Even though Boston Scott and Greg Ward have handled their expanded roles in the Eagles offense with great seniority, neither can rent a car without a surcharge yet.
The two 24-year-olds have grown up quickly over the last two weeks, as injuries cost the Eagles a handful of starters such as DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard during the most important part of the regular season. Scott and Ward started the season on the practice squad, but have played major parts in consecutive wins against the New York Giants last week and Washington on Sunday.
Ward caught the game-winning touchdown pass Sunday in the back of the end zone, beating former Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman in coverage. The former University of Houston-quarterback-turned-wideout, playing in the fifth game of his career, was the only Eagles receiver to catch a pass, finishing the day with seven receptions for 61 yards and the pivotal score.
Scott, who was called up in October and received an expanded role against the Giants, played in his 11th NFL game Sunday. The running back out of Louisiana Tech is averaging 5.31 yards per carry on 16 attempts and has 108 receiving yards in the last two games.
As Howard recovers from a shoulder stinger suffered last month, Scott has seemingly supplanted Jay Ajayi as the complementary back to rookie Miles Sanders, who is coming off the best game of his career.
During his Monday news conference, Eagles coach Doug Pederson praised the two young players for playing well beyond their years.
“They might be young by age or experience in this league, but they don’t consider themselves young,” Pederson said. “That’s a positive. They consider themselves veterans. They’ve been in a lot of games here, a lot of big games here, down the stretch. Nothing seems too big for these guys right now.”
With Jeffery and Jackson both on injured reserve and Nelson Agholor missing time with a knee injury, Ward has emerged as the team’s most reliable option at wide receiver. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, a second-round pick in last April’s NFL draft, was targeted twice against Washington, but dropped a pass in the end zone and didn’t record a catch. The Eagles called up Rob Davis from the practice squad earlier in the week, but he played just 16 snaps and wasn’t targeted.
“He’s been here for a couple years now,” Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said of Ward after the Washington game. “Obviously he’s been on the practice squad; he’s kind of been all over. We’ve seen what he can do. ... He kept making plays. He kept beating guys and getting open and making plays. It was pretty cool. I’m pretty proud of him."