Jordan Howard averaged 7.3 yards per carry in his Eagles debut last Sunday, 44 yards on just six carries, but that might not have been his most impressive feat.
— Les Bowen (email@example.com)
Where were we? Ah, yes, Jordan Howard. Maybe you noticed the Carson Wentz dump-off, when Wentz threw the ball low and behind Howard, who reached back and down and smoothly plucked it, before heading upfield. This is the sort of thing running backs are expected to do in Doug Pederson’s West Coast-based offense, but it is not the sort of thing Howard is known for. In three seasons with the Bears, he averaged just 24 catches a year. A few times in this year’s training camp, he seemed to be fighting the ball.
Howard said Thursday he heard Wentz call his name and looked back. There was the ball, though not where he might have expected it. “I just looked the ball in, made sure I had it before I turned around,” Howard said.
Howard only got 17 snaps against Washington — he might be looking at more work, this week at Atlanta — but he caught two passes for 11 yards. It’s a start.
Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld is at least a limited practice participant these days, nearly five weeks after Sudfeld broke his left wrist in the preseason opener. Sudfeld said it’s really a relief to be back on the field, even if he isn’t cleared for contact yet. He has a soft cast on the wrist, covered by tape.
The Eagles signed 40-year-old Josh McCown after Sudfeld went down. When Sudfeld is completely healthy, it will be interesting to see which of them is Carson Wentz’s primary backup.
The Eagles brought Craig James up from their practice squad this week and returned to the PS tight end Alex Ellis, who was active last week. Ellis played 22 special-teams snaps and only two offensive snaps. That’s probably going to be James’ role, as well.
James, 23, joined the practice squad after the Vikings waived him in their cut-down. They’d signed him last year as an undrafted rookie cornerback from Southern Illinois, and he’d spent most of the season on their practice squad, appearing in three games, all on special teams, toward the end of the year.
James said he is thankful the Eagles wanted him when the Vikings didn’t.
“I just feel like my work ethic, whatever the coaches ask of me, I’ll be there,” James said when asked what he adds.
He said he knew only two players when he arrived — safety Andrew Sendejo, a teammate last season in Minnesota, and tight end Dallas Goedert, whose South Dakota State Jackrabbits played James’ Salukis two years in a row.
“They put a whuppin’ on us both years,” he said.
That is indeed a relevant question, Racer. I kidded with Zach Ertz about this on Wednesday (see below), because I knew he wouldn’t be bothered by a meme. But everyone isn’t Ertz. From experience, I would say this is entirely dependent on whether the team wins. If the offense clicks and all goes well, you won’t hear much. But if the points suddenly get hard to come by, and the team is losing, there will be anonymous and maybe not so anonymous players who aren’t thrilled with their roles. In this, the Eagles are like pretty much every team.
“Everybody pretty much knows that everybody’s going to get their touches,” running back Jordan Howard said Thursday. “You don’t know how many you’re going to get, but you’ve got to take advantage of opportunities. The more you can do, the more you open up for everybody else.”