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on August 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM, updated August 28, 2014 at 8:30 AM
The Jets play their fourth and final preseason game tonight, at the Eagles.
If you like watching the Jets' stars, this game is not for you. Starters don't play in the final preseason game. So you won't see quarterback Geno Smith or running back Chris Johnson or wide receiver Eric Decker or even cornerback Darrin Walls, who might just start in Week 1 because of widespread attrition in the defensive backfield.
But there are a few other angles worth paying attention to in this game, as guys on the fringe of making the final roster get their last audition for the coaches and general manager John Idzik, before Saturday evening's deadline to trim the roster from 75 to 53.
Here is a look at three positions (and the individuals at those positions) we will be watching this evening in Philadelphia:
Back in 2012, the Jets had high hopes for Stephen Hill. They drafted him in the second round, and passed on Alshon Jeffery to get him. That was the wrong decision, as it turned out. Jeffery enters this season as a Pro Bowler. Hill might not even make it to Week 1 in a Jets uniform. Four receivers seem like locks to make the final, 53-man roster: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson and Jalen Saunders. The Jets will keep five or six receivers, probably. Hill is competing for the final one or two spots with Greg Salas and Saalim Hakim, who both contribute on special teams, unlike Hill. Tonight could be the end of Hill’s disappointing tenure with the Jets.
The following players could all be competing for the final cornerback spot: Jeremy Reeves, Johnny Patrick, LeQuan Lewis and rookie Brandon Dixon. Lewis has played for nine teams (including one in the CFL) since going undrafted in 2011. The Jets picked him up earlier this month. He has looked solid at times. With uncertainty about the status of Dimitri Patterson, who is eligible to return from suspension Monday, the Jets need to establish some semblance of depth at corner. Moreover, Dee Milliner (high ankle sprain) might not be able to play in the opener. Can any of the healthy players out there tonight show some potential?
The Jets’ top three running backs have long been set: Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. The battle for the fourth spot – presuming the Jets keep four backs – has come down to Daryl Richardson and Alex Green. In last Friday’s third preseason game, against the Giants, the Jets gave Richardson more action. He had five carries for 18 yards, while Green had just one carry for 2 yards. They will both play tonight. One is likely to be retained, while the other is cut. This is not high-stakes stuff – unless you are the two guys fighting for a job, of course.