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.