What is wrong with the Eagles run game?
7 November 2016 Eagles News
Versus the New York Giants, the Eagles only managed 21 carries between their four running backs. Darren Sproles lead the pack with 13 carries. We are talking about a team that has Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner on the roster as well as Sproles. The Eagles run game can best be described as stagnant, what is wrong? Is it a trust issue?
Sproles, the old man of the group is the number one running back. Sproles had about 80% of running back snaps yesterday. That does not sound like a run by committee approach by me.
Ryan Mathews scored yesterday, but only managed 15 yards on five carries. Who knows what is up with him. Last week, he was dealing with a tooth problem. Yes, a tooth problem. However, since the bye week, he is only averaging 8.4 carries a game, and the last two weeks, he is averaging just 4.5 carries a game. There is something up with him.
He led the Eagles in carries versus the Steelers with 17, but since that, he has been way under used. Since the bye week, he averages two carries a game. Doug said today it’s hard getting Smallwood more carries. Maybe it has to do with his trust in him after the fumble versus Dallas. Or, Smallwood might be a little liable pass protecting. Either way, he is not getting in the game and running the football.
Kenjon Barner has just 20 attempts this season, which is eleven less than Smallwood. After having a great preseason, it was looking like he would get the ball more. To be honest, he has not done that badly when running it. But, to be clear, being behind Smallwood just shows you the little trust they have in him. He is averaging just 2.5 carries a game.
Where does this leave the Eagles?
Sproles signed a one-year contract extension this offseason, signing through 2017. Remember he is 33 years old. No team should realistically have a 33-year-old running back as their lead back. Mathews’ snap count has only gone down, the Eagles just do not trust him. If the Eagles do not trust him now, they never will. Releasing Mathews at the end of the season will save the Eagles some money.
Going into next season, I expect the Eagles to address this position. I think only Sproles and Smallwood will remain on the roster. The Eagles need a go to, lead back. Whether they get this guy in free agency or the draft, they need a running back. Someone they can trust on a 4th and 1.
Right now, the Eagles can only trust Darren Sproles, that is the problem with the run game. Let’s be real, Sproles was never an every down back. If the Eagles want to have a run game, they need to find themselves a lead back.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports