Revamped Run Game

Posted: July 14th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Revamped Run Game

The Eagles finished 3rd in the NFL in rushing in 2017. They fell off to 28th last year. That is a huge difference. There are a lot of reasons for that. The O-line wasn’t as good. The league adjusted to RPOs. The RBs couldn’t stay healthy. You don’t fall that far for just one reason. It was a mixture of things.

One other issue…the RBs just weren’t as good. LeGarrette Blount played well in 2017. Rookie Corey Clement was a terrific role player. Jay Ajayi averaged 5.8 yards per carry after coming over in a trade.

Wendell Smallwood was 5th on the team in rushing, going 47-174-1 and averaging 3.7 ypc.

2018 was a very different story. Ajayi got hurt after just four games. Clement wasn’t healthy all year. Undrafted rookie Josh Adams led the team in rushing with 511 yards. Smallwood was 2nd in rushing, going 87-364-3.

I was re-watching some games recently and focused on Smallwood. He ran hard. He ran tough. You love his effort. But in the end, he’s just not that talented.

Having Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders will be a big upgrade.

Howard isn’t going to turn into Saquon or Zeke, but he is a talented, productive RB. He will be better than the players the Eagles were feeding the ball to last year.

I know Sanders didn’t practice much in the spring, but he should be good for the summer. He was healthy and productive at Penn State.

We’ll have to wait and see what to expect from Clement. If he can get healthy and play like he did as a rookie, that will give the RBs a good boost. Clement was an excellent Red Zone weapon and gifted pass catcher. He could be a valuable role player.

I don’t know what to expect from Adams. The first thing he has to do is earn a roster spot. He could go from leading rusher to looking for a job. That’s not an insult to him so much as it is acknowledging the overall position got upgraded.

Adams did show he had NFL ability last year. If he can improve his game, he also could become a good role player.

As for Smallwood, he is back for another uphill battle. He is a 25-year old player who gives everything he has. He is the kind of player we should love. But Smallwood isn’t that talented. Heart and desire only take you so far. You can win games with him, but you’re not going to have as much offensive success as you want.

Smallwood has 258 career touches. He has six plays of 20 yards or more. Clement only has 174 career touches, but has 10 plays of 20 or more yards.

I hate to be critical of Smallwood because I love how hard he plays. He is doing everything he can to succeed. We’ve seen high picks like Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith wash out with less than maximum effort. Smallwood was a late round pick and he’s done everything he can to carve out a role.

But this is the NFL. You can’t let settle for try-hard guys. You need to find good players. You want playmakers and difference-makers.

It sure looks like the Eagles will be better with Howard and Sanders.


Wait, what about Pump and the Boston Strangler?

I assume Donnell Pumphrey will be so good in camp that the Eagles will trade him to Joe Douglas for a 1st round pick.

Boston Scott has a chance to win a roster spot if he can catch the ball well and show ability as a kick/punt returner. I honestly don’t know what to expect from him.


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