Ahead of the 2023 NFL season, one big question about the Philadelphia Eagles' offense centered around theories concerning the distribution of the football on offense, particularly when the discussion shifted to the guys in the running backs room. This team has incredible depth in that position, with D’Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Rashaad Penny, and Boston Scott all have talent.
Questions have resonated over this unit however, both from Eagles fans and Fantasy football owners. Philadelphia owns an incredibly high-powered offense. Why wouldn't anyone want to draft some of their talent? There's only one question.
Why would someone want to select one of Philly's tailbacks? No one knows when they will play. No one knows how much they will play. Here's an advantage though. Whoever the Birds place in the lineup will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Some say they are the best.
Nick Sirianni may have tipped his hand at how the Eagles will consistently use their running backs.
Ahead of the season, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said that the offense was going to ride the "hot hand" at running back. Typically, Nick won't tell us much, especially when the discussions with the media involve strategy. Something weird happened recently though.
When he spoke to the media on Wednesday, September 27th, we may have been given something solid. He was asked about how D’Andre Swift seemingly had the hot hand and why the Eagles decided to switch to Kenneth Gainwell at the end of the game. He had this to say:
HMMMMM. Well, that certainly seems telling, doesn’t it? That sure does sound like D’Andre Swift is going to be an every-down, playmaking kind of back, whereas Kenny Gainwell is going to be that situational back that serves as a change of pace and wears down/ sucks the life out of the opposing team's defense.
Honestly, many would state that's the correct approach.
From what we saw in Week 3's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it makes sense. Sirianni was referencing the end of the game. Kenny was a major part of the nine-minute, game-sealing drive. There's more to this story though.
During the very confusing play call on 4th-and-2 at the end of the Eagles' first drive, we saw Kenny Gainwell attempt to power through the middle of the defensive line. It didn't work. That’s the exact moment where you would use your bruiser (if Philly had a bruiser).
Again, the early fourth-down conversion attempt versus the Bucs didn't work. That's probably because the D-Line was still very fresh at that juncture of the game, but fast-forward a couple of hours. We saw better Gainwell efficiency as the grinder when Tampa's defense was dog-tired.
With that being said, Philly might be on to something. If you had any questions about whether or not Swift’s RB1 status was going to change week in and week out, hopefully this analysis of three sentences puts that to bed. We'll see how things go in Week 4.