Eagles

Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Steelers preseason game

Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Steelers preseason game

BOX SCORE

With Nick Foles and Carson Wentz watching on, the Eagles played their first game at Lincoln Financial Field since the NFC Championship Game.

This one wasn’t as fun.

Anyway, the Eagles’ first-team defense dominated, Dallas Goedert looked like a stud and Nate Sudfeld threw two touchdown passes, but the Eagles still lost Thursday, 31-14, to the Steelers at the Linc (see observations).

Not that the score matters any. Here are some things that matter more:

The Sudfeld Show
Good and bad from Sudfeld, which is kind of what we’ve seen all camp from him. A little too much inconsistency. He had a couple picks, although one looked like Bryce Treggs deserved the blame. And there are times he simply has to learn to get rid of the ball.

But he does that stuff and then tosses an absolute dime of a deep ball to Shelton Gibson for a long touchdown. Or he rolls right and fires in a touchdown pass to Goedert. The tools are there. And it's easy to see why the Eagles think so much of him. 

Sudfeld completed 10 of 14 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He played the entire first half before Joe Callahan took over.

Goedert looks good
There were a couple little hiccups along the way, but rookie tight end Goedert looks good. He had an uncharacteristic drop and missed a blocking assignment in the first half, but more than made up for it. He caught a touchdown pass in the first half, something we should get used to. He seems to have a knack for making plays in the red zone.

He finished with four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Solid NFL debut.

Dominating D
The Eagles’ first-team defense didn’t play long, but it was dominant. The unit got two sacks — one from Fletcher Cox, one from Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham. The group gave up just two yards on six plays.

The next drive, the second-team defense gave up 88 yards on four plays. The big one came when Landry Jones hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 71-yarder down the sideline. Rasul Douglas was in good position but didn’t get a good jump on the ball.

Up and down for Douglas
Douglas redeemed himself later, with a great read and interception late in the second quarter. Just got a great jump and got a pick.

But then a little bit later, he gave up a touchdown to Damoun Patterson on a brilliant throw from Josh Dobbs. The throw was great, but it’s still Douglas’ man.

A scary moment
With just under seven minutes left in the second quarter, there was a scary moment when Nate Gerry ran into Sidney Jones while trying to make a tackle. Jones had trouble getting up before making his way off the field and to the trainer’s table. Jones got his left foot checked out before getting it re-taped and rejoining his teammates on the sideline. He didn’t return, but that was probably just a precaution. Phew.

Speed kills
Gibson simply beat his man on that 63-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He showed his ability to separate from a corner. Gibson was so bad last year, but made the team after being a fifth-round draft pick. That patience is paying off. It seems like he’s going to earn his spot on the team this year.

Crazy defensive line
On third downs, we saw Chris Long, Michael Bennett, Cox and Derek Barnett on the field together. That’s scary. And they will eventually get Brandon Graham back. On one particular play, Cox simply walked back his interior lineman. Unfair.

New helmet rule
We saw our first lowering the helmet call and it was probably a pretty fair one. Jones came in when a Steeler was already wrapped up and lowered his helmet to tackle him. Flag immediately. It extended a touchdown drive for the Steelers. Richard Rodgers was called for one that crushed the Eagles on a crazy long punt. The Eagles have to be aware of this new rule.

WOAHHHH
Honest to God, the most amazing thing I saw all night was Cameron Johnston’s 81-yard punt that didn’t even count thanks to that penalty on Rodgers.

Johnston has been wildly inconsistent all training camp and even in this game, but he booted a freakin’ ball 81 yards on a punt. The returner looked amazed as it soared over his head.

Pump the brakes
Donnel Pumphrey, desperately trying to not be known as a draft bust, didn’t play for unknown reasons. Pump hadn’t missed practice time, so his being out is a surprise. After a terrible preseason as a rookie (he averaged 1.9 yards per carry), Pumphrey missed a chance to show something in a preseason game.

Turning some heads
With Pump out, undrafted rookie Josh Adams had a good showing. It’s worth remembering he was going against deep reserves, but gotta like what we saw. He broke off some good ones. He’s in the race for that fourth RB job.

Missing in action
Along with Pumphrey, Foles (neck spasms), Mike Wallace (tendinitis), Nelson Agholor, Markus Wheaton, Matt Jones, Ian Park and Asantay Brown all didn’t play. Neither did the guys on NFI/PUP: Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Maragos, Tim Jernigan.

Up next
The Eagles are on the road next Thursday for a Super Bowl LII rematch against the Patriots in Foxboro. They kick off the regular season in four weeks at home against the Falcons. 

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10 Josh McCown stats you won't believe

10 Josh McCown stats you won't believe

Josh McCown has been around so long he's completed passes to over 100 receivers, played with a running back who's been in the Hall of Fame for nine years and once stood on the visiting sideline at ... the Vet?

The newest Eagle is one of the oldest quarterbacks in NFL history. 

McCown, 40 years and 44 days old, has now been with 11 NFL teams in a career spanning 18 years.

Here's a look at McCown by the Numbers!

1. If McCown throws a pass, he’ll be the oldest player in Eagles history to ever throw a pass in a regular-season game. Currently the oldest is Sam Baker, who was a kicker but was 39 years old when he threw one pass in the 1968 season — a 58-yard touchdown to safety John Mallory against Dallas at the Cotton Bowl in 1968. The oldest Eagles QB to throw a pass was Roman Gabriel, who was 37 when he threw three passes in 1977 — his final NFL season.

2. McCown is now the only active player from the 2002 draft. Julius Peppers played last year but retired after the season. The last Eagle from the 2002 draft who was active was Raheem Brock, their seventh-round pick that year. The Philly native never signed with the Eagles and wound up playing 10 NFL seasons.

3. The last quarterback from the 2002 draft who was active was David Carr, who retired after the 2012 season.

4. Only 18 NFL stadiums have been around longer than McCown. His career is older than Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the Linc, among others.

5. McCown has had a 300-yard game for six different teams, tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick for most in NFL history. McCown has thrown for 300 yards for the Cards, Raiders, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns and Jets.

6. McCown is the 7th-oldest player in NFL history to throw for 450 or more yards in a game. On Oct. 11, 2015, at the age of 36 years and 99 days, he threw for 457 yards for the Browns in a 33-30 win over the Ravens in Baltimore. The only older QBs to throw for 450 yards in NFL history are Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady  and Vinny Testaverde.

7. And this one from NBC Eagles producer Dave Zangaro: The youngest Eagles player, Nate Herbig, was 4 years old when McCown made his NFL debut for the Cards against the Chiefs on Dec. 1, 2002.

8.  McCown is the oldest active player in the NFL with a career rushing average of at least 4.5 yards per carry. Darren Sproles is second-oldest.

9. McCown has completed passes to 105 different receivers in his career, including Alshon Jeffery, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmit Smith, Will Tye, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Josh McCown.

10.
If McCown gets into a regular-season game with the Eagles, he’ll be the fourth 40-year-old in franchise history. The others are punter Sean Landeta, who was 43 when he finished his career with the Eagles in 2005; punter Lee Johnson, who was 41 in 2002; and Baker, who was 40 in 1969.

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Eagles are signing veteran Josh McCown out of retirement as insurance

Eagles are signing veteran Josh McCown out of retirement as insurance

Updated: 5:08 p.m.

The Eagles are basically taking out a new insurance policy. 

With injuries at the QB position, the Eagles have signed veteran Josh McCown out of retirement. 

According to a league source, McCown’s deal includes $2 million fully guaranteed and could be worth up to $5.4 million, as ESPN first reported. The Eagles paid him enough to lure him out of retirement. 

To make room for McCown, the Eagles released WR Braxton Miller.

McCown announced his retirement in June, but his stay away from the NFL was short-lived. 

With Nate Sudfeld set to miss the beginning of the season with a fractured wrist and after Cody Kessler suffered a concussion early in Thursday night’s preseason game, the Eagles needed to sign another quarterback to back up Carson Wentz. This signing is bad news for Kessler, who might have been able to secure a roster spot with a solid preseason. It might also change the outlook for rookie fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson, who might not be on the roster at the start of the season. 

Over the last few seasons, the Eagles have been committed to putting resources into the quarterback position. That hasn’t changed. Sudfeld will still return this season and the Eagles are still high on him, but they also added a quality veteran who will at the very least hold down the backup position until Sudfeld returns and then possibly after. 

As much as the Eagles like Sudfeld, he has 25 career passing attempts. McCown has 76 career starts. Sudfeld has upside, but McCown is a proven commodity in the NFL. 

McCown is expected to be at practice on Sunday at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles begin preparations to face the Ravens for two practice days and in Thursday’s preseason game. 

After entering the NFL in 2002, McCown has started 76 career games. The Eagles will be his 11th NFL team and this will be his 17th NFL season. And at 40, McCown will be the Eagles’ oldest player, taking that title from Jason Peters. He’ll also be the fifth-oldest player in the league in the 2019 season. 

McCown last played for the Jets in 2017-18. In his long career, McCown has completed 60.2 percent of his passes with 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions and a passer rating of 79.7. 

The Eagles are hoping to never see McCown play this season. If Wentz stays healthy, they’ll never have to use this new insurance policy. But since Nate Sudfeld will be out until possibly October with a fractured left wrist, the Eagles will at least go into the season with a competent backup. 

Miller, 26, joined the Eagles’ practice squad last September and remained there for the rest of the season, signing a futures deal after the season was over. Miller was a third-round pick back in 2016, but the Texans cut him after just two seasons. Still, it had to be a little disappointing for the Eagles to not get more out of him this spring and summer. Miller was clearly behind Mack Hollins, Greg Ward, Marken Michel and Charles Johnson on the depth chart, so while he’s a recognizable name, his release shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

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