You kept waiting and waiting and waiting for Carson Strong to get a chance.
The Eagles on Monday released the strong-armed rookie quarterback after he threw just four passes in the entire preseason and barely got any practice reps in training camp. The news was first reported by Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports.
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What makes Strong’s case so bizarre is that the Eagles in April guaranteed him a franchise-record $320,000 when they signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Nevada.
Then they never let him play.
Strong came to the Eagles with big-time college credentials. Over the last two years in Reno, he led the entire BCS with 63 touchdown passes, 7,033 passing yards and interception ratio (one every 73 attempts) and had the second-highest completion percentage at 70.1 percent.
The big question about Strong was his surgically repaired knees, and questions about his healthy and mobility knocked him entirely out of the draft after he was once considered a 1st-round talent.
But they were never a problem with the Eagles. He never missed a practice, although he rarely did anything, and the anticipated competition between Strong and Reid Sinnett for a possible third quarterback spot never materialized.
Strong’s practice reps were few and far between, and he certainly never got enough work to get into any kind of rhythm as a passer.
Strong didn’t play in the preseason opener vs. the Jets and then threw just one pass against the Browns and three Saturday night in Miami. He completed one six-yard pass to John Hightower in his four preseason attempts, all in late 4th-quarter mop-up duty.
He played only seven of the Eagles’ 198 preseason offensive snaps. Sinnett played 100, Gardner Minshew 86 and Jalen Hurts eight.
What makes this all even weirder is that Sinnett was terrible in the preseason, but he threw 48 passes and Strong threw just four.
As far back as preseason stats are available, which is 1999, no Eagles rookie quarterback has thrown anywhere close to that few passes in the preseason. The previous low during that span was Andy Hall’s 18 attempts in 2004.
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro spoke to Strong Saturday night after the Eagles finished the preseason with a game against the Dolphins in Miami, and Strong said he didn’t regret signing here, despite the way things went.
“This is a great organization to be a part of, this is a great football team with great coaches and a great owner,” he said. “It’s a top-run organization from the owner to the GM to the coaches. These guys know what they’re doing. This is a great roster and I’m very happy to have a chance to be on this team and be a part of it.”
But now he’s not.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman will be available to the media on Tuesday and no doubt will address Strong’s bizarre Eagles career.
Nick Sirianni hasn’t said much when asked about Strong, only that the team wanted to see as much of Sinnett as possible.
“Everybody is in a different situation and different scenarios,” he said post-game Saturday night. “We wanted Reid to get some work. We wanted Gardner to get some work. That was a little bit more about that than anything. We wanted to make sure those guys got the reps they needed.”
Assuming the 22-year-old Strong clears waivers, the Eagles could try to sign him to their practice squad, but if they like him enough to keep him around as a developmental prospect why not see what he can do in training camp and the preseason games?
And if you’re Strong, do you really want to stay with an organization that refused to give you any sort of opportunity during training camp and the preseason games?
“Eventually, I’m going to get a chance in the preseason or a real game, whatever it is,” Strong said Saturday night. “Eventually, I’m going to get a chance to go out there and perform. I just have to make sure I’m ready when my opportunity comes.”