Philadelphia Eagles: Clayton Thorson has officially come back to Earth

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

After flashing an impressive turnaround against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Clayton Thorson once again looks like a potential trim down casualty for the Philadelphia Eagles.

There once was a time when Clayton Thorson looked promising.

Sure, he struggled mightily in his preseason debut with the Philadelphia Eagles against the Tennessee Titans, earning a rare zero QBR for his efforts, but after a noticeable turnaround against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seemed like Thorson could actually be an adequate replacement for Nate Sudfeld as the team’s third quarterback.

I mean some overzealous opinionists even suggested that the Eagles should outright trade Sudfeld to the Indianapolis Colts after Andrew Luck retired because Thorson is under contract for three more seasons (you can read that, shall we say, premature piece of journalism here).

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Gosh, I miss those days.

Since then, the Eagles signed new backup Josh McCown – even if he won’t practice on Fridays – and Thorson was essentially a non-factor against the Baltimore Ravens in a thunderstorm-shortened preseason Week 3 bout against the Linc.

And in a Week 4 preseason bout against the New York Jets, Thorson looked downright ugly.

With an opportunity to run the show for a full 60 minutes, Thorson tried and failed to get the Eagles offense rolling against the less than formidable second and third units of the New York Jets – to less than ideal results.

While the Jets took (almost) twice as many offensive snaps, outpacing the Eagles 75 to 46, it really didn’t matter, as Thorson just couldn’t take advantage of his turn running the offense, completing 12 of his 26 passing attempts for 84 yards and an interception.

Thorson also took a pair of ugly sacks, though only one was really his fault.

Sure, some of that lack of success has to be attributed to the offensive line, as only one of the players on it, Matt Pryor (more on him here), has a chance to make the final 53 man roster, but Doug Pederson gave Thorson a legitimate chance to shine in the game, as his offensive weapons were solid.

Granted, it wasn’t the unheard-of dynamic trio of Demaryius Thomas, Josh Gordon, and Julian Edelman that Bill Belichick gifted to his rookie mid-round pick Jarrett Stidham, but Mack Hollins, Marken Michel, and Greg Ward at wide receiver, and Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams in the backfield is nothing to sneeze at.

Still, Thorson looked ugly running the offense and failed to display the poise he had in Jacksonville, and frankly, that’s a shame, because fans were really pulling for Thorson to succeed.

Now, the Eagles will have a very tough decision to make as to whom they will keep in their quarterbacks room past this weekend into the regular season, with no clear ‘right’ choice. While conventional wisdom would suggest that the easiest course of action would be to place Sudfeld on IR and keep Thorson around just in case, but is committing a roster spot to the 23-year-old Northwestern grad really a better decision than keeping a more promising prospect like Greg Ward, T.J. Edwards, or Daeshon Hall?

I kind of doubt it.

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So yeah, with the preseason officially over and the final trim down to 53 set for Saturday, August 31st at 4 pm EST, Clayton Thorson’s immediate future will be one of the more interesting storylines to watch for Philadelphia Eagles fans, as he could very well end up on the final roster, on the practice squad, or waiver claimed by another team’s front office. This could be fun.