One of the under-the-radar storylines for the Philadelphia Eagles this preseason has been the emergence of the backup running back role to LeSean McCoy.
Last year, veteran Ronnie Brown backed up McCoy, and his sole contribution to the team was turning in arguably the most embarrassing football play I have ever seen by a professional.
Rookie Dion Lewis was the third-string back, and he played well, carrying 23 times for an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
But Lewis has some pretty tough competition this offseason, notably rookies Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.
Brown was drafted in the seventh round, a very low-risk, high-reward move by the Eagles, as Brown had carried the ball just three times over the previous two seasons in college.
Polk was arguably the top undrafted rookie, and the Eagles made headlines when they signed him immediately after the draft.
Both Brown and Polk have impressed this preseason, more so than Lewis, who could find himself buried on the depth chart in no time.
In fact, McCoy was asked what he thought of Brown, and he compared him to one of the most dominant running backs in the history of the sport, saying he is reminded of Bo Jackson when he watches Brown.
That compliment was lost on Brown, who apparently is not much of a sports history buff.
“I guess that’s a compliment, right?” he said.
Yeah, Bryce, it’s a compliment. It’s a tremendous compliment. Bo Jackson was the best combination of power and speed in the NFL during the late 1980s. He also played professional baseball, as a “hobby.”
While Brown may be lost on his NFL history, he’s turning heads with his performance in the preseason.
Heading into the season opener against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Andy Reid would not identify which player is the backup running back, but Brown has seen increased reps in practice and it’s becoming more and more obvious that he is the backup.
Reid protects his players to no end, and if Lewis, who entered training camp as the backup, was really the backup, Reid would have admitted it.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. You can follow Bryn on Twitter by clicking here and here. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.