,PHILADELPHIA -- Call him Klecko, Glecko or whatever you like.
Just call Dan Klecko an Eagle.
It's one of the easiest decisions the Eagles must make as they prepare to make massive cuts this Saturday.
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson inadvertently brought extra attention to Klecko Monday when asked for the fourth defensive tackle on an Eagles line in flux due to injury.
Sounding like an older teacher messing up the roll call, Johnson replied, "Oh, a guy by the name of Glecko.
"He looks pretty good to me right now," Johnson said. "He had a good game the other night and he's had a great camp."
By any name, Klecko has made good on his vow to do whatever it takes to make the team.
Switching from fullback to defense a month before training camp was a lot more challenging than being respectful when a wise old coach mispronounces your name.
"Hey, Jim can call me whatever he wants," Klecko said. "He's the boss. That's OK."
While some players might run with the coach's endorsement, the 5-11, 275-pound Klecko has switched lockers too many times in his limited time with the Eagles to stop fighting for a roster spot.
"I guess you've really got to go through it to really see what it is," Klecko said. "It's tough. You've just got to keep your head down and look up at the end of it all and hope you're still here. It's always nice to hear things but it doesn't mean anything. I've just got to do this last game, keep fighting and do what I did to get myself here."
Klecko is getting more and more practice repetitions in the nickel defense coming off his last game. More means less for veteran Darren Howard in the ever-evolving what-have-you-done-lately Eagles rotation.
The preseason finale is Thursday against the New York Jets. It's the last audition for a contingent of hopefuls as the Eagles will have to cut 22 players to reach the 53-man limit by 4 p.m. Saturday.
Klecko has opened the eyes of Johnson in three preseason games, using the quickness and savvy his father described in detail during a visit to training camp earlier this month at Lehigh University.
"The biggest thing he has is he really has is quickness," Johnson said. "I'm not quite as surprised after being around him a little bit. He's a tough guy, he's a good competitor and he loves to play."
The decisions at defensive end aren't nearly as easy for the Eagles might have to keep six at the position instead of the usual five while Victor Abiamiri recovers from wrist surgery.
"It's been a little bit over a month," Johnson said of Abiamiri. "They took the cast off and they are happy with it so far but don't want to rush it. From what I understand he is ahead of schedule."
Trent Cole and Juqua Parker are the starters but it's not quite so obvious after that. Though Howard and Chris Clemons are the backups, Clemons missed another practice with a calf injury after returning to work the previous day and might not play Thursday.
"We have a lot of confidence and that's why we brought him in," Johnson said. "We know he's a pass rusher. We aren't going to quit on him. It's just important for him to be out there."
Johnson called the Jets contest "a big game" for Clemons, McDougle and rookie third-round pick Bryan Smith.
Johnson also indicated it would be huge for rookie linebackers Joe Mays and Andy Studebaker, both sixth-round draft picks, and linebackers Rocky Boiman and Justin Roland, the latter a rookie.
"Those are the guys who have to show us they can make the team," Johnson said.
Mays looks like the frontrunner.
Cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Therrian Fontenot need to help themselves in the last preseason game as the Birds might keep five safeties and four corners. Safeties J.R. Reed and Sean Considine likewise can help their causes.