Jump to content

Breaking down Eagles’ 7 backup running back options behind Miles Sanders | Favorites, long shots


Recommended Posts

Breaking down Eagles’ 7 backup running back options behind Miles Sanders | Favorites, long shots

Posted Jun 24, 6:30 AM
Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sept. 20, 2020

Eagles running back Miles Sanders figures to be the starting running back. However, there are questions as to who will serve as his backup. Tim Hawk | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Eagles are preparing for the 2021 season, and one of the deepest positions on offense is running back.
Miles Sanders enters the season once again as the presumptive starter. Sanders played in 12 games last season and ran for 867 yards and six rushing touchdowns.
One of the most interesting battles that will take place during training camp will be for the reserve running back sports.
Behind Sanders, seven players will be vying for the three or four spots at the position, depending on special teams needs.
Here is a breakdown of the Eagles’ backup running back position:
The former Lions 2018 second-round draft pick was picked up off waivers by the Eagles in May. Johnson is known for his abilities in the passing game, both receiving and pass blocking. During his career, Johnson has averaged 5.1 yards per touch (rushing and receiving). The Eagles have said that they want to utilize the screen game a lot this upcoming season, and Johnson is a candidate to make an impact.
Another reason why Johnson could stick around is his contract. Johnson reworked his contract, making $920,000 if he remains on the roster this season. That cap number, coupled with his potential production, could prove to be a worthwhile acquisition.
Scott has been Sanders’ backup for the last two seasons. Scott has shown that he has breakaway speed, but he has been inconsistent at times running the ball between the tackles. Scott can be effective in the flat as an outlet. Scott also handled the kick return duties but only averaged 21.1 yards per return. Scott will most likely make the roster but will have to do better in the return game.
Gainwell could very well turn out to be one of the most surprising rookies to play this season. Gainwell brings a lot to the table. His physical abilities could make him extremely effective on swing passes, wheel routes or other routes out of the backfield that have him singled up on a linebacker.
Gainwell’s speed could also be used on the stretch running play, a staple of the zone-based running scheme. If he uses his vision, plants that one foot in the ground, and accelerates, he could easily pick up a minimum of five yards behind this offensive line.
When the Eagles re-signed Howard this offseason, it looked as if he would return to be the veteran back who would impart his pass blocking knowledge and be the "big brother” of the running back room. Now, after the team claimed Johnson, that role is in question.
Howard, a physical runner, averaged 4.4 yards a carry in the 2019 season, with 2.4 yards being picked up after contact. However, this past season, Howard struggled to repeat his efforts. In the seven games he played in for the Eagles and the Miami Dolphins, he averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Howard is not as good as Sanders and Scott running routes and catching the ball, but he has been serviceable.
Howard is not a regular on special teams, but he could stick around if he finds a way to contribute on one of the return or coverage teams. Otherwise, he could be on the outside of the roster looking in.
Huntley, whom the Eagles claimed off waivers last offseason, was expected to be a player who could help the team’s kick return game, but that did not come to fruition. Instead, Huntley only was back as the returner 10 times in a span of three games. Huntley did flash some of his quickness in the Oct. 22 game against the Giants when he ran twice for 13 yards, one of which was an inside run that he wound up making a quick cut, but that was about it.
If Huntley is given a chance to be the primary returner and proves he can handle the position in the NFL, he could stick around as a fifth running back. Otherwise, the addition of Gainwell could mean the end of Huntley’s time on the main roster.
During training camp last season, Holyfield looked as if he could be a solution for the Eagles’ short-yardage situations, but he was placed on the practice squad and saw time in the game against the Cleveland Browns, playing in only five snaps on the kick return team. Holyfield has a chance to prove himself once again in front of a new coaching staff but will most likely wind up once again on the practice squad.
Killins is a tweener position-wise. Killins has spent time working out with the wide receivers as well as the running backs. There is no question about the speed that Killins possesses. However, it comes down to a numbers game. Killins has not been used as a kick or punt returner, and the Eagles already have a lot of bodies at wide receiver. Killins would most likely be headed to the practice squad.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you can forget about Huntley, Holyfield and Killins. I don't think they've got much of a chance to make the roster. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...