Delaware News Journal
Published 12:10 AM EDT Aug 16, 2019
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It didn’t take long for the Philadelphia Eagles to lose another quarterback as Cody Kessler left the game 2½ minutes in after getting leveled from behind by a Jacksonville Jaguars defender on Thursday night.
This came one week after Nate Sudfeld suffered a broken wrist against the Tennessee Titans.
The Eagles announced that Kessler has a concussion. Kessler can’t play again until he gets cleared by an independent neurologist after going through the concussion protocol.
Clayton Thorson, the Eagles’ fifth-round draft pick, replaced him and played the rest of the game in the Eagles’ 24-10 win.
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“We’ll evaluate Cody again (Friday) and over the weekend,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We’re going to get through the next few days, we’re going to evaluate everything.”
The Eagles have held starter Carson Wentz out of both preseason games so far, not willing to risk their franchise quarterback to injury. The Eagles can continue to hold Wentz out of games if Kessler can return by next Thursday’s game against Baltimore.
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If Kessler doesn’t return, that will leave Clayton Thorson as the only quarterback active for the game next Thursday. The Eagles could use wide receivers Braxton Miller and Greg Ward, both of whom were quarterbacks in college.
Otherwise, they might need another quarterback just to get through the game.
Against the Jaguars, Thorson was the only quarterback left, although the Eagles do have two wide receivers who were accomplished college quarterbacks in Greg Ward and Braxton Miller.
Ward, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Thorson on 4th-and-4 from the Jaguars’ 38 yard line in the first minute of the second quarter, said he was ready to go in at quarterback if needed.
“I knew that was a possibility if the next guy went down that I was maybe going to go out there,” he said.
Ward did throw a pass on a handoff from Thorson. He underthrew a deep ball intended for Carlton Agudosi, and it was knocked down.
“That kind of got away from me,” he said. “I gotta get back to the drawing board. I want that one back.”
Thorson, meanwhile, was much better than he was in his debut last week, when he went 2-for-9 for 7 yards and an interception. Against the Jaguars, Thorson completed 16 of 26 passes for 175 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Thorson twice completed passes on fourth down – the first a 38-yarder to Ward on 4th-and-4, the second a 25-yard completion to Will Tye to the Jaguars’ 13 yard line on 4th-and-3.
“It’s nice to get into a little rhythm,” Thorson said. “It’s too bad about Cody, but he’ll be alright. You never like to come in that way, but you just gotta make the most of your opportunities. It was nice to play a little bit. I enjoyed being out there, getting the ball to the different playmakers that we got. It was a lot of fun.”
Until Kessler’s injury, it had seemed like the drama was going to take place nearly two hours before the game, when Wentz jogged over to midfield, gave Nick Foles a hug and spent about five minutes talking to the former Eagles quarterback.
Other players and coaches stopped by as well.
Then the two quarterbacks stood on the sidelines and watched the game, along with many of the starters.
It was easy to see why when Kessler dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-12 from the Jaguars’ 42. He was looking to his right when Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones barrelled in from the left side of the Eagles’ offensive line and hit Kessler in the back as he threw incomplete.
Kessler was slow getting up. In fact, the Eagles called a timeout to give Kessler a chance to recover. But trainers came out to the field, talked to him, then walked with him off the field.
Just like that, the Eagles lost another quarterback.
Follow the Delaware News Journal’s Martin Frank on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
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