The Philadelphia Eagles are looking towards the future, sort of. As far as the signal caller goes they have decided to go with the rookie Carson Wentz but the backfield will be run by a six-year vet, Ryan Matthews.
Matthews has had his share of responsibility, and no matter how you label him he has straddled the fence of good and terrible. But this is his shot, his season to make his name a household thing. His first five seasons in the league was spent with the San Diego Chargers where injuries and inconsistent play made him invaluable to the team and their future.
Last season he signed with the Eagles in what looked to be a mistake of sorts as Chip Kelly pulled the wool over his eyes and brought DeMarco Murray along as well. Needless to say, the backfield was a complete disaster, but Matthews made the most of his opportunity with 539 yards and six touchdowns on 106 carries. Not Pro Bowl numbers but it proved what he could do if healthy and given time.
The Eagles will need him to more than double that production as his plays will increase this year. If Wentz is the future, then it’s Matthews job to protect him, not with pass protection but with production. If Matthews can keep defenses honest, that will open passing lanes for Wentz and the receives which in turn will give Matthews and Darren Sproles chances in the middle of the field.
If the Eagles, now under the guidance of former Chiefs OC, Doug Pederson, who coached Jamaal Charles can provide schemes for Matthews that will have him in open space we may see the Matthews the Chargers were hoping for when they drafted him with the 12th pick in 2010. Matthews has the potential to hit 1000+ yards, as he did it once in 2011 and again in 2013, ironically those were the years where he played at least 14 games.
If the Eagles can have him on the field for 14+ games, he should be able to handle a load of 280 carries and 45 receptions. If Matthews reaches those goals, not only will he have done his part but the Eagles as an offense will prosper.