Philadelphia Eagles went into the season with four running backs on the roster. Last week Philadelphia lost two backs and luckily they had 2 more to carry the load. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough against Seattle.
This week, Philadelphia has 3 healthy running backs. Ryan Mathews is out with a knee injury. Often injured, it was only a matter of time before Mathews missed a game.
The Eagles do best when they rotate their backs, keeping them fresh and gaining experience for Wendall Smallwood and Kenjon Barner. I was glad when Smallwood and Barner saw more action because I knew it was only a matter of time before they’d need to step up into bigger roles.
Barner has primarily been used as a kick returner, giving Darren Sproles a rest. Barner has been very good thus far and I saw no reason Philadelphia would change. Sproles is a change of pace back. Smallwood is a bigger, stronger back. Very similar to Mathews style of running. Smallwood was drafted with the fact that he would someday replace Mathews. Now he gets his chance.
[embedit snippet=”Ralph ads”]
The rookie has impressed as of late. The more he sees the ball, the better he gets. Both Barner and Smallwood struggled late in the game against Seattle last week, but so did the entire team. I have high hopes for Smallwood, Who had 13 carries for 48 yards against Seattle. 13 carries for 70 yards against Atlanta the week before. Smallwood was targeted 5 times against Seattle, caught 4 of those passes for 31 yards.
Philadelphia uses their backs to catch out of the backfield and down the field quite a bit, so catching passes comes with the job. Expect the Eagles to run the ball often against the Packers who gave up 151 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries last week against Washington. An average of five yards per carry.
The week before, Packers gave up 154 yards, one touchdown, on 31 carries. An average of five yards per carry.
Wendell Smallwood has the speed to break off on big runs, that spells trouble for the Packers tonight. The Eagles are undefeated at home. I don’t expect that to change this week.