Eagles Finish Up Preseason Against Jets Sorry, No Tebow

Eagles Finish Up Preseason Against Jets Sorry, No Tebow

Both the Eagles and Jets will rest their starters tonight in anticipation of the regular season slate beginning in little over a week, as is traditionally done in this fourth and final preseason encounter. And while Tim Tebow is not technically the starting quarterback for New York, the team has been ultra-secretive all summer about their intentions for the media darling, and the thinking is he will be featured heavily in the offense once the games are underway.

There are still a few reasons to tune in, chief among them being Nick Foles under center for his second start of the preseason. Foles seemingly has been elevated to number two behind Michael Vick on the depth chart by Andy Reid -- along with coach's infamous disclaimer "right now" -- but even though the rookie may have already solidified the job, he's been plenty fun to watch.

Speaking of Birds quarterbacks, Mike Kafka remains out of action, and there is growing sentiment he may wind up left off the roster. Trent Edwards had a strong preseason, though it should be noted those performances came at the expense of players who won't be making NFL rosters, but folks are enamored with his experience. If Foles really is the backup, does it make more sense to carry a QB who started 33 games at this level? It's a fair point, but I don't fully understand why everybody hates Kafka so much based on how little we've seen.

That's just one example of what's really at stake tonight: roster spots. Having said that, the Eagles actually don't appear to have too many that are really up for grabs.

The majority of the offense seems to be in place. Stanley Havili is among the players who won't see action tonight, suggesting he's locked down fullback. That makes it even less likely the club would carry four running backs, meaning Chris Polk is likely the odd man out there with Bryce Brown still ahead of him. Meanwhile, undrafted Damaris Johnson clearly outplayed sixth rounder Marvin McNutt, probably earning that fifth wide receiver spot. Hard to envision any of that changing tonight.

The same can hardly be said on defense, where plenty of depth spots should be up for grabs. That's not necessarily the case on the defensive line, where they have an embarrassment of riches, and will likely have to dump a Darryl Tapp, perhaps in some sort of trade. Linebacker is interesting though, where Jamar Chaney, Keenan Clayton, Casey Matthews, and Brian Rolle are battling for three spots. If the Eagles carry six corners, the decision comes down to either Brandon Hughes and Trevard Lindley, while Jaiquawn Jarrett is in a position he must prove his worth daily to stick at safety.

Kickoff is at 6:30, so if you're into this sort of thing, there is plenty to play for tonight. Final cuts are due by Friday night at 9 p.m., and then finally this season will truly be upon us.

Temple's Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

uspresswire-temple-josh-brown.jpg
USA Today Images

Temple's Brown returns to form, but defensive lapse costly in loss

BOX SCORE

Josh Brown began looking like his old self on Wednesday night.

Temple’s senior guard missed the Owls' first six games while recovering from surgery he had on his Achilles tendon in May. He returned to the court one week ago in the Owls’ win at St. Joe’s. 

Brown showed some signs of rust in his first two games. He had four points and an assist against the Hawks in 14 minutes of action. On Saturday against Penn, Brown played 11 minutes and scored five points.

In Wednesday’s 66-63 loss to George Washington at the Liacouras Center, Brown played a season-high 24 minutes. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and added one assist and made some key plays for the Owls down the stretch in the close loss (see Instant Replay).

“He played great,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He didn’t play great against Penn. Tonight, he was ready to go. He did some really good things for us. It’s nice to have. It’s a nice comfort.”

Brown helped Temple close a large deficit late in the game. He hit a three-point shot from the corner on the fast break with 5:28 left to bring the Owls within three. He hit another three-point shot at the top of the key with 2:44 left to bring Temple within six. 

Less than a minute later, he assisted on a Daniel Dingle three, which made the score 61-58. On Temple’s next defensive possession, Brown grabbed a rebound before Dingle hit another three on the other end of the court to tie the game at 61 with 1:31 left.

With the Owls trailing by three on the game’s final possession, Brown almost drew a foul behind the three-point line before finding Dingle for another open look that hit the back of the rim.

“When I was out there, I was just trying to be in the moment, be in the now,” Brown said. “That’s what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. When you do that, you’re focused, and when the shot comes, your preparation takes over.”

Despite his clutch play on the offensive end, Brown was critical of a mental lapse on defense during the game’s most crucial moment. After playing tight defense for almost all of the shot clock, Brown let George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh slip to the corner and put up a three-point shot with one second on the shot clock.

Cavanaugh’s three-point attempt with 8.2 seconds left in the game proved to be the game-winner on Wednesday night.

“I lost focus for a little bit,” Brown said. “I helped off for a slight second and that’s all he needed. I give props to that guy for hitting a tough shot, but I could’ve just stayed and not even helped.”

Wednesday’s loss ended a five-game winning streak for Temple, now 6-3 on the season. With defenses focusing on junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who scored 12 points against the Colonials, Brown will be looked at to steady the Owls' offense.

Brown was the only Temple player besides Enechionyia to score more than one basket in the first half as the Owls went into the break trailing 31-25.

“Him being out there, he adds intensity to the game,” Dingle said. “When he goes in the game, the energy goes up. Defensively and offensively he’s a general out there.”

Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

uspresswire-psu-lamar-stevens.jpg
USA Today Images

Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The cheers reverberating from George Mason's locker room came from players experiencing their hottest streak in years. The quiet from Penn State's mirrored the whimper of the Nittany Lions in the second half as their run was snapped.

Marquise Moore scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Otis Livingston added 18 points and the Patriots beat Penn State 85-66 for their sixth straight win and best stretch since 2011-12 on Wednesday.

"It was a great win for our team, really proud of our guys," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. "We really, really competed with toughness in the second half, especially I think our second-half defense was really good."

Jalen Jenkins added 15 points for the Patriots (7-3) who snapped Penn State's four-game winning streak.

Penn State led 38-37 after a wild first half that featured 12 lead changes. But the Raiders took control starting with Livingston's 3-pointer that made it 42-40 early in the second. They dominated from there, leading for the remaining 18:58 and outrebounded the Nittany Lions 44-29, outscored them 44-16 in the paint and held a speedy Penn State team to just two fastbreak points.

"We looked young tonight for whatever reason," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We have to figure that out. We have to play much harder."

Payton Banks led Penn State (6-4) with 21 points. Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens chipped in 13 apiece for the Nittany Lions.

The big picture
George Mason: The Patriots are on a roll and keeping pace in a competitive Atlantic 10 conference that had five teams with six wins entering the night. They seem to have flipped a switch following a 93-65 loss to Houston on Nov. 21 and haven't lost since.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had been winning despite deficiencies in a few areas while making up for them in others over the last four games. They weren't able to make up for their lack of production in the paint, however.

Guards on the glass
Paulsen was wary of the size advantage Penn State's forwards had heading in. The Patriots didn't start anyone over 6-foot-7 while Penn State boasted a trio of forwards at or taller than that. Paulsen was particularly concerned about 6-foot-9 Mike Watkins who was fresh off his best game where he blocked 12 shots against Wright State.

But the George Mason coach had faith in his guards' ability to attack the net and win those rebounds. Moore entered the game as the country's top rebounding guard with 10 per game and posted his sixth double-double of the season.

"We have some pretty good rebounding guards," Paulsen said. "So you can't do it unless you have really active, rebounding guards."

Veteran responsibility
Penn State's gotten big time contributions from a handful of freshmen and started three as usual. But it was one of the veterans who shouldered blame afterward.

Banks was dejected after the game and pointed the finger at himself. Despite leading the team in points, he wasn't able to help on the glass.

"A lot of it just starts with me right here," Banks said. "I had zero rebounds. We can't rely on Lamar (Miller) and Mike for the scoring load and Julian (Moore). Our guards have to rebound and that's what we lacked this game and it definitely showed on the scoreboard."

Up next
George Mason plays at Penn on Saturday and has three of their final five games in 2016 at home.

Penn State plays Pittsburgh in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday and has another on the road before closing out 2016 with a pair of games at home, including the Big Ten opener on Dec. 27.