Philadelphia Eagles Marvel At Head Coach Chip Kelly Power Ball Running Attack

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Nov 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back

Ryan Mathews

(24) is tackled by St. Louis Rams outside linebacker

Alec Ogletree

(52) as tackle

D.J. Fluker

(76) tries to assist Matthews during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Matthews – “The Human Torch” –  The next running back in our Philadelphia Eagles super-hero series is recently acquired free agent from the San Diego Chargers.  At 6’0″ and 220 pounds, Matthews is similar in build to Chris Polk.  But having come into the league as a first round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers in 2010, he’s already had 52 starts in the NFL.   Not that he was given the starts just from his draft position.   He has amassed 923 carries for 4,061 yards and 23 touchdowns.   He was also adept in the passing game, hauling in 146 receptions for another 1,110 yards and a touchdown.

The San Diego Chargers have been a good offense in the NFL for some time, and certainly Matthews has been a large part of that.  In coming to the Philadelphia Eagles, Matthews rejoins former teammate Darren Sproles.   It was the exodus of Sproles to the New Orleans Saints that gave Matthews the opportunity to assume the running responsibilities with the Chargers.  When healthy, he played very well – contributing over 1,400 yards of offense in 2013 to go with seven touchdowns.

Despite his production, many believe that he earned the yards on the ground when examining the offensive lines that he has worked behind.   What he shows on NFL film is the style of running back that Chip has preached since arriving in the NFL – a true north-south runner who finds the small crease in the blocking scheme and zips through before the defender can close ranks for the tackle.  In his 52 NFL starts, he averages between 17 and 18 carries a game and 3 pass receptions.   With the Philadelphia Eagles having as many running back options, look for his workload to decline slightly – to say somewhere between ten and fourteen touches per game.    That will keep him just shy of 200 rushes in a season and give him ample opportunity to compete for 1,000 yards of rushing in 2015.