What was looking to be a failure of a season turned out to be a successful one for the 2019-2020 Philadelphia Eagles. While the Eagles didn’t make the deep playoff run that fans hoped for, they fought through a lot of adversity and injuries to make this season be considered positive.
The Eagles, who at one point in the season had a record of 5-7, were looking like this was going to be the second time in Doug Pederson’s tenure that the team was going to miss the playoffs. However, thanks to MVP caliber plays from Carson Wentz and key contributions from former practice squad players, the birds knocked off four straight wins, including a week 16 win against division rival Dallas Cowboys, who were battling the Eagles for the NFC East crown.
The former practice squad players are running back Boston Scott and wide receiver Greg Ward. These two players exemplified what the Eagles are all about, which hard work, adversity, and embracing the role of being the underdog.
Scott, a 5’6 Running back out of Louisiana Tech was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, was selected by the New Orleans Saints, only to be cut before the start of the 2018 season. From there, Scott signed on to the Eagles practice squad on December 10, 2018. It wasn’t until almost a year later on October 11, 2019, did Scott get his chance to play in a regular-season game. Scott was promoted to the active roster due to season-ending injuries to running backs Darren Sproles and Corey Clement, and boy did Scott make the most of his opportunity. That season, Scott rushed for 245 yards and five touchdowns, and also showed his ability as a pass-catcher hauling in 24 receptions for 204 yards.
While those numbers might not stand out, it was some of his individual game performances that made Eagles fans admire Boston Scott. One performance that stood out was in week 17, in a must-win game against the Giants in order to make the playoffs. Scott put the team on his back rushing for 54 yards and three touchdowns while also grabbing four passes for a team-high 84 yards. Without Scott, the Eagles would not have been able to make the late-season run that they made.
Scott spoke to the Inquirer what his sudden success meant to him.
“Just taking a step back and kind of looking at the situation. It’s one thing, if one guy’s promoted from the practice squad, [and] they’re able to make a splash but to have multiple [players] make splashes, it’s kind of overwhelming, really,” said Scott, a 2018 sixth-round pick of the Saints.”
For someone who was once a star quarterback in college at the University of Houston, Greg Ward has had to completely transition to wide receiver in order to have an NFL career. Ward, who went undrafted, signed with the Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. Like Scott, Ward had to wait his turn to get a chance to play in a regular-season game and even had to go to the alliance of American Football League, playing for the San Antonio Commanders until the league was shut down. Ward then eventually signed back on to be on the Eagles practice squad.
It wasn’t until November 23, 2019, where Ward was able to showcase his talent. Ward’s big moment came in week 15 against the Washington Redskins, where he caught seven passes for 61 yards and touchdown. That touchdown came with 26 seconds left in the game and ended up being the game-winner. Ward is making sure that he never has to be on a practice squad again. His former High School coach Ricklan Holmes at John Tyler High school spoke toPenn Live about how much perseverance Ward has.
“He’s making sure that he’s going to be ready to take care of any moment that presents itself, and just like the moment he has now. He’s been cut several times, and he’s been back several times. And right now, he’s getting the opportunity to show them why not only did they bring him back, but why they need to keep him.”
Boston Scott and Greg Ward made Howie Roseman’s job a little bit easier for the offseason because they now have two key contributors for next season.