The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play a final meaningless preseason game against the New York Jets on Thursday night. But while the final score doesn't count, it will still be interesting to see how the team's players perform as they prepare for the 2015 NFL regular season. This is the preseason game where mostly backup players are fighting for their roster spots, so it'll be interesting to see who stands out before NFL final cuts take place by the 4:00 PM EST deadline on Saturday, Sept. 5.
Here are the 10 Eagles players to watch in tonight's game.
1) Kiko Alonso
Alonso said he expects to make his Eagles debut on Thursday night. He also said he expected to play last Saturday, so who really knows for sure if he'll be suiting up. If he does play, he'll obviously be the top player to watch. Alonso hasn't played in a football game since 2013. He needs to get out there and shake off the rust. Plus, it could be fun to watch him beat up on some of the Jets' backup players.
2) Josh Huff
Huff understandably decided to sit out of last week's game due to the recent death of a close friend. In order to make up for some missed time against the Packers, Huff expects to play this week. The second-year receiver looked good in training camp but he's been kind of quiet this preseason: he's only been targeted twice. He has one catch for 12 yards. It's inadvisable to read into Huff's lack of preseason production too much because he's only played 31 snaps. It also seems like he's been the victim of the Eagles having plenty of quality options to spread the ball around to: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, etc. Let's see what Huff can do against some backup players.
3) TIM TEBOW
Oh yes. It's possible that this is Tebow's last game with the Eagles, but if recent reports are to be believed it seems like he's already going to make Philadelphia's final roster as the third string quarterback. Tebow has struggled this preseason, which is to be expected since he's been out of the league for two years. He can certainly help himself by showing something good against his former team on Thursday night.
4) Matt Barkley
With Tebow seemingly favored to win the third quarterback job, there's a good chance this is Barkley's last game with Philadelphia. The Eagles would probably love for Barkley to light it up against the Jets in order to try to trade him, but that is extremely unlikely to happen. Teams don't trade for third string quarterbacks. Maybe Barkley can convince the Eagles to keep him instead of Tebow with a killer showing, but I doubt it.
5) Ed Reynolds
After spending the entire 2014 season on the practice squad, Reynolds finds himself on the roster bubble as final cuts loom. He got off to a great start this summer with two interceptions against the Colts but he's far from guaranteed a roster spot. Perhaps a big showing here could convince the Eagles to keep him as the fourth or fifth safety.
6) Jerome Couplin
Couplin is in a similar boat to Reynolds in the sense he's battling for a backup safety job that may or may not exist. Couplin has flashed at times in the summer but he's been hurt by the fact he missed some time due to an appendectomy. He needs to make a strong impression against the Jets.
7) John Moffitt
After being out of the league for two years, Moffitt really struggled in his first two preseason game. He seemed to settle in a little bit more against the Packers, which could be a sign of progress. If the veteran can put up another good showing against the Jets, the Eagles might be willing to keep him on the final roster with the thought he will continue to shake off the rust over time.
8) E.J. Biggers
Biggers looked really bad against the Packers. He had a good summer up to that point, so it's a shame for him. Biggers is arguably safe to make the roster but that might change with another awful performance. The veteran needs to turn it around, especially considering he'll be playing against New York's backups.
9) Rasheed Bailey
The Division III home-town kid has really impressed this summer, especially relative to expectations. The problem is that there's probably not a spot for him on the 53-man roster. Bailey has shown enough to earn a spot on the practice squad. He can continue to cement that status tonight.
10) Raheem Mostert
Like Bailey, there might not be much of a chance for Mostert to make the roster. The speedy undrafted rookie free agent rusher is caught up in a numbers game. Mostert will get plenty of touches against the Jets because he'll be the only running back playing along with Kenjon Barner.
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