Not only has Boston Scott never started a season-opener, he’s never even been on an NFL roster for a season-opener.
Scott, released by the Saints in 2018, released by the Eagles in 2019, is expected to be the Eagles’ opening-day starting running back in Washington Sunday with Miles Sanders out for the game with a hamstring injury.
Scott didn’t get called up from the practice squad until Week 6 last year, but over the last month of the season he had 151 rushing yards and 199 receiving yards, and those 350 scrimmage yards were 12th-most in the NFL the last four games of 2019.
That’s the Boston Scott the Eagles will need Sunday with the NFL rookie scrimmage leader sidelined.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Scott said Friday. “I definitely trust in the coaching staff, I trust in Doug P, I trust in Duce, and I trust in myself. I think they will put me in situations to be successful, and from there, I trust my preparation and I’m just going to do my best to stay humble, stay present in the moment and plays will come to me.”
Assuming he gets the start, Scott will become the Eagles’ sixth opening-day starting running back in the last seven years, following LeSean McCoy in 2014, DeMarco Murray in 2015, Ryan Mathews in 2016, LeGarrette Blount in 2017 and Darren Sproles in each of the last two years.
Scott, who’s 25, will be the Eagles’ youngest opening-day starting running back since Shady in 2013.
And he’ll be the Eagles’ least-experienced since Brian Westbrook in 2004.
With Sanders out, Corey Clement dealing with a quad injury this past week and Justin Huntley only joining the team last week, Scott is the only healthy back on the roster that’s ever played a snap in an Eagles uniform.
Since the Eagles didn’t move one of their three practice squad running backs onto the game-day roster, Clement’s quad injury that limited him in practice on Thursday has presumably healed.
Clement, the 2017 Super Bowl hero, didn’t have a carry last year and hasn’t played on offense since Week 11 of the 2018 season.
So it’s reasonable to assume Scott will have a heavy workload against a Washington run defense that was 31st in the NFL last year.
“I would just say I am thankful for Doug P, Duce and Howie for having confidence in me and putting me out there on the field,” Scott said. “I have always had confidence in myself in being able to perform, but obviously being out there and put in situations where my number is called, and it is 3rd-and-2 or 3rd-and-1, just being in situations like that where my number has been called. It has helped me out. I am just looking to keep stacking, keep building on that, and whatever role it is, I’ll be prepared for it.”
Scott’s 3.9 red-zone rushing average last year was 4th-best among all NFL running backs with at least 10 attempts. But his real strength is as a receiver. He had 23 catches just in the last four games, 3rd-most during that span by any running back (behind Christian McCaffrey and Tarik Cohen) and the most ever by any Eagles running back the last month of a season.
Clement, like Scott, is strongest as a receiving back, as anybody who watched the Super Bowl will attest to.
But he really hasn’t been healthy since the Super Bowl. He wound up on IR in 2018 with a knee injury and last year with a shoulder injury.
Factor in Huntley, claimed off waivers from the Lions, and the Eagles’ three running backs in uniform Sunday will be one guy who’s been released by two teams, another guy who’s been released by one team and an undrafted free agent who hasn’t had a carry in two years.
“I feel great,” Clement said earlier this preseason. I feel top-notch. I feel faster. I feel more explosive. I just feel more accustomed to my body. Injuries are a part of the game. I’m trying not to even think about what happened the past two years. I’m just thankful to still be able to play the game I love. Thankful to put on that Eagles helmet.”