Philadelphia Eagles Wrap Up Preseason Thursday: What to Watch vs. the Jets

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 29, 2012

Oct 02, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (90) encourages the crowd during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field. The 49ers defeated the Phillies 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia Eagles are the only NFC East team that has to wait until Thursday night to play their final preseason game, leaving the coaching staff with less than 24 hours to decide which 22 players to cut before the 9:00 p.m. ET Friday deadline.

Here's what we'll be watching for from the Eagles when they host the New York Jets to wrap up the preseason.

Final look at defensive line depth

The Eagles have the deepest defensive line in football, which is nice, but that also means they're going to have to release some good men on Friday.

With Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Fletcher Cox, Cullen Jenkins, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and probably Derek Landri and Phillip Hunt either guaranteed or very likely to make the roster, there's a belief that there simply isn't enough room for both Antonio Dixon and Darryl Tapp.

There's a chance neither makes the team, too, but at least Dixon will have one last chance to prove himself Thursday. He'll play, but Tapp will not. And Cedric Thornton, who's also still in the mix at defensive tackle, will also play.

Akeem Jordan starts, while Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle attempt to save face

The competition for the weak-side starting spot was supposed to be between Chaney and Rolle, and yet those two struggled to either perform or stay healthy and now Jordan has swept in to steal the starting role. 

Chaney and Rolle will likely still make the roster, especially with Casey Matthews dealing with injuries and no one else stepping up, but the amount of playing time they get early could be somewhat dependent on what happens Thursday night.

It'll also be good to see Jordan get a series or two with whichever starters participate. 

We find out how far Demetress Bell has come

He already lost his starting spot, but Bell should get plenty of work against the Jets. King Dunlap's hold on the job isn't particularly strong and Bell is being paid quite well, so a solid performance Thursday could give the four-year veteran a chance to make an early push for starting reps.

Chris Polk vs. Bryce Brown

It looks as though Brown has a solid edge on Polk in the battle for the final roster spot at running back, but Polk has been impressive in camp, too, and a big performance could move him ahead of Brown or Dion Lewis. 

Check back later in the week for our complete review of Philly's final rehearsal.