September 3 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood
“IF I WERE a fan, I don’t think I would’ve paid $10 to attend last night’s preseason finale between the Eagles and the New York Jets.
But the generally held belief that this game is meaningless is probably the farthest thing from the truth.
Yes, the starters were given the night off, but the middle and final pieces of this roster are still in flux.
For some of the guys who played in the Eagles‘ 21-17 loss, it wasn’t just their final chance to leave an impression with the coaches; it was the only extended chance.
For guys fighting to move up the depth chart or grab one of those last roster spots, every snap was crucial.
After a long training camp, when most of the time you were used as practice fodder, and three preseason games during which you only got a few snaps, the players the coaches were looking for last night were the ones who had the strength of will to seize one final chance to set themselves apart.
We likely won’t know what the Eagles‘ final roster will be until sometime tomorrow, but somebody made the team because of what they did against the Jets.
Others flat-out lost a job or left themselves vulnerable to being replaced before the season opener as players from other teams hit the waiver wire.
“This will help in some of the closer decisions that we’ve got to make,” said Eagles coach Andy Reid. “We tried to spend a lot of time during camp and these preseason games really evaluating the young guys.
“We’ll get together tomorrow and Saturday and go through all of it.”
It was about seizing the moment.
Rookie safety Kurt Coleman scooped up a first-quarter fumble by Joe McKnight and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.
Coleman again showed his big-play ability when he returned another fumble for an 8-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left in the first half.
To top things off, he also made a great open-field tackle on punt coverage.
Producing the Eagles’ only touchdowns is the kind of performance a seventh-round draft pick has to have to solidify a spot on a roster.
Conversely, if you know you’re in jeopardy like second-year safety Macho Harris, you can’t be pleased that you overran a pass in the first quarter allowing Jets receiver Larry Taylor to turn a short swing pass into an 11-yard gain for a first down.”
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