SO am I the only one here who’s concerned about our depth at Running Back? Honestly we could do worse than Ryan Mathews as a starter. However, only once in six NFL seasons has he been available for all sixteen games. He has also never started more than fourteen in any year so far. So common sense demands that we get a back-up who we can lean on in case he goes down.
Looking at who’s behind him, it’s hard not to get nervous.
Darren Sproles is a spark plug who can and has turned games around (that comeback against Jacksonville started with Sproles). The thing is, he’ll be 33 in less than a month, is 190 pounds soaking wet, and is coming off of one of the worst seasons in his career as a RB. If Mathews goes down, Sproles cannot be our bell cow. He just can’t handle the rigors of the job at this point. (FYI: His career high for carries in a year is 93. In 2009.)
Some people are excited about Kenjon Barner, but I don’t see why. He’s been in the NFL since 2013 and has yet to ever earn serious playing time. On two teams. In fact, in 2014 he was out of football altogether. Last year his college coach (TIK) pulled him off his couch to return kicks, and Barner excelled at it. However, he still offered little to no value as an NFL RB.
Then we have rookie Wendell Smallwood who is a little on the smallish side at only 201 pounds. I still take issue with him saying that 75% of the men in Philly are gay and that he doesn’t want to be here.
Even when I put that to the side, when I watch his film what I see is an amazingly ordinary athlete. Average burst to and through the hole, not much in the way of second effort yardage, taking what is blocked for him because he doesn’t create… To be fair he is a fifth round pick, but where he was picked won’t be a good enough excuse if his number is called and he can’t respond.
Then we have rookie Free Agent Cedric O’Neal. He’s got decent size at 213, so that’s a plus. My big knock on him is he doesn’t have game tape that I can spot tendencies on. He just has a bunch of highlight reel stuff out there. While highlights are frequently unreliable, these do show that the guy’s style of play is Fizz E. Kal. I have to question the level of competition he played against, but seeing him run over and run away from guys made me think of (former Redskin) John Riggins, just in a smaller package.
There is also Byron Marshall but he’s more of a WR than a RB. He didn’t log a single carry in 2015 at Oregon.
So that’s it. That’s every RB on the roster. So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m slightly panicky over the idea of Mathews getting so much as a mosquito bite.
At this point we don’t even have the right parts for a RB by committee approach. (An approach that I detest by the way.) So I’m certain at some point that the Eagles will have to dive back into Free Agency in the next couple of weeks to get us some real depth. I just hope they get us something good.
NOTE: For my money, I’d like to get a long look at this O’Neal kid and maybe add someone like (former Eagles) Bryce Brown or Chris Polk. Both are unsigned as of today.