Eagles running back Ryan Mathews ankle stiffened in the game against the Steelers, which meant rookie Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner got a bulk of the work in Philadelphia’s suddenly deep backfield.

Mathews has been dealing with an ankle injury since training camp, but he has not been on the injury report. Coach Doug Pederson said the injury is lingering from the Cleveland game and the same one from training camp.

"It's the same one also in the Cleveland game that he got rolled up on in the first game of the season," Pederson described. "It's his left ankle."

The Eagles do have a bye week so Mathew could be ready to go when the Eagles face the Lions in two weeks, but even though Smallwood and Barner had big games in Mathews absence, Pederson says Mathews is still the guy when he is ready to roll..

“I think we just continue the same way really. When Ryan [Mathews] is healthy, he's the guy," Pederson explained. "Then Darren [RB Darren Sproles], we mix Darren in there. You saw what Wendell can do. You saw what Kenjon -- Kenjon, we know what he's all about.”

If Mathews isn't ready, the Eagles found out they have not one, but two capable backs. Wendell Smallwood racked up 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and Kenjon Barner rushed eight times for 42 yards and a touchdown.

 

 

“Wendell did an excellent job between the tackles last night sort of downhill, said Pederson. "Kenjon off tackle. Of course, Darren can kind of do everything. So we'll still keep the rotation the same. We're not going to change much that way. Just want to get everybody in the football game.”

Pederson did indicate that both tight end Zach Ertz and Leodis McKelvin should be ready to go in two weeks against the Lions