PHILADELPHIA - Eagles backup quarterback Dennis Dixon doesn't need to see the depth chart to be able to read between the lines.

When the Eagles began to reduce their roster on Tuesday - teams must be at 75 players by 4 p.m. that day - both Dixon and fellow quarterback G.J. Kinne likely will be cleaning out their lockers.

"I'm trying not to worry about that stuff," Dixon said. "I'm focusing on doing what I can control to 100 percent of my ability. I have no idea what's going to happen. All I can do now is just pray and hope."

NFL teams routinely keep only three quarterbacks on their 53-man regular-season roster. Dixon and Kinne are the fourth and fifth quarterbacks on the Eagles behind Michael Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley.

They may have already played their final game for the team. Coach Chip Kelly announced Thursday that there is a good chance that only Vick and Foles will see action in Saturday's preseason game at Jacksonville.

Vick, who won the starting job for the regular season, will play at least the first half against the Jaguars, then Foles will take over. Barkley, the Eagles' fourth-round draft pick, will only get a series or two, if any.

"We'll try to get Matt in there if we can," Kelly said. "Nick needs a ton of work. The one thing about Nick, and it's really a credit to him, is that you almost forget being around him that he's just a second-year player. He needs as many snaps as he can get, too."

Barkley wasn't expecting to be the third-string quarterback at the start of training camp.

When Kelly proclaimed that the quarterback race would be an "open competition," he thought he would be given the opportunity to challenge Vick and Foles for the top spot.

But it didn't happen. Barkley took only a few reps with the starters in practice and appeared strictly with the backups in the first two preseason games. He completed 19-of-36 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

His statistics may have been better had he been surrounded by better talent. Receivers dropped a few passes and penalties erased some other big gains.

"If you locate the football and the receiver drops it, that's not your fault," Kelly said. "I'm excited about Matt. I think he's got a bright, bright future in this league."

His season will begin on the sideline, a spot he's not used to occupying.

The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder was a four-year starter at both Mater Dei High School, in Santa Ana, Calif., and at the University of Southern California.

"I thought I put my best foot forward and did what I could with the reps I was given," Barkley said. "I support Coach Kelly's decision (to name Vick the starter). I trust his judgment. I'm going to keep working and hopefully help this team in whatever way I can. I'm always going to be prepared because you never know when your number is going to be called."

Dixon's jersey No. 3 wasn't called much during training camp or the preseason.

The fifth-year NFL veteran appeared in three total series against New England and Carolina, completing 10 of 16 passes for 61 yards with no TDs or interceptions while rushing for 35 yards on six carries.

The 28-year-old was a backup for four seasons in Pittsburgh and appeared to be on the rise when he replaced injured Ben Roethlisberger in 2010 and guided the team to two victories before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

After spending last season on Baltimore's practice squad, he happily signed with the Eagles in February in hopes of rejuvenating his NFL career under Kelly, who was his offensive coordinator when Dixon was playing for the University of Oregon.

Two months later, Kelly drafted Barkley.

"I signed with the Eagles because obviously I had experience with the way Chip Kelly runs his offense," Dixon said. "I wasn't expecting the Eagles to draft a quarterback, but there's nothing I can do about that now. One thing I've learned in this league is things change and you have to be able to adapt."

Extra points: The Eagles announced Thursday that former offensive tackle Tra Thomas has been hired as an offensive assistant coach. Thomas, who starred for the Eagles from 1998-2008, served as a coaching intern with the Eagles during training camp. He joins running backs coach Duce Staley as former players who are now assistant coaches with the team.

"Tra has been outstanding," Kelly said. "He was here all through camp, extremely dedicated, one of the all-time great Eagles and he can use that experience to relate to the offensive linemen. It was kind of a no-brainer for us to make sure we could keep him here through the season."

Thomas also runs the 7 Deuce Sports training facility in Medford. His clients include Jack Crawford, a Longport resident and St. Augustine Prep graduate who is in his second season as a defensive end for the Oakland Raiders.

Contact David Weinberg:

609-272-7186