The Eagles close out the preseason against the New York Jets Thursday night, but a slew of players will not be suiting up, head coach Andy Reid said Tuesday. For starters, the starters will be held out, as has been Reid's wont in preseason finales over the past decade-plus. Reid also singled out safety Nate Allen (hamstring spasm), wide receiver Riley Cooper (collarbone), defensive end Jason Babin (calf) and linebacker Casey Matthews (high ankle sprain) as players who will not play because of injury.
Also unlikely to play because of injury, Reid said, is quarterback Mike Kafka, who returned to practice Monday after missing time with a fractured left (non-throwing) hand. As a result, rookie Nick Foles will lead the Eagles offense for the first quarter before Trent Edwards takes over for the final three quarters. Reid called Foles the number two quarterback "right now," though that was discounting the injured Kafka.
With Foles and Michael Vick ticketed for the active roster, the choice of third quarterback comes down to Kafka and Edwards, but Kafka will not be penalized for his injury, Reid said.
"I've got enough time with him to be able to make that evaluation," Reid said of Kafka. "The main thing for him right now, it's tender right now. He took some snaps yesterday and he could feel them. It's just best that we hold him out."
During his post-practice press conference, Reid disclosed whether several players will or will not play Thursday night. Jason Avant, Stanley Havili, Darryl Tapp, Derek Landri, Fletcher Cox and Joselio Hanson are all starters or starting-level and will not play. Akeem Jordan, recently promoted to starting weakside linebacker after spending much of preseason on the strong side, will play one or two series just to get his feet wet back at WILL. Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton, offensive tackle Demetress Bell and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe will play for the Eagles.
But the majority of Eagles hitting the field Thursday night will be fighting for some of the few roster spots still up grabs before Friday night's 9 PM deadline to cut the roster to a mere 53 players.
"It's a great opportunity for these guys to show," Reid said. "They were told when they came here they were going to have an opportunity to play and put film out there. If they make our team, more power to them. If they don't, it gives them an opportunity to catch on with somebody else. That's what this is all about.
"I think there are going to be some tough decisions. I think we've got some competition at spots. It won't be easy. That's a good thing though, that's a good thing. We tell the players when they come here, 'You make it as hard as you possibly can on (general manager Howie Roseman) and I to make that final cut. You come out and give it every snap, every opportunity you have, you take advantage and make it your best snap.'"
Finally, Reid was asked about the potential that All-Pro tackle Jason Peters, who was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list Monday, could play this season.
"There's a chance," Reid said. "I would tell you it's probably slim, but there's a chance."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.