Just in case there aren’t enough carries to go around between DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles in the Eagles’ backfield this season, there’s always the passing game.
With a possible three-headed monster ready to bust loose behind the Eagles athletic (though still somewhat undetermined) offensive line, imagine trying to cover a combination of the Birds’ three tailbacks defensively. It’s got Chip Kelly licking his chops. It has Mark Sanchez and Philly’s quarterbacks excited as well.
“They are perfect for this system,” Sanchez said after practice at Tuesday’s OTA.”These guys aren’t foreign to catching the ball. Whether it’s a check down or they’re the primary guy, Chip and [offensive coordinator Pat]Shurmur have a ton of plays for all that. Whatever the defenseis giving us, we will react toit but we want to push that gas pedal and make plays.”
So what’s it like in a running backs room with last year’s rushing champion, a special teams and speed maven and a one-time featured back battling back from injury? If you ask RBs coach Deuce Staley, it’s like heaven.
“We are getting to know eachotherbetter,” Matthews said,”being able work with each otherand make each other better, it’s become more of a brotherhood in there. We hold each other accountable and coach Deuce has done a great job making sure its tight.”
The concern, right now at least, is not the distribution of touches for the running backs. Right now it’s learning the high-paced scheme and becoming fluid in the Chip Kelly offense.
Matthews knows he has to compete for carries — but also knows he brings a lot to the table.
“My work ethic, my Veteran ‘savviness,’ I have been in the league a few years,” Matthews, who has run for over 1,000 yards twice in five season, said.”I have a little bitof leadership [to offer].It will be nice for the young guys to see that.”
When healthy, Matthews was a 200-plus carries per season running back in San Diego. With Murray likely to command at least a majority of rushes, look for Matthews, who has been speedy in practice (and even returning kicks) to find other ways to contribute and get on the field.
“We will do whatever we can to help the team,” he said, claiming the same selflessness for his teammates.”If that’s running the ball once and catching the ball 10 times,that’s what we’ll do.”