The Eagles were back at practice on Sunday and are getting ready for joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens this week. Head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media in depth about adding formerly-retired quarterback Josh McCown to the roster, and also the addition of Brett Toth.
Here’s what he had to say:
On the Josh McCown signing
The first question to Pederson was about why the team decided to add McCown now, and not earlier in training camp or in the offseason. The head coach mentioned that obviously the current depth situation due to injuries certainly affected that decision, but also, that just in general when they have the opportunity to add talent, they do.
Pederson emphasized that the quarterback position isn’t immune to adding depth and value when they can, and also adding a veteran with a lot of experience would just be a boost to their roster.
“We’re excited to get him in here, get him caught up, and see what he can do.”
He did mention that they aren’t ready to start talking about who No. 2 and 3 will be, and that they’ll need Nate Sudfeld back before making that decision, and Cody Kessler too. Pederson also noted that nothing has changed in terms of Sudfeld’s estimated return with regards to bringing in McCown.
Pederson also said, “there’s a good chance” that McCown would NOT have been signed if both Sudfeld and Kessler were healthy. He went on to say that they discuss a lot of players just to be ready to make a move if they need to, but that McCown’s signing just came up.
The head coach did later say that Kessler is still in the protocol, but that they aren’t expecting him to be back any sooner or later than originally thought.
On whether McCown could play on Thursday’s Week 3 preseason game, Pederson said, “We’ll see where he is. Obviously, he’s got a lot to learn and to catch up on, so we’ll see”.
Pederson was asked directly if they ever considered adding Colin Kaepernick, and he noted that they consider “everybody” and “do what’s best for the Eagles”.
Later on, Pederson joked that McCown is 40 and is going on 18 years in the league — and is even close to the head coach’s age — but he’s a guy who has been around and seen a lot, and is a guy who can add a lot of knowledge and depth to the Eagles’ quarterback room.
He said that they haven’t given much thought just yet as to how they’re going to handle the quarterback situation once they have to make final 53-man roster and what they’ll do once Sudfeld is ready to return. They’re just mainly focused on getting McCown up to speed and seeing how their scheme and language fit into what he’s done before.
Bringing a guy back from retirement is a special circumstance, but Pederson said they mainly just have to trust the player when they say they are mentally ready and eager to return to the game. McCown specifically is someone the head coach calls a high character guy, and still has a fire burning to play, but he’s also at the point of his career that he’ll be content in whatever role he ends up filling.
On Brett Toth’s signing
“Another opportunity there at tackle and guard just to kind of see where he’s at. Another young, talented guy. And again, this is just a part of training camp. You make these moves, you make these roster moves, you swap players out all the time. As you get closer to the end of camp, and you near the end, you start looking at your roster, you start looking at possible practice squad, and different things. You want to have all the information to make educated decisions when the time comes.”
Pederson mentioned that Toth is athletic enough that he could be cross-trained at guard, he’s smart and they worked him out a couple of weeks ago.
The team will be in full pads for both joint practices with Baltimore, but no live contact, no going to the ground. Pederson talked to Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh and are on the same page with the plan for the week.
Pederson said that he can structure practices to see things he can’t during games, and make sure it’s a tough environment, and that has in turn affected how he sees and values preseason games. He said the biggest difference is in practice, if players make a mistake they can do it again and correct it, so they get a little bit better evaluation in practice vs. preseason games.
The head coach also noted that Brandon Brooks is allowed to be sprinkled in to some individual work, but hasn’t been cleared just yet for team drills.