Philly’s preseason ends in 21-17 loss to Jets

By MATTHEW WATERS
Staff Writer — mwaters@highhopesblog.com
________

Well, that was painful.

The Eagles lost their final preseason game to the New York Jets 21-17, and had it not been for an impressive defensive performance by a rookie fighting for a roster spot, it would have been even uglier.

Philly scored no offensive points tonight. None. It doesn’t mean a whole lot since it was, after all, just backups playing. But the Jets only had their backups on the sidelines as well, so as I stated before in my posts, it’s clear there can be no injuries to Philadelphia’s starting lineup if they have any chance of even going .500 on the season.

David Akers hit a 29-yard field goal to start off the first quarter, and then Philadelphia’s offense pretty much stopped. Rookie quarterback Mike Kafka had his worst night yet, going just 9-27 for 76 yards and an interception. That translates to a horrifyingly bad 26.9 passer rating. Michael Vick went 3-5 for 56 yards, and also had two scrambles for 11 yards. I was surprised Vick left after just a couple series, but it appears Andy saw all he needed from him.

“I think he’s had enough work,” Reid said. “The guy is 30-years-old, and he’s been in this league a long time. I think he’s ready to go.”

But the real story tonight was the fight for the last few roster spots on the team. Rookie safety Kurt Coleman certainly made a good case for himself tonight, as he recovered two fumbles on the night and returned both for touchdowns. Coleman was a long shot to make the team when he was drafted in the seventh round with the 244th overall pick, but considering some of the secondary problems we’ve seen so far the Eagles might take a shot on the kid. He also added five tackles (four solo) to his line. He sniffed out those footballs both times and showed great awareness on the field. I have a feeling this Buckeye will make the team.

“That [two fumbles returned for touchdowns] has never happened,” he said. “Those were just two beautiful balls to pick up and run for the touchdown.”

It was the first time that’s happened for the Eagles. According to Derrick Gunn of Comcast SportsNet, it’s happened just once before in NFL history.

It was probably a safe bet that Moise Fokou wasn’t going anywhere, but he made sure of that tonight by leading the team with 10 tackles, eight of which were solo and also got a knock on the quarterback. Another seventh-round that showed up tonight was linebacker Jamar Chaney who has six tackles. Local favorite Penn State product Jorrick Norwood caught just one pass Thursday night but was targeted six times, all but sealing his fate of turning in his playbook.

Reid spoke briefly on players on the fence, and shed some light on the fact that running back Eldra Buckley could be on the chopping block.

“I don’t know about the roster spot part of it, I’ll go back and look at that, but I liked what I saw from Buckley. He ran hard and aggressive when he had the opportunity and he was able to play fullback and special teams. There were a handful of guys.”

Both running back J.J. Arrington and rookie corner back Jorick Calvin, who the Eagles added this week, looked strong on kick returns. Arrington returned two kicks for 66 yards, his longest going for 40 yards, and Calvin returned two for 56 yards, taking his longest 33 yards. Arrington also lead the Eagles on the ground with 23 rushing yards.

As for the hardest decision to decide cuts, Reid believes linebacker will be could prove the most difficult.

“They’ll be some decisions that we have to make that are tough. I think there are a couple of other spots too, but that’s one that there’s quite a bit of competition.”

Overall, this game doesn’t mean much of anything in the grand scheme of things. A lot of players that played in this game won’t be here in Week 1, and we’ll be sure to post that list when it comes out. Hopefully, Kevin Kolb, DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley and the rest of the starters realized what I did from this game: stay healthy, or the Eagles are screwed.

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