When the Philadelphia Eagles waived cornerback Mac McCain, speculation raged over whether they were clearing out a roster spot for Odell Beckham. That move didn’t happen. Instead, the team will likely promote Jordan Howard to the 53.
The Eagles cannot elevate the one-time Pro Bowler again so it’s the only way to keep him. Meanwhile, they protected three players on their practice squad – T Le’Raven Clark, WR John Hightower, DB Jared Mayden – and signed cornerback Craig James. The Minnesota product was their special teams captain in 2020 and saw 400 snaps in 18 games over two seasons in Philadelphia.
McCain went undrafted out of North Carolina A&T, then landed on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad. The Eagles poached the speedy defensive back on October 19 but he’s been inactive since Week 3. McCain leaves town with 13 snaps on special teams in one game. The writing was on the wall for him after Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent came over in trades. The Eagles had been carrying nine cornerbacks on the roster.
One other corresponding move: Philly lost safety Elijah Riley to the New York Jets. The AFC East team stole him away from their practice squad on Tuesday, November 9. Riley – undrafted out of Army – was a preseason standout and Doug Pederson favorite. He saw action in six games over two seasons, including some special teams work this year in Week 7.
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Beckham Goes Unclaimed, Narrows Wish List
The Eagles didn’t put in a claim for Beckham and the diva receiver can now pick his next destination. ESPN’s Dianna Russinni reported he has “honed in on” the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs. There had been talk of the Seattle Seahawks being interested but they don’t appear to be in the running. Either way, the Eagles are officially out of the Beckham sweepstakes.
Head coach Nick Sirianni probably didn’t want to mess up the chemistry of his wide receivers room. Fair enough, although the price tag had to be tempting. Any team that signs him will only be on the hook for $537,500, the veteran minimum salary.
Jonathan Gannon Explains Poor Pass Defense
Five quarterbacks have completed 80-percent of their passes against the Eagles’ defense. That’s a shocking number when you consider the team still has eight games left on the schedule. The last team to achieve that dubious distinction was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 – and they did it over 16 games. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon accepted blame for the secondary’s failures.
“Yeah, that’s what the numbers say. We definitely have to get that completion percentage down and there’s a number of ways to do that,” Gannon said. “It starts with us, as coaches, to detail out some things and change some looks. And rush and cover, cover and rush have to get a little bit better.”
Gannon added: “But when you’re playing good quarterbacks with good skilled people – we played well at times, but probably not consistent enough. So, that number has to come down. We have to improve that with our pass defense to be able to provide some resistance to good offenses.”
He’s right about those “good skilled people,” a list that includes Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Justin Herbert.