EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A lot of guys won’t sleep tonight as they await final cuts on Saturday. They’ll stress over what’s going to happen next, make themselves sick worrying about the phone call they’re dreading.
Not Greg Ward.
He’s fine. He’ll be fine.
Because he knows he did everything he could to earn a spot on the Eagles' regular-season roster.
Saturday is final cutdown day, and Ward is riding that roster bubble. The Eagles could keep six receivers or they could keep five and essentially decide between Mack Hollins and Ward.
It’s enough to drive you crazy, but Ward, who’s had a terrific training camp, just isn’t sweating it.
“Honestly, it’s not nerve-wracking at all,” he said. “I’ve got faith. Whatever decision they make is on them. I’m not stressed or worried about it.”
This is Ward’s third go-around with the Eagles. He had two stints on the practice squad in 2017 and after he was released in 2018 played in the AAF before that league folded.
Ward, a college quarterback, looked like a promising wide receiver transitioning to a new position as a rookie. He looked significantly more comfortable last year.
This year? He looks like he belongs. It’s clear he’s an NFL player.
He said the key to really being able to shine this year at camp was figuring out how to clear his head and just focus on the challenge of each day without worrying about the big picture.
It sounds easy. It’s not.
Really, man, just focusing in on myself,” he said after the preseason finale against the Jets. “Realizing going back and watching where I messed up last year and just taking it day by day. That was my main focus this year, taking it day by day. That took two years (to learn), from my rookie year till now. You put your best foot forward if you take care of today and don’t worry about tomorrow. Eventually, the days start stacking and you put in good film, you put in good work and just don’t look at how tired you are, don’t look at how draining camp is, just take it day by day, man.
Ward caught six passes for 87 yards and a 38-yard touchdown during the preseason and showed his versatility Thursday night with a 15-yard run. But much more important than his preseason production is the high level of production he brought to practice every single day.
On a team loaded at wide receiver, he shined.
I put in a lot of work, I asked a lot of questions, always talked to D-Jack, Alshon, Nelly, see where I could get better,” he said. “And whenever those guys told me something I tried to apply that to the field and it worked. There’s still a lot I’ve got to get better at but those guys definitely helped me.
This is not a slam-dunk for Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson.
Hollins was a fourth-round pick in 2017 and was a contributor on the Super Bowl team. He’s a very good special teamer. He’s got upside.
Now, with it looking like the Eagles won’t be keeping Clayton Thorson on the 53, they can go heavy somewhere else. It could be defensive end, but it could be receiver, which means there’s a small chance Hollins and Ward could both stick.
After all, Hollins is an outside receiver and Ward is a slot, and he would be the backup slot behind Nelson Agholor if he made the team.
Ward isn't dwelling on any of that.
You know me, I always think I can do better, regardless of anything,” Ward said. “But went out there and did my best and regardless of anything I know that I’m going to be OK with whatever decision they give me. It’s not in my hands, it’s in God’s hands now. I’m not worried about anything.
Based on what he’s done at practice? Based on what he’s done in the games? Ward deserves a spot on the 53.
If it doesn’t happen?
Ward isn't worried about it.
Asked whether he’s confident he’ll be playing football somewhere this fall, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Oh, definitely,” he said. “Definitely.”
I'm pretty sure he's right.
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