Philadelphia Eagles have serious questions at backup QB spot

By The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 28, 2017 at 11:57 AM
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles have a quarterback problem. No, it's not starter Carson Wentz. He's doing just fine.

Wentz finished his limited preseason work Thursday night against Miami with a solid one-quarter effort, completing 6 of 10 passes for 129 yards and touchdown throws to the team's two key free-agent acquisitions - wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

He'll watch the final preseason game Thursday against the Jets and make his 17th NFL start on Sept. 10 when the Eagles open the regular season against the Washington Redskins.

The problem is backup quarterback Nick Foles. Drafted by the Eagles in 2012, he re-signed with the Eagles in March after spending the previous two years in St. Louis and Kansas City.

He gives them a solid backup in the event something were to happen to Wentz. He has 36 career starts, a 56-27 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio and an 88.1 career passer rating. Four years ago, with the Eagles, he led the league in passing, throwing 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

The problem is, he hasn't been healthy. Early in training camp, he came down with a sore elbow on his right throwing arm. He missed two weeks of camp, returned for two practices, then was out again.

He hasn't played in any of the Eagles' first three preseason games, and it's doubtful he'll play against the Jets.

Head coach Doug Pederson listed Foles as "day to day" on Sunday. Asked whether he had a good feel for whether Foles would be able to play against the Jets, he said, "Not yet. It's getting better, obviously. He'll be getting in some throwing against this week. But I don't want to rush him back."

Pederson said he remains confident that Foles will be ready to go for the season opener. But he has not been very accurate with his injury prognoses this summer.

"I am (confident)," he said. "No, I am. I am. These are, obviously, sensitive elbow issues. Being on a throwing arm like that, (we) just want to make sure he's getting the proper amount of throws. That's why we're going to ease him back in again this week and get him ready for the regular season."

The Eagles have two other quarterbacks in camp: Matt McGloin and Dane Evans. Evans essentially is a camp arm. And since the Eagles were only expected to keep two quarterbacks - Wentz and Foles, McGloin basically was putting plays on tape for the rest of the league to see.

But the uncertainty over Foles could change things. They may have to carry a third quarterback - McGloin. If Foles ends up needing surgery, it's doubtful they would be content with McGloin as the season-long backup to Wentz.

Notes: Safety Terrence Brooks was traded to the Jets on Sunday for cornerback Dexter McDougle. Brooks, who played in 11 games for the Eagles last season, wasn't going to make the 53-man roster. McDougle, a former third-round pick of the Jets, also is a longshot to make the Eagles this late in the preseason. But if he plays well in Thursday night's final preseason game against, ironically enough, the Jets, he could possibly win one of the final corner spots. At the moment, just three corners are guaranteed season-opening roster jobs: starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, and third-round rookie Rasul Douglas.

--Defensive tackle Beau Allen, who has been sidelined since the spring with a pectoral injury, was removed from the physically unable to perform list and practiced for the first time since his injury. Head coach Doug Pederson said Allen probably will play a little in Thursday's final preseason game against the Jets. "I'm going to be excited to watch him practice the next few days," Pederson said. "We're going to take it slow with him. He hasn't done anything, physically, for a while." Allen is expected to be the Eagles' third tackle this season, behind starters Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan.

Cornerback Ronald Darby, who the Eagles acquired from Buffalo two weeks ago for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick, had a rough night against Miami in the Eagles' third preseason game. He gave up a 72-yard catch and run to DeVante Parker and drew a 42-yard pass interference penalty after getting beat on a double move by Kenny Stills. Darby, who is the Eagles' most talented cornerback since Asante Samuel, shrugged off his poor performance as "one of those nights." Said Darby: "Some nights everything goes your way. Some nights everything don't. I'd rather it happen now than when it really counts."

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