Or do they?
The Philadelphia Eagles running back that starts Week One will likely remain unknown for quite some time. In a draft rich with elite talent at the position, the Eagles remained painstakingly patient.
The Eagles didn’t draft Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara or D’Onta Foreman as their heir apparent at running back. Ryan Mathews, once healthy, will be cut, at least according to those “in the know.” As a result, fans and the media are asking whether the team will make another move before training camp.
No offense to Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement, but the Eagles backfield appears to look like it could still use some additional help. Instead, the Eagles released Terrell Watson. It would appear wise to remember that Doug Pederson limited the running back position to just four members during the 53-man deadline. It’s safe to assume that Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles will make the team.
The water gets murky. Think Martavis Bryant‘s bong water murky. A haze of upside, raw ability and inexperience makes projecting the Eagles running back situation tougher than a two dollar steak. It all starts with Mathews.
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Moving past the injuries, Mathews brought a mixed bag of results to the Eagles offense. His fumble against Detroit turned the season on it’s head. It once appeared that Clement and Watson would compete for Mathews’ slice of the pie in training camp. Now it seems timely to revisit the theory about the Eagles releasing Mathews. Perhaps the question should be raised about restructuring his contract. Each day that Charlotte isn’t spinning a new web in his helmet could be an escalator in his contract.
Byron Marshall was recently converted to a wide receiver on the Eagles depth chart. I simply don’t understand this move in any capacity. Marshall has solid hands, but competition for snaps at running back and receiver are as different as Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Marshall will be buried on the depth chart at receiver. I don’t say that with malice, either. I love Marshall’s play-making abilities, particularly in open space.
Then there’s Kenjon Barner, who is now on the Los Angeles Chargers. Most fans aren’t going to notice the disappearance of his 27.5 carries per season. The disappearance of 100 special teams snaps could however rear it’s ugly head. Pumphrey and Mack Hollins appear to be the most likely candidates to fill that void however.
As much as I want those two players to fill the void on special teams, a solid and sound running game still matters. Sure the New England Patriots did their best to disprove that statement last season. Regardless of Bill Belichick’s mastery of the NFL roster construction, the Eagles need to build the the running back position up instead of relying upon unknowns. We know the cap situation and we know how limited the players at this position are. That’s what Howie Roseman’s job is however. Joe Douglas doesn’t get to save you from every decision. Now is the time to show whether Kumbaya in the mountains helped determine your roster construction abilities or just exposed that you’re full of smoke.