Eagles Breakdown: CB Josiah Scott showcased his physicality in Week 11; consistency in coverage still a cause for concern
With starting nickel corner Avonte Maddox sidelined for at least the next two weeks, 23-year-old Josiah Scott has stepped in as the Eagles slot corner. Since he’s taken over for the injured Maddox, Scott has been a liability for Jonathan Gannon’s secondary.
Truthfully, he’s been the only liability in the Eagles secondary.
Scott has made three starts this year and has had substantial playing time in five games. On the season, the backup nickel has surrendered a 71.4 completion percentage and a 120.3 passer rating on 21 targets. The only game in which Scott didn’t surrender a passer rating higher than 100 was against Arizona. Even in that contest, Scott allowed four receptions on five targets for 15 yards.
Per Pro Football Focus, Scott grades out as the 88th-best corner in football with a 53.2 defensive mark. His coverage grade is even worse, posting a 50.8 grade in that category this season, good for 93rd out of 119 qualifying corners.
From top to bottom, the Eagles have one of the better secondaries in the entire league. The starting CB tandem of Darius Slay and James Bradberry have shut down opposing receivers all season. On the backend, Marcus Epps and CJ Gardner-Johnson have complemented each other perfectly, with Epps serving as the run supporter and CGJ leading the NFL in interceptions.
Like we saw on Sunday against the Colts, opposing offenses are going to target Scott in crunch time. On Indy’s final scoring drive, Matt Ryan was able to get his team into scoring position by targeting Scott in coverage.
While these kinds of plays can lose football games, Scott did have a positive impact at certain points throughout the contest.
For starters, Scott has showcased great physicality throughout the year. His physical nature was on full display again on Sunday. Though he was only credited for two combined tackles, he effectively filled gaps and forced the Colts’ ball carriers to bounce outside.
This Jonathan Taylor run from the third quarter is a perfect example of that.
Later in the third, Scott made another great play against the run, flying in from his nickel alignment to stonewall RB Zack Moss at the line of scrimmage.
And while I spent the majority of this article complaining about Scott’s coverage ability, he showed some growth in that regard on Sunday.
This pass breakup against WR Parris Campbell in the third quarter was monumental. It forced the Colts to settle for a field goal and kept the game relatively close.
If I’m being honest, I figured this would be a Josiah Scott bash fest when I began prepping for this article. But, after reviewing the tape, it’s clear that the young corner is developing nicely in his role with the Eagles.
It’s far from perfect and there’s still a ton of stuff that needs to be ironed out in his game. But overall, he had a positive impact against Indy and did help his team eek out the victory.
Nevertheless, until he proves he can play well on a consistent basis, opposing offenses will continue to test him. Facing Aaron Rodger and his Green Bay Packers next Sunday night will be Scott’s biggest test to date.
More on the Eagles
- Dan Orlovsky breaks down how the Eagles are revolutionizing the RPO game
- Veteran running back hits waiver wire, should the Eagles be interested?
- Eagles Week 11 PFF Grades
Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports Philadelphia