Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bryce Brown Gets His Chance

Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce BrownLeSean McCoy doesn’t like to take a breather.

He’s played 610 snaps on the season, the most of any running back in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. McCoy led the league in playing time last year as well.

But on Monday night, the Eagles will see what life’s like without McCoy, as the running back continues to recover from a concussion he sustained during the final two minutes of last week’s loss to the Redskins. McCoy just turned 24 in July. He’ll continue to carry the load for years to come. But it’s still important for the Eagles to find the right back to complement his talents.

Enter Bryce Brown.

The seventh-round pick will get a chance to be the No. 1 guy against the Panthers. The last time Brown carried the ball 10 times in a game was 2009 with Tennessee. The last time he carried it 15 times was high school.

“You just watch him and talk to him on the sideline and make sure he’s doing alright,” Andy Reid said Friday. “I know Dion [Lewis] can step in and play, so there’s a time and a place where we’ll do that with him.”

Finding the right complement to McCoy has not been easy. In 2010, Mike Bell turned out to be a flop. Jerome Harrison was a nice fit, but he left for Detroit in the offseason. The Eagles tried to re-acquire him last year, but Harrison was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The Ronnie Brown experiment was a failure in 2011. And the Eagles spent a fifth-round pick on Dion Lewis, but he’s had pretty much no role on offense since entering the league.

Bryce Brown appears to be in position to fill the role nicely. At 6 feet, 223 pounds, he could offer a nice change of pace to McCoy. Brown has 32 carries for 141 yards (4.4 YPC) on the season. In the last three games, he’s carried 12 times for 85 yards (7.1 YPC). We don’t know what he’s capable as a receiver, but Brown’s made strides in pass protection.

While Brown’s primary role has been to spell McCoy for one or two snaps at a time, Monday presents a chance to show he’s capable of more. For some, the matchup with the Panthers has little meaning. For Brown, it’s another important step in carving out his spot in the league.

WHAT YOU MISSED

With Michael Vick progressing in his recovery, Reid and the Eagles will soon have to decide how to proceed at quarterback. T-Mac explains right here.

Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder used the words “fuzzy” and “fatigued” to describe McCoy.

Weeks after firing him as defensive coordinator, Reid touted Juan Castillo as a potential college head coach.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter takes a look at Reid’s decision to go from Castillo to Todd Bowles:

Maybe the Eagles needed former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo more than they realized. With Castillo as their defensive coordinator in the first six games this season, the Eagles ranked among the three best teams in the league in terms of opponent completion percentage, yards per attempt and Total QBR. But since they fired Castillo on Oct. 16, the Eagles rank last in the NFL in all three of those categories as they head into Monday night’s game versus Carolina.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera expects Monday night to be special for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. From Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer:

The Eagles-Panthers matchup on “Monday Night Football” might not move the meter in middle America. But it’s a special game for McDermott, whether he admits it or not.

“He hasn’t let anybody see it,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “(But) this is a chance for him to show what he’s capable of.”

In other words, to show Eagles coach Andy Reid he let the wrong guy go.

COMING UP

A Sunday without an Eagles game. But we’ll have some fresh content throughout the day.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Mike J

    I was very critical of even “wasting” a 7th round pick on Brown. He quit on his UT team, then after transferring & sitting out a year…quit on KSU after just one game. But clearly the young man appears to have grown up and been a competent back up to Shady who now gets his shot. He’s turned me around.