Eagles preseason opener, while entertaining, didn't provide any clarity to the running back puzzle

With one preseason game down and the regular season rapidly approaching, inquiring minds want to know. Which running back will ascend to the top spot on the depth chart?
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

About a half hour before kickoff of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first preseason game, one versus the Baltimore Ravens, news broke, and it was what we expected. The starters reportedly weren't going to play. That led to the same thought in all of us. ‘Sweet, now we can kind of see what the running back depth chart is going to look like by the process of elimination.’ 

By most accounts, logic, and reason included, you could infer that Kenny Gainwell probably wasn’t RB1 and Boston Scott was maybe RB4 or something like that. Then we see that those two guys were not going to play, assumedly because they’re being looked at as potential first-teamers, but that couldn't possibly be accurate, could it?

One preseason game is in the books. We're back to asking ourselves a question.

Is there a top dog in the Eagles' running back room, or are we still ironing things out?

Football is back! What have we learned so far? There we were on Saturday, watching D’Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, Trey Sermon, and Kennedy Brooks. How about that 22-yarder that Swift ripped off? He made it look easy, didn't he?

If you're like the rest of us. You no doubt asked two questions: ‘Why is D’Andre Swift not a first-team guy?’ and ‘Are Gainwell and Scott really better than that?’ Fast forward to the postgame press conference, and we may have been given some jewels by head coach Nick Sirianni.

What can we take away from all of this? ...Buddy, it’s hard to say. The initial team depth chart that the Eagles PR team released named Swift, Penny, Gainwell, Sermon, and Scott as first-teamers while placing Kennedy Brooks in the other category. Brooks responded by fumbling on Saturday.

What we now know for sure is that D’Andre Swift is good (two carries for 22 yards). We know Rashaad Penny can gash defenses if given the time and the reps (nine carries for 34 yards). We know Trey Sermon is talented (nine carries for 21 yards). We know Kenny G and BoSco are going to get time in the next preseason game. That’s it. That’s what we know and it's not a whole lot of anything new.

We're less than a month from the beginning of the regular season. We'll see three joint practices and two more preseason games. At this point, it’s fair to imagine that we won’t actually find out who the starting running back is going to be until the first snap of Week 1's game versus the New England Patriots, but it is looking more and more like Philly is going to rely on a running back by committee system.

It’s frustrating, especially with the draft season for Fantasy football approaching. It would be nice to grab one of these backfield pieces. We just don't know who to grab.

All in all, and here's what's most important, this will again be one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. We'll just have to wait on answers about what everything will look like. That's the hand we have been dealt and have no choice but to deal with it.

More Eagles stories that you will like: