The Jets will start a fourth-string quarterback, Matt Simms, because they have issues with the first three. The backup is anyone’s guess (probably Geno Smith), but even he’s not likely to be used. The visiting Eagles, on the other hand, are starting second-string quarterback Nick Foles, but third-stringer Matt Barkley will see most of the action. Head coach Chip Kelly said, except for certain positions like the thin defensive secondary, he will play all second-teamers.
That means one of the biggest storylines of the night will be whether or not one of Kelly’s college favorites, Casey Matthews from Oregon, makes the team as an outside linebacker. The Eagles traded Felix Jones to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Adrian Robinson, who is a hometown hero, having been Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Temple.
So at least that’s a mildly interesting position battle to watch for Eagles fans. It looks like either one, but not both, will make the team. Two weeks ago, Robinson scored a touchdown against the New York Giants.
Another mildly compelling storyline is the over/under on Bryce Brown fumbles. Last year, Brown scored four touchdowns and lost four fumbles in four games. This year, Brown has fumbled in each of the three prior exhibition games. If he fumbles again, he could be gone. There are few other reasons to watch this game and probably fewer to watch any other NFL game on the Thursday night schedule.
Never has such a great sport produced a more meaningless night, and if there is ever an Exhibit A for a two-game exhibition season, the final game of a four-game meaningless season is it. Whatever the players and owners do in the offseason, cutting this fiasco of an exhibition season in half should be tops on the list.