Eagles Notes: Most Eagles starters will sit out preseason finale

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 28, 2013

Nick Foles will start at quarterback in Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Jets, and most of the starters will sit. Coach Chip Kelly said some regulars in the secondary would need to play because of injuries to reserves, but the others will rest until the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins.

"We have big decisions to make on Friday and Saturday," Kelly said.

The team's roster is at 76 players and must be trimmed to 75 on Tuesday. It will be reduced to 53 on Saturday.

The only starting spot that remains open is at safety next to Patrick Chung. Nate Allen is the front-runner and is going to play in Thursday's road game. The safeties will continue to rotate, with rookie Earl Wolff also in the mix and Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson, and David Sims still trying to make the team. Wolff said the players had not been told the rotation.

"We know there's competition there, but it makes both of us better," Allen said. "It's been like that all camp."

Rookie quarterback Matt Barkley will also get a lot of snaps on Thursday. Kelly hopes to get quarterbacks Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne into the game late in the second half.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Brown's ankle is sore

Running back Bryce Brown injured his ankle during Monday's practice, but he was able to return to the field. He said after practice that his ankle was hurting him and that it's not at 100 percent. Brown told reporters he initially thought it was broken before relief set in when he was able to put pressure on it.

Brown is a valuable member of the Eagles offense, although his fumbling issues returned when he lost the ball into the end zone and missed out on a touchdown in Saturday's preseason victory over Jacksonville. Kelly said that there was not a problem with the way Brown held the ball on the fumble and that the defender made a nice play on the ball.

Still, Brown lost three fumbles last season and must fix the issue to be a trusted rusher for the Eagles.

"You've got to think about it always," Brown said. "You've got to make it happen. They preach it, preach it, preach it."

Kelly could be seen trying to strip the ball from Brown during Monday's practice. Kelly said the issue must be stressed with every player - not just with Brown.

"That's our responsibility," Kelly said. "We talked about ball security all the time. We do all security drills every day, and we'll continue to do that. But it's a fundamental thing. Once the season starts, we can't lose sight of it. It's integral in what we do."

Kelly's calls on cuts

The decision to cut Kenny Phillips on Sunday was because of the Eagles' depth at safety and Phillips' inactivity on special teams, Kelly said. Phillips was signed to compete for the starting job, but his injuries were an issue throughout training camp.

Kelly praised Brad Wing, who lost out to Donnie Jones in the punting competition. Kelly preferred Jones' experience and punting inside the 50-yard line, although he said Wing has "big potential" in the NFL.

The roster spots that Kelly said would be most difficult to reduce will be at safety, tight end, defensive line, and offensive line because of the depth at those spots.

Extra points

Offensive linemen Allen Barbre and Matt Tennant did not practice Monday because of illnesses. They were the only players without long-term injuries who were absent.

The Eagles drew 12,000 fans to Monday's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. They had a total of about 110,000 fans at the five open practices this summer.

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