We know that Chip Kelly’s system will use much more running than Andy Reid ever imagined possible in a football game. He ran the ball in almost a 60-40 majority at Oregon. Now some of these runs were with the quarterback, but the current options for the Philadelphia Eagles do not include any suited to take the increased load of hits.
Michael Vick is a veteran and injury-prone even with his tendency to stretch plays with his legs. Nick Foles and Matt Barkley won’t be winning races any time soon. This means Kelly will need to take a page from the history books and recreate the three-headed monster.
In the 2003 season, Reid split carries between Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Dorsey Levens. This provided a great change of pace as the game progressed and a chance to have fresh legs on the field at all times. They were bruising runners who could pick up the extra yard when needed. Staley is on Kelly’s staff working with the running backs of this team and he has the potential to create a league-leading group under his guidance.
LeSean McCoy should be eager to get on the field this year. He hits holes and cuts faster than most of the backs in the league. He can make a move and be through the secondary before they have time to respond. The other two members of the running trio will be determined between Bryce Brown, Chris Polk and Felix Jones. Brown averaged 5.5 yards a carry starting last year in replacement of the injured McCoy. He also had a disturbing tendency to fumble the ball and needs to correct that issue this season.
Polk has put on weight and seems primed to make a run at the roster. If he can duplicate his college success, he will make an impact. Kelly will certainly give him a look as he barely took the field with Reid running the team.
Jones had success with the Dallas Cowboys and will need to stay healthy if he wants to contribute. His hands and experience could make a valuable addition to the offense and he would be a great option for spot usage on the field.
Kelly has the roster to build a skilled stable of runners. If McCoy can regain his form, and be supported by two capable backups, the offense will be even more potent and dangerous when they enter FedEx Field in September.