Players and Battles to Watch: Eagles vs Jets


October 2, 2011; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Clay Harbor (82) celebrates his 16-yard touchdown pass with tight end Brent Celek (87) in 1st quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight marks the final preseason game of 2013 for the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the most of the roster spots have been established by now there are still a few battles being fought. Tonight will be the last chance for many guys to show their worth a roster or practice squad spot. Some backups could even make a case for a starting job tonight. Here are just a few of the players and spots you should be looking out for.

Nov 23, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive tackle Bennie Logan (18) walks off the field during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium. LSU defeated Arkansas 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

First up is 3rd round pick Bennie Logan. Logan has been extremely impressive this off-season, showing great power and using his long arms to be disruptive and create space. Logan has can line up all over the line and should see extended playing time tonight. With the lackluster performance of Isaac Sopoaga so far, Logan is definitely making a case to push for starting time at nose and end in the 3-4. He needs to show more power in his run defense, as sometimes he’s been pushed around out there. He excels in pass defense, and if he’s not making plays he’s trying to swat down passes. You can definitely see why the Eagles took a shot at him in the 3rd round.

Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles safety Earl Wolff (28) catches a pass prior to the start of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing on the defensive side of the ball, expect to see a lot of 5th round pick Earl Wolff at safety. The Eagles are looking for someone to stand up and grab the other  spot opposite Patrick Chung but so far it just hasn’t happened. Nate Allen leaves a lot to be desired, and the Eagles are hoping Wolff can contribute sooner rather than later. He needs to show better discipline in the run game and lay some hits like he did in college.

With a depleted secondary, expect to get an extended look at 7th round draft pick Jordan Poyer. Poyer has been relatively quiet so far this off-season, but with the injuries at corner he may just end up making this team by default. In college he was a play maker, leading the Pac-12 in interceptions back to back years. He also did well returning punts. Poyer needs to show the coaching staff he will not be a liability when he’s on the field and that he can contribute on special teams. I want to see him making plays against the Jets offense tonight.

On offense, one guy to watch for is Clay Harbor. The 3rd year tight end is trying to catch on the 53 as either the 4th TE or as a wide receiver. He will see looks at both positions throughout tonights game. Chip Kelly is clearly fascinated by Harbor’s athletic ability and is trying to justify keeping him on the roster by putting him at receiver as well. If the Eagles keep 4 TE’s then Harbor should be safe, but if they go with 3 his future here may be in jeopardy.

Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off the ball to running back Bryce Brown (34) during the fourth quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for the backup running back spot should continue tonight if both guys can suit up. Bryce Brown came into the off-season as the clear #2, but with his fumbling issues and a strong performance by Chris Polk in camp, Polk is pushing for that spot. Brown seems to be a better talent, but if he continues to put the ball on the ground then Chip will look elsewhere. But Brown has freakish speed for his size and Chip will not give up on him easily. He’s come a long way in the passing game as well.

There will be some battles for depth as well. Greg Salas and Russell Shepherd will duke it out for the final receiver spot. Besides Allen Barbre, most of the back up spots along the offensive line are wide open. There are lots of young guys jockeying for backup spots on the defensive line and in the linebacker corps.

Even though the 4th preseason game doesn’t feature any starters, don’t think it’s meaningless. This is especially true for an Eagles team that has a new coaching staff and is coming off a 4-12 season. Nobody is safe and everything is up for grabs. Win the day.

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