By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It has become an annual preseason ritual in the NFL. If you’re on the top unit, you are a spectator for the final game.
As expected, the Eagles will rest their top players when they close out their preseason on Thursday Night at the Linc against the Jets. In addition to the top players, several members of the second unit will rest. One of those players is Mark Sanchez, so Chip Kelly has decided to start Matt Barkley at quarterback on Thursday.
“We need to see Matt play a lot,” said Kelly. “I think we feel comfortable in what Mark Sanchez has done in the first three games., so both Nick and Mark will be out. We want to see Matt play for an extended period of time. I think he’s done a really nice job. We’re going to give Matt a really extended look against the Jets on Thursday night.”
For players such as Nick Foles, the week off will give them an opportunity to get a head start on the regular season opener against Jacksonville. Foles will also do his part to help the back-ups prepare for the game against the Jets.
“I’ll continue to work like it’s a game week,” Foles said. “I’m looking at Jacksonville but when I’m out here, I’ll be helping guys with the Jets. I’m excited to see the young guys play, but I’m already on the film. I put the last game to bed.”
Barkley is excited to have the opportunity to get significant playing time. the second-year quarterback will not only get four days to prepare, but will have a chance to get into the flow of the game unlike earlier in the preseason.
“Getting that rhythm is important,” said Barkley. “As a quarterback, it’s hard to gather what the defense is doing after one drive. Putting together a whole half and possibly more than that will help a lot with the flow of the whole game.”
Many of the top players aren’t concerned about missing the final preseason game. Players such as DeMeco Ryans believe they have done enough work in the first three games to prepare for the regular season opener.
“I feel like we are we need to be going into the season,” Ryans said. “I feel like everybody’s feeling good about our scheme. Everybody’s feeling good about where we are right now defensively. We’ll start the first game and see how we can grow throughout the season.”
The Eagles made their first roster cuts, releasing 14 players. The Jacksonville Jaguars announced that Chad Henne will be their starting quarterback against the Eagles in week one.
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