This is the next part in our series of previews of the Eagles 2009 opponents. Joining us for this feature is Dave Schwab, who writes about the Eagles at his site Eagles Lincs.
This Thursday the 2009 NFL preseason mercifully comes to an end. The Eagles and Jets once again get together for their standing appointment for the final preseason game of every year and give their backups one last shot to win a job.
Dave's full analysis after the jump.
The Eagles close out the 2009 NFL preseason this Thursday night when they travel to the Meadowlands to play a traditional preseason rival, the New York Jets in a 7:00 P.M. contest. The starters for both teams will see little action as this final game will primarily be used to evaluate all the players who are on the cut line still trying to make the team. Both teams come into this game with a 1-2 record as they each got their first win of the preseason last week. The Jets looked fairly impressive in beating the other tenant at the Meadowlands, the N.Y. Giants 27-25, while the Eagles came from behind to beat Jacksonville 33-32. The biggest expectation for this game will be how much action Michael Vick gets to see as it is expected that Donovan McNabb will not play.
Ever since new head coach Rex Ryan has come to town he has been trying to instill some brashness and swagger into this Jets team. The son of former Eagles’ head coach Buddy Ryan, Rex is like his father in many ways. He will tell it like it is and is not afraid to shake things up with the other teams in the league, especially the ones in the AFC East. One of his first moves was to go out and find a franchise quarterback after veteran Brett Favre was released after a one year stint. On draft day they traded up to the 5th spot to grab USC QB Mark Sanchez. This move generated immediate excitement amongst the Jet faithful as Sanchez appears to have all the tools to be a big time QB in the NFL. Last week just days before their game with the Giants, Ryan officially named Sanchez his starting QB for the season ahead of Kellen Clemmons who is entering his 5th season in the NFL. While Sanchez looked a bit shaky against Baltimore in the Jets’ second game, against the Giants he played much better. Against New York he was 13 for 20 passing for 149 yards and 1 TD. His best play of the night was a 31 yard completion to WR Chansi Stuckey for a touchdown, while scrambling away from the Giants rush. The Jets also have RB Thomas Jones who ran for over 1300 yards last season to help take the pressure off the rookie QB. Also in the backfield is RB Leon Washington who has been the Jets leading rusher this preseason.
Defensively, Ryan will be looking to develop the same aggressive style that he instilled as the Ravens defensive coordinator. Unfortunately he does not have the talent that he had in Baltimore and will have to make the most out of what he has. To help sure up his secondary he traded for Eagles CB Lito Sheppard who had fallen out of favor in Philadelphia. After Saturday’s game it looks like the Eagles knew what they were doing in sending Sheppard packing. He was called for two pass interference penalties and was beaten badly on several plays. The rest of the defense played fairly well, but they will have to tighten things up before the start of the regular season or this unit will definitely be a liability for this team.
Overall this game should provide a good opportunity for the Eagles to get a good look at Michael Vick’s progress as well as make some tough decisions on the upcoming final cuts. The defense will probably get a chance to welcome Sanchez to the NFL as he should play a couple of series, but for the most part this game will more about watching the players who will probably not be with the team when the regular season starts as opposed to watching the ones that will.
Check out more of Dave's insights at Eagles Lincs.