The Philadelphia Eagles have little left to do in the preseason finale with the New York Jets on Aug. 30. Eagles fans like myself know that the last exhibition game won't have any regular starters involved, and is just meant to settle the final roster spots. But there is one last big picture issue for Philadelphia to decide in this game, and of course, it has to do with the quarterbacks.
The Eagles need to settle the backup order behind Michael Vick for good, since it could be very important later on. Nick Foles has finally all but officially been given the No. 2 spot, and is scheduled to take a victory lap by playing the first quarter against the Jets. But then the last three quarters will belong to Trent Edwards, who is taking his last shot at winning the No. 3 slot from former No. 2 Mike Kafka.
It is fitting that Foles and Edwards are the only quarterbacks the Eagles will use - and not just because they are the only fully healthy ones left. Both of them have provided the only offense for Philadelphia in this preseason, which has led to a 3-0 record. While Vick has been hurt repeatedly and Kafka has been sidelined with an injured hand, Foles and Edwards have proven the Eagles can survive without them - for one month at least.
But Edwards will be the center of attention in the finale, as he can either squeeze Kafka off the roster or squeeze himself out. While Foles has gotten all the buzz for his nearly perfect play, Edwards has been quietly efficient as well, especially with his 14-for-17 performance against the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 24. If he can somewhat repeat that for three quarters against the Jets, he'll have a strong case to stay on the roster.
Before camp, Kafka was counted on to be the No. 1 option if Vick went down, and now he might not even be an Eagle. He just had the bad luck to go down while Foles and Edwards got hot, yet he may have a window of opportunity again if Edwards cools off at the end.
Normally, the No. 3 quarterback battle means little to a team. But since Philadelphia has such a fragile leader in Vick and since Foles is technically untested, the winner of the Edwards-Kafka battle could play a huge role in the regular season. Therefore, the Eagles must choose wisely, although only Edwards will be able to give them any final data - so it would make it easier if it was really good or really bad.
The Eagles themselves could be really good or really bad, depending on how much Vick plays and how much his potential replacements can do. But there can be only two possible replacements, and with one already secured, the other will be decided in this final warm-up game. Although it is the least important preseason battle of all, it may yield some of the year's most important results for the Eagles - assuming they can't avoid their worst case scenario at quarterback.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- Trent Edwards