Making Final Cut Doesn’t Mean You’ve Made the Team
The Philadelphia Eagles continued preparations for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets, holding an indoor practice at the NovaCare Complex due to the weather on Tuesday.
Its also the final time for some players on the roster bubble to make an impression on head coach Doug Pederson and the rest of the coaching staff. But the front office will be extra busy this season, the NFL implemented a new rule where the roster cuts go from 90 to 53, meaning almost a thousand players are going to become free agents after Thursday nights games.
"Yeah, it's going to be extremely difficult because so many guys are going to hit the wire on a short notice," Pederson admitted. "It's hard to evaluate them all. You just don't have enough man-hours to get the job done."
"A lot of it, with our department, is the prep work they do beforehand to anticipate moves. And then it just kind of becomes a feeding frenzy a little bit to claim players and to see if somebody can fit into your scheme."
"I'm sure we'll be active. We usually are. Try to fill out, not only the roster, but practice squad guys."
A bunch of players are still battling for spots before Saturday’s roster cutdown, while others are simply trying to get back to 100 percent before the season opener against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 10.
Nick Foles is one of those guys – the Eagles backup quarterback, who has been dealing with a elbow injury, as yet to appear in a preseason game in 2017.
“Doing well. Day-to-day still. Getting better. We're just pushing towards the regular season,” was the answer Pederson gave, when asked about his balky elbow. He went on to explain Foles was ill today and excused him from the building.
Pederson also suggested that he didn't need to see Foles play in the preseason to have him ready for the opener.
"I'm comfortable with him not playing, obviously, if that's the way I go Thursday night," explained Pederson. "I've been around Nick a long time. Had him here years ago and watched his career. He's a veteran guy that knows how to get himself prepared and ready for games. I'm not concerned in any way."
Running Back rundown
The push for roster spots at running back has been one of the more compelling battles at training camp this summer. Many assume Philadelphia will hold on to three players at the position, with an outside possibility that they might keep four.
Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount seem likely to make the cut, with Corey Clement, Donnell Pumphrey and Byron Marshall, likely vying for a final spot.
Clement’s been the best of the bunch, the undrafted free agent from Glassboro, has rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns in three games. Pumphrey has plenty of upside, his 12 catches leads the team in the preseason, making him an intriguing option. Finally there is Marshall, who played wide receiver while at Oregon, and has the most experience of the group.
"Yeah, Corey, I'll tell you, has come in here with a great attitude," Pederson said. "From day one when we got him after the draft, from that all the way through training camp, he's done everything we've asked him to do and probably even more. He's definitely caught our attention."
"[RB Donnel] Pumphrey is in it. As I mentioned the other day, [he is] right where he needs to be from the standpoint of what we're asking him to do."
"Then [RB] Byron Marshall is another one that's familiar with our offense. [He] had a chance to play late in the season last year and did some nice things in the last couple of games. [He] is another one that's competing as well for a roster spot."
"It will be interesting to watch those guys Thursday night and to see how well they do."