True irony is Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s key to success might be another quarterback, teammate Greg Ward Jr.
Well, at least someone who once was a quarterback. Ward, in his second year on the Eagles’ 53-man roster, is a former college quarterback who converted to receiver when he began his professional career.
Greg Ward was a star quarterback at Houston
Much like his successor, current Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King, Greg Ward Jr. arrived at Houston as a dynamic dual-threat quarterback.
Ward completed 67.5% of his passes for 8,704 yards, 52 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions in 49 games with the Cougars. Ward also totaled 2,381 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns; 21 of those touchdowns came in 2015, a season that culminated in Ward earning second-team All-AAC honors.
The athletic quarterback also caught 25 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns at Houston, which proved to be a sign of things to come. Undrafted in 2017, Ward signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent the year on their practice squad.
That allowed Ward to win a ring when the Eagles defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
Ward spent the entire 2018 season on the practice squad, then went to the AAF and caught 22 passes for the San Antonio Commanders.
Ward moved to receiver in the NFL
Injuries and the Philadelphia Eagles have gone together in recent years like white on rice.
This reality proved especially true last season, when the Eagles promoted Greg Ward Jr. midseason and pushed him to the starting lineup later on.
Ward, out of nowhere, became an important contributor for the Eagles down the stretch. Ward caught 28 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown in seven games, three of which he started.
The ex-college quarterback also had a five-yard carry.
Carson Wentz tried getting the ball to Ward when he could in the Eagles’ NFC wild-card round loss to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Ward ended the loss with three catches for 24 yards, most of the damage coming on a 16-yard grab.
Greg Ward is breaking out for the Eagles in 2020
More injuries, coupled with his impressive play last season, has pushed Greg Ward Jr. into a larger role this season.
Ward drew the start in the Eagles’ last two games and set career-highs in Week 3, catching eight passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Ward’s performance, wasted in a 23-23 tie, further cemented the idea that he could become Carson Wentz’s offensive savior this season.
In Ward, the Eagles have a versatile and speedy young receiver who has already shown a playmaking ability through his first 10 career games. Ward has caught four or more passes in three of those games dating back to last year.
Veteran receiver DeSean Jackson is struggling with a hamstring injury; elsewhere, tight end Dallas Goedert is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
According to the Eagles’ official website, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that he is “optimistic” Jackson will play against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.
Unlike what he may have imagined while growing up, Greg Ward isn’t making his NFL impact at quarterback. But if the Philadelphia Eagles are serious about turning the 2020 season around after an ugly 0-2-1 start, they’ll need to make sure Ward is still a major part of the offense going forward.