Between the Eagles and the Jets tonight, over 40 guys will be out of a job…and probably out of an NFL dream…
And when they see a veteran punter like Matt McBriar cut by the Eagles earlier on Wednesday, it cannot be a good feeling…
One of the Eagles I’ll be focusing on is Dallas Reynolds… it’s pretty much his last shot tonight…
Dallas Reynolds, G/C, 6-4. 320, picked up by the Eagles as an UDFA out of BYU in 2009, is out of options now…it is make it or break it time for Reynolds…
Eagles backup center Dallas Reynolds is out of options… Unless he is one of the 53 players who will comprise the regular-season roster, Thursday’s preseason finale against the New York Jets will be the last time he gets to put on an Eagles uniform.
“I’m trying not to think about it,” Reynolds said. “But in the back of my mind, I understand the situation.”
The 28-year-old has been with the Eagles since signing as a rookie free agent in 2009, but has never played in a regular-season game. He spent the last three seasons as a member of the team’s practice squad, save for a one-game promotion in 2009 in which he was deactivated for the game.
Under league rules, players cannot spend more than three seasons on a practice squad. Thus, Reynolds must either survive Friday’s final roster cuts or perhaps give up his hope of playing in the NFL.
“My main focus is on Thursday’s game,” said Reynolds, who is married to Suzanne and has a 2-year-old daughter, Sharai. “I just have to keep playing as hard as I can. After the game, it’s up to the guys upstairs (coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman) on what happens next for me.”
Reynolds has an excellent chance of sticking around. The Eagles released veteran center Jamaal Jackson after last season, leaving Reynolds as the primary backup to starter Jason Kelce. He was the second-string center for the Eagles’ first three preseason games and will start against the Jets while Kelce and the other starters rest.
But the Eagles have a lot of depth on the offensive line, even without starting left tackle Jason Peters, who was placed on the reserve non-football injury list Monday with a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon.
The Eagles released free agent tackle Thomas Welch and rookie guard Alfred McCullough earlier this week, and placed free agent guard/center Mike Gibson on injured reserve. That left Reynolds as one of six linemen vying for three or four backup spots behind Kelce, guards Evan Mathis and Danny Watkins, and tackles King Dunlap and Todd Herremans.
That group includes free agent center/guard Steve Vallos, who previously played with Cleveland (2010-11) and Seattle (2008-09), and center/guard Julian Vandervelde, a fifth-round draft pick by the Eagles last season. They are expected to be the starting guards against the Jets, but can also play center in a pinch.
“I honestly have no idea how I made this team last year because I was horrible,” said Vandervelde, who was inactive for all but one game. “If I was the one making the decisions, I would have cut me after the second preseason game because I flat out stunk. But I’ve been really pleased with the progress I’ve made since then. I’m excited for Thursday’s game because I get a chance to show the growth and development I’ve made personally.”
If Vandervelde doesn’t make the regular-season roster, he is a shoo-in to make the eight-man practice squad unless another team claims him off waivers. Reynolds doesn’t have that fallback plan.
“If it doesn’t happen for me, my wife and I will sit down and talk about what’s next,” Reynolds said. “She has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing and made it very easy for me. One of my options is to go back to school at BYU. I’m four classes short of getting my degree in geography. My dad (Lance) is also an assistant coach there, so maybe coaching is something I could get into.
“But I haven’t allowed myself to start thinking about life after football, yet. All of my focus and attention is on Thursday night and playing as well as I possibly can play. Then we’ll see what happens.”
The New York Jets are running out of time to get their floundering offense in gear for the regular season, though it appears the team will attempt to work out its problems on the practice field instead of using game conditions. The Jets’ self-proclaimed “Gang Green” enters Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field for Thursday’s preseason finale with the Eagles yet to score a touchdown through its first three outings, becoming the first team since the 1977 Atlanta Falcons to fail to do so over such a stretch. The Jets have gone a total of 35 possessions without reaching the end zone, with the first-team offense on the field for 15 of those drives.
New York’s woes didn’t go away in Sunday’s 17-12 home loss to Carolina, with kickers Nick Folk and the just-released Josh Brown accounting for the club’s entire scoring output with a combined four field goals. The Jets also went just 4-of-15 on third-down attempts and have a woeful 22 percent (9-of-41) success rate in those situations so far in the preseason.
Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t perform terribly, however, completing 11-of-18 passes for 123 yards while working into the second half. He did throw an interception, though it came on a ball that bounced off the fingers of rookie receiver Stephen Hill. Hill did record game highs of five catches and 68 receiving yards against the Panthers. Tim Tebow continued to struggle, though, with the popular backup signal-caller making good on only 4-of-14 throws for 55 yards with an interception after taking over for Sanchez.
Tebow has completed a mere 36.1 percent (13-of-36) of his attempts for 151 yards and two picks over the first three games, essentially ending any talk of a potential quarterback controversy. The former Heisman Trophy winner won’t have a chance to improve on those numbers, as he as well as the Jets’ entire starting units on both sides are slated to sit out Thursday’s test to guard against any additional injuries prior to the team’s Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Buffalo.
New York will also be attempting to avoid its first winless preseason since 1993 in this week’s clash, while Philadelphia can go undefeated over an entire exhibition schedule for the first time since 1995 with a victory here. The Eagles did top the Jets on two occasions last year, delivering a 24-14 win at MetLife Stadium to wrap up the 2011 preseason and routing New York by a 45-19 count in Philadelphia during Week 15 of the regular season.
The Jets had won nine straight warm-up games against the Eagles prior to last year’s defeat and still own a 21-12 overall advantage in this long-played series.
Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid plans to rest the majority of his regulars as well in preparation for the Eagles’ Week 1 matchup at Cleveland. Quarterback Michael Vick definitely will not play as he heals up the bruised ribs he sustained in the team’s Aug. 20 bout at New England… the veteran lefty is on track to be under center for the start of the regular season.
Rookie Nick Foles drew the start in Vick’s stead in last Friday’s game against the Browns, with the third-round draft choice continuing his impressive preseason in leading Philadelphia to a 27-10 win.
Foles went 12-of-19 for 146 yards with an interception and connected on scoring passes to tight end Brent Celek and backup running back Dion Lewis. The 23-year-old has produced six touchdowns through the air and a 112.2 quarterback rating over the three games, and may have gained an edge in his battle with holdover Mike Kafka for the No. 2 position on the depth chart.
Kafka, who served as Vick’s backup last season, hasn’t played the last two weeks due to a broken left hand and won’t be available for Thursday’s tilt. He could be in danger of losing his roster spot to journeyman Trent Edwards, who was a sharp 14-of-17 for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Cleveland game. It is strongly rumored that Kafka is about to be traded to another team desperate for QB help.
Reid announced on Tuesday that Foles would again start this week and play the first quarter, with Edwards taking over the rest of the way. He also formally ruled Vick, Kafka, defensive end Jason Babin (calf), safety Nate Allen (hamstring), wide receiver Riley Cooper (fractured collarbone) and reserve linebacker Casey Matthews (ankle) out for the contest.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles will start and play the first quarter, then veteran Trent Edwards will play the final three quarters.
I will roll this blurgger over at about 5:00 PM EST on Thursday and allow our Smart Phanners to tell you via Livefyre what’s really going on in Philly tonight…