Eagles players on the bubble hope to make lasting impression

Ed Benkin
August 26, 2019 - 5:31 pm
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Alex Ellis

Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For fans, the fourth preseason week in the NFL can be an annoyance. For players, it may be their last chance to make their football dreams come true.

The Eagles will wrap up their preseason on Thursday night when they take on the Jets in North Jersey. The regulars will be resting as the backups get a chance to make one last impression before cut-down day.  

Many players were unable to get on the field during the last preseason game, when the Eagles and Ravens were forced to cancel most of the fourth quarter due to lightning. Those same reserves will now be on center stage Thursday, and offensive coordinator Mike Groh is eager to see what they can do with extended playing time.

"It's another tool," he said. "It's an important tool to see these guys play an extended amount of time. Maybe some guys will start the game who have been coming in during the second quarter or the second half.  Let's see how they start the game. Can they sustain a performance over a period of time in a game and not just for a series or two?  

"Anytime you get to go out into a stadium and play someone new, it's an excellent chance to evaluate the players."

Related:

The preseason has not been easy to watch around the NFL. With many coaches playing their top players even less than in previous years, the product has often been an ugly one to watch. It will be a different situation for those players on the roster bubble, such as tight end Alex Ellis. 

Ellis is entering his fourth year in the NFL and has played well this summer, but he still appears to face an uphill climb with several other talented tight ends on the roster. Ellis said he won't let the pressure of the final preseason game affect him on Thursday.

"Everybody sweats it as a rookie," Ellis said. "But then, you kind of learn the ins and outs of the business. It is what it is. You do what you can and it's whatever after that. That's how it goes. It's the nature of the business."

Malcolm Jenkins will be resting Thursday along with others in the top unit. He and several of his talented teammates are already getting ready for the regular season opener.  

Jenkins agrees with Ellis when it comes to advice for players trying to avoid being cut from the roster.

"I'm always somebody who has to remind myself not to stress about things that I can't control," said Jenkins. "The decision-making to whether you make this team or not is outside all of these players' control. What they can control is how they show up every day, how they prepare and how they can play on Thursday.  

"That should just be where the focus and energy is."

The NFL can be a cruel business. Players who are talented enough to be on a roster will be cut, but teams that are as deep as the Eagles do not have room for everybody.  

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz won't be playing favorites as his unit takes the field for the final preseason game.

"You root for everybody in this business," Schwartz said. "You know how hard they work and what they put into their effort and making a contribution to the team. Not everybody can make the team but when it's all said and done, everybody that was in camp with us will have contributed to our team somehow and to our success going forward."