Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement receive more reps in Blount’s absence

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Carson Wentz
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Carson Wentz /

With LeGarrette Blount out and the Eagles being careful with Donnel Pumphrey, thanks to a minor hamstring injury, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood are getting more reps in practice.

When practice began on August 2nd at 8:15 AM EST, there was a very large hole in the Philadelphia Eagles running back corps, literally. The six-foot, 250-pound frame of LeGarrette Blount was noticeably absent. He’s been excused from the team for personal reasons. As a result, second-year vet Wendell Smallwood and undrafted free agent Corey Clement saw an increase in their on-field time over the last two days.

Donnel Pumphrey, who’s been lighting up practices and message boards, saw a little less time on Tuesday and Wednesday, probably because coaches want to be careful with a minor hamstring injury he’s been dealing with. There’s no need to worry. Head coach Doug Pederson revealed to the media on Tuesday that there was nothing to worry about.

Mixing things up:

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It sure would be nice to take Darren Sproles, Blount, Pumphrey, Smallwood and Clement into the regular season. Adding that to a receiving corps that would include Alshon JefferyTorrey SmithJordan Matthews, a steadily improving Nelson Agholor, Mack HollinsShelton Gibson, David Watford, Bryce Treggs, Greg Ward and Marcus Johnson would definitely give Carson Wentz a ton of options. Unfortunately, that won’t be an option with 53 available roster spots.

The evaluation process is only beginning.

Moving forward:

Pederson’s been using every opportunity to place each piece of the puzzle in different scenarios. As a result we’re seeing guys who are on the bubble, Marcus Johnson for instance, run with the starters. At the beginning of training camp’s second week, it’s been Clement and Smallwood’s turn to do the same thing. According to the head coach, seeing everybody mix it up with the starters is important. He wants to see if backups can gel with Wentz. He wants to see the undrafted free agent, Clement, get some carries behind that Eagles offensive line.

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For Smallwood, who’s seemingly slipping on the depth chart, those opportunities are important. For Clement, who isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot, they may be even more important.