NFL insider Adam Caplan recently said on his CapCast podcast that a change could be coming to the Philadelphia Eagles’ running back rotation. The change? More Corey Clement, less LeGarrette Blount.
Now, looking at the running back situation. I’m telling you this is what’s going to happen here. If LeGarrette Blount does not start to perform at a higher level, he’s going to get his role split in half.
What they’re probably going to wind up doing if Blount goes not get his job done, starting this game, you’re going to start seeing not only Wendell Smallwood, who they’ve always planned to have a bigger role than he certainly had last year, but Corey Clement, the undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin, who had a great week out of special teams last week against the Redskins.
You’re going to see [Clement] cut in to Blount’s role on first and second down. Because they want to pound the rock. It’s not that they want to run the ball more than they did last year; they want to be more efficient on the early downs. You’re going to see Clement cut into [Blount’s playing time] if it doesn’t get better.
In addition to what Caplan had to say, Clement himself told reporters he’s been getting more reps with Philadelphia’s first team offense this week.
Eagles rookie RB Corey Clement expects to get in the offensive mix this week, says he's been getting more lookss with first team.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 15, 2017
The Eagles’ run game was unsurprisingly ineffective in Week 1. Philly’s running backs combined for a mere 52 rush yards on 20 carries (2.6 average). Here’s a breakdown of their stats and playing time.
23 offensive snaps (34%)
14 carries, 46 yards, 3.3 average
1 reception, 1 receiving yard, 1 receiving touchdown
33 offensive snaps (49%)
2 carries, 2 yards, 1.0 average
5 receptions, 43 yards
15 offensive snaps (22%)
4 carries, 4 yards, 1.0 average
1 reception, 5 yards
0 offensive snaps, 13 special teams snaps
1 special teams tackle
It’s unfair to blame the Eagles’ running woes on the rushers alone. It’s not like the blocking was superb all game long. Still, it was a pitiful performance. And it’s not like the current players inspire a ton of confidence.
Perhaps the Eagles are hoping Clement can provide a spark. The 2017 undrafted rookie free agent signing had a nice showing in the preseason by running for two touchdowns and 105 yards on 28 carries. 3.8 yards per carry certainly isn’t eye-popping, and Clement didn’t do anything exceptional, but he did run hard when called upon.
The Eagles could also be looking to reward Clement’s special teams efforts in Week 1. Clement made the tackle on the Eagles’ opening kickoff to Washington last week.
Philadelphia’s running back rotation will be something to watch as the Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM.