Duce Staley likes these Philadelphia Eagles running backs even if you don’t.
It’s been one of the major talking points since the final whistle blew on the 2019-2020 season. How should the Philadelphia Eagles address their running back situation? Every year of the Doug Pederson era, regardless of how they’ve constructed the previous season’s roster, it feels as though the “Birds” are right back in the same boat. They’re shaky at safety and linebacker, and they’re in desperate need of help at wide receiver, at cornerback, and at the running back position.
The immediate questions were along the lines of whether or not Philly should bring back Jordan Howard or whether they could afford to invest some draft capital in some help for Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Then again, even if they did that, we knew that they couldn’t use a high draft choice to fill the need.
Bolstering Duce Staley‘s room wouldn’t be easy as priority number one was the wide receiver position, and even though we know that Philly spent their second-round selection on a third-string quarterback, some of you may not remember this, but there were quite a few Eagles fans who felt like they’d be fine with taking wideouts in both Round 1 and Round 2. That probably wasn’t the best plan, but it was definitely being talked about.
Believe it or not, you can argue that the Philadelphia Eagles’ skill positions are still in the same shape that they were four months ago.
Last year, on New Year’s Eve, Philly did something that seemed a bit unusual at the time. They traded for a running back knowing full well that the possibility of him playing last season was slim to none. His name was Elijah Holyfield.
We all understood to some degree. Doug Pederson and Duce Staley were doing so to give him the jumpstart on the 2020-2021 season by bringing him in early. At least, that’s what we hoped it was. That’s what we all said and thought. Fast forward, and Clement figures to make the roster, along with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. The “Birds” also turned a few heads by re-signing Corey Clement. That idea resulted in a few mixed reactions.
Clement was a restricted free agent in March. Philly determined the best course of action was to refrain from tendering him. He was allowed to walk on March 18th but was re-signed on a one-year deal by the “Birds” on April 29th. That raised a red flag. Both the 2018 and 2019 seasons for Clement ended with trips to the IR (injured reserve), and after seeing Darren Sproles battle injuries in 2017, 2018, and in 2018, many wondered why this was seen as a good idea by the franchise.
Regardless, Clement, Sanders, Scott, and Holyfield all figure to make the roster. The undrafted rookies. Michael Warren and Adrian Killins Jr. both wait in the wings. There’s no workhorse or sledgehammer in that bunch, and even though Duce Staley says Sanders doesn’t need his touches to be limited, no one wants to see him have a short career because of injury.
To make long stories short, even with six bodies, it feels like this group is missing something, but Duce loves his running back room even if you don’t. He sat down with the Philly media recently, and here’s some of what he had to say on the subject.
"I have a hell of a room, a bunch of young players that can play and play fast. Those guys in my room right now, they work their (blank) off, and of course, they’re young… We have Boston. We have Miles, who has a ton of playing time, so even though they’re young, they’ve played a lot. Then, we have, of course, Michael Warren. We have Adrian Killins. We have Corey, who has a bunch of playing time. He’s coming off of an injury (and) looks great by the way. I saw him not too long ago, so I’m very happy with my room and everybody’s role in the room. It’s awesome. I like where I’m at."
We discredit this team’s coaches and their general manager a lot. Some people think that they can do a better job than the average NFL coach because they can play Madden real well. Duce has earned the benefit of the doubt, so we’ll see how things go.
Even still, and with all of that being said, in a room where the guys are all around five-foot-ten and 200 pounds (Killins tips the scales at 177 pounds), one has to be concerned that a solid shot from a linebacker could change who’s in this room relatively quickly. How will this team be able to salt away games late if they’re up on the scoreboard? That’s going to be one of the things we pay attention to as we move through the regular season.