The preseason means something to evey player who takes the field on Thursday night. Some of these kids will play in the last game of their careers. Some will earn jobs in the NFL, either with the Eagles or with another team. Some will use the preseason finale as a chance to get extra reps heading into the regular season here.
That said, here ae some quick hits with one game remaining in the preseason ...
- My view of fullback is this: Should Tony Hunt show a lot of improvement over last week's performance, he wins the job, and Jed Collins takes a spot on the practice squad. I could be wrong, but Jason Davis, I believe, is also eligible for the practice squad. He has spent one year on the practice squad and one year on injured reserve. All three fullbacks will play quite a bit and are going to be given specific tests -- lead blocking, special teams, a carry or two on short-yardage plays.
- In retrospect, using a fourth-round draft pick on cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu may really pay off. As you look at the roster now, could the Eagles even keep five cornerbacks? If Ikegwuonu, who has developed his body and is in tremendous shape, has a chance to go out and practice and knock off the rust a little bit for thre weeks later this season and then applies himself in the off-season, he could be a terrific find for the Eagles in 2009.
- My roster breakdown: Quarterback (3), Halfback (3), Fullback (1), Offensive line (9), Tight end (3), Wide receiver (6). That's 25 players for the offense. For the defense: Defensive line (10), Linebacker (6), Cornerback (4), Safety (5), for a total of 25. The final three are David Akers, Sav Rocca and Jon Dorenbos.
- It's going to be fun to watch the receivers on Thursday night. I'm sure all of them are going to play a little bit, at least, and two longshots are going to be playing for their jobs. Michael Gasperson has played well this preseason and deserves a lot of credit for his move from wide receiver to tight end and then back to wide receiver. Shaheer McBride is a good candidate for the practice squad should he show something in what could be an extended look against the Jets.
- Andy Studebaker is expected to play some at outside linebacker and some at defensive end in this game. I'm not sure what position Studebaker will eventually play in the league, but I know the kid hustles his butt off and is a great, great athlete. That sixth linebacker spot is still not cemented, so Studebaker needs a big game to earn a 53-man roster invite.
- We knew when the Eagles drafted 10 players that there was no way they could keep them all on the active roster. I remember thinking the Eagles would wheel and deal and draft about seven or eight players, max. So as I see it, the only spots sewed up by the draft class so far are the following: Trevor Laws, DeSean Jackson, Bryan Smith, Quintin Demps and probably Joe Mays. That's five players, and four of them -- Smith is the exception at this point -- look to me like they are going to play quite a bit this year. Smith, by the way, is going to be a very good end. He just needs some time.
- I want to see Lorenzo Booker get into the offense in this game to have more of a comfort level of what he can do on Sundays. I think he will see a lengthy amount of time against the Jets.
- Ryan Moats was injured on the final punt of the game last week in New England when Patriots coach Bill Belichick called three timeouts to give his return man a shot another shot. Sav Rocca's punt was great and on the sideline, but somehow Moats got hurt and won't have an opportunity to carry the football 15 times in a game he needs to get on film and show the rest of the league what he can still do.
- Whether Donovan McNabb plays or not, Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley are going to get a lot of time and both of them love the opportunity. Kolb has looked better and better and better in the preseason. Feeley needs to knock off some rust before what is expected to be a very slow season for him as the third quarterback.
- Here is hoping that both defensive end Chris Clemons and wide receiver Reggie Brown are ready to practice next week in preparation for the Rams. Brown figures to be a starter at the 'Z' position, which makes me wonder how, exactly, the Eagles are going to use DeSean Jackson. Then again, I kind of like not knowing how he is going to be used. I think the Eagles need to keep moving him around so defenses can't lock in and take him out of the offense. Clemons, on the other hand, is going to have to earn his way back into the four-man end rotation. He has missed a lot of time with that calf strain.
- Really quiet summer from Marcus Paschal. He will play a lot on Thursday and needs to make some plays. The Eagles seem locked in on their five safeties -- Brian Dawkins, Quintin Mikell, Sean Considine, J.R. Reed and Demps.
- I think Winston Justice makes the roster. He has played pretty darn well at right tackle, and he can play right guard in a pinch. He will see a lot of time against a good Jets defense.
- Want another practice-squad maybe? Cornerback Kyle Arrington, but he has to show up against the Jets. New York is going to throw the football. It's a good chance to evaluate the reserves in the secondary.