By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Eagles opened up one more preseason practice to their fans. Their top players will also act as spectators on Thursday night.
Before the team held its open practice at Lincoln Financial Field Monday, Chip Kelly announced nearly all of the players on his top unit will rest in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets. Kelly said the decision was a combination of keeping his top players healthy and also keeping them fresh with a rigorous start to the season on the horizon.
“Our first three games happen in eleven days,” said Kelly. “We’ve got to play on a Monday then on a Sunday then on a Thursday, so there’s got to be that balancing act that you do and it’s a very, very long season.”
One area in which the top unit should see action is in the secondary. Several players are sidelined with injuries, and there is also a battle still raging for the final starting safety spot.
“We may have to have one or two just because of the injuries,” Kelly said. “We can’t go through with just four guys available back there. There may be one or two of the secondary guys we’re going to have to will through there a little bit.”
With Michael Vick getting the night off, Nick Foles will start against the Jets. Foles has still looked impressive since being told he would be the backup quarterback this season, and the second-year signal caller believes he can accomplish a lot on Thursday night.
“You keep working on blitz pick-up,” said Foles. “You keep working on going through your progression. It’s just little things. You continue to work on your footwork and being smart with the football. There are so many things that I’ll continue to work on.”
With just one off-season to learn Chip Kelly’s system, some believe the top units should see playing time on Thursday. However, Linebacker DeMeco Ryans says the starters don’t need to be on the field for the final preseason game.
“I don’t see what we can gain by playing in this last game,” Ryans said. “It’s time to get us ready to go for our first matchup against the Redskins.”