Staley Getting Backs Ready For A Ground Party
Jason Peters recently said that in this offense, there is “a lot of running the ball; the passing is mixed in.” If you were to describe Andy Reid‘s approach, you would likely say the exact opposite.
The ground game is coming to Philly. Envious, Duce Staley?
“Ahhh, of course I am,” said Staley with a laugh Thursday. “If you’re a running back, you should be excited.”
Staley will have to settle for coaching this group of running backs, who are more important than ever to the success of the Eagles. And he has an intriguing group to work with.
In LeSean McCoy, a Pro Bowl talent that is coming off a down campaign and a rocky offseason. Staley serves as a mentor to the 24-year-old, and believes he is pointed in the right direction.
“LeSean will be the first to own up to the mistakes he’s made. Now he’s trying to move on and get better from those, learning from those so he won’t repeat them,” said Staley. “He’ll tell you first-hand that we’re on the same page when it comes to life and things that come along with life. I think he’s getting a better understanding when I explain certain things to him. By any means necessary he is going to get it and he’s going to correct it and he’s going to move on. He’ll be OK.”
Behind McCoy is Bryce Brown, who is as raw as he is gifted. In order to be a reliable No. 2, he will have to solve his fumbling issues. Staley said that they are taking measures on the field and in the classroom to clean up that part of Brown’s games.
“The first thing you have to do is show him where the problem is. You have to show him the film over and over again to make sure he undertsands traffic,” said Staley. “That’s one of things that I talk about with Bryce all the time is traffic. When you look at the type of runner Bryce is, Bryce is an aggressive runner, he wants to hit the hole and he wants to break tackles. When you hit the hole and break tackles, it gives a chance for other people to catch up with you. He has to make sure he continues to pull that ball in tight.”
Chris Polk has dropped some weight and is quicker, according to Staley. He said that Felix Jones is looking good as well. Rookie Matthew Tucker rounds out the group.
Last season, Oregon averaged 53 rushes per game. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 rushing attempts. De’Anthony Thomas had 92; Byron Marshall 87.
History suggests that there is a sizeable workload coming for not just McCoy, but several of these Eagles running backs.
“I’m lucky to have some running backs where all those guys bring something to the party. It’s not like one guy has all the tools — if I had to say one had all the tools it would be McCoy right now — but every guy that I have brings something to the party,” said Staley.
“I think you have to add all those guys in the mix because we’re going to need all of them.”
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