Final Pitches Are Made

Bruce Perry

With the backups getting all of the opportunities Friday night, the spotlight was shining brightly on battles for the final spots on the roster as the Eagles prepare for final cuts.

So, who made an impact and who is going to be impacted? That's the question coming up after Friday night's 20-17 loss to the Jets at the Meadowlands.

A.J. Feeley, who has a roster spot reserved for himself, came out firing and put up nice numbers, especially for a guy who just got to town. Feeley (9-of-12, 131 yards) will be the number three quarterback behind Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia. Timmy Chang didn't do too badly, but won't find himself among the top three QBs.

The receiving corps is wildly up in the air.

Darnerian McCants (4 catches/69 yards) and Jason Avant (3 catches/55 yards) had nice nights and came out of the game feeling good about their chances. McCants, said that he won't sweat out the final moments. "I've said before, it's not in my hands, so I'm not going to worry about it. I don't make those decisions." Jabar Gaffney (3 catches/28 yards) kept the heat on in his pursuit of a roster spot with the team.

One thing that could help McCants, who appears to be battling with Gaffney for the final spot, is that he plays well on special teams, which the Eagles emphasize. Gaffney isn't on the special teams unit, which could lessen his value. McCants also made a beautiful grab on a key 23 yard pass from Feeley that put the Eagles on the Jets' one-yard line.

In the backfield, Ryan Moats (15 carries/65 yards/1 TD) and Bruce Perry (10 carries/37 yards) got the bulk of the action and both are hopeful of winning a spot. Thomas Tapeh followed lead blocker, rookie center Nick Cole, into the end zone, playing his part on the Eagles' goal line offense. That duo could become a key part of the Eagles offense, with the 350 pound Cole blowing open holes up the middle in key spots.

The biggest winner from Friday night appeared to be McCants, who continues to be confident in his abilities to help the team. Even though they had never played together, McCants and Feeley seemed to get into a rhythm that led the Eagles offense. "I'm still learning the receivers' names, so I couldn't tell you who I was throwing to and who I wasn't throwing to," said Feeley after the game. As for McCants, he agreed that who is doing what doesn't matter if everybody just does their job. "It doesn't matter who it is. If the ball's in the air, I have to catch it," said McCants.

The Eagles will make their final cuts Saturday to get down to their 53 man roster.

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