Sunday afternoon was by far the Eagles' most physical practice of training camp thus far, and it featured plenty of action on the ground. LeSean McCoy led the way as always, but Eagles fans already know what the franchise leader in touchdowns in a season can do. But there's still some mystery to the two running backs behind McCoy on the depth chart - second-year Dion Lewis and seventh-round rookie Bryce Brown. Both players had an opportunity to impress on Sunday, and they took advantage.
For Lewis, his ability to make defenders miss during the two "live" sessions was all the more impressive because he was often working against the first-team defense.
"When you're going against the starters," Lewis said after practice, "They're obviously the better players on that side of the ball. So whenever I get a chance to go against those guys, I know it's going to be tough sledding, but I just have to stay the course and stay with my assignments.
"It felt good, just going out there confident, trusting my abilities and trusting what the coaches have told me up to this point and just going out there and playing fast."
Meanwhile, Brown didn't have much of a chance to carry the ball during the first pads-on practice Saturday afternoon, so Sunday was the first time Eagles fans had a chance to see him in action. There's an air of mystery surrounding Brown after his tumultuous, brief college career, but there have never been serious questions about his talent. On Sunday, the 6-0, 223-pound Brown displayed some decisive downhill power and deceptive speed.
"It's definitely a lot faster, but football is the same," said Brown. "We do a lot of individual (drills) and we do a lot of work in the film room, and that stuff is important. So you come out here, you get a chance to work it. The game's still fast and it takes some time getting used to, but if you're focusing in and doing the things that coaches ask you to do, everything takes care of itself."
"He looked good out there, he looked confident," said Lewis of Brown. "It doesn't look like he's running fast, but you see him running away from people, so he definitely got to show off his speed today, so that was a good thing he did."
In addition to their duties as ball carriers, both Brown and especially Lewis were factors in the passing game. During a "thud" blitz period, Lewis took a screen pass 60 yards for a touchdown after making a few players miss and following his lead blockers.
"In this offense, you have to be able to catch the ball," said Lewis. "When you catch the ball, most of the time you're going to be in space. So when you get in space, you just have to try to make plays and make people miss, and that's what I try to do whenever I get a chance to catch the ball."
We'll learn more about both Lewis and Brown once the preseason games roll around, but for now, so far, so good.
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