The Philadelphia Eagles seemingly haven’t learned anything after Sproles.
If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you have to admit that winning a Super Bowl with a lot of reserve guys and castoffs made you pretty confident about the 2018 season. The prospect of getting guys like Carson Wentz, Jason Peters. Mack Hollins, and Darren Sproles back into the fold and adding guys like Sidney Jones and Dallas Goedert made you feel like another deep playoff run wasn’t unlikely.
Then, the injuries started piling up. Not only did Carson Wentz get placed on the IR (injured reserve) for the second year in a row, but Sproles missed a large chunk of the regular season again. Then, there were the injuries to Derek Barnett and two members of the backfield, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. Guys were dropping like flies.
Oh yes, we all remember. What does this have to do with this Philadelphia Eagles season and Corey Clement though?
It seemed like, at the beginning of the 2018 campaign, the “Birds” seemed like they were stocked at the running back position one minute and relying on an undrafted rookie, Josh Adams, to carry the running game’s load in the next. Are you kidding?
Somehow, Philly pulled it all together and came within a few plays of making a second-consecutive NFC Championship Game. That brings us to 2019, a season where Sproles and Clement were expected to be a big part of Philly’s rushing attack again, but well, both got hurt.
You see, at some point, those draft picks have to work, and it seems like Philly has to keep kicking the tires on old guys because the guys like Donnel Pumphrey and Shelton Gibson are never working out. The problem with that is these old guys and recycled veterans get old and injured fairly quickly. That’s why we thought when Howie Roseman uttered the words “get younger and faster”, the days of injury-riddled seasons were being traded in for a new era with some younger horses.
Then, Philly re-signed Clement after two straight seasons where he finished on Philly’s IR, and they traded for the oft-injured Marquise Goodwin and started screaming at the top of their lungs that Alshon Jeffery and his outrageous cap number and broken-down body would be back. Again, what is this team doing?
Sure, if we just look at Clement’s case, he was magnificent in Super Bowl 52, and he’ll add some punch to this Eagles running game if he can stay healthy. The problem is, if you watched the past two seasons, why would we believe he can stay healthy? He does play football’s most punishing position. Did this team learn anything from Darren Sproles?
What are the reasonable expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles in Year 4 with Corey Clement?
Here we are. Corey Clement doesn’t even turn 26 until November, but for whatever reason, it feels like he’s knocking on 30’s door. He suffered a knee injury in Week 14 of 2018’s run. A shoulder injury put him on the shelf for every game after Philly’s fourth in 2019. Why are we talking about expectations? The questions should be more about whether or not he can finish a 16-game season and whether or not he can still take shots.
Right now, either Philly is delusional (you can’t guarantee he’s going to upgrade this 2020 roster if he can’t even stay on the field) or the “Birds” have acquiesced themselves to the theory that anything they get from him is a bonus. If the latter is the case, did this team really need to give him a one-year deal based on that?
You saw what happened. He was a restricted free agent. He wasn’t tendered the Eagles. No one else signed him. Doesn’t that they say enough? Nostalgia shouldn’t matter here.
This is about putting a roster together, and no one can make any guesses about what we’re expecting from “30” because, if we’re being honest, we’re talking about what’s close to two seasons where he hasn’t done much that’s worth talking about. Everyone hopes he still has something left, but in all honesty, there are quite a few “Birds” fanatics who aren’t going to bet the farm that Corey Clement is just going to walk back on the field and be that guy from Super Bowl 52. Sorry, but it probably isn’t going to happen.