Rookie Jorrick Calvin visited the Eagles prior to the draft and thought he was going to be selected by them. It didn’t work out that way and the Arizona Cardinals grabbed him in the sixth round. The Birds had told him they liked the way he returned kicks and was physical with receivers.
The other day Philadelphia traded a sixth round pick of their own, Charles Scott to the Cards, so they could take a look at Calvin.
The young man will get the chance to show what he can do tonight when the Birds play the New York Jets in their final preseason game. The youngster doesn’t have a lot of time to show what he can do, but he’s got to shine tonight if he wants to continue his NFL career. He might get two or three chances to return a punt or kickoff and he needs to make the best of it.
The game tonight won’t mean anything to many fans but it’s a huge night for some of the players fighting for spots on the roster.
Second-year safety Macho Harris needs to standout because he hasn’t played a great deal in the preseason and he’s one of the guys on the block in the secondary along with Quintin Demps. Harris was moved to corner spot during the offseason, but with the emergence of rookie Trevard Lindley and veteran Dimitri Patterson, Harris was moved back to safety. I don’t think they trust Demps at the safety spot, but he’s a very good kickoff returner.
Harris, Demps and Calvin could all be battling for one position, so the guy that shines tonight could be the only one of the group getting a paycheck next week.
Calvin needs to show that he can be a competent kick off and punt returner. Demps has to prove that he can play in the secondary without blowing assignments. Harris will help himself if by making a big play or two at the safety position and do a good job of special teams.
At wide receiver, veteran Hank Baskett has his back up against the wall as he competes with another veteran wide out, Kelly Washington for that final wide receiver spot. Washington has the upper hand from a special teams standpoint because head coach Andy Reid and special teams coach Bobby April have swooned about his potential special teams contributions.
Baskett is probably the better receiver right now because he knows every wide receiver position inside and out. The one which shines tonight could help himself.
A lot of the battles tonight will involve special teams play. At the linebacker position, second-year Moise Fokou and veteran Tracy White are both trying to hang on, as they compete for a spot on the roster.
Fokou has an advantage as a linebacker and the fact that he’s a youngster. White is considered a better special teams player. Fokou will probably win the battle because they know he’s capable of starting, but he needs to play well.
At the tight end position, rookie Clay Harbor is going to be here one way or the other, but he needs to prove that he can block. Second-year guy, Cornelius Ingram must play well for the other teams in the league or maybe he can wow the Birds at the last minute.
If these guys can’t convince the Birds that they can do the job behind Brent Celek in sixty minutes, the front office will have to find a veteran tight end to come in and serve as the second-tight end.
On the offensive line, Max Jean-Gilles could use a good performance tonight. A bad game could send him home because he’s the only backup guard who can’t play center. Nick Cole and Mike McGlynn can play both the center and guard, and Jamaal Jackson’s knee problems make the ability to play center an important issue.
They should be considering releasing Stacy Andrews but the fact that he’s going to make $5 million dollars even if they let him go will keep him here. Who knows they could shock us but I don’t think they will.
Rookie free agent offensive tackle Austin Howard seems destined for the roster but he doesn’t need to let his performance tonight slide.
Some of these guys will put on a uniform and walk onto a football field for the final time in their lives tonight, but all of them are trying to postpone that event.