Young pulls hammy, Birds cap preseason with win

Young pulls hammy, Birds cap preseason with win
September 2, 2011, 1:22 am
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was a nearly perfect evening for Vince Young. Until his final snap.

Young, who struggled in his first three preseason appearances this summer, threw for 193 yards and engineered two long touchdown drives in the first half of the Eagles 24-14 win over the the Jets Thursday night in the preseason finale at MetLife Stadium.

On what should have been his final snap of the game -- with 53 seconds left before halftime -- Young rolled to his right on a 4th-and-1 from the Jets 9-yard-line and had a clear path to the end zone, but he pulled up as he was rolling out, threw the ball away and fell to the ground with a hamstring injury.

There was a lot of green in front of me, said Young, who would have scored easily. But I felt something and didnt want to do too much.

Head coach Andy Reid said he expects Young to be healthy in time for the Eagles regular-season opener against the Rams on Sept. 11.

I think hes going to be OK, Reid said.

Young finished 15 for 23 (65 percent) for 193 yards, a TD and no turnovers, good for a 105.9 passer rating. Four of the five drives he was on the field for went inside the Jets 25-yard-line.

Reid said Young will have a MRI back in Philadelphia on Friday.

I just felt my hamstring pull a little bit, Young said. I dont feel its major. I feel pretty good. Hopefully, its not serious. I really feel OK.

Soon after Young went down, third-stringer Mike Kafka got hurt, leaving Reid forced to have emergency quarterback Jason Avant scramble for his helmet

Midway through the third quarter, Kafka was knocked woozy when he was drilled by Jets linebacker Matthias Berning. With Michael Vick safely on the bench and no other quarterbacks available, Avant was about to head out to to play QB, but after clearing his head during a timeout, Kafka stayed in the game.

I didnt see Jason grab his helmet, Kafka said. I just got up and took the timeout so I was able to get my bearings straight and move forward. I know those guys are battling out there and Im just trying to do my part. If Im healthy, Im going to play.

Young, who may have needed a strong performance to secure the back-up spot behind Vick, looked as sharp as he has this preseason.

He engineered first-half touchdown drives of 91 and 79 yards. He was 4 for 5 for 61 yards on the first, with a 16-yard TD pass to Chad Hall, and 4 for 5 for 79 yards on the second, which was capped by Dion Lewiss short TD run.

I was OK, Young said. As the preseason has gone on and the games have gone on, I really feel like Im getting better and better.

If there were any doubt whether Brian Rolle and Lewis would survive Saturdays final roster cuts, there isnt any more. Both late-round undersized rookies played exceptionally well in the first half.

Lewis, the 5-foot-8 tailback, netted 100 yards of offense before halftime, rushing 15 times for 62 yards and catching three passes for 38 yards to go with a 40-yard kickoff return. Lewis continues to show great quickness, cutback ability and vision.

People see me out there and say, Oh, hes a little guy, he cant do that, Lewis said. But I just play my game. Im the same guy Ive been all my life. If they think Im too short, they think Im too short. Im just going to continue doing what I can do.

Rolle, the 5-9, 225-pound linebacker, recorded 1 12 sacks, repeatedly finding his way quickly into the Jets backfield.

I know in the NFL they expect those guys to be huge and bulky, Rolle said. But I look at myself as 6-1, 240, even though most people dont see it. But I play like it.

Hall, competing with Sinorice Moss for a likely sixth receiver spot, didnt help himself with a second-quarter fumble deep in Jets territory on a punt return that led directly to the Jets first touchdown. Moss, meanwhile, was 3 for 49 receiving before halftime and had a 30-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.

I know I put a lot of time and work in and made the best out of every opportunity, said Moss, who spent the last four years with th Giants. Im a new guy here, and Im new to this team. In that sense, I felt like a rookie. But I worked hard every day, and when I had the opportunity, I went out and made plays.

Veteran tight end Donald Lee certainly helped his chances with three catches for 52 yards before halftime, including a big 15-yarder on a 3rd-and-14 on a TD drive. Lee is the best blocker among Eagles tight ends, and if they keep only two, Lee would be in a roster battle with second-year pro Clay Harbor, who had a nine-yard reception.

The Eagles defensive tackle logjam didnt seem to get any clearer. Derek Landri and Trevor Laws started and both were active and productive. Anthony Hargrove -- who can play defensive tackle or end -- started at left end and played at a high level. He has the team made, and his versatility could allow the Eagles to go light at defensive end.

Second-year DE Daniel Teo-Nesheim, last years third-round pick, didnt seem to help himself. Even working against the Jets backups, Teo-Nesheim did not generate any pressure. It would be a surprise if he survives Saturdays roster cuts.

Phillip Hunt, the former CFL speed rusher, contributed a fourth-quarter sack, his third of the preseason and one of five for the Eagles subs. But its certainly possible neither Teo-Nesheim or Hunt will make the team. Hunt is eligible for the practice squad but would have to clear waivers.

With the third-teamers in the game in the third quarter, the Eagles took a 21-7 lead on Graig Coopers one-yard TD run.

Kafkas fourth-quarter pass intended for Johnnie Lee Higgins was picked off by cornerback Ellis Lankster, who returned it 67 yards for a touchdown. He finished 7 for 11 for 76 yards.

Fan favorite Cornelius Ingram, now in his third Eagles preseason, picked up his first two career preseason receptions for 27 yards.

Whatever its worth, the Eagles held the Jets various backs to 24 rushing yards on 16 carries -- a 1.5 average. The Eagles outgained the Jets by 261 yards (378-117) overall, limiting the Jets to 27 yards on six possessions in the second half.

Also for what its worth, the Eagles 3-1 preseason finish gave them their most preseason wins since the 1995 team went 4-0. This is the first time they went 3-1 since 1985.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

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