Aug 30, 2013, 7:00 AM EST
The Eagles have seven cornerbacks on their roster (for now). Two of them – Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher – didn’t play at MetLife Stadium on Thursday because they’re starters. Two more – Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh – were unavailable due to injury. That left Brandon Boykin, Trevard Lindley, and Jordan Poyer to handle 60 minutes worth of cornerbacking in a preseason game against the Jets.
Now I know what you’re thinking: good thing it’s the Jets, am I right? Problem is Phil Simms’ son – no, not Chris; Phil has a younger son apparently – and fourth-string quarterback Matt Simms may have outperformed any other Jets quarterback all summer. A Simms was under center for the entirety of New York’s 27-20 victory over the Birds, completing 33-of-44 passes for 285 yards, and leading an offense that converted 9-of-19 third or fourth downs in the process.
So getting back on track, Boykin, Lindley and Poyer weren’t enough to get through four quarters of football, and that was before Lindley left the game with a sprained ankle. Somebody else had to fill in at corner, which lo and behold was safety Kurt Coleman. The oft-criticized defensive back wasn’t the disaster you might expect, either. Coleman wasn’t quite as good as he was feisty… but he wasn’t bad, either. He almost intercepted a pass!
Jets head coach Rex Ryan made it no secret that he took notice of the fourth-year veteran’s gritty effort. Coleman’s footsteps helped break up one potential reception on a short hitch, a play that caught the attention of Ryan on the sidelines. The player and coach exchanged words, and then I kid you not, the two of them shared a low five/handshake thing. Sorry, this was the best I could do screen grab-wise:
Reuben Frank spoke to Coleman about the chirping (and playing corner, I guess) after the contest:
“It was fun,” he said. “It was a new experience. Almost had a pick. But it was a fun time out there. Talking with Rex [Ryan] out there on the sideline.”
Listening to Kurt review his own performance might be the best of all. Even watching live you may have been able to tell he appeared especially concerned with giving up the deep ball initially, but seemed to get more comfortable in the role as the game wore on.
Not that it matters a ton. Coleman’s ability to play corner in preseason game four is nice, but it won’t have any bearing on whether or not Chip Kelly decides to carry him on the roster, contrary to some opinions. No, it won’t hurt, but the fact that Coleman is undoubtedly the Eagles’ most reliable backup safety while also contributing on an improved special teams unit is probably a bigger sell.
If not, it sure looks like the Jets would be happy to have him. Coleman finished the game with nine total tackles and a pass defended. Also, fairly certain Rex slipped him a business card back there.
Whatever happens, this was one of the more fun and memorable veteran performances I can ever remember seeing in a Week 4 exhibition game. As a matter of fact, the entire affair was surprisingly entertaining for 60 minutes all-around as preseason goes. Now bring on the real thing already.
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