With the proven, studly LeSean McCoy set to take the reins again as the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting running back, the only real competition in the Birds’ RB corps is for the primary backup role.
As a rookie, Bryce Brown acted as the Eagles’ number two RB last season while also starting four contests in place of a concussed McCoy. Brown showed great potential with two monster performances (347 rushing yards, four touchdowns combined) during his first two starts, but followed them up with a duo of miserable showings (40 rushing yards, zero touchdowns combined). Brown also showed a concerning tendency to cough up the football due to his loose and relaxed ball-toting style.
These fumbling woes were alarming enough to cause new head coach Chip Kelly and the Eagles organization to sign former Dallas Cowboys RB, and former division rival, Felix Jones.
Great things were originally expected out of Jones after he put together a surprisingly impressive college career as a full-time backup to current Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden at the University of Arkansas, and was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the Cowboys’ 22nd-overall pick.
Too bad Jones never panned out in Dallas as he struggled with injuries, consistency and an overall ability to stay in acceptable athletic shape. Ultimately, the Cowboys decided to let his contract run out following last year’s 2012 season, and he eventually signed on with the Eagles this spring.
The Eagles certainly don’t have premiere options when it comes to their backup tailbacks, but they do have two guys who can make a big difference in their own ways. Brown is a powerful, balanced runner while Jones relies on his speed and acceleration, but both backs have the ability to make game-changing plays.
While the two will likely platoon throughout the season, with Brown specializing in short yardage and Felix in third-down packages, it will be interesting to see who emerges as the Eagles’ clear-cut #2 tailback.
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