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For bubble players, preseason finale may be too late

PHILADELPHIA -- With the final roster cuts due Saturday afternoon, it is common to think of Thursday’s preseason game as the final opportunity for players on the bubble to make their case.

The truth is, it may already be too late.

The Eagles announced 12 roster cuts on Sunday, about 12 hours after the team’s preseason game in Green Bay. Those cuts aren’t due until Tuesday at 4 p.m., but it is clear Chip Kelly and his staff had a pretty good idea what they were doing before Saturday’s game.

Four of the 12 players released did not play in Green Bay: safety Brandan Bishop and offensive linemen Jared Wheeler, Mike Coccia and Kevin Graf. Tight end Justin Tukes played exactly one play.

The other seven saw only minimal action. Defensive end Alfy Hill played the most – nine defensive plays. Wide receiver Josh Reese was on the field for seven plays. Jeremy Towns, Marc Anthony and Mike Johnson played six downs each. Dasman McCullum played five.

G.J. Kinne, the quarterback-turned-wide-receiver, was on the field for four offensive plays.

That was it. Instead of getting a last opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a roster spot, those players were spared the risk of injury. While they could have been waived with an injury settlement, it is neater and easier for the team to release players who are healthy.

On Thursday night, some players will get their last chance to sway Kelly and the coaching staff. The competition for third-team quarterback between Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley will likely be decided by their performance against the Jets. But other players will not be exposed to the risk of injury.

For them, the competition is over.