A Look at the Eagles Running Back Position After Two Preseason Games
No decisions have been made for the Philadelphia Eagles, as the team heads into its regular season dress rehearsal on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins.
As of now, there’s not a decision on who’ll be the starting running back come the regular season opener on Sept. 11. But one problem they’re welcoming is a crowded running backs room, with the emergence of rookie Corey Clement and resurgence of second-year man Wendell Smallwood.
Clement has led all the Eagles rushers during the Eagles two preseason games with 47 yards on 15 attempts.
"Yeah, Corey looks good. Corey really looks good," said Eagles offensive coordinator Frack Reich. "I like the way all our backs are looking right now. Everybody kind of has their thing and their strengths and weaknesses, but Corey adds a lot to the mix, tough runner."
While Smallwood has yet to carry the ball with a hamstring injury, Reich said there is no denying what he adds to the backfield.
"It's good to see him back there," Reich admitted. "He's got a little pop, quickness, so it was good to see him back on the field."
"He's fast, he's crisp, sharp cuts. Again, those guys are all a good change of pace from each other. They all kind of do their things, and it's good we get them in there and the by-committee thing a little bit, it's a good change of pace. And Wendell really brings some juice to that position."
Veteran running back LeGarrette Blount has disappointed in his limited reps in two games thus far, running for just 17 yards on nine carries for 1.8 yards per carry, but Reich doesn't sound concerned just yet with the Eagles free agent addition.
"You know what he can do," Reich said about Blount. "He's a veteran player. He's tough. He has good vision for a big man. He can move. He can cut. We just -- as things go forward, you look to find the plays that are best suited for him and you focus on those things and let him do his thing because when he does his thing, it results in a lot of touchdowns, and that's what we've seen in his career."
Even with no clear-cut guy at the moment, Reich spread the praise around the running backs room, saying, he is still excited about the running game.
"Absolutely," Reich said. "I think we have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. We've got two outstanding tackles. We've got good players inside. I feel exceedingly good about our running game."
But in the end, it could be Smallwood that has the best chance at being the lead back, Reich discussed what he brings to the offense.
"You know, I think Wendell is a true, three-down back. When we first drafted him, I kind of looked at him as more like a first- and second- down back. I thought he would be okay on third down, but really he's turned out to be better on third down than I thought. So really I think he is a very versatile back who knows protections very well, who runs good routes, who catches the ball well. And then I think he's a slashing runner on first- and second- down, so we like that combination. He's done very well. He works very hard at it. Love him mentally, and really glad he's in the mix."