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Predicting Eagles 53-man roster following preseason

Four storylines to follow for fourth preseason game

By: Noah Levick, Sports Talk Philly Staff

60 minutes. That's all Eagles fans have to endure before the preseason is over and the regular season is finally upon us. Below are four storylines to keep an eye on in Thursday night's fourth and final preseason game, against the Jets.

1.Position battles

With the release of Ron Brooks yesterday, it's unclear exactly what the Eagles' plans are at cornerback, especially at the nickel slot. New addition Dexter McDougle, who will face his former team in his first game for the Eagles, is presumably in the mix for that role. Free agent Patrick Robinson is another contender for the nickel job, while Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills have likely done enough to earn the outside spots.

Running back is another intriguing competition to watch. Thursday night is an important one for rookies Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey. Clement, an undrafted free agent, has outshined the versatile fourth-round pick Pumphrey in his first three preseason outings. Even if Pumphrey has another underwhelming effort, it's difficult to envision the Eagles cutting a fourth-rounder, especially one who they still believe can be an asset as a returner.

2.Backup QB situation


It's possible Nick Foles might not play once this year, preseason included. Though that's a positive if it means Carson Wentz doesn't get hurt, Foles' continued elbow issues are nevertheless worrying. After missing Tuesday's practice with an illness, Foles probably won't be involved Thursday.

Since the Eagles haven't had a real number two quarterback to speak of, Matt McGloin has played a lot this preseason. In fact, his 88 pass attempts are tops in the NFL. While McGloin has been solid, the Eagles will feel uneasy as long as they continue to have just two healthy quarterbacks on their roster.

3. Defensive tackle rotation 

Beau Allen is back after missing almost five months with a pectoral tear. Will his return cut into the playing time of second-year tackle Destiny Vaeao, who has played well during the preseason?

Veteran Tim Jernigan admitted he's had some trouble adjusting to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's scheme, so it'll be worth watching Jernigan in whatever limited action he gets. 

4. Avoiding injuries

Knock on wood, the Eagles have generally avoided serious injuries during the first three preseason games. Some credit for that should go to coach Doug Pederson, who has played his starters less than expected. The downside of that approach is obviously less chance for units like the offensive line to gel, but Pederson will look smart as long as the team is ready to go, without any major pieces sidelined, on September 10, in Washington, D.C.

How to watch

7:00 p.m. on NBC 10 or online with NFL Game Pass


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