Chris Polk was a forgotten man as a rookie.
The undrafted free agent out of Washington landed with the Philadelphia Eagles after being projected as a mid-round draft choice and proceeded to have a very impressive spring and summer training camp at Lehigh University. However, when the regular season began, Polk failed to register an offensive snap and played in just seven games on special teams.
Under first-year head coach Chip Kelly and in his high octane, uptempo offensive scheme, Polk could very easily figure into the team’s backfield plans behind LeSean McCoy.
McCoy is one person who certainly sees the value in depth at the running back position and could very easily envision a role for the second-year Polk.
“This is the kind of offense where it’s not a debate, ‘Oh, I could do it myself,’ because, one, you’re going to do more plays than any other offense, even in practice. For two, the amount of hits. You’re running so much. If you’re faking it or you’re running it, or if it’s a pass or not, you’re constantly going. I think any back, no matter how great of a shape that he’s in, he’s going to need some extra help,” McCoy told reporters earlier this spring at the Novacare Complex. “I know that, and Bryce (Brown) is good enough that he can play. I think every team has two good backs if you look around the league and I think Bryce is good enough and I’m confident in myself that I think us together will work well. In this offense, you need another back. And don’t be surprised if Chris Polk gets some carries because you’re running so much it’s like a freaking track meet. It’s like a relay, you need extra guys.”
For the 23-year-old Redlands, CA native, the goal for 2013 is simple.
“Play,” Polk said during the Eagles Organized Team Activities this spring. “I don’t want to sit down any more. I didn’t come to this league to be a cheerleader so I just have to take care of my body. I just want to play.”
If Kelly’s time at the University of Oregon is any indication, then the Eagles offense is going to be predicated on the running back and creating mismatches all over the field, which is exactly where Polk figures he can contribute this season.
“It’s very exciting to have an offense that features the running back, being that we run this high pace, we’re going to have to rotate in guys because we can run like six plays in less than a minute,” Polk said. “Especially with this high-paced offense, you have to make people miss, run in space, running, catching. You have to have your wind. It was the best thing. It really fit the scheme. Be lighter, be faster, get your wind up.”
Despite a crowded backfield featuring McCoy, Brown, offseason acquisition Felix Jones and Polk, seeing exactly how Kelly utilizes his strong stable of backs is one of the more intriguing aspects of this team.
Polk just hopes not to be the invisible man once again, this time around.
Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
* Quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.