Kenjon Barner, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles. (Jeff Fusco)
We kicked off this series by looking at the wide receivers, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers and cornerbacks. Now, let’s move on to the running backs.
Projected depth chart (in order): Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner
Projected cuts: Byron Marshall, Cedric O’Neal
By pretty much any metric, Mathews had an outstanding season last year — when he was on the field. He ranked second among running backs in yards per carry (5.1), and he was tied for 12th in rushing touchdowns even though he ranked 44th in carries. Mathews ranked eighth in the NFL last season in rushing DYAR, Football Outsiders’ metric that values performance compared to the replacement level, adjusting for situation and opponent. Read more »
Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)
Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson have reiterated throughout this offseason that they’ll get a deal done with Fletcher Cox at some point, but they never specified when. Before the Eagles’ first practice of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday afternoon, Pederson put a timetable on it for the first time.
“I’m fully confident that something will be done before [training] camp,” he said.
Cox and Darren Sproles, both of whom skipped voluntary workouts but reported to the NovaCare Compex yesterday, will be limited during practice this week to prevent potential injuries. Pederson added that he hasn’t spoken with Cox about why he was absent. Read more »
Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)
UPDATE #2: Doug Pederson expected Cox to show up today, but he didn’t arrive when he spoke around 1 PM. He has now reported according to Derrick Gunn.
Pederson was informed yesterday that Cox would report for minicamp sometime today. The 25-year-old defensive end is entering the final year of his deal and is scheduled to make just under $7.8 million. He led the team with 9.5 sacks last season and was tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles.
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Kenjon Barner. (Jeff Fusco)
Bennie Logan’s gift sits in a cubbyhole in the upper left part of Kenjon Barner’s locker, placed at about eye level for the 5-9 running back. It’s a miniature alligator head and a neat adornment, but to Barner, it’s more than just a cool conversation starter. It’s a reminder.
“Be hungry,” Barner says. “I gotta eat.” Read more »
Doug Pederson and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)
After Jim Schwartz’s and Frank Reich’s comments last week that some thought contradicted Doug Pederson’s message of Sam Bradford unquestionably being the Eagles’ starting quarterback, the head coach explained Friday morning how there’s still a competition, even though there is a clear hierarchy.
“Listen, I brought guys in here at all positions for competition. That’s what makes you better. Iron sharpens iron,” Pederson said. “I look at what Sam’s done and he’s taken this thing and run with it. It’s unbelievable what he’s done. I’m so excited about the direction he’s going, and the stuff that he’s doing on the field right now are the things that I expected and what I saw at the end of the season last year from Sam Bradford. And my message has always been, ‘Don’t look over your shoulder, look forward,’ and that’s what he’s done. He’s embraced it.” Read more »
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Just about every time you looked up, there was Wendell Smallwood.
The Eagles are a bit short-handed at running back at the moment. Darren Sproles has been absent all offseason and Oregon rookie Byron Marshall is among those impacted by the NFL graduation rule. That left the likes of Ryan Mathews, Kenjon Barner, Cedric O’Neal and Smallwood to carry the load as OTAs got underway at the NovaCare.
“Duce [Staley] gave me a lot of reps. I was with the twos and the threes,” said Smallwood following Tuesday’s practice. “He’s telling me I’ve got to get my motor going. He wants me to be contributing to this team so I definitely think I’m going to have to get a lot of reps and have to get better.”
Read more »
Darren Sproles. (Jeff Fusco)
Darren Sproles has missed all of the Eagles voluntary workouts, Doug Pederson said today.
As OTAs began this morning, Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Eagles received trade interest during the draft for Sproles, and that the running back is “staying away from OTAs until its [sic] sorted out.” Rapoport added that the situation isn’t “filled with frustration,” but Sproles is on the West Coast with his family.
Pederson, however, said the Eagles have no interest in trading Sproles, and the 32-year-old doesn’t want to leave Philadelphia. Read more »
Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)
After skipping the first two weeks of the Eagles’ offseason program, Fletcher Cox is expected to also miss minicamp this week, according to Doug Pederson.
The head coach, however, said he didn’t mind because the activities are voluntary.
“I’m okay with Fletcher Cox not being here,” Pederson said. “Do we miss him? Yeah, we miss him and we’d love to have him around, but right now, he’s hopefully keeping himself in shape and getting ready to go. I’m excited to when I do finally get to work with him.” Read more »
Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports Images)
Here’s a hump day roundup of Eagles-related links to get you through the pre-draft lull period.
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Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)
Sam Bradford’s durability was one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2015 season, but the storyline has somewhat fallen by the wayside amid all of the change in the last few months.
During his hour-long media availability at the owners meetings last week, Doug Pederson discussed his quarterback at length, touching on Bradford’s durability toward the end.
“It’s one thing with where Sam has come — he’s come a long way with his weight. Would you like to see a bigger guy? You would, just from the durability issues and the contact there, but it’s not a concern,” Pederson said. “He’s actually put on a little weight this spring through some of his workouts. He missed a lot of offseason time last year because of rehab, so he’s in a position now to really focus on strength.” Read more »