With Donnel Pumphrey out — plus Matt Jones on Thursday night, though he's since returned — it's given undrafted free agent running back Josh Adams a chance to receive more touches than he might've if everyone was healthy.
Against the Steelers, his first carry went for 15 yards and he finished with eight touches overall.
Saturday, he even received a couple reps with the first-team.
Adams is part of a crowded backfield that also contains Ajayi and Sproles. Clement went undrafted last year and ended up catching a TD pass in the Super Bowl, so the Eagles aren't afraid to keep guys like Adams around. However, at this point, he's—at best—the team's No. 4 RB.
It appears the Eagles are willing to give RB Donnel Pumphrey an opportunity as he has been getting reps with the first- and second-team offenses so far in training camp. Although he likely won’t carry the ball a ton this season, it does seem the Eagles are preparing to make him a part of the passing game.
“I expect to move to the slot a little bit more. At least that is what the coaches are telling me,” Pumphrey said. “They want me to do a lot more crossing routes with me and different stuff. Just looking forward to it.”
Pumphrey ended up on IR before the season started last year and just didn't appear ready to play in the NFL. That hasn't been the case so far this year, and the story said he's catching everything thrown to him. Pumphrey is in a battle to make the team but should have an advantage as the Eagles spent a valuable draft pick on him two drafts ago.
Donnel Pumphrey looked a little better this spring, but he needs to have a great training camp. Right now, I have the Eagles keeping four running backs: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Matt Jones. If they keep five, Pump has a real chance; he’d just need to beat out Wendell Smallwood for that final spot. I think he has a decent chance, but I haven’t seen enough to give him a roster spot. He’s a player I’ll be watching extremely close at training camp.
The return of Sproles really makes it tough to keep Pumphrey in 2018. The emergence of Clement in a passing-down role last year also could indicate Pumphrey make not make it through camp.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was clear that Jay Ajayi would be the team's top RB this upcoming season.
“Came in last year and obviously proved to us that he can handle it,” Pederson said. “He’s definitely going into camp as the No. 1 guy. It takes nothing away from what Corey [Clement] did or what [Darren] Sproles has done here, Wendell [Smallwood], [RB Donnel Pumphrey] is coming back, Matt Jones. You’ve got guys that are going to compete in that role.”
Pederson did add that the Eagles will still rotate running backs, but this is night and day from a year ago when he didn't name a lead back prior to the season. Ajayi got off to a slow start with Philadelphia after being traded from the Dolphins, but averaged 13.8 carries and 1.8 receptions over his final six appearances (including the playoffs). Ajayi could flirt with the 260 carries he had with Miami in 2016 when he finished as the No. 11 running back in PPR leagues.