Reuben Frank

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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Miles Sanders proving he's much more than a runner

Miles Sanders proving he's much more than a runner

JACKSONVILLE — Miles Sanders was happy with how he ran the ball Thursday night.

He really started beaming when he was asked about his blocking.

Sanders, the rookie second-round pick from Penn State, showed off his improvement as a blocker on Clayton Thorson’s TD pass to Greg Ward.

The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-4 from Jacksonville’s 38-yard-line on the second play of the second quarter, and the Jags sent linebacker Joe Giles-Harris up the middle on a blitz.

Thorson stood in the pocket and Sanders stood up Giles-Harris, giving the rookie quarterback time to heave the ball toward Ward, who caught it just inside the 20 and weaved his way through traffic for a 38-yard touchdown.

It was precisely the type of play a rookie running back has to make if he wants playing time.

We all know Sanders can scoot. 

If he can pick up the blitz like he did Thursday night? He’s going to play a ton.

I get excited when I pick up blitzes and pick up the right guys," Sanders said after the game. "I feel like I’m getting better at that. As far as knowing where the blitz is coming from and knowing the calls that I got, I think I’m pretty good at that. It’s just technique I have to work on though. I feel like I’m decent at that and getting better every day.

Ward wasn’t aware of Sanders' blitz pickup until after the game, but he said he wasn’t surprised.

Ward and Sanders’ lockers are near each other at the NovaCare Complex, and Ward says he’s been really impressed with the 22-year-old’s progress and just how seriously he takes the blocking aspect of his job.

“It says a lot,” Ward said. “He’s already doing a good job in that area, focused in on it and trying to get better. That’s what you want in a rookie.”

Sanders also had a couple runs Thursday night that showed everybody why the Eagles are so high on him.

“Felt like I was more patient back there, felt like I was more comfortable,” he said. “Thought it was a good day.”

On the first play of the game, Sanders darted up the middle for 12 yards, and later in the first quarter, running from the Eagles’ 5-yard-line, he ran 16 yards to open what would be a 95-yard TD drive.

On the 12-yarder, he showed tremendous vision and acceleration, reading the hole and cutting back inside for extra yards.

On the 16-yard run, he ran behind a big block by rookie left tackle Andre Dillard. Interesting to note that he was first hit on the 9-yard-line but dragged cornerback Tre Herndon and defensive tackle Eli Ankou all the way down to the 21-yard-line. That’s 12 yards after first contact, and that’s huge.

Just showing I can break tackles and I can get yac, yards after contact,” he said. “That’s big in this league. That’s what separates the average running backs from the great running backs. Just getting extra yards and keeping the play alive.

Sanders was 3-for-3 rushing in the preseason opener against the Titans and really never had any room to work.

Sanders only got five carries this time but netted 31 yards — all in the first quarter. The Ward TD was his 11th and final play of the night.

O-line blocked their ass off, just making them look good, that’s what it’s all about,” Sanders said. “Just being patient out there and doing everything Duce (Staley) tells me. I’d say I’ve come a long way since the offseason, absolutely. All I can really say is that I’m working every day. Come in here and work.

Since Chip Kelly jettisoned LeSean McCoy after the 2014 season, the Eagles have had a different leading rusher every year: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount and Josh Adams.

Right now, Adams is the only one in that group who’s even in the league, and he’s fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot.

Offseason pickup Jordan Howard is an accomplished player and a former Pro Bowler. But when it comes to getting truly excited about an Eagles running back?

It’s been a little while. And Sanders sure seems ready to end that drought.

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Clayton Thorson has AAU basketball to thank for his bounceback versus Jags

Clayton Thorson has AAU basketball to thank for his bounceback versus Jags

JACKSONVILLE — Clayton Thorson has youth basketball to thank for his bounce-back performance Thursday night.

Thorson was terrible in his NFL debut last week.

He was much, much better this time around. MUCH better.

It takes a lot of mental toughness to be able to bounce back from a passer rating of 0.0.

Thorson showed he has it.

I think back to AAU basketball when you played eight games in a day,” Thorson said. “Well, probably four games in a day. You had to come back and keep playing, keep playing, so I learned that at a young age, thankfully, and that’s just grown over the years, and obviously that’s something on this stage I need to do.

Thorson was 2-for-7 for 7 yards and an interception against the Titans.

He was 16-for-26 for 175 yards, a touchdown and an INT on his final throw that wasn’t his fault Thursday night against the Jaguars at TIAA Stadium.

A world of difference.

I think I knew what to expect more,” he said. “Last week, playing my first NFL game, I was just real excited. So I think coming out here I knew what to expect. I mentally prepared all week. Never like to come in that way but you’ve got to make the most of our opportunities, so it was nice to play a little bit.

Thorson looked poised, confident and comfortable, leading the Eagles on TD drives of 58, 87 and 90 yards and also a field goal drive.

With Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler out indefinitely, Sudfeld with a broken wrist and Kessler with a concussion he suffered early Thursday night, the rookie fifth-round pick from Northwestern is now the No. 2.

I’ve got a great support system around me and these quarterbacks really picked me up,” Thorson said. “(They said), ‘Look, that was your first NFL game, it’s all right,’ and that helps a lot. Just go back and just work. You know? Get back in the building and just keep going. As a quarterback, you have to stay in the moment. If I had dwelled on that, I would have come out here and played terrible. So you just keep going and keep working.

Thorson’s two longest plays came on fourth downs — a 38-yard touchdown to receiver Greg Ward and a 25-yard strike to tight end Will Tye. He also had a sweet 3rd-and-7 thread-the-needle to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

He completed passes to 12 different receivers.

Got more than just 15 snaps and played a bunch and got in a little rhythm and got a feel for the game,” he said. “Doing it the second time, having a week under my belt  to prepare mentally for that I just felt much more comfortable … It gives me more confidence going forward and just allows me to go into next week with more confidence.

Thorson still has a long way to go before the Eagles are confident enough in him to play him in a real game, but this was a positive step, an encouraging step and an important step.

He just has to keep it going.

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