Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles back ups beat the New York Jets back ups last night 37-7. Both teams were resting their starters but it was still an extremely important game for players fighting for a roster spot. Here are five Philadelphia Eagles players that impressed us with their play last night and increased the likelihood of making the roster:
1. Kicker Cody Parkey
The Philadelphia Eagles may have found their new kicker. Recently acquired undrafted rookie free agent kicker Cody Parkey had a very impressive night. Parkey converted 3/3 field goals on the night; including kicks from 53 and 54 yards. Considering Alex Henery’s longest field goal in his career is from 51 yards there is a good chance he is cut very shortly after going 1/3 on field goals in the preseason. Parkey was also better on kickoffs, averaging 71.9 yards last night compared to Henery’s 70.3 yards preseason average. There is no way Henery makes the roster over Parkey based on this performance.
2. Running Back Henry Josey
Eagles running back Henry Josey has to make the final 53. I have no idea who the Eagles would have to cut to make room for him but Josey was spectacular once again, rushing for 121 yards on only 22 carries. Josey is now averaging 6.6 yards per carry this preseason. Josey made Jets defenders miss last night and showed great burst and quickness. I don’t think Josey has the ideal size or blocking ability that head coach Chip Kelly wants in his running backs but there is no way Kelly can hide him on the practice squad; somebody is going to want him. The Eagles could decide to keep 5 running backs until Lane Johnson returns from his suspension and then cut one if they wanted longer to make a decision. I hope we keep Josey.
3. Linebacker Travis Long
Chip Kelly loves versatility in his Eagles players and linebacker Travis Long showed off his versatility last night as he played a bit of inside linebacker as well as outside linebacker. Long played well at both positions last night which makes him a lock to make the Eagles roster. Long also recorded one of the Eagles 2 sacks on the night when blitzing from the inside linebacker position. Long had an all round good game and the Eagles will want to find ways to get him on the field this season.
4. Wide Receiver Damaris Johnson
Before preseason I thought Eagles wide receiver Damaris Johnson had no chance to make the roster or even make it through the first cuts; he was barely used last year and doesn’t fit Kelly’s philosophy of big receivers who can block. However, Damaris made his case to make the Eagles roster last night. Johnson caught 2 passes for 19 yards yesterday as well as rushing for 69 yards on 5 carries and returning a punt for 32 yards. Johnson is an extremely versatile player and good on special teams which gives him an outside chance of making the Eagles roster as the 6th receiver, I still can’t see it though.
5. Quarterback Matt Barkley
It was hard to put Eagles quarterback Matt Barkley on this list because he started the game really badly. However, nobody else stood out to me and Barkley got a lot better as the game went on. Barkley completed 21 of his 33 passes for 253 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Barkley played well enough to make sure that his roster job is safe for another season. The Eagles could decide to only keep 2 quarterbacks but I would be surprised if Barkley was cut after last night. He has definitely improved since last season but hopefully we won’t see him again till next season.