Nov 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Chris Polk (32) runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Polk – “The Thing” – (Since this Article was published, the Eagles retracted their RFA offer to Polk, who subsequently signed on with the Houston Texans) When 5′ 11″ 222 pound running back lines up, you don’t expect what comes next. He runs downhill and he runs hard. The Thing is, if the Eagles can keep him healthy, he can run hard and score for the Eagles. He hasn’t piled up many rushing yards in an Eagles uniform yet – merely 270 yards in two seasons. But another thing he can do is score. Of the 57 rushes, he’s scored 7 touchdowns, or one touchdown in just over eight carries. And the other thing is that he can field a kickoff, getting 340 yards in 11 games, with one being a 102 yard kickoff return. Signed to the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012 alongside running back Bryce Brown, Polk made the best of his 2013 opportunities – rushing for 98 yards, five first downs, and three touchdowns in just 11 carries. His momentum didn’t immediately carry over into 2014, as he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season.
And so, the Eagles prolific offense began the season with two healthy running backs. But when Polk returned, he made his presence known. On the first NFC East division game of the season, Polk answered an opening drive score from the Washington Redskins with a 102 yard kickoff return to tie the game. With the final score coming in at Eagles 37 Redskins 34, the run was a difference in the game.
It’s tough to judge the right number of touches for Polk, since he’s only had two seasons with statistics. His style of running wears down a defense, but his own body has shown wear and tear as well. Still, he has a “thing”, and that thing is scoring touchdowns. Until he proves he’s able to work the running game as well as kickoff returns, look for Polk to kick in another five to ten rushes per game. It is conceivable that the Eagles may think over carrying four running backs into the season, but with the lack of experience at the wide receiver position, the team would be wise to bring this rusher’s nose for the end zone into the season.