Eagles’ Josiah Scott still feeling confident after taking his lumps

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Josiah Scott still feeling confident after taking his lumps originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have one of the best nickel corners in the NFL but Avonte Maddox has missed significant time this season with three separate injuries.

The guy filling in has been Josiah Scott. He’s done that with varying levels of success.

And on Saturday, Scott certainly struggled against CeeDee Lamb and the Cowboys. But his confidence isn’t shot. In fact, that’s something he isn’t worrying about.

“That’s not a struggle for me at all,” Scott said by his locker on Tuesday. “You have your ups and downs as a football player. Nobody is ever going to be perfect, nobody is ever going to have a perfect game. It’s never a confidence knock at all.

“A bad thing may happen … so what? It’s the league. As a DB, you’re going to get beat at some point. Something bad is going to happen to you. It’s just how you respond do it. It’s always next-play mentality.”

That’s good news for the Eagles as they prepare to face the Saints this Sunday. Because Maddox is out again with a toe injury and as much as it might make sense to play C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the slot when he returns from his lacerated kidney, his practice window hasn’t yet been opened.

So it looks like the Eagles are going to put their faith in Scott for at least one more week.

Scott’s ability to move beyond a bad performance might come in handy.

“It’s an important quality for all DBs,” starting safety Marcus Epps said. “If you mess up at our position, everybody knows it, everybody sees it all the time. As opposed to other positions, you might not even see it. We’re always just out in the open for everybody to see when we mess up. Sometimes it might not even be somebody fault but you’ll see them near the play.

“It’s always about pushing on to the next play, good or bad. You gotta forget and move on. When you play DB, game-changing plays can happen like that, the ball can come your way any time and you’ve just got to be ready for it.”

It was Scott who was closest to the 3rd-and-30 conversion to T.Y. Hilton on Saturday afternoon. After the game, Scott explained that the Cowboys quick-snapped the ball and that showed as he took a rough route to the catch and failed to make a play. It was a huge moment it was a crushing mistake.

Scott in the game was charged with three catches for 76 yards by ProFootballFocus. And PFF ranks him as the No. 107-ranked cornerback in the NFL out of 121 qualified players.

On top of that, this week, fans and pundits have been very critical of Scott’s play.

Another thing most defensive backs in the NFL need? Thick skin. Scott has that too.

“The people that really matter are the people here in the building with me,” Scott said. “These are the people who see us go to work every day, the hard work and effort we put in. People on the outside don’t really know how much work is put in to what we’re trying to do. The long days and the early mornings that we do here. For the people in here to trust you is the biggest thing.”

The Eagles acquired Scott in a trade with the Jaguars in 2021 and he’s played in 27 games over the last two seasons. In 2022, he’s started four games and has played over 50% in seven of the Eagles’ 15 games.

And despite his most recent outing, it hasn’t all been bad. Scott picked off Aaron Rodgers in Week 12 and is fourth among Eagles defensive backs with seven pass breakups behind James Bradberry (15) and Darius Slay (13) and Gardner-Johnson (8).

Scott is a backup for a reason and he’s been filling in for one of the best slot corners in the league. That’s not easy.

“The pressure is a privilege to begin with,” Scott said. “But I don’t feel like it’s too much pressure because I don’t try to go out there and be [Maddox]. I try to go out there and be myself and bring my own nuances and tweaks to the defense. Play to the strengths that I bring to the defense. I don’t try to compare to him in that sense. He’s a really great player, really high IQ player, I talk to him all the time. But I try to just go out there and be myself.”

For at least another week or so, the Eagles will have to hope that’s enough.

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