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Preseason 4: Your Last Chance To See Josh Gaines In Action

Sep 3, 2009, 11:52 AM EDT

Goodluck Perhaps the most provocative preseason in Eagles history is finally coming to a close, and it could not come soon enough.  The 24/7 Vickathon ramped up enthusiasm at a time of year when there generally isn't so much, and it changed the majority of discussions from "Is Matt Schobel really gonna make this team again?" to "When will Vick play, how much will he play, and when will he take over for Donovan?"

Frankly, we don't care anymore.  This story has been beaten over our heads to the point where the hype will never match the production almost no matter what he does.  Right now, we just want a real football game, which is making this last exhibition match so much more difficult to care about than usual.  The main starters never play anyway, but who lands the 53rd roster spot seems to matter less than normal.

We'll still watch, because it's football and it's the Eagles, just not with our eyes trained as sharply as the last three.  There are still a few players of interest though, Vick obviously being one of them.  The Wildcat might be cool, but it's time to see where he is at playing quarterback.  There's no doubt he can still throw a football.  Can he run an offense though?

Of course, he couldn't really run an offense before he was out of the league for two years.  That aside: can he move a team down the field?  And we don't mean by running the ball.  As long as his body holds up, that is always going to be part of his game.  If he's going to be successful though, he'll need to be a quarterback sometimes.  He doesn't need to be amazing his first time out.  Just show a basic understanding of the offense and most people will be happy.

- Kevin Kolb needs this game to instill some confidence, as much as beating on second stringers can do that.  The last few times out have not been good.  Baltimore we're willing to chalk up to poor timing.  Cleveland was a fluke.  (Don't wanna hear it, his arm was hit on that INT.)  Last week against the Jags reserves though, that was ugly at times.

It's hardly fair to judge a player, a quarterback in particular, on such limited/meaningless situations, yet that's all we have.  Not implying he's still not the best option to backup McNabb, but what does a lousy or even average performance tonight mean?

- Joe Mays starts tonight at MLB, and while it might be too late for him to reclaim the starting job, maybe being relieved of that pressure brings back the player we saw last preseason.  Mays has been tentative at times, compared to ultra-aggressive a year ago, and there are some questions whether he was getting the plays in to the defense and having guys lined up correctly.

- The other interesting development on the defense is at free safety, where Quintin Demps has not locked down the free safety job.  The battle is presumably between Demps and Sean Jones, neither of whom have been particularly impressive in preseason, but Macho Harris has also been getting a look with the first team.

What are the chances a rookie like Harris can win the job?  Maybe not as much of a long shot as you might think.  He's a converted corner from the ACC, so he has a little more of a pedigree than Demps and probably better coverage skills than Jones.  He's also a big hitter, Jones' forte, and almost certainly a surer tackler than Demps.  Teams have gone with rookie safeties before.  While it's not as likely here, don't rule it out completely as Macho has looked solid.

- Can the Ducks upset Boise St. and end their 49-game home winning streak?  Who cares, it's a football game that actually means something.