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.
Looks like a good Eagles blog. Excited to follow…
Further reason why I don’t get why people feel this team can contend for the division. If you look at the starting running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers in the division alone the Eagles are last in the division at all three. This team has a lot of work to do before they can be considered true contenders. They may need to go out and try and sign a veteran, because these backs simply aren’t good enough to get it done and truth is Sam Bradford needs a legit run game to have any chance of being decent this year.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I understand why people would think that we lag in skill positions, but I also think that we’re judging the players based not on their talent but on the results of the system (TIK) ran.
Case in point: Jordan Matthews. He is a classic WCO WR. Name another pro HC who’d have put him in the slot to run shallow crosses and take LB hits to his lower back. Agholor stagnated on the bench behind Riley Cooper last year, and there never did seem to be a plan for Josh Huff beyond drafting him high. As as for starting RB’s Ryan Mathews is CLEARLY head and shoulders over anything in NY or DC.
I actually (as I said in my Pre-Draft Preview) think our Defense is what will key wins when they set our Offense up with great field position. I see our Offensive stats being artificially inflated by having short fields to work with.
As far as talent goes Ryan Mathews is probably one of the most talented guys in the league, but the guy can’t stay healthy. That’s why he’s lower than the rest in my book. Hard to belive Nelson Agholor actually started 12 games. He seemed to invisible out there. I wonder how much of that was due to Sam Bradford unwilling to throw to a rookie or Kelly’s offense just being that much suck. I feel it has more to do with Bradford not wanting to throw to the rookie or the rookie simply not being in the right place, because we saw Jackson and Maclin put up huge numbers before. Josh Huff is just an unimaginable to me. The guy makes one good play and then follows it up with two big mental mistakes. I can’t figure out if he’s really good, but just makes some young player mistakes or is he just a guy who really is a fringe player at best in the league. All in all he was drafted too high and hasn’t proven his worth yet. I want to see Matthews on the outside and we will learn a lot more about Bradford and his willingness to throw to the outside receivers. I think Matthews will do well using his size to body out cornerbacks rather than getting blown up by linebackers and safeties in the middle. I mean if nothing else you have to appreciate the toughness of Matthews. He was getting killed out there. Kelly’s all to predictable scheme had linebackers just waiting to take that guy’s head off play after play. Strong defense and running the football is going to be key, but they are going to need Sam Bradford on occasion to attack the defense deep in order to keep them from stacking the box. Bradford just seems far to interested in dump offs and checkdowns to be a true competitive quarterback in the league. Why would he want to be more than that? He’s made a lot of money just playing it safe all his career.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I think we have some pieces. When I look at how many players failed to blossom under (TIK) it’s impossible for me to lay all of it at the feet of EACH player, instead of thinking they all had a central issue holding each of them back. (I mean, you don’t really think DeMarco Murray forgot how to hit a hole do you?)
When you have a HC giving away Pro Bowlers, undervaluing his Offensive line, drafting guys early and then sitting them, and so forth, I have to give our players the benefit of the doubt.
The silver lining here is that many of our rivals will be thinking that we lack weapons as well.