For much of the offseason and preseason, Trent Edwards and Chris Polk have appeared to be odd men out at quarterback and running back. Both were locked in the No. 4 spots at positions that usually only accepted three players on the 53-man roster.
Yet both continually exceeded expectations in practices and preseason games.
That was again the case in last night's final audition, a 28-10 Philadelphia Eagles victory over the New York Jets that served as a final stage for bubble players like Edwards and Polk to impress the coaching staff before today's final cuts.
We've yet to hear if Edwards and Polk did enough to make the final roster, but they both finished with bangs.
Edwards completed 22 of 32 passes for 197 yards, tossing two touchdowns and throwing no picks. He finished the preseason with a passer rating of 100.5.
Polk outplayed No. 3 back Bryce Brown, rushing for 61 yards on 14 carries while adding a 10-yard catch on a pass from Edwards and a touchdown. He finished the preseason with 164 yards on 47 touches, proving to be the team's most versatile back thanks to his stellar contributions as a pass-blocker and receiver.
In addition to their superb preseason performances, the key for both might be that they offer something unique to the roster.
Edwards is the only backup quarterback with starting experience. He's won 14 games in 33 career starts. He isn't known for having a huge arm or taking big risks, but he has the ability to manage games if called upon.
With Nick Foles and Mike Kafka, there's still the fear of the unknown. Foles is locked in as the No. 2, but I think an argument can be made that Edwards is a safer No. 3 than Kafka, who missed pretty much all of the preseason due to a hand injury.
Polk might be the toughest back on the roster. LeSean McCoy and Brown have different styles, while Polk runs a lot like backup Dion Lewis. That's a good thing. Brown is similar to McCoy, but Polk offers that ground-and-pound variation. He also picks up blitzes better than his peers and might be an option at fullback in a pinch.
The odds still favor both becoming free agents by 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, but the Eagles are certainly sweating the decision process when it comes to these two particular offensive contributors.
A few other thoughts from Philadelphia's preseason finale:
They Might Be Super Thin at Safety
Looks like the O.J. Atogwe experiment didn't pan out. Atogwe failed to do much of anything in camp and the preseason, mainly because he was nagged by a hamstring injury that flared up again Thursday night.
Considering that, beyond Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, they only really have Atogwe and Jaiquawn Jarrett, and that could be a problem. Phillip Thomas might make the team after all.
Damaris Johnson Is Safe
Another solid punt return of 12 yards along with five catches for Johnson in the finale. He'll make the team and might be a key complementary player this season. With Riley Cooper still out, expect him to be the fourth receiver to start the year. Chad Hall played well, too, but I think I'd prefer Johnson at this point.
Considering rookie Marvin McNutt's preseason disappearing act, there's a good chance Johnson and Hall both make the final roster.
Brian Rolle Probably Is, Too
Six tackles and no glaring mistakes from Rolle, who has gotten back on track after a terrible start. He lost his starting job to Akeem Jordan, but the Eagles probably can't afford to cut Rolle or Jamar Chaney today. Then again, I'm usually wrong about things in general.