The Philadelphia Eagles were missing a LeGarrette Blount type back in their running back-by-committee since Jay Ajayi was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Blount was the back that can handle the workload in the fourth quarter that can get the tough yards, similar to the role Ryan Mathews played in 2016.
Pederson found that player in Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Josh Adams, who finished with nine carries for 61 yards. Averaging 6.8 yards per carry to lead the Eagles rushing attack, Adams had runs of 21 yards and 17 yards en route to the Eagles third-highest individual rushing performance of the season.
The Eagles head coach declared Adams will play the "Blount role" going forward.
"I think we have that guy. If you go back and watch the game, I called a few more third-and-2, third-and-3 runs that we converted, and of course Josh was in the game at the time," Pederson said. "Wendell [Smallwood] had some tough runs. He had a tough run at the end of the game to ice the game, basically.
Adams saw a bump in snaps in London and certainly made the most of them. With a bye week in Week 9, Adams could see a much bigger workload starting in Week 10 against Dallas. As we reported earlier today, Smallwood led the way in snaps while Clement seems to be the odd man out right now in the Eagles backfield. Clement could be battling injuries.
The Eagles' running back situation is like a giant puzzle. We know the pieces but we don't know how they'll all fit together just yet.
"They're open to everything," LeGarrette Blount said. "They're not going to just specifically put me in the role of short-yardage, goal line back. That's not what they brought me here for. They have an open mind. They're going to put me in other situations. I'm excited about every part of the game."
Blount, 30, is coming off a season that saw him carry the ball 299 times for 1,161 yards and an astounding 18 touchdowns. For comparison, the Eagles' top rusher in 2016 was Ryan Mathews, who carried the ball 155 times for 661 yards and eight scores. (Mathews is still technically on the roster but is expected to be cut once fully healed.)
After Blount, the Eagles still have Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles and Donnell Pumphrey. All four backs seem to have different skill sets and it'll be up to head coach Doug Pederson to figure out how the puzzle fits together.
Pederson was quoted in the story saying he wanted to get all the RB touches. That's something similar to what happened last year, which isn't an ideal fantasy situation. But, Blount should get a bulk of early down work at least, while Sproles and Pumphrey, who seem to be of the same mold, get third down work and passing situation downs. Smallwood seems to be more of a backup to Blount.
Ryan Mathews won’t be on the field Monday for the Eagles. He is still recovering from neck disk surgery, and his surgeon doesn’t want to revisit the matter until sometime next month, the source said.
Mathews, a hard-charging runner with an extensive injury history, had landed on injured reserve the week of the season finale against Dallas. He’d suffered a neck injury Dec. 23 against the Giants that capped a frustrating, erratic season for the Eagles’ leading rusher.
But Mathews had a year remaining on his contract. Releasing him while injured would cost the team more than $1.1 million, the money coming directly off the Eagles’ meager cap space. So the decision was to wait for Mathews to pass a physical, at which point he could be released. He’ll still count $1 million in dead cap money this year, but the Eagles won’t be paying him, the only thing affected will the cap space. If and when he passes the physical.
Mathews is scheduled to make $4 million this season, and to count $5 million toward the cap, the story said. Given the signing of LeGarrette Blount and the drafting of Donnel Pumphrey, there is virtually no chance the team will keep Mathews around, when he is declared healthy, the story went on to say.