Cherry, others to make final roster push against Jets
Eight is a crowd at linebacker, especially for a team like the Eagles, who are likely to keep only six on the roster entering the regular season.
Ten is ridiculous, which is the deal now as the Eagles just added Christian Tago and Carlton Fields.
With the starters getting the night off, Villanova product Don Cherry will have no problem getting snaps at linebacker in the fourth and final preseason game when the Eagles oppose the New York Jets Thursday at MetLife Stadium (7, Channel 10, WIP 94.1-FM).
For Cherry, who plays strong side and middle linebacker, it was going to be a battle no matter how many linebackers were on the Philly roster.
“Obviously for guys like me and the guys at my position it’s a huge week for us,” Cherry said. “It’s a big chance to get a lot of things on film defensively and on special teams. You just try to prepare as best you can especially from the conditioning aspect because you’re playing the whole game.”
In addition to linebacker, the Eagles have talented surpluses on the offensive line, wide receiver, running back and tight end.
Dallas Thomas, Josh Andrews and Taylor Hart are bidding for jobs on the offensive line.
At running back, Byron Marshall and rookie Corey Clement are trying to bump rookie fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey.
Bryce Treggs and rookie Greg Ward are attempting to open eyes at wide receiver.
On the bubble at tight end are Billy Brown, Anthony Denham and Adam Zaruba.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, offensive mind that he is, sounds most interested in the running back competition.
“Corey, I’ll tell you, has come in here with a great attitude,” Pederson said. “From day one when we got him after the draft, from that all the way through training camp he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and probably even more. He’s definitely caught our attention. Pumphrey is in it. As I mentioned the other day, he’s right where he needs to be from the standpoint of what we’re asking him to do. Byron Marshall is another one that’s familiar with our offense. He had a chance to play late in the season last year and did some nice things in the last couple of games. He’s another one that’s competing as well for a roster spot.
“It will be interesting to watch those guys Thursday night and to see how well they do.”
Cherry produced one of his best plays of the preseason in the Eagles’ win over the Dolphins last week. Cherry made one of three Eagles interceptions in the game. The 42-yard return to the five-yard line set up Matt McGloin’s oneyard scoring pass to Marcus Johnson.
“I had a good play,” Cherry said. “But obviously there were some things I need to improve on.”
Cherry signed with the Eagles after the 2016 draft following a stint with the Bears. The two-time AllAmerican at Villanova collected 331 tackles, including 46 1/2 for loss and 14 sacks. He also forced seven fumbles and recovered two fumbles.
To quell any late night insomnia, Cherry chats with Wildcats teammate Austin Calitro, who’s with the 49ers.
“I’ve been talking to him probably three, four times a week,” Cherry said. “He’s going through the same grind I am, going through the undrafted free agent route. It’s mainly to check in on each other and just try to keep each other’s morale up.”
Cherry spent last year on the Eagles’ practice squad. If he doesn’t make the 53man roster, it could be an option again. If, of course, he isn’t claimed beforehand. Rosters must be pared from 90 to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday.
••• Newly acquired cornerback Dexter McDougle clocked a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day at Maryland in the spring of 2014.
McDougle then was taken off the board by the Jets in the third round of the draft, which makes the game Thursday strange. No, fun.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” said McDougle, who was acquired for safety Terrence Brooks. “It’s going to be fun seeing the guys again. I just have to go out there and do my job, not make it bigger than what it is. Obviously (the Eagles have) seen my previous preseason games already so this is another opportunity to showcase what I can do.”
McDougle went to the same high school and college as Eagles receiver Torrey Smith, who he considers “an older brother type of guy.
“It’s cool to be on the same team with him again,” McDougle said.
••• NOTES: The Eagles announced they will induct kicker David Akers into their hall of fame at their Oct. 23rd game at the Linc versus the Redskins ... Birds pass rusher Steven Means signed a one-year contract extension through 2018, per the club ... Tago (6-0, 237) is a product of San Jose State who was cut by the Falcons. Fields (6-1, 238) starred at Division II Winston Salem before spending time with several teams after signing with the Raiders in 2014. Most recently Fields was with the Chargers. To make room on the roster the Eagles released cornerbacks Ron Brooks and Mitchell White. Brooks made a valiant effort to come back from major knee surgery but fell behind Patrick Robinson at slot corner.