The Eagles have already narrowed their roster from 90 to 76 and must get to 53 for the regular season by Aug. 30. The Inquirer’s beat reporters predict who stays and who goes. Here’s the lineup:
Zach Berman: QBs: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley; Specialists: Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
Jeff McLane: QBs: Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley; Specialists: Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos
I’ll go out on a whim and say Nick Foles will make the team. Foles is the unquestioned starting quarterback. The 27 touchdown-two interception pace from 2013 will be difficult to maintain, but Foles can be even better this season even if the statistics are not as impressive. He has a much better command of the offense, and he understands how to use the weapons. Foles wants to reduce the amount of sacks he takes – he would have had the fourth most sacks in the NFL, if extrapolated over 16 weeks. He also needs to stay healthy – he’s missed time in three of the past four years, dating back to college. But there should not be significant concern about Foles.
Behind Foles is Mark Sanchez. The Eagles value Sanchez, who is on a one-year deal and plays like he’s spent years in this offense. Sanchez completed 80.1 percent of his passes this preseason. The speculation about a trade to the Rams only validated how valuable he is to the Eagles. The fact that he’s sitting Thursday’s game shows the Eagles don’t need to see anything more from him.
The Eagles still need to see more from Barkley. That’s why Barkley is starting and will get significant playing time on Thursday. He has looked better this preseason than last summer, but he still has not done enough to convince the Eagles that he can be more in the NFL.
Punter and long snapper don’t need much explanation. Dorenbos is entering his eighth season as the Eagles’ long snapper. Jones is coming off a season in which his 40.4-yard net punt average was the best in Eagles history. He also downed a career-high 33 punts inside the 20-yard line.
As for Henery, it’s too early to say. I need to see what happens in Thursday’s game. I need to see who gets cut elsewhere. But if I had to guess, it would be the Eagles entering the season with Henery on a short leash. There’s too much unknown with Cody Parkey, and I don’t see them guaranteeing a veteran’s contract. Look for Henery to make the initial cut, and than the Eagles explore.
WHO GETS CUT
G.J. Kinne is the quarterback getting cut. Kinne has some good qualities, and if the Eagles could trade Barkley, I don’t think the Eagles would object to keeping Kinne as the third quarterback. But he’s in a numbers crunch here. Kinne could end up on practice squad.
Parkey will get a chance to kick on Thursday night. If Henery struggles and Parkey makes a kick or looks good on kickoffs, then maybe he gets the nod. I don’t think the Eagles keep two kickers. That’s a precious spot on both the 53 and 46-man roster.