The Philadelphia Eagles came away with a tie in NFL Preseason Week 2 with an 18-18 tie against the Cleveland Browns, which is normally not something worth celebrating.
Of course, this is preseason so we don’t really celebrate the result, but rather the small victories that took place on the way to the Eagles’ no-decision. One of those little victories came in the form of rookie quarterback Tanner McKee’s play.
While journeyman Marcus Mariota started the game, it was McKee that played the majority of offensive snaps Thursday night, getting 36 of them while executing 57 percent of the available reps.
And it led to questions as to whether the rookie sixth-round draft pick has a chance to unseat Mariota as the backup quarterback.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni quickly squashed that, however.
“Way too early on this,” Sirianni said. “Marcus is our backup, and I’m pleased with the way Tanner is playing.”
With those opportunities, McKee complete 10 of his 18 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown while getting sacked three times. Even his sack stats outpaced Mariota, who was also sacked three times but lost four more yards than McKee in the process. … with Mariota earning some boos along the way from the Philly faithful.
Of course, there’s something to be said about the level of competition each is facing, but there’s no denying McKee is starting to get comfortable with the NFL game as he continues to adapt to it.
“I feel like in college there’s always that one player that was like, ‘We might have to scheme against this guy because he’s big, he’s fast, he’s an NFL type player,” McKee said when asked to compare college to NFL football. “You get out here and everybody is tall, big and fast … Everybody kind of has all the tools so you really have to rely on the fundamentals.”
Fortunately for McKee, he gets to focus on his development knowing he has one of the best in the game playing ahead of him in starting Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Still, it’s good to see the rookie progressing and understanding where his game needs to catch up at this level. … because as we’ve seen all too often with the Eagles and NFL franchises all over, you never know when a young quarterback will be thrust into meaningful action.