Saturday, August 9, 2014, 11:50am
He’s not going to be a starting running back in Buffalo, but Bryce Brown’s performance against Carolina Friday night was anything but a surprise to head coach Doug Marrone. As he sees it, he’s got the luxury of having a starting caliber back in Brown, who at best sits third on the depth chart.
Brown led the team in rushing Friday night and averaged almost six yards a carry against Carolina’s second teamers. That’s why Marrone wasn’t shocked to see Brown do so well.
“In my mind Bryce Brown is a very talented running back that has the potential to start in the NFL,” said Marrone. “So I think what happens a lot, when he is in the game I think he is one of the better players on the field. So, his production is not surprising for any one of us.”
Brown has the skills but is still a little raw, which is why the Eagles moved on from him and traded him to Buffalo. Brown seems firmly planted as the Bills RB3 behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
"I don’t know if I want to get it down to three. I’ve never been a guy that has three backs playing in the game," Marrone said. "I’ve always believed, and you guys know, in the two backs. It’ll come down to two backs; the two backs going in there."
Perhaps it's time to pump the brakes on talk of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon being significant contributors. If Marrone wants his game plan to include only two running backs then Spiller and Fred Jackson are the overwhelming favorites to land those roles.
If true, this good news for both Spiller and Jackson, who figure to combine to see the vast majority of touches in the Buffalo backfield. Last year, Jackson saw 253 touches, or 46% of the team's RB touches. Spiller saw 235 (43%), but was dinged up for most of the season. We currently have Spiller projected for 283 touches and Jackson for 194. Jackson may have some upside from there, making him an ideal RB4 still available in the 8th or 9th round.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 6:59pm
The Bills made a bold statement during the draft – dealing away next year's first-round pick – to move up and select the best receiver in the crop, Clemson's Sammy Watkins with the fourth pick overall. Watkins is a dynamic playmaker who has had an impressive rookie camp. They also swung a deal with the Buccaneers to obtain Mike Williams, looking to rebound from a torn hamstring.
"He is the essential cog," Jackson, the eighth-year vet, told USA TODAY Sports. "We know that. He knows that. We can only go as far as he takes us."
Manuel sounds like he could face some pressure to make the playoffs this season, but after missing much of last year he's really still just a rookie in terms of games played. He does have some nice weapons to work with in the passing game but the Bills could end up being a run-first team with C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and newly acquired Bryce Brown in the backfield.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6:06pm
The Bills were able to put the finishing touches on the announcement of a one-year extension for running back Fred Jackson. Jackson was entering the final year of his contract, which is set to pay him a base salary $2.45 million. There were no financial details announced by the team.
Jackson’s role for the 2014 season is a bit unclear with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon joining Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the backfield. There’s been talk that the 33-year-old may be slated for a more limited role than he’s played in the past, but the extension suggests he’s still very much in the Bills’ plans now and in 2015.
This certainly indicates that the team is planning for the eventuality that Spiller won't be with the team in 2015. If he departs, Jackson could split time (or back up) Bryce Brown, whom the team traded for earlier in the year.
Brown is a decade younger than Jackson and comes to the team after piling up 4.6 yards per carry in limited action over 32 games for the Eagles. He plowed for 347 yards in back-to-back starts for Philly in 2012 but saw his snaps wither away last season under coach Chip Kelly.
He may not have much value in 2014, but Brown is shaping up to be a good dynasty acquisition, especially if Spiller and/or Jackson do not return next season.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 9:13am
Bills RB C.J. Spiller's cap number is 416 percent higher than the NFL average at his position.
This all sets the table for the Bills' upcoming negotiations with Spiller, who can become a free agent after this season. Are the Bills willing to pay Spiller top-five money for his position? Or can they get by with a rotation of younger players? I think the Bills would love to have Spiller's speed and big-play ability around for several more years, but he might still need to prove that he can be the lead horse in the backfield.
That could be tough for Spiller to prove this year, especially if he can't stay healthy. Even if he does, Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown could all be in the mix for carries, and in a previous news item here at 4for4, it sure seems like Dixon is going to be the goal line and short yardage back. The writer also thinks the team wants to develop Brown as one of the lead backs. Spiller is ranked 24th among our RBs, but his ADP is the fourth round. That all equals a pretty big risk. The later you can draft Spiller, the better value he'll be.
Sunday, July 6, 2014, 2:23pm
One of the few guys on offense who can expand his role in 2014 is Eagles RB Chris Polk, and given the success he had last year, I’d expect Polk to produce even more as LeSean McCoy’s backup than Bryce Brown did last year.
Part of the reason the Eagles were willing to part ways with Brown was the emergence of Polk, who made the most of his very limited opportunities on offense last year. Polk only got the ball 11 times, but he rushed for three touchdowns and 98 yards, averaging just under nine yards per carry. He scored a touchdown against Denver in Week 4 on his first carry as a pro, a 4-yarder.
Polk also plays special teams which is another reason the Birds could part ways with Brown. Mosher feels the team would give a lot of work to Polk if McCoy were ever to miss time, even though the team is going out of its way to say newly-acquired RB Darren Sproles isn't a receiver. Polk is someone to keep in mind as a handcuff to McCoy and we should get a better feel as to what his role will be this season during camp.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 6:58pm
The Eagles dealt Bryce Brown on draft day, and one of the reasons was their optimism in Chris Polk. The running back had offseason shoulder surgery, but he’s a player that the coaching staff likes quite a bit. Polk has good size and an aggressive running style. He had only 11 carries last season, but he finished with 98 yards and three touchdowns. Polk’s workload will depend on LeSean McCoy’s health and how involved Darren Sproles is in the running game, but the Brown trade should be viewed as an encouraging sign for Polk.
“Obviously we have a talented one in LeSean, and then when you add Sproles to the mix, where does Chris fit into it?” Kelly said. “ But I think in terms what has he done in the offseason, I think he's really put himself in the picture.”
Eagles HC Chip Kelly insists Darren Sproles is a running back and not just a receiver out of the backfield. Sproles has had more receptions than rushes in three of the past four seasons. He said that’s the way the coaches want to use him in New Orleans’ offense. He has never been a primary running back in his career, which has also helped extend his career. Sproles operates best in space, away from big bodies. The Eagles don’t want Sproles to siphon carries away from McCoy, so don’t expect Sproles to become a major rusher in Philadelphia, but he will still be used in the running game.
Sproles is another option for Kelly, and he can become a weapon in man-to-man coverage in the hurry-up offense. Kelly emphasized that he wanted to take advantage of one-on-one coverage; a matchup with Sproles against a linebacker will be an advantage for the Eagles. The key in the offense is to have versatile players who can fill different roles, and Sproles does that. He will also be valuable as a returner. Sproles turned 30, and the Saints were aggressive in moving him, so he needs to prove that he’s not about to take a sharp decline.
Bryce Brown (75 carries, 8 catches) was traded to the Bills, so someone will need to carry the ball to give LeSean McCoy a breather. Sproles is a better runner than people think, as evidenced by his career 5.1 YPC, but he's not a player the Eagles want running inside. It sounds as if Kelly has big plans for Sproles in the two-minute drill and in the passing game.
The last time C.J. Spiller was on the team’s grass practice field every step was a chore. Planting and cutting, let along straight like jogging all made his high ankle sprain throb. Spiller battled through the 2013 season with that hitch in his step. The first week of OTAs that hitch was gone.
“I don’t feel nothing, I feel great,” said Spiller. “This is the best I’ve felt since 2012 when I had that great year. The ankle feels wonderful. I just have to keep doing what I need to do to stay healthy this whole season and try to go out there and make plays.”
C.J. Spiller’s 2013 season has been well-documented. He dealt with a bad ankle sprain for most of the season and, other than a few electrifying moments, he just didn’t seem like himself. Throw in a RB1-type season from the seemingly ageless Fred Jackson and Spiller finished #27 at his position, a huge disappointment to those owners who drafted him in the first round. A healthy Spiller should fare much better in 2014, though the ever-productive Jackson is still under contract and the team acquired Bryce Brown, so there are still major workload concerns. We're also not confident that the coaching staff knows how to best utilize his skill set.
The Eagles announced they'll get a fourth-round pick in 2015 or a third- or fourth-rounder in 2016 in the deal.
Brown had his moments as a rookie, rushing for a combined 347 yards and four TDs against the Panthers and the Cowboys with LeSean McCoy sidelined with an injury. He joins a crowded Bills backfield, so he may not get much of a chance to carry the ball barring an injury to C.J. Spiller and/or Fred Jackson.
Monday, December 16, 2013, 9:36am
Polk did not record a carry and dropped a third-down pass, which was the only pass intended for him. He also played on special teams. Polk rushed for a touchdown last week and earned the praise of the coaches, who said he deserves more playing time.
Something to keep in mind if you're a McCoy owner. If McCoy would go down it's likely there would be some sort of split anyway, but at this point it looks like Polk would be in line for a majority of the work and perhaps even goal line chances, given he's the bigger back.
Monday, November 18, 2013, 10:19am
McCoy described it as a "sharp pain" after his leg gave out. He said it might have been a cramp.
"It just grabbed really tight," McCoy said. "I was cutting and running, and it kind of just gave out. But I went back there and did some stretching and different treatment and I was back."
McCoy was able to return, but during the telecast when grabbing his leg you could read his lips as he said "it's my hammy." McCoy also went down against the Chiefs grabbing his ankle in what looked like it might be a major injury. If you own McCoy but not Bryce Brown, now is the time to pick him up...
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 12:37pm
Polk has been stuck behind LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown and has had very limited opportunities this season.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 11:26am
Second-year Eagles halfback Chris Polk scored a touchdown on his first NFL carry, powering four yards for a touchdown. Later, in mop-up, he reeled off a 28-yard burst against an eight-man box. Chip Kelly said Polk warranted more playing time, so expect to see more of Polk going forward.
Polk saw time on the field after McCoy couldn't catch his breath and Bryce Brown had a huge gain in a screen pass. Polk ended up scoring a TD as a result. This is McCoy's job but it looks like Polk could get a couple of touches. He won't be fantasy worthy though.
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