Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid is notorious for keeping his game plan close to the vest and only giving the media as much information as he feels necessary. Reid is continuing that legacy, as he has remained totally noncommittal about who will back up starting running back LeSean McCoy Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. When asked about the running back depth chart today by members of the media, Reid told those gathered “I can’t give you guys everything.”
Whether McCoy’s back up ends up being Dion Lewis or Bryce Brown, it is unlikely that either will receive a significant number of carries, at least while the game is still undecided. If the Eagles end up pulling away as most pundits believe they will, Reid is likely to pull McCoy in order to preserve his health. Should that happen, both Lewis and Brown are likely to see carriers split between them. I would imagine the coaching staff would employ more of a “backfield by committee” approach in that situation.
LeSean McCoy is undoubtedly one of the most talented running backs in the league, as his franchise records for rushing touchdowns (17) and total touchdowns (20) in 2011 indicate. Unless something devastating happens to McCoy, Brown and Lewis are likely competing for an extremely limited number of touches. They will be used to give “Shady” a breather for a few plays and possibly to employ a change of pace. Even when one of the backups is in the game in 2 back sets, the offensive play callers are generally going to defer to McCoy in running situations.
Despite the fact that neither player is going to see significant time, competition within positions can only improve the overall performance of everyone involved. For an offense that is already as deep as the Philadelphia Eagles at the skill positions, that thought should keep opposing defenses up at night.