Philadelphia Eagles fans are calling for more Jordan Howard after Sunday. Suddenly, it feels like 2017 all over again.
It comes as no surprise that the 2017 season just so happens to be every Philadelphia Eagles fan’s favorite. After all, that’s the year the team went 13-3, notching a first-round bye and heading all the way to Super Bowl LII to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time.
Ever since that moment, things have changed around here. And ever since that season, everybody wants to see the same type of success happen. Therefore, the Eagles are trying to use a similar recipe to get there. And one of the ingredients happens to be a running back by committee.
Over the offseason, the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, drafted Miles Sanders, and re-signed Darren Sproles back on a one-year contract. Back in 17,’ the Eagles started the year off with LeGarrette Blount as a signing, Corey Clement as a rookie, and Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and others around as well.
At the time, we all expected Blount to come in and be the number one back. After all, he dominated in 2016 with the New England Patriots, notching over 1,100 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. To our surprise though, Blount would get a small start for the Eagles, and it wasn’t necessarily because he was struggling. During the first couple of weeks, the Eagles failed to utilize him correctly.
After week two, many were frustrated with the Eagles lack of usage with Blount. Going into week three, he had a total of 14 carries, despite being the number one back. Darren Sproles, on the other hand, cut into his production big time as he picked up 12 carries by week three as well.
Sproles went down with an injury on his third carry of week three, which ended his season. Since then the Eagles had no choice but to run with Blount. However, if Sproles remained healthy, we probably would’ve seen a significant difference in carries that season.
Fast forward to this year…
The year is 2019. Sproles is back in the mix, but Blount is no longer here. Instead, the Eagles have a young power running back in Jordan Howard. Despite being listed as the number one back though, Howard didn’t lead the team in carries. In fact, he trailed both, Miles Sanders and Darren Sproles on Sunday, despite being the clear-cut best runner out on the field.
Sanders took on 11 carries, averaging only 2.3 yards-per-carry. Sproles, on the other hand, surprisingly came second in carries with nine total. He averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry. Meanwhile, Howard, who averaged 7.3 yards-per-carry, made the best of only six carries.
Fans were frustrated as once again with Duce Staley’s rotation decisions. It caused confusion since Staley continues to favor Darren Sproles even though another running back had the hot hand. Like LeGarrette Blount, Jordan Howard is a power runner who gets better with more carries and beasts his way through defenders. So far, the Eagles failed to utilize him correctly though.
There’s hope that history repeats itself and Howard earns more carries as the year goes on. Eventually, Blount did take on at least 12 carries a game in a good chunk of matchups moving forward. We’ll see if the Eagles begin to take to the same road with Howard — or if they stick to trying to get Sproles and Sanders going with minimal carries for the veteran power runner.