When Steven Means wakes up on Friday morning, he’s going to turn the ringer volume all the way up on his cell phone and go about his normal daily routine.
No worries. No regrets.
“That’s probably the biggest thing,” Means said at his corner stall in the Eagles’ locker room at the Linc on Thursday night after the team’s 14-6 win in the preseason finale (see Instant Replay). “I can look in the mirror and smile at myself and say I left it all out there. Let God take it from there.”
The Eagles’ defensive end, who has been pushing hard for a spot from the bubble, claims he’s not worried about making the roster. Means has been shining all offseason for the Eagles.
The team must be down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Saturday, and Means has definitely put himself squarely in the conversation (see 10 observations).
“No worries,” Means said. “I leave it all in God’s hands, so my faith is high and my worries are low. I’m not worried about nothing. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’ll let the pieces lay where they fall.”
In four preseason games, Means had two sacks, four quarterback hits, a forced fumble, a pass defensed and was a constant force on the line, creating havoc for the last month.
When asked if there’s anything more he could have done this preseason, Means mentioned there were a few plays in which he should have gotten his hands up to deflect a pass instead of going for a hit.
But really, that’s just nitpicking. Means has done everything he possibly could to earn a roster spot.
“I'll tell you what, he's a kid that's improved every single day,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “I think he's a hard worker. He comes to practice every day, he's ready to work. He's had a great camp. He finished tonight well, and again he's one of those decisions that makes it tough on us as coaches. He's a solid player, a good young player for us, and again it's gonna come down to the evaluation process the next couple of days and just see how it shakes out.”
Throughout training camp and the preseason games, it has looked like Means’ biggest competition on the roster is his fellow second-team end partner Marcus Smith. The former first-round pick played just a couple series on Thursday night and had two tackles for loss.
Smith clearly expects to be on the roster when the Eagles kick off the regular season in 10 days against the Browns at the Linc.
“Yeah, I feel good about my status,” Smith said. “I think I’ve done what I was supposed to do. I’m not really worried about anything. I’m just ready to move on to the next game.”
Pederson didn’t declare that Smith has a roster spot, but said the defensive end is a key special teams contributor and Smith put himself in “a good position” to make the team.
It seems like Means has put himself in a good position too.
The Bucs selected Means in the fifth round in the 2013 draft, and he spent his first two seasons in Tampa Bay before landing on the Houston Texans’ practice squad last season. The Eagles signed him off that practice squad in December. Means made it through the coaching switch and a scheme change and might just stick.
Means, 26, said he made a concerted effort to have more fun this season because he knew it might be his final chance to keep his career going. He said this is the most fun he’s had playing football since his senior year of college at Buffalo.
“I just said if I go out, I’m going to go out with a bang and I’m going to go out having fun,” he said. “I don’t worry about all the stress of it.”
That’s how he’ll be able to leave his phone on loud Friday and wait for the news — good or bad — to come his way.