Eagles Release Trent Edwards

One day before the start of the team’s voluntary minicamp, the Eagles announced that they have released quarterback Trent Edwards.

That leaves Mike Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinnie as the remaining quarterbacks on the roster.

Edwards beat out an injured Mike Kafka last offseason to claim the No. 3 quartererback spot. He served as a mentor to Foles as the Arizona product navigated his rookie season. The 29-year old saw action in the regular-season finale, completing a pair of passes for 14 yards.

This move does not come as a great surprise, particularly after the signings of Dixon and Kinnie.

It is interesting to note, however, that Foles is the only QB on the current roster that is considered a traditional dropback passer.

“I think when you’re looking at mobility, it’s part of the equation,” said Howie Roseman Monday. “It’s always been part of the equation here, but is that the first critical factor? There are things we look at before we get to that.”

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Trent Edwards Dishes On Foles

A couple fun facts about Nick Foles:

– He cannot grow a mustache.

– He wears size 16 shoes, second largest on the team behind only King Dunlap (of course).

– He also (allegedly) has the biggest head on the squad.

Those tidbits are courtesy of Trent Edwards, who knows more about Foles than anyone on the team, and it’s not really close.

Mutual friends introduced Edwards and Foles when Foles was in college, and they maintained a friendship from there.

“We ended up touching base right before he got drafted,” said Edwards, “and had lunch out in California where he was training and I was living, I saw him out here before he got drafted and spoke to him on draft day.”

Edwards was signed by the Eagles back in February and was considered a longshot to make the team heading into training camp. A few things started breaking Edwards’ way. Mike Kafka got hurt as Edwards began to find his stride,  and Foles really flourished in the preseason. Edwards was serving as a mentor to Foles, which couldn’t have hurt  when the Eagles were deciding on who their third QB would be. He got the nod.

Edwards finally got his own place after rooming with Foles for the past few months, but they are still very much tied at the hip.

“It’s funny because you’re inseparable. You have nowhere else to go. I see him more than I see anybody else in my life and he’d say the same thing to you,” said Edwards. “But I feel it’s good for both of us. We’ve learned a lot from each other.”

Both Foles and Edwards have been bumped up the depth chart  with Michael Vick set to miss Sunday’s game against the Redskins with a concussion. Foles stepped in for Vick last week and went 22-of-32 for 219 yards (6.8 avg.) with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble. Now he is in line for his first start.

Edwards, like Foles, was called on to start his rookie year because of injury. He ended up guiding the Bills to a 5-4 record in nine starts in 2007. Having gone through it himself, Edwards often talks about how impressed he is with Foles’ composure so early on in his career.

“If you look at the way [Foles] played in the preseason versus the way I played my rookie year in my preseason, there were a lot of moving parts for me my rookie year, it was just going by really fast for me,” said Edwards. “I didn’t feel that was the case for him in the preseason. He was finding number two, three in the progression, his feet were moving, he was accurate. That’s what’s always impressed me about him is that he’s patient, he’s calm, he understands concepts and can get the ball out of his hands.”

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg mentioned on multiple occasions Thursday  how the team is excited to play with Foles under center, saying, “I think our players certainly see bright spots with Nick.”

Edwards is certainly one of them.

“I have no doubt that he’ll be ready to go Sunday. I’m going to do whatever I can to help him,” said Edwards. “He’s the type of guy that picks up things quickly, he’s coachable, and I think those are two pretty important things to be at this position.”

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Philadelphia Eagles right guard Danny Watkins.The following Eagles are inactive for today’s 1 p.m. game against the Falcons: Trent Edwards, Damaris Johnson, Dion Lewis, Jamar Chaney, Danny Watkins, Nate Menkin and Vinny Curry.

The inactives are the same as a couple weeks ago against the Lions, except for Watkins (Steve Vallos didn’t dress in that game).

Starting in Watkins’ place is 6-8 rookie Dennis Kelly. Watkins missed practice on Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury that Andy Reid described as “chronic.”

“Danny has kind of a chronic ankle and he has had it for years,” Reid said after Friday’s practice. “He disturbed it in the last game and he thought it would be fine, and it didn’t work out. He came back Monday and practiced, Wednesday he practiced and he just didn’t feel right. So back him up and let the thing settle down.”

The backups on the offensive line are also worth mentioning. Demetress Bell, who started the previous four games, is your swing tackle. King Dunlap gets the start at LT. And Matt Tennant, whom the team just signed last week, is the backup guard/center.

Elsewhere offensively, Lewis continues to be an inactive. He’s only dressed for one game this season. Johnson is inactive for the second straight game. Riley Cooper will be the team’s fourth wide receiver. Mardy Gilyard and DeSean Jackson will handle punt-return duties.

On the defensive side of the ball, Phillip Hunt was questionable, but he’ll play. There was a chance that rookie second-round pick Vinny Curry would dress for the first time this season, but that won’t happen.

Be sure to join me and Tim for a live chat during the game at 1 p.m.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Mailbag: Revisiting the 2011 Draft; Expectations For Foles

I’m pinch-blogging for T-Mac with the reader mailbag this week. These are e-mails I’ve received in the past few weeks (edited slightly for viewing purposes).

I just spent five minutes looking at the Eagles’ 2011 draft and came to the conclusion that perhaps it’s one of the reasons why this team is having problems. Thoughts?

-Don

SK: I think you’re on to something, Don. The Eagles took 11 players in that draft, and three (Jaiquawn Jarrett, Greg Lloyd and Brian Rolle) are no longer on the team. Of that group, Jarrett, a second-rounder, is obviously the biggest miss. Especially when you consider the Eagles are having trouble on special teams and currently have zero depth at safety.

Losing out on Lloyd and Rolle is really no big deal. In the seventh round, you’re taking fliers on guys. However, it does reflect somewhat poorly on the coaching staff that Rolle went from being a starter in 2011 to getting cut this season.

Really, in most drafts, the first-rounder can make or break the class. The Eagles took Danny Watkins with the 23rd pick in the first round. If you’re going to take a guard in the first round, your expectations are that the player has a Pro Bowl ceiling. Watkins hasn’t come close to that. Right now, the Eagles would settle for reliable starter. Instead, Watkins has been average at best and too up-and-down. He shows flashes at times, but overall, has been a disappointment.

The Eagles took Curtis Marsh in the third round. Before the season, the thought was to get him some playing time this year, with the possibility that he could start in 2013 should Nnamdi Asomugha or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie be gone. While Marsh looked good at training camp, he’s played exactly nine defense snaps, and we have no clue whether he’s a starting-caliber player.

The fourth-round picks were Casey Matthews and Alex Henery. Matthews plays special teams and is a backup at multiple linebacker spots, which isn’t bad for a fourth-rounder. Henery has been fine, although you can certainly debate the merits of taking a kicker so early.

Dion Lewis (fifth round) was supposed to be LeSean McCoy’s backup this year, but has only been active for one game. It would come as no surprise if he were to be off the roster completely at some point in the next month or two.

Julian Vandervelde, a sixth-rounder, is back on the practice squad after getting cut before the season. Jason Kelce (sixth round) and Stanley Havili (seventh round) look like the best of the bunch. Kelce projects as a quality center for years to come (assuming he’s healthy), and Havili has been a pleasant surprise at fullback this year.

But overall, yes, I think it’s fair to say that lack of production from the 2011 class has led to issues in some key areas (pass protection, safety, running back depth and special teams).

Colt Anderson is not even close to an NFL-caliber safety.  If he’s our third guy, then we’re in trouble whenever one of the starters goes down (like the last game).  Need another alternative.  David Sims must be better.

-David

SK: It’s a fair point, David. This team just can’t seem to get the safety position right. Remember, they tried a few different things this offseason. They were interested in free agent Yeremiah Bell, but he signed with the Jets. They signed Oshiomogho Atogwe, but he couldn’t stay healthy at camp and was cut. And they wanted Jarrett to fill a backup role, but he just didn’t pan out.

I remember in the first couple weeks of the season thinking that safety depth was a major issue. Then I kind of forgot about it because Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen stayed healthy. Last week, when Allen got hurt, Anderson had to come in, and it wasn’t pretty (although he’s a great special-teams player).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles worked out a safety or two in the coming weeks, but the truth is, there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there. We’ll see if they groom Sims, but remember, he’s only been a special-teams player too and has never played a defensive snap in the NFL.

Do you think the Eagles could/should/will re-sign C Jamaal Jackson?

-Tjade

SK: I don’t see it, Tjade. Howard Mudd clearly wanted a more athletic center when he took over last summer. Given Dallas Reynolds’ struggles, it doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world to me. Jackson won’t be able to do all the things Kelce did, but you’d think he would know his assignments and do a better job of keeping Michael Vick upright. I have no idea what kind of shape Jackson’s in, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Eagles make a move at center, it doesn’t look like he’ll be the one getting the call.

What I would like to know is the possibility of a change – not to Nick Foles, but to Trent Edwards.  I understand that Foles is listed as the No. 2 QB, but my thinking is Edwards has NFL starter experience and he would be more of a “game manager” not an impact QB that carries the high risk/high reward type of play. What are your thoughts?

-Joe

SK: A few people have asked me about this. I see zero point to playing Edwards. Let’s start with the fact that he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2010. And don’t confuse “game manager” for “takes care of the football.” Edwards has 26 career touchdowns and 30 career interceptions. He’s been picked off once every 30.9 attempts. That’s barely better than Vick this year (once every 28.9 attempts).

There aren’t many things that would shock me with this team, but playing Edwards would be one of them.

I have to say I get really annoyed when people dismiss the idea of Nick Foles as throwing in the towel. WHY? Because rookies will make too many mistakes? Is he going to turn the ball over FIVE or SIX times per game?? I think he reads and reacts more quickly than Vick and throws with better ACCURACY. Also, do people really mean to tell me that this kid is not in the same ballpark with Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton?? No one was impressed with those picks last year and they have done fairly well so far despite the skepticism. And I think he has more pedigree than both of them!! Why is it so easy to assume he would fail??

-Jeff

SK: Jeff is fired up!

The truth is, you’re right that Foles is an unknown. And that works both ways. To say he reads and reacts more quickly than Vick and is more accurate is not a fair statement because you’re basing it on his college and preseason performance. Regular-season NFL games provide a different level of competition.

But it’s also not fair to say that playing Foles would be a clear move for the future. There is at least the possibility that he turns the ball over less than Vick. As a point of comparison, here are Vick’s numbers compared to the league’s rookies who are playing this year:

 
Comp. %
YPA
Touchdowns
INTs
Michael Vick58.97.188
Andrew Luck53.46.777
Robert Griffin III70.28.352
Ryan Tannehill59.67.346
Brandon Weeden55.86.6710
Russell Wilson59.47.087

If anything, the table shows that production is often based on expectations. All of the rookie quarterbacks, except Griffin, have had their share of issues with interceptions. And keep in mind, these were all first-round picks, except for Wilson. The table doesn’t take running numbers or fumbles into account. But you can see how Vick stacks up to the rookies from a passing standpoint.

Having said that, Andy Reid may come to the conclusion at some point that he can’t deal with Vick’s turnovers and mistakes. And he might be intrigued with the thought of playing Foles. I know some will argue that such a move would be to save his job and convince Jeffrey Lurie that he’s the right guy to develop the franchise’s next quarterback.

I don’t see it that way. I think Reid likes being the Eagles’ head coach. But he also knows he’ll get a job elsewhere if he gets fired. He put his imprint on the team’s offseason moves and believes the Eagles are built to win now. That’s part of the reason why he fired Juan Castillo even though the defense had played relatively well.

In other words, if Reid goes to Foles, it will be because he thinks the rookie can give him a better chance than Vick to win this year. Not because he’s looking ahead o 2013 and beyond.

Teams are stacking the line or putting eight in the box and daring the Eagles to burn them. Do you see the same thing?

-Bill

After we spent so much time talking about how teams play their safeties deep, that seems crazy to say, Bill. But guess what? You’re at least partially right.

It’s not every week, and it’s not every play, but there are absolutely times when defenses gear up to stop the Eagles’ run. Take a look at this image from last week’s game:

Detroit has all three linebackers and a safety ready to attack the line of scrimmage.

I’ll write more about Vick and the deep ball in a later post. But I’ve definitely seen defenses say: We will either be able to get to Vick, or he’ll miss the throw in regards to the Eagles’ deep ball. And in many cases, they’ve been right.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Making Sense of the Eagles’ Inactives

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean JacksonThe following Eagles will be inactive for today’s 1 p.m. home opener against the Ravens: Trent Edwards, Riley Cooper, Dion Lewis, Curtis Marsh, Dennis Kelly, Nate Menkin, Vinny Curry.

The first thing to note is both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are active. Jackson was dealing with a hamstring injury at practice this week and was questionable. Maclin suffered a hip pointer in last week’s game and was also listed as questionable.

The Eagles have five wide receivers active. In addition to Jackson and Maclin, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and Mardy Gilyard will all dress.

The team is keeping just two quarterbacks active: Michael Vick and Nick Foles. At running back, Dion Lewis is inactive for the second week, even though he was not listed on the injury report. Lewis had previously been recovering form a hamstring issue. In addition to LeSean McCoy, rookies Bryce Brown and Chris Polk will both dress. Brown was McCoy’s backup in Week 1.

Interesting note on the offensive line. Demetress Bell, who looked lost in the preseason and was inactive in Week 1, is the team’s backup swing tackle. In the opener, the Eagles gave that responsibility to rookie Dennis Kelly. As usual, the Eagles have two backup offensive linemen. In addition to Bell, Dallas Reynolds is active.

No surprises on the defensive line. Rookie Vinny Curry is inactive for the second straight week.

The Eagles only have four cornerbacks dressing as Curtis Marsh is inactive after suffering a hamstring injury last week against the Browns. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will start, and Brandon Boykin will play nickel. Brandon Hughes could see action in dime, and he’ll fill in should any of the other three go down.

Some changes at safety too. Colt Anderson is active for the first time since tearing his ACL in Week 13 of the 2011 season against the Seahawks. And David Sims, whom the Eagles acquired from the Browns before Week 1, will also dress. One of them would have to go in should Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman go down.

For the Ravens, outside linebacker Paul Kruger (back) was a bit of a surprise scratch. He had 5.5 sacks and 15.5 hurries last year, according to Football Outsiders.

Eagles Snapshot: Quarterback Preview

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

Throughout the course of the week, we’ll be providing position-by-position previews of the entire Eagles roster. Click here to get to all of them. Today, we cover the quarterbacks.

The roster: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards

Elite quarterbacks are the rarest commodity on Earth. There are thousands of football programs across the country and tens of thousands more kids that dream of being a star quarterback, yet there are only enough of them to fill up maybe a quarter of the 32 NFL teams in a given year.

There is a nice collection in the NFC right now, however. You have Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning. A tier down lies Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. RGIII hopes to get in the conversation, and Tony Romo certainly shows flashes.

Where does Vick fit?

Quarterback play in the conference runs unusually deep right now, making it all the more important that Vick find his way towards the top.

The Eagles hope they have their elite quarterback in Vick, and another in the making in Foles. His dizzying rate of progress totally changed the backup QB picture and essentially cost Mike Kafka a job. The coaching staff is very high on the 23-year-old right now.

“I’ve got great confidence in Nick,” said Marty Mornhinweg. “I’ll tell you what: Nick Foles progressed just beautifully at a very fast pace. He’s a bright guy. He’s got natural playing ability. He’s got natural instincts.”

Edwards’ role will be to shepherd the rookie along.

Player in the spotlight: Michael Vick

The difficulty in handicapping this Eagles team is that Vick is not just susceptible to  peaks and valleys in his play, but grand dips and spectacular rises. He can be the best player on the field, then the least disciplined. At age 32 and after an offseason of the coaching staff drilling caution into his head, there is optimism that Vick will level out and focus more on the substance and less on the sizzle.

With limited reps this preseason because of injury, there is no way of telling just what Michael Vick will show up. We at least know that he heads into the season feeling fresh.

“I feel good going into this game,” said Vick. “I feel like I’m 100 percent. No nagging injuries. I think I’m fully recovered – two weeks have really helped me get there.  Just ready to go out there and give it everything I’ve got.”

You should also know that…

*Most of the bumps in the road for Vick came outside the division. He was very good against the NFC East, completing 63 percent of his balls for eight touchdowns to three interceptions for a QB rating over 100.

* Want some evidence that Vick forced it way too much last year? Ten of his 14 interceptions came in games decided by seven points or less. He had just a 73.3 QB rating in tight games and a 96 rating in games decided by 8-plus points.

* Vick completed just 52.5 percent of his throws in the red zone and had 13 touchdowns to four picks inside the 20.

* A reminder of how good Foles was this preseason: 40-of-63 for 553 yards, a league-high six touchdowns, two interceptions, 110.1 QB rating.

*Foles went to the same high school as Brees — Westlake High School in Austin, Texas — and broke Brees’ records for passing yards (5,658) and passing TDs (56).

Eagles Offense: How the Pieces Fit

Philadelphia Eagles running back Chris Polk.Here’s a position-by-position analysis of the Eagles’ offense, as the roster currently stands.

Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards.

Going into camp, backup quarterback was one of the biggest concerns on this football team. You know the Vick numbers by now. In 2011, he missed three games completely, failed to finish two more and played injured in a sixth (vs. the Cardinals). The Eagles’ record in those games: 1-5. In the other 10, where Vick played relatively healthy, they were 7-3.

It’s difficult to project how much of Foles’ preseason success will carry over into the regular season. But considering this is still a big-play offense, predicated on hitting DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and others downfield, at least the Eagles now have a backup who can make all those throws. Andy Reid criticized himself last year for being too conservative when Kafka came into the Falcons game. I doubt that’ll be the case with Foles. The rookie will make mistakes, but if the preseason is any indication, he’s going to be aggressive when he gets on the field.

As for Edwards, the Eagles keep a third-stringer with 33 career starts under his belt. Someone who is content with being a third-stringer and helping Vick and Foles in any way he can. Seems like the right move.

Running backs (5): LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili.

The Eagles went heavy here, keeping both seventh-round pick Bryce Brown and undrafted free agent Chris Polk. Polk was on the bubble, but it’s clear that Howie Roseman felt like the running back would get snatched up by another team if the Birds let him go.

Whether Polk is active or not to start the season will depend entirely on his special-teams prowess. And it’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to stick on the 53-man roster all season. The one thing he really has going for him is that Polk brings a different element than the Eagles’ other backs. He’s a bruiser with a versatile skill set and above-average blocking ability.

Lewis will start the season as McCoy’s backup. He’s looked shifty in the screen game and seems comfortable as a blocker. Brown’s role will depend on how he develops, but the rookie looks capable of being a special-teams contributor right away. Havili is the fullback, although there’s still a chance the Eagles could make a move there.

Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson.

One of the themes with the roster is that the Eagles are putting faith in a lot of young players. I wrote about that yesterday when discussing the decision to go with Brandon Boykin over Joselio Hanson. To a lesser degree, that’s the case with Johnson here. Cooper is not expected to be ready in Week 1 as he continues to rehab a fractured collarbone. That means Johnson opens the season as the No. 1 punt returner and the No. 4 wide receiver. That designation could mean only a handful of snaps, but should Jackson or Maclin go down, the rookie will be expected to produce.

If the Eagles see an attractive developmental wide receiver on the waiver wire, they could potentially make a move.

Tight ends (2): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor.

Not a whole lot to say here. The Eagles began training camp showing interest in Visanthe Shiancoe and Jeremy Shockey. They didn’t sign either guy, but if the plan was to light a fire under Harbor, it may have worked. The former fourth-round pick had a tremendous summer and could see an increase in playing from 2011, when he was on the field for 33.6 percent of the snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

Offensive line (8): King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Dennis Kelly, Demetress Bell, Dallas Reynolds.

This is perhaps the thinnest part of the roster. Among the three backups, the Eagles have two players (Kelly and Reynolds) who have never played in an NFL game. And a third (Bell), who they simply cannot trust to be on the field at this point.

The guess here is that the Birds will almost definitely make a move for an offensive lineman, although that doesn’t mean they’ll keep more than eight. If they find a guard/center, Reynolds could be gone.

On gamedays, at least to start the season, Bell will probably be inactive. The key is Kelly. If the Eagles feel the rookie can fill in at tackle and guard, they could go with just one backup offensive lineman on gamedays; they’ve done that in the past.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Confirmed: Edwards Wins Role As No. 3 QB

Birds 24/7 has confirmed that  Trent Edwards has edged out Mike Kafka for the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback job.

The news was first reported by Jeff McLane.

(Update: Kafka has since been released.)

Edwards got to run the show for the majority of the preseason finale against the Jets and again capitalized, going 22-of-32 for 197 yards with two touchdowns.

“I am happy for Trent,” said Andy Reid afterwards. “Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I’m happy for Trent.”

In four preseason games, Edwards racked up 489 passing yards with four touchdown passes and zero turnovers. He was sacked just once. It is a far cry from the beginning of his stint in Philadelphia, where he struggled at times to hit his targets even when there was no defense opposing him in practice. He played the final three quarters against the Jets Thursday and engineered four touchdown drives. It was his final showcase, and it may have helped.

“I want to be here. This is the team I want to play for,” said Edwards. “I’ve been in this guy’s shoes, I’ve been in that guy’s shoes before [signaling to the stalls on either side of him]. I feel like I can help these guys out. I feel a lot more reinvigorated with the place I’m at with football and playing this position.”

Kafka, who entered training camp as the backup to Vick,  played only nine snaps because of a fractured left hand this preseason. According to a source, the Northwestern product was informed Friday morning that this was a possibility, and was disappointed he didn’t get a chance to compete during the preseason.

“It’s tough for any player that doesn’t get to play and compete, and those are the things that I love to do and enjoy doing,” said Kafka following Thursday’s game. “When you can’t really do that, it’s disappointing.”

Edwards’ relationship with Foles may have factored into the decision-making.  The two signal-callers share a similar backstory. Both were highly-acclaimed high school quarterbacks that played behind leaky offensive lines on the collegiate level and went through their share of trials and team disappointment as a result. Edwards, like Foles, was a third-round selection, taken by the Bills in 2007 out of Stanford. He quickly made his way up the depth chart and ended up making nine starts as a rookie because of injury.

The two got to know each other through a mutual friend prior to their time with the Eagles.

“I’ve been in his shoes, I’ve been there before. I know what he’s going through,” said Edwards. “We’ve spent pretty much 24 hours a day together. We’re roommates at the hotel, we’re roommates on the road. I’m just trying to be a positive presence to him and just trying to tell him some things that I went through that might benefit him come game time, and hopefully I’m rubbing off on him a little bit.”

 Follow Tim on Twitter or email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com

Trent Edwards Pleads His Case

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Trent Edwards.Trent Edwards was wide-eyed as he fielded questions at his locker Thursday night. The same emotion that he showed following scoring drives  was written all over his face. It looked like some combination of excitement, hope and desperation.

Edwards got to run the show for the majority of the preseason finale against the Jets and again capitalized, going 22-of-32 for 197 yards with two touchdowns. He is officially in the conversation for the third and final quarterback spot behind Michael Vick and Nick Foles. 

“I am happy for Trent,” said Andy Reid. “Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I’m happy for Trent.”

The “or somewhere else” part of that sentence could be ominous, or it could be that the coach had truly not made up his mind between Edwards and Mike Kafka on the eve of cutdown day. Either way, Edwards made it clear that somewhere else is far from a desirable destination.

“I want to be here. This is the team I want to play for,” said Edwards, growing more animated. “I’ve been in this guy’s shoes, I’ve been in that guy’s shoes before [signaling to the stalls on either side of him]. I feel like I can help these guys out. I feel a lot more reinvigorated with the place I’m at with football and playing this position.”

In four preseason games, Edwards racked up 489 passing yards with four touchdown passes and zero turnovers. He was sacked just once. It is a far cry from the beginning of his stint in Philadelphia, where he struggled at times to hit his targets even when there was no defense opposing him in practice. He played the final three quarters against the Jets Thursday and engineered four touchdown drives. After each one, the 28-year old celebrated like the game had all the meaning in the world.

“I thought he played well, I thought he did a nice job,” said Reid. “So Howie [Roseman] and I go back, we look at it tomorrow, and see what we think.”

The roster must be trimmed to 53 players by 9 p.m. Friday. There is a mandatory barbecue at Jeffrey Lurie‘s house between 12-4. Both Edwards and Kafka plan to attend.

Who will get a seat at the table?

The momentum is on Edwards’ side. He has had the opportunity to showcase himself, whereas Kafka — who came in as the backup to Vick — has played only nine snaps because of a fractured left hand.

“It’s tough for any player that doesn’t get to play and compete, and those are the things that I love to do and enjoy doing,” said Kafka. “When you can’t really do that, it’s disappointing.”

The pecking order coming into training camp was not even questioned, and didn’t even include Edwards. Does it now?

“Those decisions are above my pay grade,” said Edwards. “I want to be here. They know that, I know that and you guys all know that. So we’ll see what happens.”

Eagles 53-Man Roster: The Final Draft

Sorry, Sheil, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You went first, you selected Mat McBriar as your punter, and hours later the news came down that he would be cut.

So I submit my final projections for the Eagles’ 53-man roster at plus-one. And no, I take no shame in gaining an advantage this way. On the line is a night of whiskey drinking on the loser for the victor and a few of his friends. Tell my wife not to wait up Friday night.

Here we go.

Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards.

This is my first time putting Edwards on the team. It was just a couple weeks ago when I never thought it would happen. As I detailed yesterday,  Foles’ rise has shifted the dynamic and the rookie is an important part of this franchise all of a sudden. Edwards, given his similar history and tight relationship with Foles, might just be the answer for the No. 3 spot.

Cut: Mike Kafka

Running backs (5): LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili.

I have been trying to solve this riddle for some time now. Who will go, who will stay, do they need a traditional fullback, etc. In my final analysis, I say they do need a true fullback, so Havili is on. The Eagles seem to like Polk, too, and he’ll get scooped up if cut. So I have decided to keep them all. Chad Hall will be the odd man out as a result. He has some practice squad eligibility remaining anyway, and this is the way to ensure you are keeping the best football players on your team.

Cut: Emil Igwenagu

Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson.

Hall is sacrificed. Marvin McNutt has not earned a spot this  preseason. The first couple weeks of the season could be a little tricky with Cooper still not all the way back from a broken collarbone. But four receivers should be enough for game day, and Johnson needs to be active as the punt returner anyway.

Cut: McNutt, Mardy Gilyard

Tight ends (2): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor.

Nothing has changed here. Let’s move on.

Cut: Brett Brackett, Chase Ford

Offensive linemen (9): King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Demetress Bell, Julian Vandervelde, Dennis Kelly, Steve Vallos.

Remember when I had Dunlap on the verge of being cut? That was fun. Beyond the four starters returning from last season, I can’t speak with any great confidence about any of the other offensive linemen. I do, however, have confidence in Howard Mudd to somehow make it a capable group.

Cut: D.J. Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Brandon Washington.

Defensive linemen (10): Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Derek Landri, Brandon Graham,  Phillip Hunt, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton, Darryl Tapp.

Sheil has all eleven defensive linemen staying, and I can certainly see the logic. In my previous projections I had Tapp being dealt, but Babin’s injury has me rethinking my stance. We have no guarantees that he’ll be ready for the start of the season. And will the calf strain linger? Antonio Dixon doesn’t make it here, which leaves the Eagles with four defensive tackles. If injury strikes, they’ll have to go onto the market for someone else.

Cut: Dixon, Frank Trotter, Ollie Ogbu, Monte Taylor.

Linebackers (6): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Akeem Jordan.

Seems like the group to me. Don’t anticipate any surprise cuts here, but I suppose you never know.

Cut: Keenan Clayton, Adrian Moten, Ryan Rau, Monte Simmons.

Cornerbacks (6): Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Boykin, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Hughes.

A lot of analysts have Hughes being cut, especially those who are trying to get that extra defensive lineman on the roster. Could be. My thinking is that leaving Marsh as the lone option for when Asomugha moves inside might be asking for trouble. Ten defensive linemen is plenty. This is an important position as well. There’s no need for unnecessary risk.

Cut:  Trevard Lindley.

Safeties (4): Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Jaiquawn Jarrett.

In all honesty, this is not the four safeties I see being on the opening-day roster. There is just too much uncertainty, especially now that Allen has had two different injuries to the same hamstring this summer. Atogwe, Jarrett, or both may be gone, but it’s tough to say who Howie Roseman will find to take the vacated spot(s).

Cut: Phillip Thomas

Specialists (3): Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos.

You know, I’ve really been thinking about this, and I have a hunch Henry is going to surprise a lot of people and beat out McBriar. Call me crazy, Kapadia.

Cut: McBriar

Follow Tim on Twitter and e-mail him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com

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