In the context of a single move, signing a 40-year-old quarterback who is on his 10th NFL team in 17 seasons isn’t exactly a franchise-altering event. But in the overall picture, what the Eagles did adding Josh McCown to the roster adds an exclamation point to an aggressive, challenge-all-positions approach the team is taking to 2019 in its quest to add another Lombardi Trophy to the NovaCare Complex awards case.
The Eagles, simply put, are all in for 2019. What Howie Roseman and his staff have done since Philadelphia lost in New Orleans to end the 2018 season is flat-out impressive as they’ve constructed a roster that has more top-shelf talent and wall-to-wall talent than any Eagles team since … um … ever? It certainly looks that way on paper.
Of course, games aren’t played on paper and the Eagles still have to go out and go do it when the games begin, but it’s hard not to be excited about this team. Head coach Doug Pederson treats his practices like games and gives his starters the majority of the repetitions and then he uses his preseason games like testing grounds for the rest of the roster as the Eagles prepare to narrow the roster number from 90 to 53 on Aug. 31. So, what’s happening is that with all of these game reps, players like rookie offensive tackle Andre Dillard and second-year offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (an Australian rugby player until about 17 months ago) and third-year defensive end Daeshon Hall accelerate their development and give the coaching staff confidence that they can actually play and help now, if needed.
In the practices, quarterback Carson Wentz has been on point with his talented receiving corps and the veteran offensive starters are getting their reps and playing with a fast tempo and the defense is jelling as more of the injured players work their way back into the lineup.
It’s all been a very on-point summer for the Eagles, who were brimming with quiet confidence before McCown signed, and now even more excited with him on board. Why would a 40-year-old quarterback who has never been a consistent starter in the league and who has been on one playoff team in his career (the 2008 Carolina Panthers) make anyone happy? Because McCown fits a very specific role as a great mentor, as an experienced quarterback who can deliver in a pinch and as one of the most respected players in the entire NFL.
He’s just like Andrew Sendejo, signed to be a third safety. And Darren Sproles, re-signed to return punts and help on third downs as a running back/receiver. And linebacker Zach Brown, signed to fill a role at strongside linebacker. And on and on and on …
The Eagles are loaded. They’ve constructed a roster that has no apparent weaknesses. They look like Super Bowl contenders on paper.
On Sept. 8, when the Washington Redskins come to Lincoln Financial Field, we’ll see how good the Eagles look on the football field. That’s when it matters most. The expectations are high, deservedly so with a roster that puts the Eagles in prime contending position. ••