Going into the third week of the NFL preseason, some specific storylines were glaring when looking over the Philadelphia Eagles roster. From Josh McCown’s return to football, to the RB4 battle and ‘secondary squabble’, there was plenty to keep an eye on.
It is a shame that the lightning cut the game short on Thursday because I like watching depth players show what they have and how they progress in a few weeks of preseason. However, for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens, no players were hurt, so that is a blessing. Kudos to the Ravens on defense for weeding out the weaknesses of the Eagles offense early on. Patrick Onwuasor and Brandon Carr both got in on a shared sack on Cody Kessler on 4th and 3 in the first quarter. On offense, Trace McSorely threw two touchdowns and rushed for one more. For a quarterback that seemed to have a tough time at the joint practices, he found a way to be the player of the game in week 3 of the preseason.
Soon after Clayton Thorson stepped onto the field for his time of the night against the Baltimore Ravens, the game was terminated due to the weather and lightning. As a precaution to the fans in attendance, teams, and staff, the game was called just before things could get started in the fourth quarter. The Ravens would defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in this shortened game, 26-15. Somehow, that wasn’t the strangest preseason game this week. See the Oakland Raiders versus Green Bay Packers, who played their preseason game on an eighty-yard field.
Anyway, here are how three of the biggest storylines have evolved since before the opening kickoff of Thursday night’s game.
Eagles QBs: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld, Josh McCown, Clayton Thorson
Okay, so let’s get this out of the way real quick. Josh McCown will be the second-string quarterback to Carson Wentz for the time being. I understand that. You understand that. However, do not think that he is a lock for QB2 after Nate Sudfeld returns around week three of the regular season and is healthy. The Philadelphia Eagles will carry three quarterbacks on the main roster with one on the practice squad. Clayton Thorson will be the practice squad quarterback here.
Last night, against the Baltimore Ravens, Cody Kessler got the start before Josh McCown. It caught me by surprise a little bit because no one considered starting Kessler over McCown, even if McCown was just signed to the Philadelphia Eagles this week. McCown had some rust he had to knock off and he probably didn’t even know the names of the people in his huddle, but he showed that he was able to make plays when Kessler couldn’t. Coming off of a concussion in the second week of the preseason, Clayton Thorson took the reigns in a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars rather than Kessler. After Kessler’s performance against the Baltimore Ravens, that may have put the writing on the wall about his stay in Philadelphia:
That’s not to say that Josh McCown was perfect last night. However, in comparison, Cody Kessler couldn’t hang. McCown completed 17 of 24 passes for one hundred and ninety-two yards and two touchdowns, including this one to Alex Ellis:
Eagles RBs: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement
This has easily been the toughest judgment call to sort out so far. Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are having a duel for the top spot, which is something I love to see. Howard may be one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL. The fact that Sanders is already giving him a run for his money to see playing time come week one of the regular season is music to my ears. Darren Sproles proved it last year when he played that he can still be very productive and cause concern for opposing defenses. The real question comes down to who will hold down the final running back roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Corey Clement is a favorite because he is a true dual threat. He proved in 2017 with Carson Wentz that he is good to catch the ball downfield or out of the backfield and make space ahead of him. However, Josh Adams was the Philadelphia Eagles leading rusher last season. However, he is not as good out of the backfield in passing scenarios. Josh McCown threw a bullet of a pass to Adams that could have been a touchdown but was ultimately dropped. It doesn’t help.
The two other running backs that were in the picture were Boston Scott and Wendell Smallwood. Scott would likely have seen playing time before the game was terminated last night. Same with Smallwood. However, the last preseason game against the New York Jets is going to have to be a coming-out party for Smallwood and Scott if they want to prove they have a shot to make the roster.
This play here is one of a few examples as to why I think Corey Clement is the most complete running back to be battling for the fourth spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster:
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Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.