Good morning, Eagles fans! The Birds secured their first preseason win last night in a 10-9 thriller over the New York Jets. The Eagles took the lead with 18 seconds left after a clutch drive led by quarterback Joe Callahan ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Matt Jones. The Eagles finished the preseason with a 1-3 record and will now get set to kick off the NFL's regular season on Thursday night (8:20 p.m., NBC10). The players have the day off today as the coaches get set to cut the 90-man roster down to 53 players by tomorrow night. Here's what you need to know in today's morning roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. Doug Pederson Previews Roster Moves; Reflects On Victory
Doug Pederson spoke to reporters last night after the Eagles' victory and covered a variety of important topics. Pederson broke the news that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery would be activated off of the Physically Unable to Perform list. This is significant for the wide receiver who missed all of Training Camp recovering from surgery on his rotator cuff. Pederson said Jeffery will be day to day with his injury and would not say if he will be able to play Thursday.
With the announcement of the 53-man roster coming Saturday, Pederson also spoke about what cut day has been like for him as a coach and player as well as the challenge he gave to players on the bubble before last night:
"Obviously when I was a player, I've been in this situation all too frequently and I know the feeling that goes on now in the next 24 to 48 hours or so," Pederson said. "It's a little uneasy for a player sometimes. Even as coaches, I challenge the players going into this last week, especially the ones that played in this game, to make it hard on us as coaches and personnel staff. Give everything they have for one more opportunity."
2. Preseason Takeaways
As the team now gets set for the regular season, Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro reflected on the Eagles' performance in the preseason and broke down the important points fans should keep in mind. Even though the four games were not remarkable for the Eagles, it is important to keep in mind that several key players sat out and Pederson did not have his full offensive arsenal on display:
Everything you saw from an offensive standpoint was about as "vanilla" as can be, so you can expect the offensive coaching staff to come up with some fun stuff against Atlanta. The teams are familiar with one another after last year's NFC playoffs, so it's on. The race to Thursday is here. What happened in the preseason isn't going to matter a whole lot, but there's going to be some carryover.
3. Thank You, Brent
Former Eagles tight end Brent Celek officially announced his retirement from football today. Celek spent his entire 11-year career (2007-17) in Philadelphia, totaling 398 receptions for 4,998 yards (12.6 yards per catch), and 31 touchdowns in 175 regular-season games (132 starts). Celek, who missed only one contest during his 11-year career, ranks fourth on the Eagles' all-time list in regular-season games played (175, first among tight ends) and fourth on Philadelphia's all-time receptions list (398). He was a member of five playoff teams, catching 27 passes for 257 yards (9.5 avg.) and three touchdowns in nine postseason appearances (seven starts), including the Eagles' 41-33 victory over New England in Super Bowl LII – the final game of his illustrious career.
Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie released a statement this morning:
"Brent Celek embodies everything it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle. He will obviously be remembered as one of the most accomplished tight ends in Eagles history, but his impact on our franchise goes far beyond the statistics he compiled over the course of his career."
Dave Spadaro caught up with Celek on his decision to step away from the game:
"I'm a Philadelphian for the rest of my life," Celek said. "This is just the beginning for me. I'm still going to be around and part of the team in an extended way. I feel great about this decision and what I'm doing."
4. Brent Thanks You
Celek addressed his teammates, family, and of course, Eagles fans in a letter reflecting on his career. Celek wrote about his favorite memories and what is next for one of the best tight ends in Eagles history:
Thank you to all the fans who have supported me along the way. I was just a kid from Cincinnati with a dream to play in the NFL, a kid who wasn't invited to the combine and wasn't a top pick. I was guaranteed nothing, but I believed in myself – and now I bleed green, for life.
5. Life On The Bubble
Pederson said that for players on the fringe of making the 53-man roster, "it's a little uneasy" heading into the weekend where cuts are expected. But just how uneasy is it for players who put everything on the line in practice and four preseason games but are still at risk of being cut? Alex Smith caught up with Eagles players whose immediate futures are unknown to give fans a look at their mindsets following the preseason finale:
"It's pretty nerve-wracking strictly because I've been through it before and it hasn't really turned out the way I wanted," wide receiver DeAndre Carter explained. "But I try to do what I can to relax, take my mind off of it. Maybe catch a movie or something. Just relax and let the chips fall where they may. I've done everything I could, and if it's in God's will for it to happen, it will happen."
The Philadelphia Eagles finished out the 2018 preseason with a victory over the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field. Check out all the photos from the game.
6. Players Of The Game
With the starters sitting out, Thursday night presented an opportunity for players on the lower end of the depth chart to make a lasting impression. See which six players especially took advantage of the chance in Vaughn Johnson's Players of the Game:
Quarterback Joe Callahan rebounded from an interception earlier in the game to orchestrate an 11-play, 68-yard drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Matt Jones with 18 seconds left in the game. In total, Callahan completed 18 of 26 passes for 164 yards.
7. Leaving Last Year Behind
The Eagles decided to remove the Super Bowl LII Champions sign from the Eagles' locker room following Malcolm Jenkins' comments that it is hard to turn the page and focus on the new season when 2017 is still being celebrated. Chris McPherson has more on the decision and the team's reaction:
"I think that's good," said tackle Lane Johnson after the win over the Jets. "I got kind of annoyed looking at it every day. Hey, we won one. It's great. It's terrific for the city, but as far as a new year I think it's good to be fresh with our approach."