What to watch in Eagles-Jets
No starters Thursday night, when the Eagles host the Jets in the preseason finale, but roster spots are still up for grabs, among players scrambling for an NFL foothold.
What to watch in Eagles-Jets
You're not going to see Donovan McNabb or Brett Favre, not on the field, at least. You're probably not even going to see DeSean Jackson. But the good news is, with a 6:30 start, you can make it home in time to catch Barack Obama, after the Eagles wrap up their preseason Thursday night at the Linc against the New York Jets. If you're watching on TV, you won't even have to click back and forth. Although that might be interesting ... "and is King Dunlap protecting Kevin Kolb's blind side (click) ... change we can believe in?
Also, if you really attend to the more esoteric roster details -- and this is a fan base that can do esoteric, believe me, your Eagletarian gets e-mails about undrafted free agents who were cut years ago -- then there is stuff to keep tabs on.
Here are some situations worth watching:
1. Tony Hunt is still listed as the Eagles’ starting fullback, though he’s been very open all week about how far he is from really being able to master the position. Can the Birds go into the season with Hunt as the starter, or will Jed Collins or Jason Davis make enough of a case in this game to change the dynamic?
2. Jerome McDougle has been the Eagles’ best defensive lineman in the preseason. Of course, he’s also gotten a lot more snaps than the starters. It seems the Birds aren’t going to IR injured Victor Abiamiri, which means they have to do something with one of their other six d-ends. Can they sneak third-round rookie Bryan Smith, who is a bit of a project, through waivers to the practice squad? Would they really eat $4 million in dead cap money by releasing Chris Clemons, who hasn’t been able to compete for a spot because of a calf injury? Does Darren Howard's recent commitment to getting in shape, and his ability to play inside, make him uncuttable? Or, is McDougle’s work all going to go for naught, which would send a discouraging message to guys who really bust it in training camp and preseason games? Another strong game from McDougle would make that last option especially tough. Also tough: There's a really good chance that the guy the Eagles let go will end up playing against them this season for former Birds assistant Steve Spagnuolo and the Giants, given that Osi Umenyiora is down for the count.
3. There’s also a logjam at safety, where the Eagles have six guys who look pretty good; can they keep more than four? Marcus Paschal probably can’t do anything at this point to salvage a spot. He’ll play somewhere else, probably. Now that J.R. Reed doesn’t factor into the return game, is his comeback going to be short-circuited again? Hard to digest, given Reed’s strong, fierce play down the stretch last season and this preseason. The coaching staff seems to love oft-injured Sean Considine, much more than the fan base does. Maybe, with Brian Dawkins dinged and approaching age 35, you really need five safeties. But it would be better for Reed if he punished a few Jets tonight, just to make sure.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for something fun to do tonight, your Eagletarian will be performing his annual task of making the other, quicker runners feel good about themselves in the 16th Annual Run for Tony, a 5k race held in Haddon Township, N.J., every year to defray the medical costs of an inspiring young man named Tony Tassogloy, who was paralyzed in a fall at age 11 in 1992.
It's $20 if you haven't already registered before tonight, payable at the tents outside the Tap Room and Grill, 427 Crystal Lake Ave., Haddon Twp., registration starting at 5 p.m. The 1-mile fun run/walk starts at 6:15, the 5k at 7, and if you can't run 3.1 miles faster than your 52-year-old, coronary-stent-implanted Eagletarian, well, you probably need to reevaluate your conditioning.