Eagles Wake-Up Call: Increased Role For Polk?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

When Chris Polk got a shot last year, he made the most of it.

Granted, it wasn’t a particularly big shot, but it was something – 11 carries for 98 yards and four grabs for 61. In the December win against the Lions, Polk ran four times for 50 yards and a score. In the regular-season finale against the Cowboys, he had a 34-yard catch.


Overall, Polk played 46 snaps on offense.

The Eagles made changes at the running back position this offseason, dealing Bryce Brown to the Bills and acquiring Darren Sproles from the Saints. But Polk remains, and the third-year back received a pretty nice endorsement from Chip Kelly earlier this week.

"He's really had a great off‑season," Kelly said. "He worked extremely hard rehabbing his shoulders, but he was one of our key special teams players for us and starting to... you look at from probably the Detroit game on, he had a couple really big runs in that game and starting to develop as a back and just trying to figure it out again where he fits in that piece.

"Obviously we have a talented one in LeSean [McCoy], and then when you add Sproles to the mix, where does Chris fit into it? But I think in terms of what he has done in the offseason, I think he's really put himself in the picture."

In all likelihood, if McCoy and Sproles stay healthy, Polk won't see the field much offensively. But the key question is: What happens if McCoy misses time?

Sproles has averaged just 4.3 rushes per game the last three seasons and turns 31 later this month. The guess here is the Eagles would go to a running back by committee if McCoy were to get injured, but Polk would carry a heavier load than Sproles. Other wild cards like Matthew Tucker, Henry Josey and David Fluellen could make some noise this summer as well.

"We’ve got a great stable of backs so realistically it’s gonna be LeSean taking most of the carries," Polk said. "So whatever I can do to get on the field and help the team win, I’m gonna do it - whether it’s blocking, catching, special teams. ...The more you can do, the better off you are making the team."

Polk injured his right shoulder in an October game against the Bucs, but played through it. He had surgery five months ago and has not been limited in practices. Polk's left shoulder injury was the one that played a big factor in him going undrafted in 2012.

"I just feel more free," he said. "Now I don’t have to wear both shoulder harnesses so I’ll be able to move my arms better, be able to move a little faster, do a little more."

During practices open to the media, Polk has been running mostly with the third team. Unlike a lot of backs coming out of college, he has always been good in pass protection. And Polk had seven special teams tackles last season.

Currently he's practicing at 222 pounds, but Polk wants to get that down to between 215 and 217.

"It’s hard staying on that diet," he said. "I love Oreos."

Two summers ago, Polk was nervous on cut-down day, not knowing if he'd ever play an NFL snap. Now he's got a chance to stick for the third consecutive year and perhaps have his biggest role yet.

"Me not getting drafted, me being here in a great organization, they made me really feel like I was at home," he said. "Them showing that they believe in me, to keep me here after these years… it’s up to me to hold up my end of the bargain now. That’s what I intend to do."

WHAT YOU MISSED

"It appears the Eagles got a steal" in Jordan Matthews, says one national writer. Here's what they're saying.

Alex Henery is looking to bounce back in 2014.

Some really cool shots from Tuesday's practice, courtesy of photographer Jeff Fusco.

Three Kelly leftovers on Sproles, Lane Johnson and Mychal Kendricks.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Analyst Brian Baldinger talks to the Daily News' Les Bowen about Matthews:

"I think you just have to look at everything about him - the size, the character, the person. You can see him being successful here," said Baldinger, a former Eagles offensive lineman. "There's something special about the kid . . . I think what we've seen this offseason is that divas don't win championships, and this kid I think is about as far away from a diva as there is."

Vinny Curry chats with the Daily News' Paul Domowitch about his role and his journey:

After getting deactivated for the Eagles' first two games last season, Curry, who had never lacked for confidence, was wondering what the hell was going on.

"I was confused," he said. "Just confused about different things. I was reading a lot of the things you guys were writing. Just real confused and not knowing what was going on."

COMING UP

A few leftovers to get to today.

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  • PhillySean

    coUld make some noise this summer as well.

  • Malcolm Jones

    If I knew Curry was reading philly.com, I would have sat him for the first two games as well. Reading the comment section, especially if you are reading about yourself, would make you want to jump off the nearest bridge.

    While I think Sproles will be used as a rb, I think Polk is the more realistic guy to consider for more back up carries. Sproles will see 4-5 carries a game. I know Mccoy gets the bulk but I would love to see a three headed monster especially with the better run blocking Wrs we have. I curious about what tucker can do when in the future when it is Mccoy, Polk, Tucker.

  • Addicted2MAmula

    Top 100 players of “2014″ how and the hell did gronk make it to 41. I dont want ti hear about popularity on this one, he barely played last year

    • anon

      40 catches, 600 yds, 4 tds in 7 games. You put that into 16 games and he’s having a better year than djax. that’s crazy for a TE (where there’s not much competition)

    • JofreyRice

      I think he’s still the best all around TE in the game. Graham’s a better pure receiver, but Gronk is world’s better as a blocker.

      • Addicted2MAmula

        I’m not taking anything away from the guy. But he is the best TE/WR on the team but he only played 7 games I expected lower even with the stats

    • Maggie

      Just goes to show that the players have favorites too.

  • cliff henny

    dont mind projecting players that have shown flashes (Wolff) or were at least 1st/2nd round picks(Kendricks or Curry), but Polk is epitomy of JAG. if anything, Polk falls into my Nate Allen catagory, i hope he gets smoked by Josey or Tucker just like i hope Wolff wipes the Novacare field with Allen. plus, kind of dumb to admit outloud that you are carrying aound 5-7 extra lbs cause you like oreos within earshot of Kelly. sure Kelly isnt first coach, just most vocal, about your body is your career. 3rd stringer cramming cookies into his pie-hole cant go over well.

    • Broadcasting Wisdom

      Agreed, if my job depended on my losing 5 pounds, I wouldn’t be expressing my love for craft beers. Fortunately it doesn’t, so I can go crazy.

    • JosephR2225

      Before you go judging…. what if he meant he loves Oreo Smoothies?

      • cliff henny

        an oreo blizzard smoothie from DQ? now, that i’d understand

    • NickS1

      He keeps averaging 9yds/carry as the 3rd RB and he can keep shoving all the doubled stuffed down his cramhole he wants and I’ll never judge it.

      • cliff henny

        keeps averaging 9, kelly will be handing him quadruple stuffed on sidelines

        • Corey Dawson

          That’s sports science right there.

        • tommy_the_k

          Chip said there would be no mathematics involved.

          • cliff henny

            ha, good1

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        better than skittles, too. therefore, through osmosis, polk > lynch

        you heard it here first

        • NickS1

          Yeah, but the sports science piece on ESPN proved skittles to be the closest thing to a PED possible. Until proof that Oreos provide the same burst given the same quantity ingested comes to light, I’d go with Skittles. No, for couch GM’ing…. everyone knows Oreos are the choice of executives league-wide.

          • Kev_H

            I can vouch That Rex Ryan loves doublestuff Oreos.

    • Eagles1018

      Yeah but who can resist Oreos?

    • JofreyRice

      yeah, he showed up to the senior bowl really flabby, this weight thing has followed him since his days at UDub.

      I like him though. I preferred him over Bryce Brown. Of course, if one of the other guys is better, then I’m down with that, too.

  • Jack Waggoner

    The hype on Matthews is getting out of hand. I hope he’s anywhere near as good as people are projecting him to be now.

    • cliff henny

      hope he’s better! but, if that’s the case, could mean a sign of the Rapture Mel Gibson warned us about. long as we get the parade before end of the world, guess i’m good.

      • myeaglescantwin

        hahah

        that would be our luck,
        12-4, big playoff run, few home wins, NFC title..
        .
        .
        .
        .
        Then the damn rapture happens two minutes before kickoff.

        • Jack Waggoner

          Reminds me of the time there was an earthquake before World Series game was about to start.

          • Maggie

            Was watching. Scary. The real damage outside the ballpark was much worse, however. Although the damage in Japan a couple of years ago was a thousand times worse. I live on the West coast, so we expect the next massive quake to happen in our quadrant of the Pacific. If we forget, there are tons of wreckage washing up on our shores (Vancouver Island, B.C. coast, Alaska, Washington and Oregon every day.

        • Jeff Asay

          Two minutes before kickoff isn’t the issue. It’s two minute warning in the 4th quarter and the Birds leading by 21 when a comet comes by to pick up its passengers that would just be the epitome of hell.

    • Richard Colton

      he’s still the worst LB on the roster, and his special teams play is way overrated.

      Ohh you mean Jordan? That kid’s a stud. OTAs are like an extra pro-day or 2nd combine. If the draft were held again today, he would be a late 1st early 2nd. I’ve tasted the Matthews cool aid, and am ready for seconds. Ohh Yeah.

      • myeaglescantwin

        we haven’t had a WR with this type of size and speed since TO.

        lets hope he brings the talent and leaves the popcorn.

      • Jack Waggoner

        What can I say? I hope you’re right!

    • JofreyRice

      seems like it’s just that time of the year.

      • cliff henny

        yeah, someone gets the hype machine every summer. he seems to be handling it in stride at least.

    • https://www.skinnypost.com/ GayleSaunders

      Good head on his shoulders. check. Has size (6-3) check. Has some wheels (runs a 4.4) check. Outstanding hands and he’s the upgrade that we wanted over Avant in the slot. #Turndownforwhat :)

  • Scott J

    Lets hope Polk gets on the field a lot in the 4th quarter to ice those blow out wins.

  • myeaglescantwin

    if you have a 235 lb RB that runs 4.45,,, you better find a way to get him the ball.

    I wouldn’t so much advocate him taking large chunks of the workload, but i’d expect him to get around 5-8 plays a game.

    he plays north and south with great balance. If he worked hard and is as healthy as he and Chipper claim, he should have a definite impact on this team.

    • myeaglescantwin

      didn’t see that polk lost more than 15 lbs since his rookie year.
      Still though 220lbs aint too shaby.

      • Tom W

        Highly doubt he runs a 4.45 today.

        • myeaglescantwin

          well he was 4.5 at 235.
          he dropped down to 215. with Chips conditioning program, i wouldn’t be surprised.

          & it seemed like he had no problems running away from defenders in 2013.

          but, he’s 3rd string for a reason.

          • anon

            last year two highly talented rbs were in front of him. getting a possible 4th for bryce is crazy.

          • myeaglescantwin

            we could argue he is in the same position on the depth chart.
            But i’m sure that everyone anticipates him getting more carries at least.

          • Kev_H

            Could be he’s just waiting his turn. Since he’s been here, the only flaw in the running backs has been Brown’ s dropsies

          • Andy124

            http://mockdraftable.com/player/227/

            4.57 40 at 215 pounds.

  • cliff henny

    the other football, World Cup, starts today. whoya got? i’m going with Za Germans

    • Ian Farley

      i liked them too until the Reus injury. i think it will be spain again… they are so loaded.

    • NickS1

      I’m going Brazil at home, but hoping for an Ecuador shocker.

      • daveH

        agreed on BRa-ZIL, but thinking Belgium shocker … what happened to Spain how do I not have them going very far?? are they ‘old’

        • NickS1

          No idea why. They seem to have a nice balance of experience and youth on their roster. They could very well win it. I don’t think Brazil’s squad is much worse than Spain’s but having home advantage is pretty big. Though it means a little less against the more experienced teams.

          • Kev_H

            I think it’s moot for Brazil since most of their players don’t play or live there and they are the only “power” soccer nation to never win at home- a fact that people from Brazil probably care about more than you or I think.

          • NickS1

            Neymar played in Brazil’s league up until last year, and is their biggest star. Soccer is their religion. I don’t think it’s moot.

          • Kev_H

            Sure, soccer is their (Brazilian people’s) religion, thus the ill-fated “Macarazo” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguay_v_Brazil_(1950_FIFA_World_Cup)) is still a big deal and the people expect and feel entitled to a victory. I just feel mixing that pressure and atmosphere with an environment where all the best players have to flee the country due to corruption in pro soccer (and in general) doesn’t really give them an edge the way playing in Germany does for the Germans or playing in Korea did for the Koreans.

            As for Neymar, just like Kaka, Ronaldinho, and Ronaldo, he started off as a kid in Brazil and was off to greener pastures by age 21. The clubs are happy to sell and the players are happy to leave where they can sign contracts that are honored, etc. They only come back when they are older and can no longer stick in Europe and still need the money.

            I know they have a lot of fans and you’re probably one of them, but I don’t expect them to win this time and think hosting hurts, rather than helps, their chances. In the bigger picture, I actually think they have an advantage when everyone has to go to Asia, Africa, or North America since they are used to the long trips involved in playing for Brazil while living in Europe.

          • NickS1

            I’m pulling for Ecuador, and even more so in light of the untimely death of Christian Benitez. He was a really good striker and his death was a complete shock. One more reason to protest the games being played in Qatar, not that there’s necessarily a correlation. Just to b*tch, in general… I like watching good soccer, though, so I certainly enjoy watching Brazil (even though they’re down 1-0 as I type this, a-holes) as well as most good countries, which is why I enjoy the WC all around. Fair points, however. Can’t really dispute them too much. We’ll see what happens.

          • Kev_H

            I’m with you. I’m all in for the US, but I know so many people who are living and dying with their country’s team that I’m generally happy to see anyone do well (except for Portugal). There are so many different ways to approach the games and get through, that it’s really nice to see when it works out for a team, whether it’s Brazilian flair or Korean tireless, manic, hustling.

          • NickS1

            Yeah, agreed. I just like good ball. So many great matches that I’m turning it into an all weekend drinking event. Maybe a shot of Jameson for each goal…. I differ in my stance of Portugal. Big Ronaldo fan, here. Have been for years. He may be as arrogant as they come, but he’s arguably the best and most complete player in the world. He and Messi is a coin flip to me.

      • reb

        I didn’t even realize Ecuador was in?!? Man, my contacts have let me down.

    • eaglesfan

      deutschland!

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      Loved le oranje for years, will continue to do so

    • Kev_H

      I’m drinking the US Kool Aid hard. I love the way Klinsi prepared Germany for 2006 and see much of the same with USA this year. I love how he creates a playing style that fits the culture. There is some similarities between him and Chip in-terms of what I see as a holistic approach. So put me down officially for USA and remember it in July.

      Germany is the best but the pressure on them and Brazil is enormous, which rarely turns out well. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Suarez go nuts and have Uruguay do something ig.

      • reb

        Uh yeah, except Klinsi is on record saying he doesn’t think we can win it. what coach does that?

        • Kev_H

          One that understands the World Cup and the pressures of representing a nation and also understands the biggest thing holding the US back over the years (‘star’ player contentment). I was in Germany in 2005-2006 prior to and during the World Cup. Expectations were low, Klinsmann put a huge target on his back, and many (most?) people were against him as a faux German who lived in Los Angeles. He encouraged all of this, kept the heat off of his young squad (though he was very tough on the veterans) and created an environment that allowed them to perform to their potential and nearly win it all.

          He also put a lot on younger, relatively unknown players (Lahm, Schweinsteiger, and Podolski, who were 22, 21, and 21) at the expense of more experienced players and all three players had stellar tournaments.

          If you watched the road to Brazil series on ESPN and listened to him and watched him in action, you’d be certain that he has very high hopes for his team.

  • Tom W

    Don’t think it’s safe to assume or conclude that sproles wouldn’t get majority of carries if McCoy missed a game or more. People made same mistake saying we were going to play him as a slot wr. Chip corrected those reporters. No reason to believe chip wouldn’t give him majority of carries and Polk a third if McCoy missed time.

  • Wilbert31

    Baldinger – “I think what we’ve seen this offseason is that divas don’t win championships”.

    I’m going to need some help here – what exactly did we see this offseason to prove this?

    • 76mustang

      Celine Dion’s Vegas contract was not renewed…

      • Wilbert31

        I’ll accept that as Baldinger’s reasoning. Thanks!

  • https://www.skinnypost.com/ GayleSaunders

    I mean…Polk had a hell of camp last season. He can’t help it if McCoy was “all-world” last season. But I won’t be surprised if he plays “the power/short-yardage back” role nicely.

  • William John Joyce

    Jordan Matthews will be a pro bowl wide reciever,he is going to add a lot to this offense