Kurt Coleman was credited with nine tackles, including seven solos, and a knockdown against the Jets. (USA Today Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD – Kurt Coleman will do anything to try and prove his value to Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
Even playing cornerback.
Coleman, the Eagles’ fourth-year safety, is a former starter battling for a roster spot, and with the Eagles short on corners Thursday night in their preseason finale, Coleman wound up playing cornerback most of the second half.
The Eagles went into the game with only starters Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, plus nickel Brandon Boykin, rookie Jordan Poyer and deep backup Trevard Lindley healthy.
With Fletcher, Williams not even dressing, Boykin out of the game, and Lindley hobbling off the field in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, Coleman played his first game at cornerback since his freshman year at Ohio State. The last time he was a full-time corner was in high school.
“For me, this is the situation, it is what it is, and you’ve got to be able to perform and hopefully put out some good tape,” Coleman said after the Eagles finished the preseason with a 27-20 loss at MetLife Stadium (see Instant Replay).
“We were low on DBs going into it and then when we lost Trevard we were really low on DBs, so it was me or another one of my guys. I felt somewhat comfortable. A little tired, but I thought I hung in there pretty well.”
Coleman was credited with nine tackles, including seven solos, and a knockdown.
He had only two passes thrown his way while he was in the game at corner and almost had an interception on one of them.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was a new experience. Almost had a pick. But it was a fun time out there. Talking with Rex [Ryan] out there on the sideline.”
Coleman, a seventh-round pick, has started 27 games over the past two years and his six interceptions since 2011, sixth-most among NFC safeties during that span.
But Coleman is best suited to being a special teamer and backup safety, and that’s the role he’s battling for right now.
Final roster cuts are due by 6 p.m. Saturday, although the Eagles are likely to make most of them by Friday afternoon.
“I did well,” Coleman said of what might have been his final game in an Eagles uniform. “Didn’t give up any deep plays. I showed a little bit of versatility, made the plays, made the hits that came my way.
“But ultimately it’s up to those in the front office and the coaches, and you know whatever their decision is, it is what it is, but I feel good about where I stand with things, and I’m willing to make this team or any team better.”