Philadelphia Eagles News

Big Day For The Big Fullback

With running back Brian Westbrook out of the lineup, all eyes were on rookie LeSean McCoy to carry the running load against the New York Giants. And while McCoy played well in Westbrook's absence, it was the big man in the Eagles' backfield that set the tone for the Eagles on Sunday.

Fullback Leonard Weaver, who had only four rushing attempts all season coming into today's game, ran the ball eight times for 75 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown run on the Eagles' third play from scrimmage. It was the longest run of Weaver's career, and the longest run for an Eagles fullback since Anthony Toney's 44-yarder in 1989 against the Giants.

Weaver burst through one tackle at the line of scrimmage and then outran every Giants defender before sneaking into the left corner of the endzone.

"We actually had an over call," Weaver said of the big play. "It was a play that was designed to go to the right, we switched it to the left and I just remember coming behind Todd Herremans and big 67, (Jamaal) Jackson, and they opened that hole, man, and I saw Maclin get a great block downfield and it was just off to the races to the endzone.

"It's very sweet. Any time you get to cross that pylon, get across that goal line, it's very sweet. It's a great feeling man, because (fullbacks) are kind of looked down upon in the run game. ... I'm a very versatile guy and I can do a lot of things, and it was just a blessing to be able to show people."

Weaver, all 250 pounds of him, showed impressive speed for a fullback.

"I guess (I'm pretty fast) for a big guy," Weaver said after the game with a big smile on his face. "I guess I get that quite a bit, they don't expect 250 pounds to be running like that, but I tell you what, I give God all the glory."

Even though he's confident in himself as a rusher, he wasn't exactly expecting to get the ball so much this week.

"Actually, I didn't have any runs this week (in practice) that I was doing," he said. "It kind of shocked me a little bit, but it was a great opportunity."

But is you ask offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the question is not whether he expected to use Weaver so much this week, it's whether they should have used him more in past games.

"Leonard's a heck of a runner," Mornhinweg said. "He's got running skills, especially for a fullback. I said this earlier, we probably should have used him just a little bit more in our early games, however, it's quite difficult when you have Brian Westbrook and LeSean and you'd like to give them the ball because there are such possibilities of a game-breaker."

"It was good to get Weaver involved in the running game," said head coach Andy Reid. "You saw a little bit of his skill there. He's a big guy and a physical runner."

While Weaver will gladly take the praise heaped upon him coming off his impressive performance against the Giants, he's also sure to give the credit to the even-bigger guys up front that paved the way for himself and McCoy. It was the first time in team history that two different players scored on 40-plus yard rushes in the same game.

"The offensive line," Weaver said, "You have to give kudos to them today because they made it easy to see those holes because they were really big. I tell you, we saw the holes and we hit them hard.

"The offensive line takes a lot of criticism for everything that goes on around here, but they did a great job today. They opened up big holes today."

For his efforts, Weaver has big plans when he goes home to celebrate the Eagles 2-0 record in the NFC East.

"I'm going to go back home," Weaver said, "Get my three boys and we're going to sit on the couch and play video games tonight. Eat some popcorn."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:32 p.m., November 1

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