The hard-hitting reality about Thursday's preseason finale is that it will be the last time more than a third of team's current roster will sport the Eagles' uniform. By Saturday afternoon, the roster will be trimmed down to 53 players.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich imparted some helpful advice to the roster hopefuls prior to Tuesday's final preseason practice.
"You train hard, you work hard the whole offseason, the whole Training Camp, so you just go out there and cut it loose. You know a lot of teams are looking," Reich said. "It's a bittersweet time for players and coaches, you know. We all get very close. We spend six months grinding it out together and the reality is after this game you know some of it gets broken up. So you're excited for the season. (It's) bittersweet, but we want everyone to have a good positive showing on Thursday."
Here's what else Reich said prior to Tuesday's practice:
1. Nick Foles has yet to make his preseason debut and his availability for Thursday remains uncertain. He was sidelined Tuesday due to an illness. Still, the coaching staff maintains the utmost confidence in him.
"The good thing in Nick's situation is you certainly want to play every play you can, but he's proven so much in his career. He's been a winner at this level. (He's) proven that he can win big games do what it takes to win big games so we're confident."
2. The wide receiver corps is much improved from last season.
"This is without a doubt the best group I've been around for a while from top to bottom," Reich said. "Just very competitive. They've all flashed. They all deserve to be here. I believe for a couple guys who might not be here I think they're going to end up somewhere else that's how confident we feel in this group."
3. The battle at running back between Donnel Pumphrey, Corey Clement, and Byron Marshall will be a close one to watch on Thursday.
"We want to keep building. Last week was a positive day in the run game but we want to keep building off that aggressive downhill flash, break tackles make plays be productive, consistent," he said. "I think all those guys have been doing that and those young guys will have one more or opportunity to do that."
4. Could the Eagles keep more than three tight ends?
"I think Billy (Brown), Adam (Zaruba), and Anthony (Denham) have all looked good," Reich said. "They all have a unique thing in attributes and I think it's a good opportunity. The way coach sets practice up, play time up, these guys have had a lot of play time. Anthony's been hurt a little bit and Billy got dinged a little bit but a lot of opportunities for not only that group, but for all of our groups where you're trying to build depth and see what they can do."
5. The offense is ahead of where it was during this time last year thanks to the joint practices with the Miami Dolphins.
"I can't say enough how important that work was for us," he said. "I'm really glad coach set that up. I thought it was very valuable. It was hot humid weather those two days that we worked. I think that the first-team guys got 50 plays one day, 40 plays the next day. Although it's not live, obviously, it was aggressive and good. So I think that puts us even ahead of where we were. Getting to practice against that team I feel more confident."