At long last, the final game of the preseason is here!
Anyone tuning in to the game expecting to see the starters is going to be sorely disappointed. Heck, anyone tuning in to see the Eagles’ backup quarterback is going to be sorely disappointed.
Instead, we’ll get a healthy dose of Matt Barkley and a bunch of guys who are fighting to make the roster. The game should provide some insight on who will and will not make the team, but I would be surprised if anything that happens tonight has any real effect on the season.
What’s the deal with the Jets?
Most predictions for the Jets season seem to have them around 8-8. Most pundits believe the key is how much quarterback Geno Smith improves.
Of course, since none of their regulars will get much (any?) playing time, I’m not sure if that means anything for this game.
Then again, it was last season when coach Rex Ryan re-inserted Mark Sanchez into a preseason game in an attempt to win. (Which naturally resulted in a season-ending injury) So it wouldn’t be completely shocking to see the Jets starters get some time in this one.
The return of Michael Vick
With Smith expected to ride the bench, we’ll get to see a very familiar face at quarterback for the Jets.
Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback in Thursday’s game. It will be interesting to see what type of reaction he receives from the crowd.
Many fans never liked him and thought it was a mistake to sign him in the first place. Other fans may be upset because Vick’s tenure in Philadelphia was somewhat of a disappointment. But I still think most of the fans will give Vick a friendly ovation.
The man may have played inconsistently, but by all reports, he was a great leader and presence in the locker room. Last season, he could have made things uncomfortable after Nick Foles seized the starting job, but Vick made sure there was no controversy.
A little something about Matt Simms
Vick is probably going to only make a token appearance himself, so the bulk of the playing time will likely fall to third-stringer Matt Simms. What do we know about Simms?
Um..not much. He’s the son of former Pro Bowl quarterback Phil, and has played in three games so far in his career.
Jets coaches are optimistic about Simms’ future, but they might just be talking him up so that they can one day trade him. Or maybe they see him growing into a role as Smith’s long-term backup?
The mysteriously vanishing Dimitri Patterson
Vick isn’t the only ex-Eagle on the Jets roster. You may remember Dimitri Patterson from his time as the Eagles’ starting cornerback in 2010. He started off with a couple of strong games, but his weaknesses soon became exposed, and opposing quarterbacks began to target him with impunity.
Partially because Patterson was so bad, the Eagles felt the need to go after both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie following that season. Unfortunately, despite their Pro Bowl reputations, neither actually proved to be much of an upgrade.
Patterson doesn’t seem to be a safe bet to make the Jets roster, mostly because he decided not to show up to their last game. The team has announced that he is back with the team, but is suspended for the remainder of the preseason. If the Jets are willing to put up with something like that from a lousy player like Patterson, it doesn’t speak well to the talent level of their secondary.
To his credit, Patterson did have four interceptions in only six games last season. Then again, Kurt Coleman once had three picks in one game.
The last stand of Damaris Johnson
Rosters have to be cut down to 53 players to start the season, so tonight’s game will likely be the last time we ever see some of these Eagles players.
I have news that may be troubling for some of you: This may be the appearance of Damaris Johnson in an Eagles uniform.
Yes, this could be the end for the diminutive kick returner who has provided fans with so many memories. Like the time he returned a garbage time kickoff back for a touchdown against the Cowboys; Or how he signaled for a fair catch on half of his punt return opportunities.
One day, historians may debate which Eagle had the better career: Johnson or Reno Mahe. But for now, let’s just take one final opportunity to appreciate him while we can.
If he does get cut, my suggestion is that he goes back to school and get a degree from the University of Oregon. That seems to improve a player’s chance of making the team.
At first, I thought Nick Foles’ performance in last week’s game was just okay. Then I realized that his “just okay” performance was good enough for the offense to score 17 points in the first half. That’s not bad at all.
This game may come down to this: Can Matt Simms outplay Eagles’ fourth stringer G.J. Kinne? I guess the Jets have the edge there, maybe? So, I’ll predict that the Jets pull it out.
Jets 28-Eagles 17