Checking In On Bryce Brown’s Progress

Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce BrownThe Eagles have an interesting decision to make when it comes to Bryce Brown. Despite a concerning collegiate path, they selected him in the seventh round because of his undeniable talent. His ability to tote the ball has shone through, and his mind appears to be in the right place.

Still, the pass-protection issue lingers. Brown was not used as a blocker at Tennessee or Kansas State, and remains raw in that area.

“I’m still a work in progress because I haven’t done it before,” said Brown. “I’m starting to realize that the more you are able to recognize the blitzes before they come, it’s going to help you a whole lot in picking things up.”

The 6-0, 200-pound rookie said the biggest obstacle for him is getting familiar with the Eagles’ system. The coaches want  him to have a firmer grasp of the offense.

When it comes to the rookies, Brown shows the most flash as a runner. The man he is competing against, though – Chris Polk – is the safer option in pass protection.

“They’re getting better but that is a place that they need work,” said Andy Reid. “If you just took one area, and I remember talking about Brian Westbrook this way and [RB] LeSean [McCoy] this way, I would tell you the same thing with these kids here, that they need work in that area. They need to get going. Polk is probably a little bit ahead in the pass protection area just because he was asked to do more of that in this type of an offense in college. They are both very capable guys but they both need work.”

The question is this: If Brown remains a step behind as a blocker, can the Eagles still find a role for him behind McCoy and Dion Lewis? Or does it make more sense to ride with Polk, who might have less upside but offers more peace of mind?

Brown was asked if he has a sense of how he fits into the equation.

“I have no idea, but hopefully I’ll fit in just fine,” said Brown. “I’m just focusing on getting better every day, showing the coaches that I’m improving, that I’m accountable, that they can rely on me when Dion or McCoy needs a break, that I can go in and fill in for them.”

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  • Jgamber

    Keep Brown because of his upside. All rb need to learn to pick up the blitz.

  • Average__Joseph

    Give it up Tim, Brown makes it easily over Polk.

    • ICDogg

      Polk is more of a finished product, but not anywhere near the level of talent. I can’t see keeping Polk over Brown; if they keep Polk it would be finding a spot for him in addition to Brown. Can’t keep everyone, though.

      • deg0ey

        Agreed – It’s not like the #3 RB is going to get on the field this season anyway; they’re keeping the guy they think can compete for a bigger role in the future and I don’t see that being Polk.

        • ICDogg

          You know, if he does keep Polk, he would probably fit the Reno Mahe / Chad Hall miscellaneous utility guy role.

          • Run Eagles Run

            in other words, the type of guy who never really amounts to much. and dont even try and hit me with the “mahe led the league in PR average”. He was a waste of a roster spot. He was a hell of an employee at chickie and petes though.

  • If Polk makes it through the pre-season healthy, he won’t last on the practice squad. Both Brown and Polk can break tackles, something Lewis doesn’t do consistently. Lewis does not even represent much of a “change of pace” from McCoy (McCoy is bigger but they have similar styles) and we have no short yardage back. Prediction: If Polk and Brown can learn the O and the blocking schemes, Lewis could net a saftey in a trade.

  • trixman

    Whoever is better on special teams wins. Tie goes to the draft pick. The other’s (insert body part) will “require” surgery so he can be stashed for a year on IR.

  • It doesn’t matter how well either of them block right now because they won’t play this year. They will be 3rd on a depth chart behind Dion Lewis who will barely see the field. They’ll keep Brown because of his potential.

  • There is nothing that Polk does that you can’t find on the street if, for some reason, you actually need another RB who can play. Brown, on the other hand …

    • rAves

      My guess is that they will keep all four RBs to start the season. If McCoy gets hurt, they will use Polk on obvious passing downs because he is a better blocker than the other two, e has a feel for leaking out of the backfield as a safety valve and has good hands. As Brown matures, they will re-evaluate. Polk is only at risk if the Eagles can find an quality FB on the waiver wire, which is unlikely.