Philadelphia Eagles: The backfield battle that nobody’s talking about

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: LeGarrette Blount
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: LeGarrette Blount /

Who will fill the void of LeGarrette Blount for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018?

It’s been quite a while since the Philadelphia Eagles had a lone star in the backfield. All throughout the 2000’s era, the Eagles mostly used one guy as the workhorse. Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, and LeSean McCoy were the last all-around workhorse’s the Eagles had featured in the backfield. Now, with Shady McCoy doing his thing out in Buffalo, the Eagles have decided to mix in a little bit of everything on Sunday’s.

During the Chip Kelly stint, the backfield was headlined by guys like Ryan Mathews, DeMarco Murray, and Darren Sproles. Clearly, we all know how frustrating that was at times as the Eagles struggled to get the best out of the group of former superstars. And aside from Sproles, they couldn’t really find a collective of backs who can consistently get the job done. Until last season, of course.

During the 2017 offseason, the Eagles played the patient game with free agency and signed the veteran running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal. To maximize potential out of the backfield, they also added undrafted rookie Corey Clement and eventually traded with the Miami Dolphins for Jay Ajayi. As a whole, the Eagles backfield finished with 1,787-yards.

Unfortunately, though, team success brings personal gain for select players who are eventual free agents. And after Blount’s successful season in Philly, he received a sweet deal from the Detroit Lions. The Eagles made it clear that Ajayi will take the reigns. But that still leaves a whole to fill in the backfield with another veteran power back out of the picture.

Who could potentially replace Blount?

Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, the Eagles had plenty of prime running back talents to choose from early on. But after trading their first-round pick to move back, most of their highly-touted prospects have found a new home already. That led to the Eagles going without a running back through all seven rounds of the draft. Once again, the team rolled the dice on an undrafted prospect and signed Notre Dame’s Josh Adams.

The Eagles weren’t done after Adams, though. They brought back their favorite run-catch weapon, Darren Sproles and also signed Matt Jones for dirt cheap off the market. It’s evident that Sproles won’t be used as a power back. But the other two guys fighting for a roster spot (Adams and Jones) could potentially find themselves getting quite the workload out of the backfield.

Adams’ has yet to join the Eagles on the playing field as he continues to heal from his foot injury. But for obvious reasons, the team remains patient with the six-foot-two, 214-pound back. The uncertainty of Adams health led the Eagles to search high and far for another big-bodied back. That’s where they found former Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts running back Matt Jones sitting on the free agency market.

The Battle of the big bodies:

Jones was looked at as nothing more than a camp body heading into OTAs. But after many open practices, the media has concluded that Jones is being looked at as much more than just a veteran presence for practice. At this point, Jones’ underwhelming career numbers mean absolutely nothing to the Eagles. Now, Jones has a significant opportunity to revive his career.

Next: Foles’ memoir is now a New York Times’ bestseller

It’s evident that Jones will have the upper hand on Adams as the rookie has zero NFL experience. But if the undrafted rookie can return to the Nova Care Complex healthy and ready to go, there should be no reason why the Fighting Irish superstar cannot get back on track and become a real workhorse out of the Eagles backfield.