Eagles Backup QB Situation Takes Center Stage In Middle Of Preseason

Posted on August 22, 2019

The Philadelphia Eagles have spent the week leading up to the next-to-last preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field practicing with the Ravens at the NovaCare Complex in South Philly. Needless to say, when the teams square off on Thursday night there won’t be too many secrets. 

Or at least no secrets that either team is willing to share during the week-long dual sessions.

The biggest reveal will come for Eagles’ fans, who might get a chance to look at the newly signed backup quarterback, Josh McCown, who was added to the roster when backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist in the Aug. 8 preseason opener against Tennessee and third-stringer Cody Kessler suffered a concussion last Thursday against Jacksonville.

An upgrade at QB backup?

The Eagles’ brass looks at the 40-year-old McCown as an upgrade at backup after Kessler struggled in camp and through the first two preseason games. 

Though Sudfeld is expected to be healthy enough to serve as the backup by as early as Week 4, McCown is likely to stick around on the roster and Sudfeld will have to fight to earn his role, according to coach Doug Pedersen. 

Eagles are underdogs vs. Ravens

As far as Thursday night goes, McCown could see action in the game against the Ravens, but whether or not he plays don’t expect it to affect the line. The Eagles are a plus-5 home underdog against the Ravens, which could be the last time that occurs in 2019. 

The quarterback shuffle with the addition of McCown, the injury to Sudfeld and Kessler and the precarious roster status for Clayton Thorson would be a significant development if the Eagles’ success this season didn’t ride exclusively on the shoulders of starting quarterback Carson Wentz

What to look for in Thursday’s game

Look for Wentz to see a little more action in Thursday’s preseason game. Also look for Wentz to try to challenge the Ravens’ secondary, which is something he worked on during the first two joint workouts in South Philly.

With the Eagles’ working out against one of the better defenses in the NFL from a season ago, Wentz saw a fair amount of his passes broken up by the Ravens during drills, while his receivers continued to work into shape. 

Eagles’ running attack takes shape

Through training camp and the joint workouts with the Ravens, rookie running back Miles Sanders has been the the talk. He rushed for 31 yards on five carries in last Thursday’s game in Jacksonville and has only played 17 offensive plays, but the anticipation is growing for Sanders to break out and grab the reins of the Eagles’ rushing attack.

This would be a welcomed development, too, after Pedersen has used an running back-by-committee approach to rushing the ball the last two seasons. 

Will Thursday be the night Sanders finally is showcased? Probably not. But that day is coming. Soon.

Eagles’ secondary receiving strong reviews

At this stage of the preseason, the defense is a little more advanced than most offenses. Nevertheless, the revamped Eagles’ secondary has put on a strong showing against the Ravens’ offense during the practices this week. 

The secondary corps enters the season with a bit of a chip on its shoulder after an injury-plagued season a year ago.

Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are coming off injuries, but should be ready. Sidney Jones appears to be earning playing time when the season starts. Additionally, the recent acquisition of Orlando Scandrick adds some depth to a unit that needed all hands on deck a season ago.

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John Finger

John Finger has been a professional journalist for three decades covering technology, commercial real estate and professional sports. Notably, he spent two decades covering the Philadelphia Phillies and 76ers for NBC Sports in Philadelphia. He lives in Lancaster, Pa.

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