We're getting real damn close to the real damn thing. Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles offense have defined vanilla three games into the preseason, but we're only four exhibition quarters away from having only the regular season opener to look forward to.
Still, it's worth watching Thursday night's finale against the New York Jets. Some items to consider...
Last at-bat for Danny Watkins?
The guard was a first-round pick only two years ago but Kelly couldn't care less about where Andy Reid drafted guys. Watkins has struggled in a big way thus far and is now nothing more than a backup. That means he'll likely have a chance to either gain or lose some points Thursday night.
If the latter takes place, the 28-year-old could be out of a job by the time final cuts are made on Saturday afternoon.
A chance for a secondary shuffle
Because most of the unit is banged up and all of it is in disarray, we'll probably get to see some key members of the secondary on the field against the Jets.
Can Bradley Fletcher use the final tuneup to find his game? Can Brandon Boykin do enough to jump into a starting role? We know Patrick Chung will start Week 1, but maybe rookie fifth-round pick Earl Wolff can step up his game just enough to unseat Nate Allen as Chung's partner in crime at safety.
There's a lot to be determined in the defensive backfield.
If the Eagles only keep five receivers, who should the final guy be?
Which wide receiver bubbles will be burst?
Barring a major upset, DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and Damaris Johnson will make the team and serve as the top four receivers. Greg Salas and Russell Shepard probably enter Thursday's game with an edge over Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl and Will Murphy but Momah is a freakishly good athlete and Maehl has a special place in Kelly's past. He was one of Kelly's top wideouts at Oregon, and they traded for him earlier this month for a reason.
If they keep six receivers, Momah or Maehl could wind up beating out Salas or Shepard, and if they only keep five, some solid options will be discarded.