After the Eagles’ 23-17 overtime win over the Giants on Monday night, a Week 14 victory that preserved Philadelphia’s standing in the NFC East race and playoff picture, coach Doug Pederson told reporters there was a chance his team might have needed to turn to Josh McCown at wide receiver due to a rash of injuries at the position.
And he was not kidding.
McCown, the 40-year-old quarterback who came out of retirement to back up Carson Wentz this season and still coaches high school football in Charlotte on his off days, admitted after the game he was the next man up after a foot injury to Alshon Jeffery left the Eagles with just two healthy receivers (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward) on the roster.
“I was ready to go,” McCown told NBC Sports. “We had the helmet ready to go. The equipment guys were all over it. Had the radio-less helmet because you can’t have two green dots on the field at the same time.”
McCown, in his 17th NFL season, does have three career catches for 10 yards. Two of them came when he played for the Lions in 2006 during a game in which a similar injury situation presented itself.
If you’re wondering why a 40-year-old QB would be the best option to play wide receiver given his, um, deficiencies in terms of athleticism, you’re probably not alone. McCown indirectly answered that question after the game, saying, “As a quarterback, you know the offense.”
Added McCown: “I’m not quite the option that J.J. (Arcega-Whiteside) is or Greg (Ward), obviously, but again, we were kind of up against it a little bit. Just being able to have a contingency plan was the main thing. I was ready to roll.”
Tight end Zach Ertz, who became Philadelphia’s primary receiving target after Jeffery went down, caught the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. He led the team with 13 targets against the Giants, catching nine for 91 yards and a couple scores. The second-most targeted Eagles player was Boston Scott, a running back. In total, Wentz targeted nine players, and just three of those nine are listed as wide receivers.
It goes without saying that the Eagles, 6-7 and tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East standings, are in trouble if Jeffery’s foot injury is serious. Pederson said he would learn more about the receiver’s status Tuesday, when Jeffery was scheduled to undergo an MRI.
DeSean Jackson is on injured reserve after suffering a torn abdominal muscle. Nelson Agholor is battling a knee injury but should be able to return next week; he was listed as questionable going into the Giants game.