The wild innovation Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor believes is next for the NFL


The NFL is constantly evolving, constantly changing, as teams look for new twists to gain an advantage.

What’s next?

Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor had some fascinating thoughts about that.

I do think at some point one of the big things is having multiple people on the field who can throw the ball,” he said. “I think that’s something [you’ll see] going forward. You’ve seen kind of the Philly Special, all the different versions of double passes, things like that. I think at some point something like that I could see coming into play.

Now, to put this in context, Taylor — who was originally brought to the Eagles in 2013 by Chip Kelly — is the guy who brought the Philly Special to the Eagles after seeing the Bears run it in 2016. (Read Dave Zangaro’s story about that here.)

So we know he has an innovative mind. Taylor, who was a quality control coach under Kelly and assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016 and 2017, is now beginning his second year as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach.

“Not necessarily saying that we’re doing that or anything like that,” Taylor said, laughing. “But I just think pushing the envelope could be something [we see]. You’ve got these guys coming out of college that are dual-threat quarterbacks and transition to receiver, different things like that. Those guys get on the field and just to be able to get your best players on the field and threaten the defense in the most ways possible. It’ll be fun to see.”

Interesting to note that the Eagles have two pretty successful college quarterbacks in their receiving corps.

Braxton Miller was Ohio State’s starting quarterback for three years and finished fifth in the 2012 Heisman Trophy balloting and ninth in 2013 before missing 2014 with a shoulder injury and converting to receiver.

Greg Ward was a quarterback at Houston and capped his college career with a win over No. 9 Florida State in the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

The two of them combined for 13,999 passing yards, 104 touchdowns and 43 interceptions as college QBs.

Who knows whether either one will make the final roster, but if they do, the possibilities are intriguing.

You look at all your guys,” Doug Pederson said. “We found out that [Nelson Agholor] can throw and DeSean [Jackson] can throw a little bit and some of these guys, you can use them in unique situations. Again, this is springtime. This is where we get a chance to experiment and sort of dabble in some of these gadget plays and find out who can do that kind of stuff. It does help to have that QB background.

Here are five memorable instances of non-quarterbacks throwing the ball for the Eagles (and we skipped the Philly Special just because that’s still fresh in everybody’s mind):

Keith Byars' perfect season: In 1990, Eagles running back Keith Byars threw four passes and all four were touchdowns (two to Anthony Toney, one to Heath Sherman, one to Calvin Williams). Nobody else in NFL history has thrown more than two passes in a season in which all his attempts were TDs.  

B-Mitch to Dawk: In a 2002 game against the Texans, running back Brian Mitchell threw a 57-yard TD pass to Brian Dawkins, the only career reception of Dawk’s career. Of the 318 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dawks’ career yards-per-catch average of 57.0 is highest.

Roger Ruzek did what?: In 1989, Eagles kicker Roger Ruzek threw a 22-yard TD pass to future Hall of Famer Cris Carter in a win over the Cards at the Vet. It was the only pass of Ruzek’s career. Ruzek is the only Eagle in the last 50 years to throw a touchdown pass and make a field goal in the same game.

Big-play Freddie: Interesting note about Freddie Mitchell: He had as many 25-yard TD passes in his career as 25-yard TD catches. One of each. In 2003, FredEx threw a 25-yard TD to Brian Westbrook in a win over the Dolphins in Miami. He’s the only WR to throw a TD pass for the Eagles in the last 35 years.

Legend to a legend: In a 1983 game against the Colts, Harold Carmichael threw a 45-yard TD to Mike Quick. Carmichael, who had 79 career TDs, and Quick, who had 61, are one of only three sets of teammates in NFL history who both had 60 TD catches to connect on a TD pass. The others are Dez Bryant (73) to Jason Witten (68) for the Cowboys against the Lions in 2016 and Charley Taylor (79) and Bobby Mitchell (65) of the Redskins against the Giants in 1965.

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