Wendell Smallwood 's burst showed up on his college game film, and it has carried over to the pro level. On Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smallwood carried the ball 17 times for 79 yards and a score, and he showed why he had so many carries of 10+ yards in college.
"He’s the same type of runner that we felt he was coming out of college and what we saw in preseason," said Doug Pederson. "He’s a big, powerful guy. He’s a downhill guy. He’s a one-cut runner. He did a great job for us."
Ryan Mathews was very limited due to an ankle injury, and injuries have been his bugaboo throughout his career. Smallwood has been playing behind Kenjon Barner, but in Week 3, Smallwood got two carries (for 12 yards) before Barner got a touch. In deeper leagues, the rookie is an interesting stash that could pay dividends down the line.
Ryan Mathews experienced stiffness in his left ankle early in the Eagles’ 34-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that was why Mathews played only eight snaps in the game. Coach Doug Pederson said Mathews will remain the team’s top running back as long as he’s healthy.
Mathews snaps did take a hit after carrying 22 times in Week 1. He was out-carried by Darren Sproles in Week 2, despite rushing for two TDs. The story said Mathews had not been on the injury report and practiced fully leading up to the game. With four different options emerging at RB, Mathews - even when healthy - doesn't seem like a lock to lead the team in carries week-to-week right now. The good news is the team has a bye in Week 4 so Mathews should be ready to go for Week 5.
The team has a bye in Week 5 so Green-Beckham is certainly someone to keep an eye on when the team returns to action Week 5.
The most promising news under-reported from Sunday’s 34-3 stunner of the Steelers? How about this one: Wendell Smallwood, 17 rushing attempts, 79 yards. Or this one: Kenjon Barner, eight attempts, 42 yards.
With Ryan Mathews limited to two carries because of a bad ankle, their combined effectiveness may have been as important as Carson Wentz’s passing and the four-sack, two-turnover, touchdown-denying Eagles defense.
Related players: Darren Sproles
The Eagles run game approach more resembles the Patriots over the years - varying backs getting the work depending on the opponent. Mathews has 22 carries in Week 1, but it was Sproles who led the way in Week 2. This week, Smallwood. Keep in mind Darren Sproles had a 70-yard TD reception. But, it does seem to indicate something we concluded back in summer: if Mathews isn't 100-percent it's Smallwood who could find himself with a big workload. Until Mathews is back close to 100-percent, this backfield appears to be a full-on committee situation. The Eagles have a bye in Week 4.
Sunday, September 25, 2016, 3:07pm
Injured quarterback Jay Cutler made the trip, but the Bears announced Saturday that running back Kadeem Carey and nose tackle Eddie Goldman did not make the trip and will not play Sunday night at Dallas.
All three had been listed as doubtful. Cutler suffered a thumb injury in last Monday’s game vs. the Eagles and did not practice all week.
Friday, September 23, 2016, 6:21pm
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:07pm
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:07pm
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hamstring) missed practice again Thursday. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gates is “uncertain” for Week 3. The Chargers play late on Sunday, so owners should have a Plan B in place. Jacob Tamme, Jesse James, Trey Burton, Jack Doyle, Vance McDonald and Lance Kendricks all play at the same time as or later than Gates.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 6:15pm
"Howard showed real promise in the preseason finale against the Browns, and I thought he provided a spark -- even if brief -- Monday night in the loss to the Eagles. The one thing Howard has done in limited playing time is show that he can catch the ball out of the backfield; that’s a real plus. I would not be surprised if Howard sees his role grow soon. KaDeem Carey can’t seem to stay healthy -- he was sidelined with a hamstring injury Monday night. I’d like to see Howard get 12 or more carries against the Cowboys and see how he does."
For owners looking to make a long-term play at running back, Howard is a quality stash as he tries to earn a regular role in the offense. Jeremy Langford (3.0 YPC) has been even worse on a per carry basis than last year (3.6 YPC), and although HC John Fox doesn't usually play rookies, Howard may be the exception. He is currently third on the depth chart behind Langford and KaDeem Carey, so this may not pan out.
In all, Darren Sproles carried 12 times for 40 yards on Monday night, while Ryan Mathews was limited to nine attempts for 32 yards. Mathews also had an attempt erased due to a penalty, but regardless, it was odd seeing the change-of-pace back get more work than the bellcow.
It was even stranger given the circumstances. Chicago's defense is far more stout against the run this season, so it was tough sledding for Eagles rushers. Again, that's where it would seemingly make sense for a bigger back like Mathews to carry the load, because he can fight for the hard yards and wear opponents down.
Mathews is nursing an ankle injury which may have played into the decision. Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood each had two rushes in Week 2 after Barner had an impressive Week 1. The story added the Eagles were trying to spread the Bears out, a strategy that did make some sense. Perhaps the Birds are taking notes from the Patriots use of RBs and we're going to see the snaps for all four backs vary depending on the opponent. Keep in mind Mathews did score two TDs and is still considered the main back of the offense. He had 22 carries in Week 1.
If Wheaton should play, it remains to be seen how much he’d be used. Rogers has settled in as the slot receiver, the position Wheaton held down last season, while Coates possesses the size and speed that the Steelers have been missing with Martavis Bryant suspended and TE Ladarius Green on the PUP list. Heyward-Bey played just 35 percent of the snaps on offense but contributed 62 percent on special teams.
Cutler suffered a right thumb sprain during Monday's loss to the Eagles and currently is considered day to day, head coach John Fox told reporters Tuesday.
Related players: Brian Hoyer
The NFL.com story went on to say Fox said it doesn't appear that Cutler will need surgery on his thumb. This is a positive development after NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Bears were preparing for a lengthy absence for Cutler, while other reports said it could be a six-month recovery time if he needed surgery - threatening Cutler's season.
CSN Chicago is reporting Cutler played through ligament damage from Week 1 and could miss extended time. According to one of their sources, it's a typical three-to-four week injury Cutler is dealing with.
As of right now it appears Hoyer may have to play at least in Week 3.
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