The final NFL exhibition game might be meaningless to fans and many veterans who are being rested, but to rookies such as Cleveland running back Miguel Maysonet and Philadelphia offensive tackle Michael Bamiro, it represents the best shot for the two former Stony Brook players to make the 53-man regular-season roster.
Maysonet did not play last week but figures to get ample opportunity to prove himself in a reserve role against the Bears Thursday night in Chicago. There's a good chance Bamiro will start at right tackle for the Eagles against the Jets Thurday night at MetLife Stadium.
Injuries that put veteran Browns running backs Dion Lewis and Montario Hardesty on injured reserve for the season have created an opening for Maysonet, who is one of five running backs left on the 75-man roster. Trent Richardson is the starter, and Chris Ogbannaya plays fullback. That leaves veteran Brandon Jackson, Maysonet and rookie Jamaine Cook competing for likely two backup spots.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Jackson will start Thursday night, and he added that he's looking for someone who can rotate with Richardson to keep him fresh. "I'm looking forward to seeing how Brandon runs the ball," Chudzinski said, "and then some of the other young guys who will have the chance to do it, as well."
Jackson has 38 yards rushing on 23 carries for a 1.7 average gain in the preseason. Maysonet has gained 30 yards on 13 carries for a 2.3 average. Chudzinski attributed Jackson's low numbers to blocking that "hasn't been there," and the same could be said for Maysonet.
Bamiro has positioned himself to make the Eagles despite only signing in June after learning his eligibility at Stony Brook had been used up. He now is the second-string right tackle behind No. 1 draft pick Lane Johnson and figures to start because Eagles coach Chip Kelly plans to rest his entire first-team offensive line against the Jets.