encouraging sign for Atogwe, who missed the previous two games with hamstring problems. If he can’t stay on the field, he can’t help the Eagles, who need all the help they can get at safety.
- Alex Henery is not in danger of not making the roster, but there might be some concern that the second-year kicker has missed makeable field goals two games in a row. Henery missed a 38-yarder during the third quarter, when the Eagles only had a four-point lead.