If you’ve been following along with practice observations or live tweets from Eagles training camp, then you’ve already seen it’s been an inauspicious start for rookie fifth-round quarterback Clayton Thorson.
While working with the third-team offense in the first six days of camp, he’s made several throws that stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Suffice to say, the buzz around Thorson hasn’t been good.
The good news is he’s not dwelling on it.
“You can’t pay attention to some of it,” Thorson said. “If you’re sitting out there Googling yourself, there’s an issue and you’re going to fall at some point.”
It would probably be unfair to expect a lot from Thorson in his first week of training camp. While Thorson claims he isn’t overwhelmed, this can be an overwhelming experience for a rookie QB as they make the jump from college to the pros.
“I think I’m learning a lot,” Thorson said. “I think I can play better, sure. I’m just trying to get better each day and go from day to day and just control what I can.”
Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh identified a few of the biggest hurdles a rookie QB faces when making the jump. He explained that the QB isn’t just responsible for his assignment, but must also “direct traffic” for his teammates, be able to get the play call out and then be able to read the defense.
Groh seems impressed by Thorson’s grasp of the offense, something a few of his teammates echoed. And Groh called him “demonstrative” in the huddle and likes his poise at the line of scrimmage. One thing he needs to work on is getting comfortable with his reads.
“What happens when No. 1 and No. 2 is not there?” Groh said. “Where's No. 3? Or I skip from 1 to 3 knowing exactly where that guy is and how my feet are coordinated with the throw and all those things that just take a little bit of time.”
Thorson has a strong arm. He got off to a hot start at OTAs and then cooled off. At training camp, he began getting the first crack at third-team reps but in recent days veteran Cody Kessler has been ahead of him.
The Eagles used a fifth-round pick on Thorson, but there’s no guarantee he’ll have a roster spot. There are a couple differing viewpoints on this. Some folks think the Eagles drafted Thorson and it would be silly to expose him to waivers. But the thought of getting him to the practice squad, where he wouldn’t be wasting a roster spot is probably appealing too. And if the Eagles expose him to waivers, how likely is it that another team would be willing to use a roster spot on a fifth-round QB that doesn’t know its system?
Those are all things the Eagles will need to figure out as training camp and then the preseason games play out.
Thorson just has to focus on getting better. That’s a process that picks up immediately after every single one of those wild throws that have been getting buzz for the wrong reasons.
“Just focus on the next play,” he said. “Coach has been saying, ‘Get better from each rep.’ So you have to learn from it or you’re going to let it take you down and you can’t do that. So you just gotta keep moving forward. There’s a lot of plays in a practice, a lot of plays in a game. Just gotta keep moving forward.”
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