Richard Rodgers, Jordan Kunaszyk Begin Bids to Make NFL Rosters
Updated: Aug 16, 2021
Both former Cal stars were in action in Thursday's preseason games and held their own
JAKE CURTIS AUG 13, 2021
The Eagles are currently carrying seven tight ends, and they are set with their top two tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Geodert.
Rodgers must hope the Eagles carry three tight ends, as they did last season. The battle for the third tight end spot seems to be between Rodgers and Tyree Jackson, a 6-foot-7, converted quarterback who has been wowing people in preseason practice. The 29-year-old Rodgers provides experience, but the 23-year-old Jackson is loaded with potential.
In the Eagles’ 24-16 preseason-game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Jackson and Rodgers had similar statistics.
Jackson was on the field for 19 plays, was targeted five times and had two receptions for 32 yards.
Rodgers participated in just 12 plays, was targeted twice and made catches on both targets for 18 yards.
Joe Flacco, not starter Jalen Hurts, was the quarterback for all four receptions by Jackson and Rodgers.
Jackson and Rodgers were on the field together at times Thursday, and Rodgers made a tackle after Nick Mullens threw and interception on a pass that was intended for Jackson.
How Rodgers and Jackson did in terms of blocking is difficult to measure, but blocking has never been Rodgers’ strength.
Rodgers had a pretty good season for the Philadelphia Eagles last year, playing in 14 games, including four starts, and caught 24 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Injuries to Ertz and Goedert made Rodgers' presence valuable. He was re-signed by the Eagles during the offseason, but he has a challenge on his hands to make this year’s regular-season squad.
The biggest obstacle is Jackson, a 6-foot-7, 240-pounder who runs a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash and this season is trying to make it as a tight end after being unable to make NFL rosters as a quarterback the past two seasons.
Meanwhile, Kunaszyk needs to impress former Cal linebacker Ron Rivera, who is the Washington Football Team’s head coach.
Kunaszyk, who played the 2019 season with the Carolina Panthers after signing as an undrafted free agent, was released by the Panthers before the start of the 2020 season. He was signed to Washington's practice squad in late September and appeared in six regular-season games, all on special teams, for Washington last season.
In Washington’s 22-13, preseason loss to the Patriots on Thursday, Kunaszyk got a chance to play on defense. He was on the field for 19 defensive plays and recorded two tackles, including one solo stop. He had a third tackle erased by a penalty. Kunaszyk also participated in six special teams plays and made one tackle while covering a punt.
For Kunaszyk to make the 53-man roster, he will have to show that he can be factor on special teams.
Washington plays a 4-3 defense and Kunaszyk is listed as a third-team outside linebacker. The team kept only six linebackers for three linebacker positions to open the 2020 season.
Kunaszyk is considered a long shot to make the 53-man roster at this point.
Originally appeared on https://www.si.com/college/cal/news/thursday-preseason-games-rodgers